ISPO 2017 — Scott S1 Boots and Alpride Airbag

Post by blogger | February 8, 2017      
ISPO, land of the odd European English marketing slogans.

ISPO, land of the odd European English marketing slogans. What does it mean!? Sounds like a yoga seminar or political protest march?

How to organize my ISPO reports? This year, I’ll do it by brand until I burn out my finger tendons. Then I’ll write about the beer halls of Munich or something equally as mundane. Perhaps, skiing?

I like ISPO Munich. The vast variety of brands is never ending buzz for a mouth breathing gear blogger, and the intense European enthusiasm of the place takes over when the basic psych wears off (excellent espresso at every booth helps as well). I love how easy it is to navigate the halls — even though we’re talking 2,500 exhibitors and who knows how many miles of passages (the conference center is Munich’s older decommissioned international airport). Most of all, I come here to have direct contact with principle people of the ski touring gear business who might not be at the shows in North America.

Getting around ISPO is easy exactly because of the old airport layout; mezzanines with people movers that take you to a series of “halls” shooting perpendicular to the magic carpets.

Since we’re not a gear blog, I don’t have to hit all 2,500 stands. Instead, I make an easy number of appointments each day for folks we feel are the core ski touring outfits, and who we feel we collaborate best with.

Myself and Herve Maneint discuss the interesting Scott S1, is that a bemused expression on my face, or perhaps total acceptance of Scott world domination?

Myself and Herve Maneint discuss the interesting Scott S1, is that a bemused expression on my face, or perhaps total acceptance of Scott’s world domination? Conversations such as this is why I go to the effort and expense of attending ISPO Munich.

Along those lines, Scott is always a good hit. Since their strong entry into ski touring a few years ago, they haven’t stopped innovating.

This season, just about every backcountry skier I’ve spoken with here has an opinion about Scott’s out-of-box thinking on swapping the traditional lean-lock from the back of their S1 ski boots to the front. I got my own pair of these guys on-snow just before leaving the U.S., and found the concept to work surprisingly well (with caveats, specific review coming).

Over arching problem for myself and others trying these boots: the buckles were difficult to operate. It took me longer to buckle the boots than it did to complete a subsequent ski tour (joking, but that’s nearly the truth)!

That’s of course something that could never go to retail, and was specific to the samples. I often don’t mention this sort of thing, but do so here for two reasons. First, it was funny. Second and more importantly, quite a few people have tried on the S1 and had their thoughts dominated by the buckle situation. We all need to get past that.

Thus I’m happy to report that we can all breath a sigh of relief now, as Scott’s boot designer Herve Maneint told me in no small words that they’ll be ditching the current buckles and going with something more basic and easy to operate. Nice. Now I can talk about what really matters. According to Herve they’ll be making the upper buckle strap wider so it’ll ostensibly do the role of both buckle and power strap. Further, they’ll add an optional spoiler to the shell cuff for those of us with skinny legs. Nice also to hear the S1 offerings will have boot-boards to help with custom fitting.

Scott S1 ski touring boot, super interesting.

Scott S1 ski touring boot, super interesting.

During our meeting, Herve was adamant about his leather liner option being incredibly comfortable due to the unique way leather conforms to your foot shape. I’m eager to try that, since I’ve always had a problem with the skinny rear part of my foot not quite getting optimal fit, even with heat molding.

Per your questions here, dear readers, I also quizzed Herve on the punch-ability of these boots. As we suspected, the S1 Carbon 130 is not moldable at the mets (ball of foot) due to the carbon insert. the S1 Longfiber 120, however, has reinforcement inserts made with a Grilamid mix that’s said to punch just fine. My testing revealed the 130 version to be much stiffer than I need in a boot, and I think that’s probably true for most people doing human powered vertical. Thus, if you’re considering being an early adopter of the S1, know that the 120 version might be a better choice.

Herve was the right guy to speak with about the S1 boot engineering basis. He emphasized that a common and enjoyable style of skiing involves a balanced stance with much of the turn feeling as if it originates from the ball of your foot. A conventional cuff boot, he said, has the disadvantage of a force vector at your heel where the cuff pivots are, and ignores if not fights against what happens with your forefoot. The S1 system flops things and puts the pivots at your metatarsal, and gives you “that wonderful flowing feeling,” (please accompany previous quote with French skiing hand gestures).”

I think Scott might be onto something with this, but know this first public iteration of the concept is most certainly due for numerous tweaks over coming seasons. At the least, for those of us with compromised ankles and such, it’s incredibly easy to slip your foot into the S1, what with the “clamshell” quasi rear-entry cuff arrangement. Ease of entry and overall stiffness aside, success of anything this new and different is going to depend on benefits easily compensating for hassles or differences in performance. Like I said, time will tell, look for a review in this space.

Project manager and Alpride inventor with the latest.

Project manager and Alpride inventor Marc-Antoine Schaer with the latest.

Whoops, almost forgot. What’s going on with the Scott version of the Alpride Airbag system? They’ve trimmed a few hundred grams from the total pack weight (some from the plumbing, and some from the packs.) The plumbing is now mounted to the side, freeing up the cargo compartment for easier packing. The reworked gas valve system is minimalist, strong and light. Trigger is improved. Delightful progress we expect will continue. Indeed, look for what I don’t think is an exaggeration to call the “airbag wars of 2017,” beginning next fall. (See our other Alpride posts.)

New Alpride is lighter, with more room inside due to entirely new location of the plumbing.

New Alpride is lighter, with more room inside due to entirely new location of the plumbing (to the side instead of middle).

(Ear to the ground report: At least three younger freeriders here at ISPO told me they’re tired of all the airbag hype, that “everyone has one, even people hiking up the piste” and “they’re a lot less effective than the industry is making them out to be.” I’d tend to agree. In my view, even the slightest inclination to ski something with an airbag on your back that you otherwise would not ski 110% negates any added chances of you surviving your backcountry skiing career. The examined life asks that we would all look inward and be honest about this — and be sure that plumbing on your back isn’t creating a fantasy in your head.

The airbag makers are all eager to show of their plumbing, the aluminum variety, that is.

Airbag rucksack makers at ISPO are all eager to show of their plumbing… the aluminum variety, that is. This is the Alpride valve system.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


9 Responses to “ISPO 2017 — Scott S1 Boots and Alpride Airbag”

  1. See February 8th, 2017 12:10 pm

    Re. the slogan: maybe they make skinny powder skis? Thanks for the report.

  2. Frame February 8th, 2017 1:25 pm

    did you bump into the Herminator and is he taking you on a ski tour? You may need those 130 boots after all. ?

  3. Lukasz February 9th, 2017 1:57 am

    Lou, have you seen new prototype of Avalanche “airbag/vest” ?

    They change the idea little bit.

  4. Lukasz February 9th, 2017 1:59 am

    More info about Aerosize idea:

    System features hybrid dual chamber technology, as strong as the existing avalanche airbags:

    – structural chamber inflated with compressed gas & inner chamber using ambient air – to be filled during airbag inflation – watch it at #ISPO2017

  5. Lou Dawson 2 February 9th, 2017 6:13 am

    Lukasz, like I said, things with avalanche airbag rucksacks are really going to heat up next fall-winter. The makers are coming out of their self absorbed burrows and realizing that we don’t like hauling around the weight, and that we want convenience such as easily available cylinders, or electric that’s much more minimalist. The makers did a good job with PR, they made everyone want one. Now they have to step up to the plate and respond to demand for ever improving products. They’re doing ok with that, but I think the pace will accelerate for a while. For example, why are there no airbag systems with optional super-light balloons that the user can opt to buy for more money? And why are the electric systems ridiculously heavy? Lou

  6. etto February 9th, 2017 7:15 am

    Any more information on the new Alpride, like weight?

  7. Lou Dawson 2 February 9th, 2017 7:27 am

    Edit: according to Marc the old plumbing and balloon were 800 grams, while the new version is 670 grams. The packs themselves are slightly lighter as well, via simplifications and textile choices.

    I was hesitant to spout off with weights since we don’t have a pre-production pack to weigh, and since the weight difference told me by Marc was only a few ounces. That’s important in the sense of being an improvement, but not a deal breaker either way. More importantly, the easier these packs are for holding your gear, the less likely you are to need an even larger pack that makes you haul more weight in the pack body fabric etc. So the improvement of relocating the plumbing is highly significant.


  8. Wookie1974 February 14th, 2017 12:02 pm

    still looking for your take on the ortovox airbag – the lightest available as far as I know…..

  9. Lou 2 February 14th, 2017 2:07 pm

    Working on it my friend. Sorry to say we’re not a gear blog. But perhaps that’s our strength. We don’t waste energy on dog collars and socks. Lou

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