SCARPA MAESTRALE / GEA SE­RIES

Backpacker - - NEWS -

THE GOLD STAN­DARD OF TOUR­ING BOOTS GETS LIGHTER AND STIFFER.

We’re not alone in our love for the Maestrale. For years it was the world’s best-sell­ing alpine-tour­ing boot, due to its bal­ance be­tween down­hill ski­a­bil­ity and up­hill prow­ess (and rel­a­tive af­ford­abil­ity). But then other boots caught up with— and passed—the Maestrale, and sud­denly we wanted our fa­vorite model to be lighter and have more an­kle ar­tic­u­la­tion. SCARPA de­liv­ered.

The new Maestrale is about a pound lighter, thanks to up­graded ma­te­ri­als and the switch to a wave-sys­tem clo­sure on the fore­foot. And best of all? Sixty de­grees of an­kle ar­tic­u­la­tion. We felt it on flats (“No re­stric­tion when skat­ing across lakes,” one tester wrote on her score card after our back­coun­try test), as­cents (“They climb 25-de­gree slopes sur­pris­ingly well for burly boots,” an­other said), and even on boot­packs (“I didn’t sap all my en­ergy stair-step­ping up Dead Elk Couloir in Rocky Moun­tain National Park, so I went for it twice,” re­ported yet an­other).

But don’t worry, loy­al­ists: None of the tour­ing im­prove­ments af­fect down­hill chops. In fact, the new Maes­trales are ac­tu­ally stiffer. (In the beefier RS mod­els, SCARPA uses car­bon-fiber hy­brid ma­te­rial to re­in­force key ar­eas with­out af­fect­ing the pro­gres­sive flex.) All mod­els still use the three­piece shell for more power and eas­ier en­try.

If you’re the type of skier who likes to ar­gue about “the great­est ski boot ever,” bet­ter put the Maestrale fam­ily back in the con­ver­sa­tion.

Start­ing at $695; 6 lbs. 2 oz. (Maestrale RS, size 27); m’s 24.5-32, w’s 22.5-27; scarpa.com

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