La Sportiva Sytron — Gnar Level .9 and That’s Good


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | May 27, 2019      

Alex Lee

Shop for Sytron spring deals.

La Sportiva Sytron

Not so long ago, the backcountry boot game involved a simple equation: tally the level gnar of you wanted to ski on a scale from 2 to 4 and correlate each gnar point to the number of buckles on your ski boot. If you wanted to rip spines in Alaska, you bought a 4-buckle boot and added a power strap. If you wanted to do Lycra laps in an up-down race, you bought a 2-buckle boot and removed unnecessary pieces (I am embarrassed to say I once unscrewed the logo on a pair of race boots to save weight. Boot gnar level 1/2!).

There is an obvious problem with this equation — no matter what sort of ski tourer you are, most of your day is spent going uphill and yet you don’t want to ski down in sneakers. This has led boot makers to both try and shed weight from (and add mobility to) the burlier end of their line, and add stiffness and durability to their lighter boots. The La Sportiva Sytron is a prime example of the latter: a ski-mo race style boot with backcountry capabilities.

Last week I had a chance to take the Sytron up and down some PNW volcanoes. They were oh-so-quick on the up and held there own just fine on the down. Here is my initial take after about 30k vert in corn and spring hot-pow.

I guess gear testing can be fun. Yours truly heading through the ‘Hot Rocks’ on Mount Hood. Photo by Andy Mention

I am a 175 lbs skier who used the Sytron with 178 BD Helio 88s mounted with Dynafit Speed Turn bindings — this set up is likely at the bigger end of the Sytrons wheelhouse. The 27.5 weighs in at 987g per boot (a bit heavier than advertised by Sportiva, but still ultra light). A full 75 degree range of motion makes the Sytron’s walk mode as good as a full on skimo race boot. A little bit of extra weight and carbon reinforced cuff (to an otherwise Grilamid shell) gives it the boost needed for fast and light mountain travel as well. The Sytron takes the basic blueprint and function of a ski-mo slipper and sticks it in a design that feels adept as both a fitness machine and mountain boot.

Andy has been on Sytron’s most of the season with few issues and high praise.

I have had a pair of La Sportiva Syborgs for the past few years and think they are an excellent race boot. Like Dynafit PDGs and Scarpa Aliens, they show up on big mountains now and then, but are more running shoe than backcountry boot. After finding myself without a light touring boot this spring, I jumped at the chance to slip on the Sytron. It shares the best parts of the Syborg but also solves many of the problems that made the Syborg a race boot and not a real ski mountaineering boot. The Sytron adds durability through updates to the Syborg ski/walk bar, boot gaiter, lower shell design, lower buckle, and liner, but keeps the scales light. It is the first boot I have skied that really feels like a race boot on the up, but more than that on the down.

The Sytron drives my 88s just fine, and really excels on my 76s (though I haven’t has as much time yet with them on the smaller set up). I have pushed through the boot a bit making big arcs in fast corn, but so long as I am willing to trade GS turns for more reasonable wiggling at lower speeds, the 88 is well within the Sytron comfort zone.

The boot’s upper buckle is the Sportiva race boot setup — essentially a shoelace — it is light and effective. This p-chord strap doesn’t inspire confidence, but I have had no issues with it in the field. I particularly appreciate the ‘CavoBike Lever’. This upper buckle makes the switch from ski to walk mode in one motion and keeps the ski-walk bar out of the way of snow, rocks, and crampons by flipping the ski-walk bar 180 degrees up (see picture below). The Syborg had a smaller bar oriented down (and the Spitfire 2.0 with a bar oriented up). This simple change makes the Sytron more crampon compatible, easier to boot off-piste with, and more trustworthy in my book.

The Sytron embraces simplicity and sports well placed buckles.

Sytron ski/walk bar next to the Syborg.

The boot’s lower buckle (what Sprotiva calls the “Spyder Buckle Evo”) is a well placed two-in-one with both loose and tight levers that sits atop a z-shaped forefoot plastic overlap (the black and yellow levers in pic 4). The loose lever is excellent for touring, while the tight lever is easy to flip for the down. This new lower buckle adds significantly to the boots performance by supporting a large swath of the lower boot.

Like many skiers out there, I have a hard time finding boots that are kind to my hobbit feet. My first day on unmolded out of the box Sytrons was a 7,500 foot lap on Mount Rainier – no blisters and happy feet blew my mind.

Ski-mo meets ski mountaineering? Andy booting out of the Fuhrer Finger.

A built in gaiter improves on the zippered cuff that broke on anyone who had more than 20 days on their Syborgs. While it could be a bit higher, it is effective when matched with the stock liner, which come with a reinforced water resistant upper cuff.

Sytron liner.

The Sytron’s performance outmatches other boots I have skied in the sub 1-kilo weight class. However, three small issues jump out. First, I wish the liners were a bit lighter, as the incredibly burly Palau liner feels like a bit of a mismatch with the rest of the boot (Andy spent some of our volcano tour with Syborg liners in the Sytron shell). Secondly, the Sytron is hard to get on or off without removing the liner. This is just plain annoying. Third, a heel insert in the shell came unglued after my first day. This also happened in my Syborgs, and since the Sytron heel piece has ‘Syborg’ printed on it, it’s fair to say it’s the exact same insert with the same issue (easy to fix, but also could be easily avoided by La Sportiva with better glue).

Note Sytron boasts the Sportiva S4 tech insert at the toe. These ostensibly make it easier to clip in. They don’t hurt anything except for creating a small area where your boot sole is steel instead of rubber. If you do a lot of dirt hiking or rock scrambling, something to consider. Otherwise, probably non-issue.

Yours truly enjoying happy feet and a light kit – a sub-kilo boot sure makes big days hurt less. Photo by Andy Mention.

The past few years have seen a number of creative moves in skimo race boots, spurred at least in part by the increase in uphill fitness skiers. It is exciting to see that innovation breed gear that is also mountain ready. After some more spring skiing and maybe a bit of fall pow, I will offer up a more extensive review. Granted I am a card-carrying member of the ‘light is right’ crowd, but my first impressions of the Sytron are strong.



IF YOU'RE HAVING TROUBLE VIEWING SITE, TRY WHITELISTING IN YOUR ADBLOCKER, OTHERWISE PLEASE CONTACT US USING MENU ABOVE, OR FACEBOOK.

Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


Comments

6 Responses to “La Sportiva Sytron — Gnar Level .9 and That’s Good”

  1. Travis May 28th, 2019 3:22 pm

    Love reviews like this. It helps that I’m in the market for a light weight touring boot and ski on cascade volcanos.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 May 29th, 2019 8:16 am

    Thanks Travis, we’ll keep it going. Look for things to really ramp up this coming fall. We have big plans for tons of content as our elite crew of guest bloggers are coming into their own. And I’ve got plenty of writing projects as well. Lou

  3. hackmove3000 May 30th, 2019 6:04 pm

    What is hot pow?

  4. Kristian May 30th, 2019 8:30 pm

    Hot Pow: Back country snow that was once powder but the sun has baked.

  5. TSB June 1st, 2019 2:47 pm

    By your first-paragraph logic, Alex, my go-to touring boot (Alien RS) is at Gnar Level 0.0 — and I wouldn’t want it any higher! After breaking the finicky Boa on both boots and shredding the stock liners, however, I’m in search of something different for next year…possibly the Sytrons as the Syborgs seemed to fit my feet quite well. Interesting that you found the Sytron underpowered on Helio 88’s as the Alien RS seems to do great with the Movement Session X (89 underfoot), and even DPS Wailers in good conditions. Do you find the Sytron not stiff enough, and if so was the lack of stiffness lateral, front/back or both? Or is it some other issue driving the lack of performance on a bigger ski. Cheers and happy skiing during the AK summer.

  6. Lou Dawson 2 June 2nd, 2019 4:02 pm

    Hey all, I had to disable our comment email notification system due to it being an orphaned plugin with possible security issues. Comments still function, have at it. I’ll work on something and implement as soon as I can. Thanks for understanding. Lou





Anti-Spam Quiz:

While you can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box above, you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit. NOTE: BY SUBSCRIBING TO COMMENTS YOU GIVE US PERMISSION TO STORE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS INDEFINITLY. YOU MAY REQUEST REMOVAL AND WE WILL REMOVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WITHIN 72 HOURS. To request removal of personal information, please contact us using the comment link in our site menu.
If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
  
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

  Your Comments


  Recent Posts




Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed



 



  • Blogroll & Links


  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version