Written by Oliver Blackman & Alan Moats
Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Berne and Gabby give their take on this season's selection of ladies tele boots.
Telemark Boots 2006
by Oliver Blackman & Alan Moats
Women's Telemark Boots
weight: 6lbs. 7oz./pair (24)
|Scarpa: The T2X can drive a fat ski in crud on piste or break trail all day to a distant ski descent. Asymmetric flexing bellows, overlap closure, and a taller cuff add robust power. The T2X has the power for modern ambitions without the weight penalty, making it a great touring boot.
Berne: The T2X was by far my favorite boot and not just because it reminds me of my T1s. It was solid in a way that made me want to push my limits. Easy to ride because of the spot-on balance between stiffness and flex, the T2X provided a secure feeling that let me drive many skis in many conditions. With three buckles instead of four, and an overlapping cuff system that’s comfy and adds stiffness, it was more versatile for hiking and touring. It’s a boot that tells women ‘we take you seriously.’ But women with size 26-plus feet will have to wait for Scarpa to invest in larger women’s sizes.
Gabby: Although the Scarpa T2X seemed the heaviest of the three tested, I liked it best. It was the most comfortable on my narrow foot and felt superbly stable, offering excellent edge grip. The flex was nice and stiff with ample support on both wide and tight turns; the bellows were beefybut not overly soand didn’t pinch the piggies. I couldn’t feel my feet on the ski as much as I would have liked, but was confident the boot would follow my lead on steep terrain and at higher speeds. I loved the cuff-liner system as opposed to the tongue (fewer moving parts is always a good thing). And while I’m not typically crazy about cable buckles, these seemed pretty tough.
weight: 6lbs. 7oz./pair (24.5)
|Garmont: The Venus is specifically designed for strong female free-heelers. Built on a triple-injection platform, its flex has been programmed for smaller feet and lighter weight skiers. Its design combines skiing performance and touring comfort, with a locking mid-height cuff that is sturdy enough for big skis.
Berne: I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Venus. It felt so light that I thought I’d completely overpower it. But it was lively and responsive on moderate terrain. It had good lateral and forward flexing stiffness. It’s a boot that I’d take more for the tour than for tackling hard inbounds lines on big skis. For lighter or less aggressive skiers, or skiers who don’t want to haul extra weight, the Venus is a great choice.
Gabby: With its stiff flex and stiff shell, the Venus felt stable and solid. What I really liked was that despite its stiffness, I could still feel my feet and toes working, and it gave me good edge grip, both for alpine and tele turns. But I wanted a fourth buckle (like on my Ener-Gs). While the Venus is pretty sleek and slender and offers reliable descent performance, with only three buckles and a low shell, I held back and was less aggressive on steeper terrain. It is a comfy boot that would be good for an entry-level skier who likes it stiff rather than soft.
weight: 8lbs./pair (26.5)
|Crispi: Versatility, performance, and dependability have made this boot extremely popular for seasoned tele skiers and first timers alike. This boot utilizes the same features of bellow flex, fit and heel hold as the men’s burly, veteran CX-R, but in a lower three buckle version. Thermo-moldable liners reduce weight and allow for great fit and warmth. This boot is comfortable, on or off piste.
Berne: The stiffness of Crispi’s CX-P Ladies rivals that of my T1s. But while the cuff is brawny and somewhat overbuilt, I found that the lateral stiffness it provided overpowered their soft bellows. Crispi builds their forward flex to feel like leather, but in the CX-P it doesn’t match the way the rest of the boot moves. I wanted more padding to protect my shins from the hard plastic tongue, and the voluminous bellows pressed down on my toes on every turnboth issues, according to Crispi, are solved with the thermo-fitted liners that weren’t available for testing this spring.
Gabby: The Crispi CX-P Ladies is light and performed fairly well on low to medium speed alpine turns, with its stiff cuff translating into positive edge grip. But after dropping into a telemark turn, I was singing the bellows blues. Its bulky, constricting bellows were rather soft and unstable for me. I had to keep my radius small and felt uncharacteristically shaky on steep terrain.