SALOMON S/ LAB X-ALP

Backpacker - - NEWS -

OUR TAKE Plenty of boots prom­ise do-itall per­for­mance, but this one re­ally delivers: The new X-Alp has more flex­i­bil­ity than a plas­tic moun­taineer­ing boot (72 de­grees of an­kle ar­tic­u­la­tion and 35 de­grees of lat­eral mo­tion), but can still drive 95mm-waisted skis. It’s Salomon’s first ultralight tour­ing boot, and it builds off the suc­cess­ful Pro­cline—a dual-use climb­ing and ski boot— from sis­ter brand Arc’teryx. The X-Alp uses the same two-piece car­bon-fiber cuff sys­tem as the Pro­cline, with a re­in­forced shell at the pivot point and no rub­ber rand or beefy sole. The re­sult is a boot that climbs nearly as well as the Pro­cline (an Ed­i­tors’ Choice win­ner last year), but skis bet­ter.

THE DE­TAILS There are two buck­les and a latch­ing power strap, which you can dial in for the down­hill at home. Pop them open for tour­ing, then, at the top, just close the glove­friendly buck­les and flip into ski mode, and you’re primed for the de­scent.

TRAIL CRED “The car­bon cuff and stiff shell around the an­kle and heel make it rigid enough that I could lay into turns and power through crud on the 20- to 25-de­gree An­drews Glacier,” our tester said after a tour in Rocky Moun­tain National Park. “It’s sur­pris­ingly stiff for a tongue boot (no over­lap con­struc­tion).” Caveat: The flex pat­tern of tongue boots takes get­ting used to if you’re ac­cus­tomed to re­sort boots. $1,000; 5 lbs. 1 oz. (27.5); 24.5-30.5; salomon.com

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