Que Macho (or in Apache as Cochise would have perhaps said, “Ik aa’ye iidenka ashii nadndaal. ei nanlwogo aniile shiiyii’ii.Â, look it up), Tecnica has upped the anti with their tech compatible freeride backcountry skiing boot series. The shoes are named after competition rodeo bulls, one of whom is named after the Apache warrior/leader who’s become part or our western legend. All good, but can a boot named in honor of bulls and fighters hold up to the WildSnow tech fitting ANSI approved tractor pull?
Ok, that’s it for worship of the Tecnica boot toe tech fitting. How about the heel fitting? Somewhat similar to other makers, but note that the Tecnica heel fitting attachment screw goes all the way through the sole block into the lower backcountry skiing boot shell. That is good, but will require backing out the fitting screw to remove the sole block, which will in turn eventually wear out the threads cut by the screw in the boot plastic. Another thing I noticed about the heel fitting is that the reinforcement/locating nibs are press fit into the sole block, thus eliminating play. I’ll give the heel fitting a 100% pass, but as with most other boot makers who use screws to attach their rear tech fittings, I’d like to see a bigger screw or beef added by some other means.
While the Tecnica Cochise won’t be my go-to backcountry skiing boots (I use lighter stuff), I did give them a good test during that day of powder snowcat skiing last week, as well as some walking. Luckily Tecnica sent me a rather small shell size for my feet (320 mm), so once I heat molded the liners I got a near perfect heel fit. My toes were a different matter, but as these are PU shells the toe was easy to blow out a half size or so. I’m not a good evaluator of boot stiffness, but these overlap cuff guys are noticeably stiffer than my ZZero Green Machines, with a sweeter flex. They’re rated by Tecnica as a flex 120, but as always we warn you that flex numbers are only a rough guide to boot stiffness, not any sort of industry standard.
Due to my use of the softer ‘light’ liner, my tester Cochise had a bit of extra give I found to my liking for powder and crud, but might be better eliminated for performance skiers by using a denser liner. (This is a good place to say that if you don’t know it already, please know that your liner choice has a HUGE influence on how stiff a boot skis and how it flexes – experiment.)
I found the Tecnica hybrid buckle power strap system to be super effective. For me, it combines the function of both a top buckle and a strap, but those of you used to taller boots might find they want a taller rear spoiler and additional strap. Small spacer spoilers are included that velcro to the front and back of liner, but these are more spacers than they are spoilers. Easy aftermarket mod.
Another thing I liked about this boot was the section of flexible plastic in the lower overlap, intended to make entry and exit easier. I’m a good tester for that with my fused ankle, and can testify that it does work. But if I was skiing these boots much I’d still probably cut away some plastic to make entry easier.
Cochise cuff mobility in walk mode is excellent, but again, much of that depends on your liner choice. Forward cuff lean is not adjustable, and appears difficult to modify mechanically (though one can always play around with liner thickness behind calf).
Not much to say about the Tecnica liner. Basic stroble construction with what feels like foam of adequate density to compromise between performance, weight and comfort for backcountry skiing. They need a pull loop on the rear as well as on the tongue, that’s my only gripe.
In all, a fairly beefy boot worth a look. If I rode the cable more, I’d definitely consider these as my go-to since they fit my feet nicely and ski well. They were fun to test and try to destroy. Should I invoice Tecnica for my workbench?
(Editor’s note, as in the case of naming the Dynafit “Green Machine,” I owe the “tractor pull” metaphor to Aspen Skiing Company lifer, dad, guest blogger, and backcountry skiing fanatic Bob Perlmutter. Thanks Perl!)
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.