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.