I’m liking the Salomon X-Alp ski touring boot. It’s noticeably light in weight, tours well, and is remarkably stiff. Salomon told me the shell plastic is easy to heat mold. I needed room for my metatarsals, so into the press they went. Yep, incredibly easy to punch out. You could almost do it with a gloved finger pressing on the inside of the shell. Suspicion: this is likely the same plastic as the Atomic Backland and other boots with Memoryfit, as the plastic heat formed at a much lower temperature than I’m used to with normal Grilamid or PU boots.
I sometimes entirely remove the power strap from my touring boots. Depends on the unique feel and performance of a given ski boot combined with a given leg shape and skier style. With X-Alp I’m finding I prefer having the power strap. Perhaps because of how it integrates with the “rolling” spoiler (the parts that allow rolling ankle movement in touring mode).
Notes: X-Alp is of course nearly the same boot as Arcteryx Procline. It’s stiffer, and easier to press mold due to having no rubber laminated to it. It won’t be in retail until fall of 2017, but I figured we might as well get our work with the X-Alp boot into the public sphere, for reference as the year progresses. I’ve been in the boot quite a few days, beginning with a press trip in Colorado this past December.
In terms of quickie review, I can easily say X-Alp skis stiff, with the rigid feel we expect from a non-overlap shell. The black color creates noticeable solar heating — nice in winter, could be uncomfortable in spring. The “ankle roll” spoiler system does feel good in touring mode and makes planting your climbing skins on the track a more intuitive act, but I don’t feel the rolling action offers any advantage in sidehilling with skins. As with other boots made with easily molded shell plastic such as Atomic and Fischer, ability to heavily customize the fit might be the best feature of X-Alp. Indeed, one wonders if all ski touring boots will boast these “lower softening temperature” plastics within a year or two. They’re sure fun to play with.
If I do more work on the X-Alp boots I’ll add a photos and comments here.
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.