My set-up is almost identical to Colin's (Hagan Y-drive skis with Dynafit Speed Turn bindings). My impressions are similar to Colin's too but I've used the boots longer so wanted to give a durability evaluation. I'm not a racer. I'd say I'm a moderate ski tourer so wanted to give a review from this viewpoint. I'm neither young nor particularly strong and a very moderate skier but these boots allowed me to summit and ski quite a few mountains and keep up with much stronger people! So definitely a game changer for me.
Durability: Resort skinning and touring for two seasons in WA, CO, and New England. Well over 200K vertical and also quite a bit of hiking miles. Skied a few 14ers and a bunch of 13ers in CO, Baker and Shuksan in WA in these boots. The boots are still in pretty good shape. So far, the only obvious damage is to the gaiters. They started to rip near the rivet attachment. Zippers also started to separate on one gaiter so I had to fix it some thread and needle. The design and materials for those gaiters are not great. It but the design is weak. I think it can be repaired using some fabric patches and glue but I'm lazy and it does not really affect the performance. The liners show the use but no actual damage and still quite usable.
Comfort/Usability: Never had a blister even though my typical skinning session at the local ski resort is 8K vertical. I did not mold the liners. I like the cords system for adjusting the rigidity of the upper and find it easy to use. The ski/walk mechanism is amazingly easy to operate. On the flat downhill sections I often switch the modes on the fly without stopping to make things easier. However, when cold I at times I had some difficulties when locking in a ski mode due to icing of the hook. Similar to Colin, I like the red piece near the heel which keeps snow out works and I never had a problem with it as long as I was careful putting the boots on in the beginning.
Ski: I don't think I can contribute much on this topic as I haven't had enough experience with other types of boots for a proper comparison. I agree with what other reviewers said.
Skinning: Enough said, pretty awesome. I want to add that I liked to hike in them just fine, felt light and agile. On the snow it felt like the best footwear period, way better than regular plastic climbing boots.
Crampon fit: As was mentioned in the previous reviews, these will not fit your regular automatic crampons. My solution was a taking rear and upper parts from different crampons accumulated in my basement and coming up with a combination that fits perfectly. Not a solution for everybody but worked very well for me.
Overall: I would definitely buy these again. I think you have to realize what they are, and ski them in all conditions
I wanted to review these boots from a viewpoint of a moderate ski tourer. I'm not a racer, not an endurance athlete, not particularly strong guy. I've used these boots a lot, probably well over 200,000K vertical now. Resort skinning and touring for two seasons in WA, CO, and New England. To give you an idea, I've skied a few 14ers and a bunch of 13ers in CO, Baker and Shuksan in WA in these boots. Frankly, I doubt that I could get up those mountains in heavier boots! So basically,
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