Alpine Ski Boots


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The year’s best powder hounds

Comfort and performance in a lightweight package

The season’s backcountry boots demand to be pushed to the limit

Backcountry boots are stiffer and more powerful than ever.

The most exciting new products from the country's largest ski trade show

Boots don’t have to be torture devices. Here’s what to look for when buying your next pair—plus seven of our favorites.

It can be a lengthy process, but it's worth the time and effort to get right

Top performers for the ups and the downs

Flex, lasts, and liners matter. But above all, buy the one that feels good.

For years, I used to test how far I could go on day trips without eating. I don’t know if it was some unexplainable machismo or just laziness, but that mindset changed about six months ago. I’d gone on a four-hour run with an empty stomach and no food in…

It’s tough to tell how trustworthy a piece of gear is going to be when you first buy it. In fact, the only way to actually test your equipment’s longevity is to, well, test it. Thoroughly. So instead of having you, dear reader, put your gear through the ringer in…

Forget about rubbing two sticks together. Without matches, your only hope of getting a fire started in the wild is to take advantage of other tools at your disposal. Mykel Hawke—a former U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret and founder of survival school Spec Ops—recommends two easy,…

Yes, I write about gear for a living, I have access to the most sophisticated toys and tools in the outdoor world, and I’m constantly geeking out over tech details. But I’m keenly aware of the fact that the gear does not make the athlete. I was a much better…

Pants are fine, but if your goal is waist-deep powder, a good pair of bibs like FlyLow’s Bakers ($330) are what you need.

We tested out the best backcountry and alpine boots to help you find the best fit for your ski experience.

Your skis might be flashier, but your boots are the more critical piece of gear. You could roll the dice and buy online, but we highly recommend getting them the old-fashioned way: in person. The more knowledgeable the shop is, the better.

A fully-customizable, hike-ready sidecountry boot

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the K2 Rescue Shovel Plus.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Tecnica Cochise Ski Boot

Serious toys to get the newest members of your clan addicted to winter fun

How and where we tested the skis to determine our favorites.

Good for Resort Ski patrollers, lifties, and anyone who likes to hike will love the new all-mountain Blaster. It skis as well as boots priced hundreds of dollars more and, thanks to a grippy outsole and a sturdy (and inconspicuous) walk mode, is way more comfy when…

The Quest likes to ski the resort, boot-pack, and occasionally go on tours. Sound familiar? While it weighs about 30 percent less than your average alpine boot and has a walk mode, it’s no softie on the way down. “This is truly a go-anywhere boot for better skiers,” said…

This intermediate-level boot’s duck-footed stance allows your feet to angle out slightly, which leaves you standing in a more natural position and makes for quicker energy transfers. It takes some getting used to, but the position does make it easier to get your skis on edge.

Good for Resort Testers were truly shocked: You’re not supposed to be able to get a boot this good at this price. The key feature is the special plastic underfoot: It’s formulated for optimum energy transmission, and they must have gotten the recipe right, because the Sensor…

Big Mountain As the stiffest boot in the women’s Inferno line, the Crush was our favorite advanced-level boot. “It’s a no-holds-barred women’s skiing machine!” one tester exclaimed. Its basic design—low volume with a very natural and efficient stance—fit most of our testers well right out of the box. A faux-fur…

The Zenith’s redesigned liner feels more secure. And thanks to a tweak in the shell design and a polycarbonate insert under the ball of your foot, it provides excellent snow feel. A confidence-inspiring choice for intermediates. rossignol.com…

Good for Resort Salomon adapted the technology usually reserved for custom-boot makers for the rest of us. With some heat and the help of a professional fitter, two sections of special plastic on this all-mountain boot mold to your foot for a precise fit.

All Mountain With a lower cuff, a super-comfortable walk mode, and a grippy sole, the intermediate, all-mountain Delight was a tester favorite. While it’s not quite as stiff as the Inferno (above), it delivers an impressive balance of power transfer and all-day comfort. Plus, quilted down in the lower liner…

One of the best all-mountain boots this year, the expert-level Blower “feels like an F1 car with monster-truck suspension,” said one tester. And while we don’t normally condone manfur, it’s what makes this twitchy, race-inspired boot so comfy. nordicausa.com…

THE WORKHORSE Line is best known as a jib-inspired freeski company, but the Prophet 90 is one of the most versatile all-mountain skis we’ve tested. It’s traditionally cambered and as forgiving in powder as it is damp and predictable on hard snow. Plus it’s quick enough for bumps, trees, and…

You can’t see the changes. But by tweaking the shape of the lower shell (it’s more upright) and upper cuff (less forward lean), Lange has created the most responsive expert-level boot we’ve ever skied in. langeskiboots.com…

POWDER SPECIALIST The Gambit—by Boulder, Colorado–based custom ski builder Folsom—is part of a new generation of fat skis that are serviceable on groomers, too. Here, the aggressively rockered tip and tail are tapered for a loose feel in deep snow, but the traditional camber and sidecut let you edge with…

Don’t mess with success. The Women’s Banshee incorporates Lange’s classic World Cup lower shell and a new women-specific upper cuff, providing a better fit and increased leverage without being overbearing around the calf. Improved rubber soles make it much easier to hike to the good stuff, and the shearling-like…

BIG FAT CARVER Despite the Olympus’s big but curvy proportions and rockered tip, it can, like all Elan skis, carve a mean turn. When you put it on edge, its deep sidecut and powerful guts (two sheets of metal and a burly wood core) penetrate even the hardest morning snow.

Good for All Mountain A first of its kind for expert women, the incredibly precise and powerful Competite is not your average girlie boot. The women-specific cuff is snug in all the right places, while the race-inspired liner provides a remarkably close fit—letting you feel every bump on the…

Designed by Nordica’s big-mountain and park athletes, the brand-new Ace of Spades has an upright stance designed to give you a solid, well-balanced platform for skiing switch and landing big airs. And should you land in the backseat, extra room around the big toe helps disperse some of the…

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