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 Snowshoeing and Backcountry Skiing
 AT Boots
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sgregory
Starting Member


Surrey, BC
Canada

5 Posts

 Posted - 11/01/2008 :  9:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply to this posting
I'm just starting to get into touring, and am still buying all the gear. Money is an issue, and as such I was wondering how necessary it is to have the AT boots. Will I find it to be too unbearable to go without the walk setting, or will I at least be able to make it through a couple of trips?

time2clmb
Advanced Member

Alberta-based choss climbin', flame throwin', rappel lovin', ass talkin' hater who doesn't like "Gumby" for a descriptor


6302 Posts

 Posted - 11/01/2008 :  9:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Only one way to find out eh.

platypus
Junior Member


Vancouver
159 Posts

 Posted - 11/01/2008 :  9:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's why MEC can be so great. You can head on over and rent a pair of AT boots for a day or for a weekend, and compare it with whatever else. It's helped me make some good choices in the past.

sgregory
Starting Member


Surrey, BC
Canada

5 Posts

 Posted - 11/01/2008 :  9:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by platypus

That's why MEC can be so great. You can head on over and rent a pair of AT boots for a day or for a weekend, and compare it with whatever else. It's helped me make some good choices in the past.



Rent; good call.

norona
Senior Member


North Vancouver, BC
Canada

1070 Posts

 Posted - 11/02/2008 :  10:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You do NOT need AT boots. I tour in the backcountry over 30-40 days in the winter and still use my Salomon X-wave 8 boots. I do not release the buckles at all but find I usually set my climbing plaforms one higher than most with AT boots. Good AT boots are not that much lighter than DH boots and if they are they usually suck if your use to a good DH boot. If you really want to drop the weight of a DH boot and make it better for multi days then buy and intuition liner, which is lighter and does not accept water so stays warmer over successive days.

When my girlfriend and I arrived at Sol Mountain last year some group was looking at us funny with our downhill boots and asking us questions and worrying that we were going to slow them down...they we quite surprised after the 2 and 3 rd day when they were dropping behind and we were fresh...fitness is the evener out in the backcountry....

Edited by - norona on 11/02/2008 10:20 AM
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LeeL
Advanced Member

Extreme ski tourin, mountain bikin addict who hikes at least once a year


2597 Posts

 Posted - 11/02/2008 :  5:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
dave - it's not just the fitness factor. Bear in mind you are fit so your view is coloured. You are right that fitness and time in the field is the major evener but here's my perspective.

Alpine boots suck for overnights - the PU plastic in alpines get stiffer as it gets cold. Not a factor if you have a warm place to camp or a hut to retreat too but a major pain in the ass in a cold snowcave or a tent and you are putting on the boots again the next day.

No vibram sole on alpine boots; major downside for scrambling and hiking. AT boots also suck for hiking but alpine boots really really suck.

No walk mode in alpine boots. Some people don't mind it. I can't stand not having a walk mode.

Biggest downside. Can't use Dynafits with an alpine boot but then I'm biased.

All commentary aside, the Intuition liner is the best thing to happen to a skiers feet since comfortable socks.

You can get a used AT boot; get a new liner and be just fine. Used AT boots - $ 200 bucks or so; Intuition liners - $ 150 or so.


hafilax
Senior Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

1461 Posts

 Posted - 11/02/2008 :  8:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Of course you can get by with alpine boots. It just depends on how well the ones you have will work for you. If you wear your shin raw or blister than a boot more suited to walking may be necessary.

I think the biggest thing you gain from the walk mode is a longer stride length which makes a big difference in efficiency. Some people swear by using the smallest riser possible for this same reason. If there is a lot of traversing or flats your quads will thank you for being able to straighten your knee. I did a couple of split board trips and the forward lean of my boots really did a number on my quads.

Since I went straight from snowboarding to Dynafit I don't have any experience with modern ski boots. Many make do with alpine boots in trekers. Apparently AT bindings are a huge improvement over that. AT boots span everything from 3 buckle super light to essentially an alpine boot with a walk mode. You have to choose your compromise.

swebster
Senior Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

1353 Posts

 Posted - 11/02/2008 :  10:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Walking down a logging road in a downhill boot would really suck.

scottN
Senior Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

1480 Posts

 Posted - 11/03/2008 :  07:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sgregory

I'm just starting to get into touring, and am still buying all the gear. Money is an issue, and as such I was wondering how necessary it is to have the AT boots. Will I find it to be too unbearable to go without the walk setting, or will I at least be able to make it through a couple of trips?



It really depends what kind of "touring" you are talking about. For lift assisted slack country, DH boots will be fine, but AT boots will be lighter and more comfortable. For tours with a significant horizontal component I wouldn't recommend it without trying it on a low commitment trip first.

I've never skied AT in DH boots myself but I've been touring with people on that sort of setup. For some, it's fine. For others their feet get eaten by the boots.
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larryl
Senior Member


Surrey, BC
Canada

1036 Posts

 Posted - 11/03/2008 :  08:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LeeL

get a new liner and be just fine. Used AT boots - $ 200 bucks or so; Intuition liners - $ 150 or so.






Another vote for intuition liners. To top it off, service is excellent.

Without the comfy intuition liners, it would have been a pain to hike in those AT boots, like my recent trip to Cerise creek.

johngenx
Advanced Member


Finally stopping that crazy suffering that is ice, climbing to concentrate on great ski tours!
3702 Posts

 Posted - 11/03/2008 :  11:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One of my partners chewed his feet to bits with DH boots on a long approach/out. But, he's ex-military, shrugged off the pain and monster blisters and just did it.

Toss me into the camp that says you should either do some some short tours in your DH boots to give it a go, or rent some AT boots, or maybe both! It's about finding out what works best for you.

I think Head sells a DH boot with a "walk mode" that is not marketed at all as an AT boot, but seems to function the same, though I'm not sure what the deal is on the them.

hafilax
Senior Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

1461 Posts

 Posted - 11/03/2008 :  12:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
From my brief look into boots last year it looked like most alpine boots with a walk mode were low end and had limited range of motion relative to an AT boot.

JP
Junior Member



335 Posts

 Posted - 11/03/2008 :  1:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hafilax

From my brief look into boots last year it looked like most alpine boots with a walk mode were low end and had limited range of motion relative to an AT boot.



Yea, DH boots with walk modes are usually marketed towards beginngers/women who want comfort over perfomance.

If the terrain you're skiing is yo-yoing up and straight down again, you can get by with DH boots, but if there's any sort of horizontal distance involved, DH boots suck.

There is obviously a necessary compromise: the best touring boot is soft and skis terribly. A boot with stiff forward flex will ski well, but will be a pain when touring.

Pick the spot on the specturm where you think you will spend the most time:

touring <--------------------------------------> performance

hafilax
Senior Member


Vancouver, BC
Canada

1461 Posts

 Posted - 11/03/2008 :  2:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Fitness may be the great equalizer on the way up but skill is the great equalizer on the way down.

time2clmb
Advanced Member

Alberta-based choss climbin', flame throwin', rappel lovin', ass talkin' hater who doesn't like "Gumby" for a descriptor


6302 Posts

 Posted - 11/03/2008 :  4:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JP

quote:
Originally posted by hafilax

From my brief look into boots last year it looked like most alpine boots with a walk mode were low end and had limited range of motion relative to an AT boot.



Yea, DH boots with walk modes are usually marketed towards beginngers/women who want comfort over perfomance.

If the terrain you're skiing is yo-yoing up and straight down again, you can get by with DH boots, but if there's any sort of horizontal distance involved, DH boots suck.

There is obviously a necessary compromise: the best touring boot is soft and skis terribly. A boot with stiff forward flex will ski well, but will be a pain when touring.





I dunno about that. I found that my boots were great to tour in but were way too soft. I ended up getting a different tongue for the boots and now they are fantastic on the down hill and almost as good as they were to walk around in. This is after skiing total boiler plate the past few weekends. I think I have found a pretty good compromise. If you were really really picky you could just bring both tongues as they weigh nothing and are easy to change. It's like having 2 totally different boots.

time2clmb
Advanced Member

Alberta-based choss climbin', flame throwin', rappel lovin', ass talkin' hater who doesn't like "Gumby" for a descriptor


6302 Posts

 Posted - 11/03/2008 :  4:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hafilax

Fitness may be the great equalizer on the way up but skill is the great equalizer on the way down.



Hmmm....I dunno, there are plenty of runs out there where some one can keep up by simply falling

JP
Junior Member



335 Posts

 Posted - 11/03/2008 :  6:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by time2clmb

quote:
Originally posted by JP

quote:
Originally posted by hafilax

From my brief look into boots last year it looked like most alpine boots with a walk mode were low end and had limited range of motion relative to an AT boot.



Yea, DH boots with walk modes are usually marketed towards beginngers/women who want comfort over perfomance.

If the terrain you're skiing is yo-yoing up and straight down again, you can get by with DH boots, but if there's any sort of horizontal distance involved, DH boots suck.

There is obviously a necessary compromise: the best touring boot is soft and skis terribly. A boot with stiff forward flex will ski well, but will be a pain when touring.





I dunno about that. I found that my boots were great to tour in but were way too soft. I ended up getting a different tongue for the boots and now they are fantastic on the down hill and almost as good as they were to walk around in. This is after skiing total boiler plate the past few weekends. I think I have found a pretty good compromise. If you were really really picky you could just bring both tongues as they weigh nothing and are easy to change. It's like having 2 totally different boots.





I am guessing you are referring to adding black Tornado tongues? I do this, and it's certainly the best bet for narrowing the performance/touring compromise, but they don't help lateral stiffness at all.

I can't do much touring with the black tongues, and am such a shitty skier that I feel lame on gnarly downhill with the soft tongues, and I'm afraid of the names my ski partners would call me if I swapped out my tongues at the top of every run

Lupin
Senior Member


Ladner, BC
Canada

1200 Posts

 Posted - 11/03/2008 :  11:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've used AT boots, DH boots, and leather boots.

My DH boots are probably 18yrs old now, and they chewed me up on the uphills. The AT boots I've borrowed are a bit big for me but lighter and more comfortable than my DH boots.
I must say though, that the old school leathers with the 3-prong bindings were the most comfortable and lightest set up i've used. I should borrow them again.

I've heard nothing but good things about the Intuition liners.
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