A flagship ski boot in the La Sportiva line, the Skorpius CR II is touted to offer performance for demanding ascents and descents. Wild Snow reviewed the boot earlier this winter. In this article, we connect with the Director of R&D at La Sportiva, Matteo Jellici, for a deeper look at the design and tech of the boot.
WildSnow: What market segment of backcountry skier is the Skorpius CR II aimed at?
Matteo Jellici: The Skorpius is aimed at the devout advanced backcountry skier that wants a lighter product for bigger days in the mountains that can still deliver downhill performance for mid-waisted skis. This skier can sacrifice a little stiffness for lighter weight and an amazing ROM for more comfort when ticking lots of vert.
This is the second edition of the Skorpius. How long was the R&D and prototyping process?
Typically a new ski boot takes about 3 years for the full cycle of development, starting with the design brief and all the way to delivery of the product in stores. With a revamp of a boot like the Skorpius CR II we are able to drop a year off of the development cycle.
What specific changes were made from the original Skorpius?
We added the BOA closure system, redesigned the tongue of the boot, and we added more thickness and comfort to the liner for better downhill performance and comfort.
Can you describe the general prototyping and design process for a boot like the Skorpius?
We have seen a leap in recent years with 3D printing technology. The cycle has sped up dramatically. It all starts with a design brief and a design process. That culminates with a 3D design and then you start mold development. In general, there are about 3-4 iterations of mold design and test cycles.
3D printers now allow the development of a boot that can be fit-tested many times before executing mold development. Mold development is very expensive so you want to be as close to perfect as possible. With 3D printing, we can do some light testing but not full stress testing. Real plastic is needed for that.
When designing ski boots, how many versions do you develop before the final mold?
There are usually about 10-15 various prototypes that are tested before the final molds are produced.
The Skorpius is a boot we often think of as a 1kg+ class ski boot. Can you tell us where it stands in the La Sportiva line?
It is solidly in the middle of our line. We have race-focused products in the Stratos Series and the Racetron. The Skorpius sits directly in the middle and is a lighter-weight ski touring boot that can still drive a mid-waisted ski. The Vega and the Vanguard are on the heavier more downhill-oriented end of the line.
La Sportiva Skorpius CR II Specs
- Weight: 1190g. 1/2 pair (size 26.5)
- Sizes: 23-31.5 +1/2
- Fitting Compatibility: Tech
- Angles: 12° – 14° – 16°
- Range: 68°
- LAST: 101
Several companies have a version of 1kg+ boots that have a carbon cuff. Why does La Sportiva not use a pure carbon cuff in this model?
The carbon-reinforced cuff of the Skorpius is very similar in stiffness to comparable boots from other companies. The Solar and Stellar are essentially the same boot with a plastic cuff.
Thanks for the details, Matteo! We’ll see you out there on the snow.
–This interview was sponsored by La Sportiva. Learn more about the La Sportiva Skorpius CR II at the link.
While most of the WildSnow backcountry skiing blog posts are best attributed to a single author, some work well as done by the group.
Gotta be honest, this article is not promising if it’s the first article stemming from new ownership. There are several ways this article could have been made interesting, including but not limited to:
1) Discussion of the actual details of the design and tech of the boot. (How exactly was the tongue redesigned? What impacts on performance did the redesign have? How is that different from the prior Skorpius?) (Which boa model was selected and why? Internal vs. external pros and cons? Pros and cons of swapping to the boa from the prior buckle design?)
2) Deeper discussion of the testing process. (What are the phases of testing? What sort of stress testing is done? Have any notable athletes been assisting with the design/testing, and what is their perspective/contribution? Was any foot to foot testing with the old Skorpius done and what were the observations?)
Most Wildsnow readers are fully aware that the Skorpius boot exists and understand the boot’s purpose and competition. That’s not to say that this basic information should not be included for readers that will benefit. However, without more, this is not an interview with the R&D director, it’s an advertisement with the R&D director. Nothing wrong with ski-focused sponsorships and ads to support the website – but make the article high value. (The difference in value is especially apparent when compared to the first look at the boot linked in the article, which, even just being a first look, provided all sorts of useful detailed information. I’m sure the R&D director could have added all sorts of interesting tidbits for this article).
The end note tells us all we need to know about the quality of this so called interview: “This interview was sponsored by La Sportiva. ”
Bunch of fluff and no substance. What a great way for the new owners to introduce themselves.
Would have loved to read Jason’s review of this boot rather than this marketing BS. Bummed that WildSnow as we knew it is pretty much going away.
When I saw video adds pop up on the site a while back I knew that wildsnow had died. Bummer to get confirmation. Anyone have a new reader focused Backcountry ski media source that hasn’t sold out? I suppose we still have lous newsletter.
New ownership? What is that about ? No info on this?
Not even a picture of the whole boot. Fabulous glamour shot of that dude though