We’ve got a few more reports from last week’s Outdoor Retailer trade show. Here’s another one.
Dynafit started the lightweight 4-buckle category with their ZZero boots, and though I still think most skiers really don’t need a 4th buckle on their boots, the magic buckle looks stylish and sells well, so let the vagaries of business take boot design where it will. After all, removing buckles is easy enough, and especially so with Scarpa as they still construct their boots with mostly threaded fasteners instead of rivets (a top feature, in my world.)
So, enter the Scarpa Maestrale and women’s version Gea, weighing in at 52 ounces per boot (size 27). Same size ZZero CF TF comes in at around 56 ounces (depending on power strap choice, etc.) so Scarpa might now be the weight winner in this category.
Scarpa gave me a good runthrough of their new Maestrale and Gea (female version) 4 buckle low-mass performers. Let me tell you, they left no stone unturned when it came to making a state-of-art backcountry skiing boot. These are truly sweet machines. Check ’em out.
Of interest to Dynafit aficionados, Maestrale and Gea use Dynafit’s “Quick Step-in” toe fittings. As far as I know this is the first non-Dynafit branded boot to use the fittings, and kudos should go to Scarpa for working out the agreement and paying the price to use Dynafit’s latest “tech” fitting technology. For more about tech fittings, check out our blog post from a few days ago.
It’s terrific that boot makers such as Scarpa are coming up with these lighter weight but still powerful offerings. Boot weight is critical if you’re earning your turns instead of paying cash. You lift your boot a little extra for every step up the hill, and you lift them when you’re dirt hiking or booting as well, so footwear is perhaps the most important place to save weight in your whole kit. So, excellent!
(Just for fun I googled “maestrale.” Among other things in the top 10 listings it’s the name for a class of Italian destroyer battleship. Take that as you will, I find it somewhat amusing. One of the translation services puts it as “mistral” in English, said to be “A cold and usually dry regional wind in France, coming from the north, which accelerates when it passes through the valleys…” The operative word is perhaps “accelerates?”)
– Definitely lower volume, that’s the main reason they’re lighter weight (less plastic).
– Asymmetric tongue
– Intuition Pro Flex G liner
– New “Active Power Strap” is lighter weight than metal buckle version
– Plant based instead of petrol based plastic (yeah, they use petrol to grow the plants, so it’s perhaps a wash, but Scarpa schooled me and said the plant based Pebax is stiffer than the petrol based, so there you go, anything for more beef!)
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.