In relation to a previous article, I feel it is important to add a segue on AT boot choices.
I have had a flux of questions lately regarding which AT boot would work best in a AT splitboard setup. I personally use a Scarpa AT boot [Matrix]. I will say that in the past year I have had the opportunity to ride with a number of hardbooters, and there is a very divided camp as to which AT one prefers. I have seen a number of riders on the Scarpa Rush, one on the Scarpa Maestrale, four on the Scarpa F1’s, and a slew of female riders on the women’s Scarpa Gea.
However, the number of riders on Scarpa boots pales in comparison to the number of riders on the Dynafit TLT 5, and after speaking with a number of them – many will be migrating to the new Dynafit TLT 6 next season. I would say a vast majority of riders on the AT setup prefer the TLT 5. It provides the right amount of lateral movement and with a few easy modifications to the touring bar and tongue it behaves just as good, if not better than a soft boot.
My personal choice in the Scarpa had nothing more to do with brand choice as it did fit. I have a narrow ankle, and like a lot of riders Scarpa is one of the few companies that can accommodate that type of footbed. When I was first shopping for an AT splitboard boot, I must have tried 30 different types of boots from all manufactures across various shops on the Front Range. I kept going back to different models of Scarpa boots because the footbed felt natural in a neutral position – to me.
With Intuition boot liners, the liner can be heat molded to the contour of your foot. Bootfitters such as Larry’s Bootfitting in Boulder can even make more sophisticated adjustments to your boot to include modifications or stretching to the hardshell and / or liner. In fact, they can dial in just about anything provided the BSL and Mondo size actually fits your foot.
I know that a few people out there are AT skiers and looking for a dual purpose boot. If you fall in this camp I can tell you now you are likely going to have to compromise in both directions. The easiest answer is of course to have a set of boots designed for each. Given the cost of an AT boot I realize that isn’t an option for all of us. I doubt many skiers are going to want to make modifications that will work on both. I think there is a common ground – you are just going to have to figure out which compromises you are willing to make to serve both purposes. That answer will of course vary from person to person.
If you are new to AT splitboarding and trying to figure out which AT boot is right for you – I would highly suggest giving the TLT 5 or TLT 6 a close look. There is a reason a vast majority of AT splitboarders are choosing this boot, and it has little to do with peer pressure. Spend some time in them at a shop and bring in your board with your AT binding setup and do a carpet test to see how they perform. Keep in mind the modifications that can be done to further enhance performance.
Whatever you do, do not choose a particular boot just because your friend rides a particular boot. Everyone’s footbed, stance, and abilities are different that play in to the preference choice. It becomes a personal choice, but again I would take a close look at the Dynafit TLT series for absolute starters.