One hundred thousand is a milestone with an automobile. If converted to human years, 100,000 used to be considered rest home fodder. But with most of today’s autos, it just means you’ve spent your college fund on petrol and perhaps it’s time for new spark plugs and an oil change.
What’s the equivalent of 100,000 miles in a backcountry ski boot? I’d say that would be about 200 ski days, or perhaps 100 if you’re agro.
Since their first snow in October, my Zzero “Green Machines” got at least 90 days this past season, so they’re not quite ready for the rest home. But it seemed a good time to take a look at the shoes and see what held up and what’s beat. I’d say they’re at the 50,000 mile mark, (in automobile miles, of course).
|Dynafit ZZero C-TF 2007/2008 (lower 4th buckle was removed on purpose, to prevent catching on rocks and to reduce weight).|
Overall, I’ve been very happy about how my ZZeros held up. Other backcountry skiers reported problems with the lean lock not latching, but such never materialized for me (though they do have slightly more play then when new). Likewise, a few other skiers had cracks develop around the toe binding fittings — not for me. My cuff pivot rivets are still snug and slop free, and all the buckles work. The shell plastic is somewhat scuffed from boulder scrambles and the occasional regression to 1960s ski technique, but that’s all cosmetic. Ditto for the carbon fiber “stringers,” which have some damage near the cuff pivots, but nothing that appears to compromise structural integrity.
Regarding the carbon, a surprise wear point is under the lower second buckle, where the buckle rivet has dug in and routed out some fairly substantial dings in the carbon tongue stiffener. I noticed that was happening early on and tried to prevent with duct tape, but the metal kept wearing through the tape. Solution is the rivet needs to be sunk deeper so it doesn’t touch the carbon. Yep, WildSnow boot mod #5,672.
|Sole wear at the toe (pictured above) seems to be as common to most rando ski boots as rocks are to mountain trails. ZZero is no exception. Why in the world after 40 years of plastic randonnee boots we can’t have a few extra millimeters of rubber in the wear zone is a question that perhaps can only be answered by the Flying Mystics of Tibet, so perhaps they could be retained as boot consultants? Or if not, myself and friends are always available…
And least we forget the liners: After 90 days nearly any liner is going to bite it to some degree. Mine have packed out twice, both times fixed with a heat gun. The interior surface of one liner is is ripped open at the heel and repaired with duct tape. All seams are intact, and the outside only worn under rivets I forgot to protect with adhesive patches the boots come with. So my bad on that.
Conclusion: This pair of ZZero boots supported me for one of the most amazing backcountry ski seasons of my life. So what the color crashes Photoshop and they have a vestigial buckle? WildSnow thumbs up.
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WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.