UPDATE – OCTOBER 2013: “GARMONT POWERLITE” SKI BOOTS ARE NOW MADE BY SCOTT AS THEIR “SKI MOUNTAINEERING” LINE. AS OF OCTOBER 2013 ALL PROBLEMS WITH TECH FITTINGS AS DESCRIBED BELOW APPEAR TO BE ELIMINATED. WE THUS RECOMMEND ALL 2013-2014 AND LATER SCOTT BRANDED SKI TOURING BOOTS WITH TECH FITTINGS. 2013-2014 Scott boots with functional tech fittings can be easily identified by the toe fittings being coated with a black coloring as opposed to the common semi-shiny steel look of most tech fittings.
Official Garmont Response to our WildSnow video demonstration and take. Any typos are Lou’s due to having to extract text from an image PDF. Also, due to the hassle of keyboarding them we left the little “R” characters off the brand names such as “Dynafit.” Other than those incidentals and my note about the PDF signature, the text is as received. What you’ll see here is somewhat irrelavent at this point (fall/winter 2013) since eventually Scott DID change their fittings. As indicated by their missive below, apparently their first method of designing and testing the fittings was not quite up to the task and gave them a false idea of what was the “norm.” What is more, they make a bit of a deal out of me demonstrating the release without the boot heel locked down. I actually tested with the heel locked, and do it without in the video for an easier demonstration. I probably should have made video both ways. Moot now, as again, they’ve reworked the fittings and they test out nicely.:
To: Lou Dawson Wild Snow The Backcountry Skiing Blog
Volpago del Montello (TV), November 20th 2012
During the development of our GARMONT TECH INSERTS we carried out extensive tests of all models of GARMONT boots as well as important boot models from other manufacturers to identify and maintain consistent release values. Because there is no “norm” for reference, we relied on comparative testing with important boot models from other manufacturers. It is our experience with these tests that there is a significant variance in release values in all brands, one that depends not just on the type of insert, but primarily on the size of the “cutout” of the heel fitting, and the material of the boot— Pebax, PU, or Grilamid. During our development of the GARMONT TECH INSERTS, the heel cutout and boot material played as important a role in the release values as the TECH INSERTS themselves.
It is also very important that boot tests for downhill release and safety are made in downhill mode, with both the toe and heel attached to the boot. We have found in our testing that it is irrelevant to test boots for lateral release with only the toe attached, for several reasons: 1) as stated, the system is not in downhill mode which makes the test irrelevant to safety release 2) when the heel is raised it changes release values, and 3) it is well-known and recommended by Dynafit to lock the toe when walking because it is easy to lose the ski.
When testing our boots in walk mode, our inserts have a higher value when the boot is above 45° from the ski. This is due to added material on the top part of the cone, and is desirable to prevent pre-release, a common problem with this binding system. In downhill ski mode, however, the release values are comparable measured in kg., depending on the heel cutout, not the insert. We have proven this fact consistently with Dynamometer tests, as well as testing at the TUV. ln testing our newest models of boots at the TUV in Munich, we saw the same results, with the variance dependent on the genre of the heel cutouts and not the TECH INSERTS.
Again, our release tests are all in downhill ski mode, heels attached, with the binding toe in the free position, not partially locked using the first “click” position, or fully locked using the second click, as many athletes choose for better retention.
Also, although we like the Dynafit binding system for its easy walking, light weight, and skiability, it is our philosophy that all—round boots should be compatible with different binding systems, and accommodate the ISO Touring Norm 9523. For this reason, we chose not to use the Dynafit Quick-Step inserts as they are out of the ISO Norm 9523 because of the little tabs that extend beyond the sides of the boot. This norm requires a flush surface.
In addition to extensive testing both internally and at the TUV yielding comparable release values, we have been utilizing GARMONT TECH INSERTS in production since the beginning of 2011 and have not had any issues with failures or accidents ascribable to the same.
Achille Morlin (PDF has signature)
President, GARMONT Sri
Original November 15 2012 WildSnow blog post follows ********************************************
Cosmos might be one of the most brilliant AT boots ever produced. In short, if you’re looking for a super light but stiff boot to use in a frame/plate binding such as Fritschi or Marker, this is definitely a short lister. But we found some issues with the tech fittings that toned down our enthusiasm a bit. Video shows our impressions. Conclusions up to you. (Please note we evaluated one pre-production pair of boots and three retail version that included one pair of Celeste; all exhibited the tech fitting behavior shown in the video. We evaluated in multiple pairs and models of Dynafit bindings, as well as a Plum and a Sportiva. Though we’ve notified Garmont of our findings we’ve not had any substantive response. I’d imagine we’ll hear more shortly and we’ll do our best to communicate everything.)
To be fair, we occasionally see the issue of stiff release in other brands of boots due to manufacturing defects in tech fittings, but we’ve never had the impression it was consistent across the line or was likely to be retailed as such. Such seems like it might be the case here, so I feel obliged to communicate a bit more strongly about our take. Also, this is the first time I’ve seen fittings with the play as shown in the vid. The play issue added incentive to getting this whole thing out to our readers.
We are and always have been Garmont ski boot fans. While the brand is going through some transitions (the ski boot brand is gone, bought and rebranded by Scott) we’re still confident those responsible for this boot’s design and manufacture will be dealing with any tech fitting issues in an appropriate way. Again, when we hear their take we’ll publish here.
As we’ve stated in the past, no matter what binding system, you should always do careful release checks with a newly purchased boot or binding, and do such checks several times during the season.
Our original comprehensive review of a pre-production pair of Cosmos ski boots.
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.