The 6 Best Backcountry Ski Boots of 2012

Black Diamond Custom boot (Courtesy of Black Diamond)
Black Diamond Custom boot

Black Diamond Custom Boots

While the Custom’s stiffest-in-class shell remains unchanged, practically everything else is new. The liner has a plastic tongue shield to help distribute shin pressure, there’s foil underfoot for greater warmth, and a new Boa closure system and articulated design allow for greater range of motion while touring. The verdict: still tough, less rough. 9 lbs

TAGS: big mountain, warm

Garmont Voodoo Boots

Garmont Voodoo boot
Garmont Voodoo boot (Courtesy of Garmont)

The Voodoo’s three smartly placed buckles allow for unprecedented range of motion on the uptrack. The shell has been pre-punched in all the right places to accommodate a wide range of feet. And it had the best walk mode in the test, hands down. Add it all up and you’ve got what one tester dubbed “the Cadillac of touring tele boots.” 8 lbs

TAGS: great walk mode, fits all feet

Scarpa Terminator X Pro Boots

Scarpa Terminator X Pro boot
Scarpa Terminator X Pro boot (Courtesy of Scarpa)

Scarpa’s designers ditched the overlap liner in favor of a more traditional alpine tongue on the new TX Pro. They also used denser foam (for better turn initiation), redesigned the power strap, and reengineered the walk-mode mechanism to make it easier to use with a gloved hand. No wonder testers deemed it their favorite all-mountain boot. 7.5 lbs

TAGS: serious forward lean, NTN-compatible

Salomon Quest 14 Ski Boot

Salomon Quest 14
Salomon Quest 14 Ski Boot (Courtesy of Salomon)

Built with an overlap shell design, the Quest 14 has three buckles and a wide powder strap for a moderately stiff but consistent upper flex range that significantly reduces the potential for shin bang. But the kicker is the supercomfy walk mode, which makes it perfect for resort-based skiers who often hike for better turns. 9.3 lbs

TAGS: ALPINE-BOOT PERFORMANCE, WALK MODE

Scarpa Mastraele Boots

Scarpa Mastraele boot
Scarpa Mastraele boot (Courtesy of Scarpa)

The Mastraele impressed testers with its balance of uphill ergonomics, downhill control, and daylong comfort. With 40 degrees of cuff rotation, the low-profile shell is as nimble on the skin track as it is over scree. Flex (both overall and lateral) is smooth and precise but not as stiff as Dynafit’s slightly heavier Titan Ultralight. 6.8 lbs

TAGS: billy-goating, ultralight

Dynafit Titan Ultralight Boots

Dynafit Titan Ultralight boot
Dynafit Titan Ultralight boot (Courtesy of Dynafit)

Last year’s Titan was a tester favorite for its impressive weight-to-power ratio. With the new Ultralight, Dynafit shaved nearly a pound from the boot, mostly by using a slightly softer, less dense plastic. It’s not quite as powerful as the original, but a Pebax-carbon blend in the heel booster gives it plenty of oomph to drive even the plumpest skis. Fits narrower feet best. 7.5 lbs

TAGS: all mountain, tech fittings

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