Hang around backcountry skiers enough and you’ll start hearing references to “magic elf shoes.” A couple of years ago, I had gotten to the point in my social development as a skier that I heard people using the term so regularly I simply had to know what was up. I first heard it used a few years ago by Canadian skier and human lung Greg Hill in an interview he did for Skiing as he described the gear he used for his now-legendary achievment of skiing two million vertical feet in a calendar year. Then I saw white and yellow flashes on the feet of my friends Steve Romeo and Zahan Billimoria as I struggled mightily to keep up with them on Teton Pass’s Glory bootpack. I finally got a pair for myself, and realized the moniker makes perfect sense—these boots are so freaking light (3,000 grams per pair) that I can focus on the beauty of my surroundings while I climb (With heavier gear, my focus is normally on the lung hanging out of my mouth or the hip flexor about to snap like an old guitar string). Sure, there are lighter models like the PDG and EVO in Dynafit’s lineup but no boot made by any brand blends moon-surface weight with downhill performance quite like the TLT5 Performance. Key features include a removable tongue (take it out it for greater range of motion while ascending and insert it for descending power) and an ingenious top buckle that doubles as the ski/hike mode switch. The season has barely begun, but I can’t wait to dance elf-like through the hills as soon as a bit more snow falls. For a comprehensive use review, check out this page on Lou Dawson’s excellent backcountry skiing blog.