Hey all you Wildsnowers, I was out getting the goods for the last seven days and am trying my darnedest to whip up a trip report to break our rather lengthy string of gear posts. Meanwhile, I just had to get these slick photos of Scarpa Alien up where we could all enjoy and discuss. More, words from a Scarpa representative with the details. Jury is of course still out, way out, since we’ve not been able to give these boots any sort of Wildsnowing. So please be aware we present this as a first-look, not a review or test (really, just a continuation of our trade show coverage as the Hagan post below is as well).
From Scarpa representative, lightly edited by WildSnow.com staff editing team: One attention grabbing feature of Scarpa Alien ski boots is an external closure that uses the Boa lacing system. This offers super easy and quick adjustment, and yields a glove-like fit – the Boa wraps the lower boot around your foot in a form-fitting precise way. It is a perfect application for this technology. SCARPA worked with Boa and has patented (SCARPA’s patent) the unique, tool-less replaceable eyelets.
There are two boots: Alien 1.0 and the Alien.
Alien 1.0 is the lighter of the two boots, employing carbon-fiber construction. It’s what a lot of the top racers on the rando circuit are now using (even though this boot hits the market officially for F11, SCARPA has had this boot on many of its racers this and last season).
Alien 1.0 is 680 grams per boot, or 1 pound, 7.98 ounces. That makes it, near as we can tell, the lightest rando boot out there besides the two full carbon fiber boots (and they are not very much lighter), but more importantly we feel that it’s the highest performing one. That’s evidenced by the fact that, like I said, it’s being used by many of the top-winning rando racers right now. The Ski Mountaineering World Championships happened last weekend in Claut, Italy, and the top-finishing men’s and women’s racing teams were on this boot.
It worth noting that we feel the fact that the Alien 1.0 boot uses a lot of carbon fiber technology but isn’t completely made of carbon fiber is an important design consideration, because this kind of hybrid construction has some distinct performance advantages over full carbon boots. The Alien 1.0 has a carbon fiber cuff, but the lower part of the boot is made with a carbon core insert on the inside, surrounded by select polyamides construction (this is a light and strong material but can be made significantly stiffer than an equivalent Pebax boot). This is very important, we feel, because it keeps the boot light, but it still retains a nice, progressive flex needed for dynamic skiing (feels like a ski boot, not nearly totally rigid like a full carbon boot).
Finally, it’s worth noting that the “A-Light” quick-release walk/ski mode lever in this boot is by far the best ever developed by SCARPA. It is really precise and easy to use, super light, and ultra quick to transition between modes, since one lever controls both loosening the cuff and changing ski/walk modes. It’s the metal frame piece you see in the photos.
Alien 1.0 will retail in North America for $1,799.
Alien is the same boot without the carbon cuff and carbon insert. It weighs 890 grams per boot, or 1 pound, 15.39 ounces. That’s 109 grams lighter than SCARPA’s current F1 Carbon! But instead of being a $1600 boot, the Alien will retail for $799.
Even though SCARPA didn’t show this boot at OR and SIA (official unveiling was at ISPO in Europe, which happened the week after OR and SIA), they will be unveiling this boot in North America for Fall 2011 at a limited number of specialty dealers that specialize in rando racing gear.
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.