Guest Blog — Dave Tests the Axon

Post by blogger | December 6, 2007      

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Garmont Axon boots.
Axon on snow, yesterday.

For the subset of Dynafit compatible backcountry skiing boots we’re most interested in, we’re doing a sort of running reveiw series. Our main focus is on the Dynafit Green Machine, Garmont Axon, Scarpa F3 & Spirit (soon to come). For today’s installment, we got web designer and lifelong skier Dave Downing out on the Axons to do some fitness uphilling (essential for web designers) and a bit of downhill. His take:

I need new boots. That was my first thought after finishing skiing my first run with the new Garmot Axon. Now I need to replace my one season old Lowa Struktura Pros. And my two year old Salomon XWave 9s. Yes, I think I like the Axon better than BOTH my alpine and AT boots.

These are AT boots, and therefore went uphill just fine (though Lou did point out the Axon is a bit heavy, as he strolled on ahead in his eye burning featherweight green Dynafits). They have a rockered sole and the requisite walk/ski switch, and thus hiked better than any alpine boot with a flat sole. Givens. The real performance is in the downhill.

The Ride
At speed, the Axon easily held an edge and gave me plenty of control to quick maneuver through rough or inconsistent terrain. The boot’s flex is solid and progressive, not bouncy and harsh as some AT boots can end up being after you buckle them up and lock the walk/ski switch.

As many other AT boots do, the Axon has the option of a second, more extreme forward flex position. This reduces your ability to stand upright and can be fatiguing if you’re doing a descent that requires things like stopping and waiting (a guy can hope). But as soon as I was skiing, I was sold. For me, this was a more natural position for aggressive skiing. It made skiing the funky lower angled snow at the bottom of the mountain nicer by eliminating the feeling of “falling back” on less stiff boots.

Best of all, the beef of this boot along with my choosing the more extreme forward angle gave me the ability to get more leverage on the ski for the best tail ollies I’ve done all year. And with better tail ollies comes smoother transitions to switch skiing. WHAT!?! I know, I know, mountaineers don’t ski switch. But we aren’t all mountaineers. Some of us want to ski the mountain the same whether we are in the resort, in the BC and anywhere in-between. And with this boot, for the first time, I didn’t feel compromise on any level. What’s more, with this boot I could even try out some of those funny looking bindings many people seem to be using.

Pray for Snow.

Dave Downing

(Afternoon update and full disclosure from der blogmeister: While I was able to show Dave the efficacy of the Green Machine on the uphill, he did put some ground on me skiing back down, backwards.)

For more info about Axon please step back through the posts in our Boot Review Category.

Shop for Garmont ski boots here.


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33 Responses to “Guest Blog — Dave Tests the Axon”

  1. Jordan December 6th, 2007 8:07 pm

    Hey Dave,
    What’s your take on these boots for a heavy skier?

  2. Dave Johnson December 6th, 2007 10:14 pm

    I envy your trip to the Dynafit shingig – sounds fun. Question: I’m putting together a Dynafit system (I’m on Adrenaline’s & Freeride +’s now) for longer tours and was looking online at the Garmont MegaLite’s. I have only seen them online but wondered if you had any experience with them?

    Nice to see the Jerome – I remember Coffee Jerome’s there in ’75 after backcountry ski trips.

    Dave Johnson

  3. Lou December 7th, 2007 7:33 am

    Dave, being invited on that trip is a huge honor, I will try to do my best to live up to the privilege and to my calling as a writer and do at least as good a job blogging the trip as last year, but hopefully I can ramp it up a bit. Doing so will depend on connectivity during the actual product launch. But for most of the trip I’ll be able to post, so I’ll get the blogs up one way or another.

  4. Dave Johnson December 7th, 2007 1:57 pm

    So, you haven’t seen the Garmont Megalite?
    PS: today marks the start of the Sierra Nevada ski season – 2 feet and counting!

  5. Kevin C December 7th, 2007 2:36 pm

    Dave, how can you expect a stranger to give you the green light on a pair of boots, when all we know about you is that you have adrenalines. Have you tried a search on the internet for more info? Choosing gear is all about compromise. Lighter gear, less control skiing. Heavy gear, less fun going up. You have to decide your priorities and balance out what you are willing to sacrifice. Do a Google search. There is plenty of info out there. Obviously the megalite will not ski as well as your adrenalines. KevinC

  6. Dave Johnson December 7th, 2007 3:24 pm

    I’m not good at bad attitudes from strangers *(yours), so forgive the harshness of this response. Actually, I’m asking Lou (not a stranger) specifically for advice, not you. I understand fully, Kevin, how to search the Internet and also understand after 30+ years of backcountry skiing the relative merits of 4-buckle boots designed for downhill-oriented use (Garmont Adrenaline) and a boot designed more for touring (Garmont Megalite). Maybe you skipped the part where I said I was putting together a system for longer tours. What I am seeking is specifics from Lou if he has seen or used the boot – since I trust his opinion – so I can compare it to boots like the Scarpa F3.

  7. Lou December 7th, 2007 3:41 pm

    As Rodny King said as his city burned around him “can’t we just all get along?” (grin)

    I’ve not skied in the Megalite but have checked it out a number of times. It’s not the beef boot and probably shouldn’t be used with bigger skis, but it’s a nice boot for a lighter weight setup. Perfect boot for a second setup designed for longer tours.

    Having a smaller cuff with just one buckle can be tricky in terms of getting the boot to ski well, as you don’t have two buckles to play around with for a nice progressive flex.

    IMHO, a better way to get a boot for longer tours is take something like a Matrix or Megaride, remove the fourth buckle down by the toes, grind the sole material off under the arch, drill a bunch of speed holes, use a Thermo liner, and don’t look back because someone might be gaining on you (g).

  8. Dave Johnson December 7th, 2007 5:11 pm

    Sorry Lou, lost my holiday spirit there for a moment.
    Thanks for the advice. I’m not as much of a tinkerer as you, so may go with a 3-buckles, athough I’ll heed your fit warning. Tough to find them (Megalite’s) in Tahoe or Berkeley shops.
    I hiked the John Muir Trail this summer – Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney – and would love to ski it now. There will be some hiking, so that’s a consideration in the boot, too. Plan to do a 50-mile stretch this April to test gear. I’m looking to mount a lighter ski like the BD Voodoo or K2 Mt. Baker Superlight w Vertical ST’s.

  9. Lou December 8th, 2007 9:44 am


    No, for starters it’s got Dynafit fittings.

  10. Switchie December 8th, 2007 9:38 am

    Isn’t this a rebranded Adreneline?

    More details:

  11. Lou December 8th, 2007 9:51 am

    P.S. Voodoo is a good ski but isn’t that light, see our weights chart:

  12. Marc December 8th, 2007 10:58 am

    Do you have any numbers for the weight of K2 skis? The Mt Baker is incrediblely light… just wondering how it compares to some of the other fly weights. The Coomba is also surprisingly light for such a big ski. Plus the K2s have the advantages of straight tails and notches for the skins…
    Thanks, Marc.

  13. Marc December 8th, 2007 11:09 am

    Your gram weight for the Volkl T Rock is off by quiet a bit. You’ve got it down as 2644, but after doing a quick conversion, 58 ounces is 1644.272 grams. I thought 2644 seemed a little heavy compared to the other skis…
    Cheers, Marc.

  14. Lou December 8th, 2007 1:05 pm

    Whoops, how did we do that? We just use the converter on our scale, probably bumped it or something, sorry about that, will fix. Thanks.

  15. dave downing December 8th, 2007 11:36 pm

    >> Jordan Says:
    >> December 6th, 2007 at 8:07 pm
    >> Hey Dave,
    >> What’s your take on these boots for a heavy skier?

    I’m a little heavier than what seems to be the average skier (190-195) and i like to ski fast and aggressive. So long as you don’t have a preference for freakishly stiff equipment, I think these boots would work just fine for a heavier skier.

    Again, the thing that stood out the most on these boots was that I didn’t feel like i was compromising with them. And that says a lot.

    For comparison, my Alpine boots have a stiffness rating of 110.

    Pray for snow.

  16. Lou December 9th, 2007 8:03 am

    Marc, we’re expecting a pair of Bakers to eval, and yeah, the straight tails really are so much better for mountaineering, unless you need curved tails for switch, they seem crazy. But style is everything…

    Remember we don’t put anything on that chart unless we get a real world weight, either from our own shop or from a reliable non-corporate source.

  17. Jan Wellford December 9th, 2007 8:23 pm

    I work at a shop and weigh most every ski that comes into the store, and I was shocked a few weeks ago with the weight of a particular ski (it was heavier than the same ski in the next size up, I won’t mention the ski as I don’t want to be seen as bashing a certain company). Sure enough, we got another pair of the same size and the second pair was a full 8oz lighter than the first pair.

    I mention this to illustrate that measured weights are helpful but not absolute–your pair might differ by as much a 8oz (that’s by far the most I’ve seen, but 3 or 4 oz isn’t uncommon)!

  18. Mark Worley December 10th, 2007 12:05 am

    Both K2 Mt. Bakers and Baker Superlights ski quite well. I’ve skied them both and bought the regular Bakers. They were my favorite ski last year of all 26 skis I tested as AT skis for Couloir Magazine. When counting the grams, the Superlights are the way to go.

  19. Lou December 10th, 2007 8:15 am

    Jan, thanks for commenting on that. We are aware of that issue and should probably mention something on our weights page. That said, if a company is going to let their quality control get to the point where a pair of skis weighs 1/2 pound more than another of the same model, and that heavier weight pair happened to work it’s way on to our weights page, I’d say the company needs to look in the mirror. One wonders how the weight differs so much, some hung over guy dumps too much resin in the mold? At any rate, every good mountaineering ski shop should have a scale on hand for customers to use.

  20. Marc December 10th, 2007 10:56 am

    I’ve decided on a pair of K2 Coombas for my mid winter, soft snow ski. The REI website list them at 1810 grams per ski. Thats amazingly light for a ski that is 102 underfoot! Coombas, Dynafit Comforts and the Zzeros… all I need now is the three feet(+) of powder that these skis were designed for! When I take them into the shop for mounting, I’ll have to put them on the scale to confirm the weight. A fat ski for mid winter coupled with something like the Mt. Baker Superlites for spring ski mountaineering sounds like the ideal backcountry quiver to me! On another note; Jan, I am curious as to who the manufacturer is. I have my assumptions, but don’t want to jump to conclusions. Seems like many things made in China these days are having a hard sell… wonder if that’s trickling into the ski world as well?

  21. John C. Lamb December 10th, 2007 6:42 pm

    Just used my new Coombas, Dynafit Comforts and Scarpa F3s with Glidelight Skins cut all but full width, at Columbine Meadows (NW shoulder of Hahn’s Peak). I’m a newbie at BC skiing, but it all felt very light skinning up and the skiis felt stable coming down through the almost knee deep fresh powder on Sunday. A little hard blue wax and the traverses were done easily.
    The F3s, well – all I can say is that I wish my hiking boots were as comfortable as these are….
    A quick prop for my favorite Ski Shop – Ski Haus in Steamboat sold and mounted it all up for me and everything was perfect.
    Also, thanks Charlie M. for the tour, Jonathon S for the Dynafit advice and to Lou for the website and links.

  22. fredo December 12th, 2007 4:42 pm

    Hey! Nice blog!

    I have a small problem and hope someone can answer. My foot is wide and i have a high mid-foot. This often results in some mild pain… so I am still on the Iookout for the perfect boot (have Strolz, Rossignol and Scarpa Denali now (all reshaped)). I have heard that both Garmont and Dynafit are volumous and wide but i dont know if that is true or witch one is the widest? And, is there a difference in width between Axon and Endrophine?

    And one more thing, are the dynafit bindings more torsional stiff than Fritchi Diamir? Need new bindings as well:)

    Fredrik from Norway

  23. Lou December 12th, 2007 5:40 pm

    Scarpa has the highest arch and more room than a Garmont, Dynafit is similar to Garmont with slightly more volume. so I’d stick with Scarpa if I were you. Dynafit is more stiff.

  24. dave downing December 17th, 2007 2:26 pm

    hi fredo.
    I don’t know if i have a high mid-foot or not, but i do have a VERY wide foot. I always bye as wide of boots as possible as to avoid serious foot pain and/or serious boot work. The Axons felt great straight out of the gate, no pain at all, no break in time needed.

  25. Lou December 18th, 2007 8:52 am

    Samo, I’ll be in EU in about two weeks. Enjoy the Garmonts!

  26. Samo December 18th, 2007 7:57 am

    Hi wildsnow!
    Yesterday I ordered my new axons straight from Garmont cause our dealer doesn’t have them and i have to wait about a month. I am from Slovenia (eu)(Davo Karnicar-everest2000) and we still wait for more snow.
    Lou, I read thet you are in EU?

  27. Ryan January 8th, 2008 4:19 pm

    Hey Dave,

    How’s it going w/ the AXON? are they tougher then the Spirit 4’s? I’ve tried the garmont mega rides and loved how they fit, except for the fact they are so low on the shin and soft. Are the Axon’s for a narrower skinner leg like the Mega rides are, ONLY way higher on the shin and way stiffer in the forward pressure? I like the Spirit 4’s yet a bit soft and big for my skinny leg and narrow foot. Let me know if you think they’d hold up for a while, and if you’d recommend them over the Spirit 4’s.

  28. Lou January 8th, 2008 5:18 pm

    Hi Ryan, the Axons are out for long-term testing. My initial impression is that they and Spirit 4 are similar, and one should pick by fit more than anything else. But our long-term review in a few weeks will cover the fine points.

  29. Alex January 16th, 2008 4:56 pm

    Hi Lou or Dave or who might know,

    wondering whether it makes sense to combine the Axon with a Dynafit binding and a Volkl M-Rock (Mantra)? Aggressive skier, no hucking, fast longer turns. About 180lbs plus clothes/gear. Alpine Din setting is 9. The idea would be to have a great powder and steeps setup, but at least save some weight on the bindings versus going with Dukes or Naxos etc. Would the Dynafit be able to drive that ski (130/94/118 or so, 184cm length)?

  30. dave downing January 21st, 2008 11:20 am

    Hi Alex.
    After skiing the Axons and new BD Factors (review coming soon) I am definitely starting to reconsider my ski quiver to include a Dynafit binder to take some weight off the climbs. All the while still skiing without any (boot caused) inhibition. I (for shame) don’t have any Dynafits (yet?), but Lou assures me that they will hold me in solid, so long as i’m not skiing switch:)

  31. Ryan February 23rd, 2009 9:40 pm

    So I hate to do it, but I’ve got a ski length question.

    I have the opportunity to get a decent deal on some Coomba’s, but can’t decide between the 174 and the 181. I saw some posters here had been skiing them.

    I’m 6′ ~185 lbs (no pack or gear) and will be driving these with Spirit 4’s and Vertical ST’s. I wouldn’t say I’m super aggressive, but sometimes I do like to open it up. No hucking other than the very occasional sub-10 foot rock drop, and I do ski trees. (Why is this starting to sound like a personal ad?) This will be a 75% touring, 25% resort ski.

    Any recommendations? Thanks ahead of time.

  32. Lou February 24th, 2009 6:33 am

    Ryan, a 181 in those is HUGE. I think either ski would work for you, since you’re 75% touring I’d say go for the 174.

  33. Ryan February 24th, 2009 8:35 am

    Thanks, Lou. And thanks for the blog, it’s great.

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