I’m not sure if the Cosmos 3 is a beef-boot, a touring boot — or what. In any case, I am sure about their performance. More, the C3 is in possession of a single critical improvement vis-a-vis its Cosmos predecessors that makes it truly noteworthy.
As a dedicated Scott guy (and Garmont before that) I’ve had three pairs of the Cosmos boot. All toured well and skied well. All also broke in predictable and consistent ways. For me, these malfunctions were tolerable due to the fit and downhill ski performance and knowing that the needed repairs could be made — often with the generous help of Scott Sports USA.
When I learned that WildSnow had a pair of C3s to loan out for testing, I quickly volunteered! That was a few weeks ago and I’ve skied them about a dozen times in all kinds of conditions, terrain and snow. The C3 performed as expected, meaning they’re wonderful.
The Scott liner is cozy and functional. Its plastic reinforced tongue no doubt adds to the excellent downhill performance. I’ve never had a blister uphilling in these boots and I’ve never “cooked” the liner in pursuit of a more custom fit. Happily, my plain vanilla foot is just fine with the out-of-the-box fit. (FYI, to simplify things I run the liner without laces).
The Cosmos has a toe-to-shin shell tongue that provides ample stiffness for excellent downhill performance. More, the tongue also provides a water-tight seal which is critical for early morning creek crossings and afternoon puddle jumping. Seriously, being able to run through a creek in the dark and keep your feet dry is a little-known, yet very important feature of this boot.
Liner tongue placement, when locking down for ski mode, can be irksome. Sometimes one has to fiddle with the liner tongue to be sure it’s seated properly in the liner and beneath the exterior, plastic tongue. A little maneuvering usually gets everything properly aligned but perhaps this is an area for improvement.
The exterior shell tongue, again when switching to downhill mode, can end up on the wrong side of the overlap cuff. The upside here is that when this happens, it is conspicuous and difficult to properly buckle the upper two buckles. Not that big a deal unless you’re trying to keep up with a rando race transition expert. (Indeed, I’m not understanding the expensive and sometimes failure prone systems boot makers are attempting to enable “one motion” transitions. This is ski touring, not racing. I can deal with an extra four hand motions three times a day. If necessary, I’ll save time by eating larger bites of my sandwich.)
I went on somewhat long about tongues, plural. The above are minor issues. This is a review so I included my thoughts.
The C3 buckles are virtually the same as the C1 and C2 buckles (main difference, the buckle straps don’t break as they did with C1). The lower two are spring-loaded so when adjusting them they stay close to their clasps. This is a nice feature. The upper two buckles have a guard (wire bail that folds over the buckle ladder) that is not such a nice feature; its purpose is still unknown me. But, like many things in life, one becomes accustomed to these sorts of things and they no longer seem bothersome. Incidentally, as with most other ski touring boots the upper two buckles are easy to move to provide the proper fit around your skinny, normal or fat calf – all you need is a hex wrench.
Lou took them off for me. At first I was a bit concerned but being without I had to do without and found that the power straps – for skiing – are not necessary. Quite a nice revelation! In fact I did notice that even though I do use the power straps on my other Cosmos boots, I close them for tidiness only, not to further tighten the fit on my lower leg. The power straps do come in handy when in dirt-walk mode, either in or out, when you’d like to sling your boots over your pack instead of fixing them to your bindings.
The external lean lock is here! I repeat: The external lean lock is here! Hooray! The C3 lean lock is external — and visible — and super easy to use. It’s spring-loaded so push it down, lean forward, flexing your ankle, then slowly relax and pop!, the lean lock engages with out any ambiguity (with the added security of a tiny hook that engages the lower anchor bar). To disengage, pull on the two inch chord that, even with mittens on, can be easily grasped. In my view, an external lean (walk-ski) lock provides confidence in its reliability. This is especially comforting to us Cosmos vets who have endured lean lock breakage. I hope for Scott, and we Cosmos skiers, that this problem has been forever solved.
Uphilling in the C3 is efficient and comfortable. They provide a great degree of articulation allowing for a naturally long stride on flats. On steeper grades, I found that the tongue was not a hindrance to efficient skinning (while the tongues on these boots have been slightly modified for flex (see Lou’s review), in my experience none of the Cosmos I’ve used have problems with stride articulation). To allow ankle movement I keep the two top buckles (and power strap, if present) completely undone and the bottom two buckles on their loosest settings.
Like the C1 and C2, the C3 skis strong (at least for me). It’s great on ski area groomers (hard and soft), it is epic on steep corn and powder. Even in breakable mank, I found the boot free from blame. That said, it’s a ski touring backcountry boot. Skiing it as your everyday ski area boot might overtax it but that of course will be a function of your weight, speeds, ski and terrain options. As a backcountry, ski mountaineering boot, it provides the power and performance to maximize enjoyment.
High marks must go to Scott Sports USA in Ogden UT (888-607-8365). My first lean lock break down was solved by a call to Scott, new parts were sent at no charge and a local ski shop performed the repair (they did tell me that some blue language was needed as an aid to the repair process). The second breakdown was corrected by the Aspen Expeditions team. AE had the parts, know-how and vocabulary to get the job done. With break down number three, I called Scott, they said “send the boots in and we’ll replace the mechanism in both boots and get them back you in a couple of days – free of charge.” I’m fairly confident the new hardware is improved so as to reduce the risk of this kind of failure again. We will see. That Scott is so helpful and willing to own this problem is a terrific thing.
Check our our previous Cosmos coverage, extensive.
Shop for Scott Cosmos ski touring boots. The 3 version will be available fall of 2017, ver 2 ostensibly has the bugs worked out. I’d recommend them as well, though waiting for the 3 with external lean lock would be best in my opinion. Like I wrote above, Scott has good customer service. On the other hand, when you’re in the middle of the backcountry it’s hard to find a UPS delivery truck.