Gear Tidbits: Replenishing the Boot Quiver

Post by blogger | November 17, 2010      

(Editor’s note: Our in-depth reviews don’t come fast, because they actually are in-depth. So we do tend to publish quick takes. We thought we’d formalize this type of “review” and call it a “Gear Tidbit.” Here is one, more to come.)

My alpine boots have been worn out for a few years now. But it’s hard to get motivated to replace them when I don’t ski on the ski area much. Even when I do the resort it usually involves at least a little sidecountry, so I’ve been using my alpine gear less and less. Luckily, I don’t have to go all out with an alpine boot, I can use the Scarpa Hurricane. Scarpa boots have always fit me well and the Hurricane is the stiffest boot they make.

Beyond resort use, for my backcountry boot this year I’m excited about trying out the new super light 4 buckle Scarpa Maestrale. In depth reviews forthcoming when I get out and do some skiing on them.

A note about sizing

One method Scarpa uses to lighten up the Maestrale is to reduce the volume. Because of this, the Maestrale uses a different last than other Scarpas. This makes the sizing different. In the Hurricane, a size 28 shell fits me, with a little more than two fingers behind my heel. However, the size 27 Maestrale shell fits with a tight two fingers.

The Maestrales feel a bit stiffer than my Spirit 3’s, and slightly less stiff than my Garmont Radiums. The walk mode feels better than both, and they are significantly lighter than both as well. The “gull wing” tongue is a little strange, and doesn’t seem to make it any easier to get into the boot, but supposedly helps to make it stiffer, we’ll see.

I’ve bought a Whistler season pass this year, and I’ll be using the Hurricane, mated to some Marker Tours for inbounds riding and sidecountry. The Hurricanes are the stiffest boot Scarpa makes, and my pair don’t have a walk mode (thought the latest model does, and I’ll be retrofitting mine with Scarpa’s kit). Nonetheless, Hurricane is still fairly light and has swappable alpine and vibram soles.

Just thought I’d drop in here with a “Gear Tidbit!”


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16 Responses to “Gear Tidbits: Replenishing the Boot Quiver”

  1. Greg Louie November 17th, 2010 11:10 am

    Keep us updated on the Maestrale, Louie. I’m curious to see how long the rear hinges on the “gull wing” tongue last!

  2. Paul S. November 17th, 2010 12:54 pm

    You say that the Maestrale has a lower volume, but then you state that you are going _down_ a size from the Hurricane to the Maestrale. IS it possible you have those sizes reversed? If not, what I am I missing?


  3. Louie November 17th, 2010 1:17 pm

    The mysteries of boot sizing… I tried the bigger Maestrale and it was definitally too big. Perhaps they tried to compensate for the lower volume by shifting the sizing a bit, I don’t know for sure though. The Hurricane 28 shell is slightly bigger than the 27 Maestrale, but not by much. The main thing to know is that since they changed the last, you might not be able to use your standard Scarpa size.

  4. Tom Gos November 17th, 2010 3:51 pm

    Scarpa is selling a walk mechanism kit, hmmm, perhaps someone mechanically inclined could use this kit to add a walk mode to a burly alpine boot. Sounds like a good Wildsnow garage mod project for Lou to blog, or perhaps Louie now that he is attaining some high falutin education. What about a Wildsnow family race to see whether father or son is first to sucessfully add this to an alpine boot?

  5. Brad November 17th, 2010 6:21 pm

    @Tom: You totally read my mind! Adding the walk mode to my trusty Salomon X-Wave 9s would be perfect!

  6. Carl November 18th, 2010 2:42 am

    I get so sad everytime I have to realize that the maestrale is probably too soft for my aggressive 200 lbs.. Do you think it would work as my designated touring boot?

  7. Carl November 18th, 2010 8:26 am

    And by the way, how durable is the walk/ ski function? Can you hit, lets say, 30 footers with these guys?

  8. Louie November 18th, 2010 11:50 am


    I just mounted my skis for the Maestrales, and haven’t done any skiing on them yet. I am going to start using them for my dedicated touring boot, and an in depth review is in the works. In terms of stiffness they should work as a designated touring boot, I know some heavier guys who use boots that are quite a bit softer than the Maestrale for touring, depends on you preference.

  9. Jeff November 19th, 2010 6:12 pm

    Louie – thanks for the quick update on the Maestrales. If possible it would be great to have a compare and contrast review with something like the Dynafit TLT 5, since that seems to be the other main boot in the light is right category.

  10. Lee Lau November 22nd, 2010 12:45 am


    If Louie doesn’t mind I’ll do some compare and contrasts between TLT and Maestrale and add to the ongoing discussion here re Maestrale also.

  11. Louie November 22nd, 2010 3:59 am

    Lee, sounds good, I have had a few people ask me how they compare to the TLT 5.

  12. joshg November 24th, 2010 3:05 pm

    I am really considering the hurricane as my new one boot. Most time is spent inbounds but I want to get out more and seems like they might aid that without two boot solution.

    Scarpa’s blog covers how to upgrade the walk mode into earlier boots.

    Big struggle for me is would I be better off just getting a new alpine boot for inbounds and then a different boot for out…my touring will be mostly side country and not long hikes and approaches.

  13. Lee Lau November 25th, 2010 12:27 pm

    josh – I just looked at the Hurricane. Bear in mind I’m a Scarpa fanboy but have you considered the Mobe? It’s got the same insane stiff flex rating as the Hurricane but has Tech fittings just in case you ever want to drink the Dynafit koolaid.

    In fact Mobe is so stiff that I have to ski it with the touring tongue. But then I am light at 160lbs. Of course, make sure they fit your foot but then if you fit a Hurricane you probably fit a Mobe

  14. Vorda December 9th, 2010 10:50 am

    @Lee Lau: I would love to see any form of comparison between the TLT and Maestrale. Something similar with Mobe vs Titan vs Factor or such would be great as well! (I hope I got that second list right)

  15. will eckhardt December 13th, 2010 12:20 am

    I need some help. Just bought praxis rx skis and hope to set up an AT rig for them. Totally confused re binding and boot choices. Years ago skied silverettas in alaska. Hope to do 80% in bounds and the rest in backcountry. I live in AZ, no shop with AT gear here in phoenix. Any advice re Utah or Jackson shops? Intrigued by dynafit and their zeus or titan boots, but wonder re the dynafit binding as a one quiver performer. Have a friend who swears by GArmont and marker dukes. Any advice re scarpas, Black diamond? Any feel for g3 onyx? Thank you all in advance!

  16. Lou December 13th, 2010 8:47 am

    80% inbounds, that would probably be any one of the Marker offerings (Duke, Baron, Tour), if for no other reason than the ease of step-in combined with tight connection of boot to ski.

    For ski shops, see or comment on our Top Shops thread:

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