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The Future of Ski-Mountaineering Boots?

Garmont's Masterlite boot exemplifies a new direction in ski-mountaineering boot design—a quest for fast, light boots that don't sacrifice downhill performance.
posted: 02/04/2010
Garmont Masterlite

For brands that build ski-touring boots, the holy grail is a boot that blends light weight with high performance—whether its user is hiking, skinning, or skiing. We spotted Garmont's recent entry into this category—the Masterlite, developed by renowned gear designer Paul Parker and a team of Garmont engineers—at the recent Outdoor Retailer winter trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah.

That spider-web pattern molded into the plastic is designed to lighten up the shell while maintaining the structural integrity needed for downhill skiing support. The Masterlite's sole is subtly rockered to allow for more efficient hip position when you're walking, hiking, or skinning. It's made to be used with Dynafit or similar bindings, and the attachment points in the toe have been moved five millimeters rearward in relation to previous Dynafit-compatible Garmont boots. That repositioning is reported to facilitate a more natural striding motion.

We haven't skied it yet, but we had a chance to play with it at Garmont's trade-show booth. The buckles are easy to open and close quickly, and look like they'll stay secure when loosened for climbing. The liner is fully heat-moldable and uses a traditional alpine-style tongue configuration (as opposed to an overlap design). Part of the upper cuff stands high on the front of the liner to provide forward skiing support.

According to Drew Simmons of Pale Morning Media, who handles Garmont's PR, the boot fills a gap in AT boot offerings between "styles being made for freeride and burly ski mountaineering trips and then the dental-floss-and-eggshell racing boots that are $2000 and designed to make 'survival turns' only."

We're excited to take the Masterlite to the hill and will report back when we do. Here are the specs, as supplied by Garmont:

Color: Glacier Blue
Shell: Pebax
Flex Index: 110 AT
Liner: Lite Thermo
Closure: Double-Action Cuff Buckle, Instep buckle, Optional power-strap
Weight: 1090 grams per boot (size 27.5)
Size range: 24-29.5
Forward Lean: 24 degrees + walk
System: Tech (Dynafit compatible)




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