Pause for a moment, next time you're atop the Wildwood Express, and look around. From our boot-test headquarters in the Wildwood Smokehouse, two miles high, the view in all directions is stunning. At our feet lay an unlimited choice of terrain, and on day two, 10 inches of spring powder made for perfect Freeride testing. How could it be any better? Two words: Free lunch. The test team was adopted by Wildwood Smokehouse Executive Chef Ken Ferrari, who plied us, unbidden, with his toothsome specialities: Smoked Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, Buffalo Chili, Smoked Bavarian Brats. (Thanks, Ken.) But there was work to be done, too. Our iron-footed testers took one to three runs on each boot—seeking out terrain appropriate to the skier-type, and then completing a test card for each model. Boots were rated on 10 criteria (Forward Flex, Lateral Response, Rearward Support, Closure, etc.), and testers added general comments, too, both pro and con. After the test, the numbers were entered into our specially tailored Filemaker Pro database, and then "crunched" (much like our feet after five days of testing). Clear winners emerged, but it's important to note that there was often disagreement, too. One tester's pleasure was another's poison. That's important to keep in mind as you make your selection. There are many flavors. Read up, and take the time to find the boot that best suits your taste.
Boot Test 2003: How We Test Boots