Like most backcountry skiers who live in the mountains and ski on-and-off the resorts, I’m always looking for the boot that can do it all. The boot that is comfortable and relatively lightweight for touring, but has enough beef for lift served laps when my quads and feet need all the help they can get.
|Dynafit Freeride Aero backcountry skiing boot might be the one-rig of choice. Please click image for massive enlargement.
To that end, look what just arrived at WildSnow.com worldwide headquarters: the latest greatest 4-buckle offering from Dynafit — the Freeride Aero backcountry skiing boot.
On first (and second) glance, these backcountry skiing boots are easily one of the most nicely engineered and best looking randonnee shoes that have ever passed through our doors. And yes, they are BEEFY.
The Freeride Aero’s strength starts with a firm foundation of stiff plastic, enhanced by an exoskeleton that might be more decorative than functional (after all, today IS Halloween), but looks cool and certainly adds at least a bit of control. Add four micro-adjust buckles, more height in the shell than most other rando boots, and a super-stiff cuff latch. Result: this appears to be a no-compromise boot that’s basically a performance downhill ski boot with a vibram sole AND DYNAFIT BINDING FITTINGS. Indeed — the holy grail for many performance oriented backcountry skiers!
What else? The Freeride Aero shell footbed is nearly flat (little built-in arch) — an important feature for custom boot fitting. Both the shell and liner tongue are actually high enough to go UNDER the power strap, and yield smooth shin pressure (this opposed to many backcountry skiing boots that fit the power strap like it’s an afterthought). Taking a cue from those of us who used to rivet those pesky loose spoilers on earlier model Dynafits, the Freeride’s spoiler is riveted, but obviously rigged for easy removal or customization for backcountry skiing by simply drilling out a few fasteners. Inside the shell is a cool feature: small stops molded into the shell so you can’t over-compress the shell in forward flex. In other words, you jam your ski tips into a big mogul and you won’t compress an ankle to the point of injury (a not uncommon problem with skiing RandonnÃ©e boots that that allow more cuff flex than alpine boots).
Of course, the crowning feature of the the Freeride Aero are the Dynafit Binding fittings, and since this is a Dynafit brand boot, it uses the latest toe fittings with the lead-in notch said to ease entry into Dynafit backcountry skiing bindings.
Can you tell I’m impressed by these boots? I am, and there appears to be little downside. While the cuff of the Freeride has a couple degrees built-in cant, I’d like a cuff canting system (my boot fitter will have to add a cant rivet to the shell). And of course they weigh a bit more than a backcountry “touring” randonnee boot. But I can’t wait to ski these things — they simply look fantastic!
We’ve got more early season snow here in Colorado than I’ve ever seen (check Mt. Sopris cam, on list to right), so I’ll get these boots out for extensive backcountry skiing testing over the next few weeks, and report back here with exact weights and a performance evaluation. In the meantime, if you’re looking for the ultimate “one-rig” backcountry skiing boot, be advised, THIS MIGHT BE IT.
Dynafit Aero, sole 324, 73.5 ounces per boot
Garmont Mega Ride, sole 330, 64.8 ounces per boot
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.