La Sportiva’s new Skorpius CR II makes the best of both worlds: uphill efficiency and downhill performance. This is a boot fond of deep mountain human-powered lines and skiers who need to carve up the snow-canvas with big and fast turns.
It’s hard, sometimes, not to romanticize Italy and its boot-making prowess. For years now, La Sportiva, as the lead indicates, is Italian to the core and still conjures magic when it comes to climbing, mountaineering, and ski boots. But as with all things foot and ski boot, the goods must fit.
Back in 2019, Doug had a first look at the La Sportiva Skorpius CR. That version of the Skorpius CR shared the same general shape as the La Spo Solar. We’ll revisit the lineage in a bit. Anyhow, Gary Smith then penned a full review of the Skorpius CR titled “These Dancing Shoes Can Ski.” The title is declarative — there’s no equivocation. And to boot, Gary wrote, “not to my surprise, the Skorpius walks extremely well,” and “transitions are a breeze.”
We are more than rolling into the 2022-2023 season, and La Sportiva has dropped an updated version of the boot, sequentially named the Skorpius CR II. The changes are subtle and, to some, more pronounced.
The boot lower no longer secures with a cable buckle (sorry, buckle lovers) but with a BOA (yeah, for BOA lovers). In contrast, the upper boot looks nearly identical to the old version, with some updated cosmetics — less yellow and more black. Reminder, this is the first look; more will come this season.
The Skorpius Deets
The upper shell is secured with a robust and easily adjustable power strap (with a buckle closure) and a skinnier velcro mini-power strap positioned above it. The new liner, at least to our discerning eyes, and we’ll confirm in the long-term review, feels just a smidge stiffer up top. The ski/walk mechanism remains unchanged in the effective and simple Swing Lock mechanism. For new Skorpius users like myself, this mechanism takes a few moments to get accustomed to, and it can be tough to nudge from ski to walk with mittens on — likely not a concern for most.
Like its older sibling, the new Skorpius CR II is an all-plastic boot shell, there’s no U-shaped cut out over the forefoot like many lighter weight boots. More specifically, the new deal Skorpius CR II is carbon-infused Pebax Rnew, which is bio-based. The fit, too, is slightly modified, with a bit more room for high insteps. For my feet, which generally seem to fit most boots out of the box with few, if any, mods beyond taking up some calf volume and adding narrowing pads if the liner packs out significantly, the boots are comfortable and snug.
The BOA secures the forefoot and pulls the heel back slightly. I’ve not heat-molded the liners yet. But for a firmer hold with the BOA, I’m wearing a slightly thicker weight sock than my normal go-to socks. Otherwise, I’d be cranking the BOA super tight. I’ll qualify this fit aspect too: I’ve not replaced the stock insole yet. With a Sole or Superfeet insole, I’ll be taking up some instep volume. (Hold on, this is confirmed with a quick-swap carpet test, an aftermarket insole takes up some instep volume for me.)
The ups and the downs
I’ll defer to my main ski partner, who also sports a set of the Skorpius CR IIs, to describe what he has experienced. John, the skier I mention, has used the original Skorpius CR for nearly all his skiing since 2019. I have seen him use the Skorpoius CR on big traverses, low-intensity strolls, and shiver-me-timbers jump turn descents. He’s kind of a one-boot quiver guy; at least he says as much, and the Skorpoius CR is that one boot. (He does keep an old pair of BD Quadrants in his shed and, oh yeah, some ski-mo boots, also La Sportiva. So, he’s mostly a one-boot quiver guy.)
John says this:
— The Skorpius CR II boots are stiffer on the descent than the old version.
— The plastic shell around the cuff seems softer while touring, but the boot is remarkably stiff when the BOA and upper shell are locked down and tightened.
— The boot is out-of-the-box comfortable compared to the previous iteration, which took several tours to break in.
And that is the sweet spot the Skorpius CR II still seems to dominate. It is not precisely a 1kg boot; it’s on the heavier end of that class. The 27.5 verified weight is 1215g, just a few hairs heavier than the Salomon S/Lab MTN Summit. The Skorpius CR II’s range of motion, at 68 degrees, is a bit less in reality than the Scarpa F1LT, the Dynafit TLT X, the Fischer Travers CS, and S/LAB MTN Summit. I feel the ROM not so much limited moving back, but with the forward motion. For those coming from leaner Dynafit boots of the past, or a Ficher Travers CS, the Skorpoius CR II feels much burlier and certainly stiffer. I’d call the stiffness of the Skorpius CR II similar to the S/Lab MTN Summit, yet with a beefier feeling liner.
For a not-so-heavy boot, the Skorpius CR II does indeed ski stiff and with authority. John skis, to good effect, the older version of the Skorpius CR paired with a Black Crows Navis Freebird, a 102mm underfoot and not-so-dainty board. (Read weighing 1700g+.) So pushing a bigger ski is in play with the Skorpius CR II — you are not limited to 95mm and under lighter weight skis.
If you are a skier wanting to go deeper and not suffer a serious weight penalty, (wait, there’s more), and be able to ski like a champ, the Skorpius CR II has can-do (likely spoken in the Italian mother tongue) written all over it.
Some updates after a few more skis. It is a roomy fit, so if you have a wide foot and are looking for something stiff skiing and in the lighter weight class, the Skorpius is a good starting point. I’m ordering up some narrowing pads and volume reducing shims to place under the insole. In terms of maximizing ROM, I’m loosening the main upper buckle/velcro and mini-power strap when skinning. John, on the other hand, loosens the buckle but does not otherwise loosen the velcro. He, too, finds the fit roomy. Lastly, I had the boot driving a 112mm underfoot ski relatively easily (DPS Pagoda Tour RP 112). The snow was not light powder, but say six inches of very wind-affected snow; fun, but some work to make turns.
More in the long-term review. But for a first look, we like it. Send questions our way.
Skorpius CR II Stats
Weight verified (27.5) with stock insoles: 1215g
Forward Lean: 12-degrees, 14-degrees, and 16-degrees (adjusted with a spoiler)
Ski/Walk mechanism: Swing Lock
Liner: Heat moldable
Jason Albert comes to WildSnow from Bend, Oregon. After growing up on the East Coast, he migrated from Montana to Colorado and settled in Oregon. Simple pleasures are quiet and long days touring. His gray hair might stem from his first Grand Traverse in 2000 when rented leather boots and 210cm skis were not the speed weapons he had hoped for. Jason survived the transition from free-heel kool-aid drinker to faster and lighter (think AT), and safer, are better.