I can’t get Nancy Sinatra’s song out of my head. “These boots are made for walkin.’” This year more than any other, my ski boots have elicited a uniform Pavlovian response: pure happiness. We all have had ski boots that make us cringe when we pull them on — but we know their performance or their lightweight nature will make ‘em worth it in the end. These boots, Scarpa F1, are not like that.
Scarpa F1 just works, and when your ski touring boots are working, you are going places. This past winter they provided me with one 5-star experience after another. And it’s not just that they were great for going uphill, downhill, and everything in-between, it’s that they led me to such a diversity of highs. As much or more than how my F1s pushed snow around, I associate these boots with all the fabulous people I’ve been touring with this year and all the incredible places I’ve seen because they carried me there.
These boots have stayed on my feet while drinking beers on the deck of huts after a full day of touring, while après skiing after big in-bound ski days, and when we are back at the trailhead sitting on the tailgate in perfect afternoon sunshine. I’m reluctant to take them off actually — partially because they really are that comfortable — but largely because I don’t want the finest moments of my winter to be over.
To linger in my ski boots just a little bit longer after a perfect day in the alpine is like licking the spoon covered in your favorite cake batter. To wring out that joy-drenched cape we wear during our best moments spent outside skiing with friends is what fuels us for the more regular parts of our lives, and what leads us to the next magical moment in our ski boots.
Is this a review? Yes, so I’d better come up with something less worshipful. That’s hard. The only real complaints I have about my F1s are that the tongue has trouble staying in place and the lightweight hard-shell plastic is kind of sharp. It wears away a portion of the liner every time I put them on. Ok, back to the worship.
Another reason why I’ve been wearing them nearly non-stop for five months: Somehow these boots have become a symbol for me this season — an indicator that we can make our lives whatever we want them to be — and having a sport like skiing as a mechanism to get out there is all you need sometimes. My Scarpa F1s have joined me for solo walks in the winter woods and have transported me out of a stressful work day and onto a sun-lit skin track with a close friend.
These boots have taken me to the top of Colorado’s Highlands Bowl to hand out free coffee, tea and cookies on Valentine’s day.
These boots have charged uphill at twilight with new friends on spontaneous hut trips.
These boots have climbed to the summit of mountains just to paint the scenery with another mountain artist.
These boots have shred pow like a monster and these boots have preferred to just sit on the porch and drink beer with friends.
Somewhere along the way, my now venerable Scarpa F1s even gained a dedicated perch in the center of my living room to dry out between all these adventures.
These boots make me happy and I tend to trust that something good is going to happen when I’m wearing these boots.
Scarpa F1, made for walking, and more.
“Tester” profile, Sarah Uhl:
Height/weight — 5’5’’, 125
Previous boots — green SCARPA Gea
Ski level — intermediate/advanced — stoked!
Years skiing — 7
Percentage terrain skiing — 60% backcountry — 20% uphilling — 20% resort
Where — mostly Colorado Rocky Mountains
Skis — Black Diamond Carbon Convert, 165cm
(WildSnow Girl, Sarah Uhl, may not have been Rocky Mountain born but she has found her heart here. When she is not climbing mountains or foraging medicinal plants she welds words and mixes paint to tell stories of the beautywild. Examples of her fabulous artwork here.)