Skorpius CR: A touring boot with race ambitions
What’s in a name? The new Skorpius CR from La Sportiva gives the impression that putting on these boots will turn me into a transformer in a superhero movie. But, would Skorpius be the hero or the villain? Hero, we should hope though I suppose villains have their place on the podiums of randonee races as well as anyone else.
Potentials of good and evil aside, the claimed 1000 g (though we weighed as 1185 g) Grilamid/carbon constructed boot could in fact transform the average ski tourer into a randonee racing machine. Or just a more efficient ski tourer. That is, after all, part of the boot’s intent. La Sportiva calls the Skorpius CR “a lightweight touring boot for general backcountry skiing” that’s also suitable for the dabbler in randonee races. The boot shares the same shape and geometry as Sportiva’s 2018 Solar (Stellar for women) with the upgrade of carbon reinforced cuff and shell. With a 68 degree range of motion, it’s clearly oriented to efficiency uphill, but gets an upgrade in stiffness (rated 100 vs. 90 for the Solar) to accommodate heavier, more aggressive skiers on the down.
This fits into the ever growing quiver slot of light boots that aren’t just for lycra heavy start lines. Mind, this is not the lightest boot out there. We confirmed the weight of a 27 to sit at 1185 grams, without footbed, but with optional removable power strap — a far cry from the listed 1000 grams — but the real key to this boot will be its ability to push a wider or heavier ski. Boots in the sub 1000 gram territory have a ski compatibility that only the boldest of weight weenies are willing to push.
Other notable features include the swing lock system that moves away from the typical flick walk/ski mode lever. While testing the lever, its spring loaded feature allows it to catch in ski mode whether you are too far forward or backwards in the range of motion and will catch when you return to ski neutral. The boot also offers a Spider Buckle Evo lower closure system which simplifies transitions from walk to ski, as well as the new Scorpius CR Liner which we’re told is comparable to the Intuition Pro Flex Evo. La Sportiva uses their own version of a quick step-in tech fit on the toe that will guide your boot in with your eyes closed, and La Sportiva remains one of the few companies that have a Trab TR2 compatible heel insert.
There are also some notable limitations and missing features. While there are three setting to the forward lean (12°, 14°, 16°), there are no medial or lateral cuff adjustments. Although this is a big improvement on the previous La Sportiva Spitfire design, the adjustment strap that acts as the top buckle can easily pop off. So either check this before throwing them in the car in the morning or make sure you have an extra Voile strap. This boot will not ski well if that goes missing. There is also a lack of a removable boot board for certain boot fitting gurus.
Weight: 1195 g
Shell and Cuff: Carbon Reinforced Polymer (Grilamid® / Carbon)
Available Sizes: 24 – 31.5 (half sizes)
Range of motion: 68°
Forward lean: 3 positions (12°, 14°, 16°)
Buckles: SWING-LOCK Closure System™/ Spider Buckle Evo™/ Optional power strap
Sole: La Sportiva Grip Guard™ (complies with ISMF standards)
Binding Compatibility: TECH, AT & TR2
Where to Buy: Cripple Creek Backcountry
The range of motion will make you feel like you can replicate Michael Jackson’s 1983 performance of Billy Jean. The natural flex of my ankle struggled to bottom it out. Most race or “race training boots” are designed to have a one flick mechanism between walk and ski for faster transitions. The cost of this convenience is that the top buckle closure is often directly linked to the walk mechanism. This means there are very few options that allow you to walk freely while keeping the top snug. I was able to realize all 68 degrees of motion while keeping the top strap at ski level tightness. There is some added resistance while walking with the the top strap tight, so I would still recommend loosening it for long tours, but if you are booting up steep terrain, or better yet technically climbing with these boots, the ability to keep this closed is a great feature.
Whether the Skorpius CR truly can enable transformation into superhero beast mode in a tour or race is yet to be seen. But, based on this First Look and impressions, odds are in the boots’ favor.
Doug Stenclik is an avid skimo racer and ski mountaineer who lives for sharing the amazing sports of ski touring and splitboarding. Since his first time on skins he was hooked and the obsession has taken him all over the United States and the world pursuing the human powered ski turn. He founded Cripple Creek Backcountry in 2012 and took over the Colorado Ski Mountaineering Race Cup in 2014 to spread knowledge and the love of the sport. In 2019 he took a step back from the ski shop and race promoter life to become a publishing partner with WildSnow.