What Goes Up…
2020-21 Backcountry Roundup
by Mark Elling
While the true Backcountry boot is an out-of-bounds animal—built for ascending with light weight, maximum touring range of motion, tech binding compatibility and a fully rockered and aggressively lugged outsole for walking and scrambling as needed—we favor Backcountry boots that trend toward a solid, dependable descent, regardless of snow conditions.
This season we got a small batch of boots in the skin track in the Pacific Northwest and found a few that toured with the best but skied stronger than the rest.
Our men’s test team put two models at the top of their heap, the Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro (last: 99; flex: 130; $1080) and the Scarpa Maestrale XT (last: 101; flex: 130; $899 ) for similar reasons. Testers say they both have that real alpine boot feel, both in fit and in performance, and yet they both offer great touring range of motion in a very lightweight package. Of particular mention for both models was the tallish feeling cuff and legit 130 flex which testers said combined for a confident descent in variable conditions.
Our women testers still favor the Scarpa Gea RS (last: 101, flex: 120; $799) for its stable, predictable behavior on the descent and top of class touring capability, and the Tecnica Zero G Tour Scout W (last: 99; flex: 115; $960) for its snugly even medium grip on the foot and a slightly taller, alpine feeling cuff—and they like Scout’s new cosmetic, too. Also on our women’s test team backcountry radar is the new Dynafit Hoji Free 110 (last: 102; flex: 110; $799.95) for a softer version of the solid skiing Hoji Free 130.