Hope springs eternal in backcountry ski touring, for powder days, for epic runs, for snow stability—and for a boot that performs just the way you want it to on both the uphill and the down. In my ongoing quest for just such a boot, I’ve been using Atomic’s Hawx Ultra XTD 115 W Tech GW for the past three and a half months. Spoiler alert: it excels on the downhill. That means I’ve been very happy with it for at least 50 percent of the time, and often much more.
Falling between Atomic’s standard alpine boots and the brand’s lightweight, touring-specific Backland series, the Hawx Ultra XTD family aims to fill the gap by enabling solid downhill performance with enough range of motion and weight savings to competently tour. At $700, the 115 W Tech is right in line pricewise with other women’s AT boots.
When I first opened the box, my heart sank just a bit as I noticed the boot’s traditional overlap, four-buckle construction. Not only was it not what I expected for an AT boot, but up to then I’d only toured in boots with three-piece tongue construction. I feared the Hawx Ultra XTD would be heavy and cumbersome for skinning. But when I lifted one up, I realized it was about as light as the Scarpa Geas I’d skied in for the past several years, and way lighter than my alpine boots. (A pair of the Hawx Ultra XTD weighs in at 1,360 grams (size 24.5); for comparison, current-model Geas are 1,250 grams (size 25), and my older ones are a tad heavier.) Hope restored.