Five Stars for sure given the most amazing combination of an extremely light weight and the extremely stiff skiing performance.
And for sure a boot this pricey had better merit five stars, although fortunately I had a medical reason so it’s tax-deductible. Okay, maybe I should consult with an accountant first about such legal matters, but that really is why I bought this boot: on both my Dynafit-rebranded Pierre Gignoux boots and my Alien 1.0 I’d had to shave down all the liner foam in the toe box to squeeze into a 26, and when combined with my toes maybe becoming a mm or so longer over time, plus the crazy Arctic blast we had in New England in December and January this season, I wouldn’t regain sensation in my toes until over an hour after skiing, and I’d go to bed at night still in pain.
Fortunately though these boots are so awesome that I’m almost glad that I went through all that! First, just one caveat regarding a claim in the Skimo Co description: “[…] the integrated gaiter keeps out the snow when you’re breaking trail, obviating the need for gaiter accessories or fancy pants (admittedly we’ll still wear fancy pants).” Even despite how boots this fancy deserve fancy pants – the craftsmanship of the carbon fiber is truly stunning – the 3.0 has been available in two different versions. I’m not sure which version is the “3.1” but my version (unlike the pictured version here) has a relatively low zippered gaiter (which seems quite substantial, in contrast to some other brands that are prone to failure) that definitely does not keep out deep powder while trail breaking though fortunately my tattered 1.0 gaiters work perfectly.
Sizing is confusing given the Euro system, plus I suspect Scarpa translation’s is a bit generous: my 42 Alien 3.0 is listed as the equivalent of a 27, but that would be a really tight 27 compared to any other boot from Scarpa, Dynafit, or PG. The interior length is fine for my 26+ foot and the forefoot is surprisingly slim. To tighten up the instep height up a bit and also modify the fit, I added some padding underneath the lightly padded external tongue on the lower shell, but only on the lateral side. Heel fit has been perfect (and very much unlike how I had to modify my size 26 Alien 1.0 shell in the heel cup). The inner bootie is relatively thick for a race boot, so some potential for additional fit adjustments via molding (although didn’t seem to do much of anything for my fairly slim foot).
Before use, you have to place the foam on the inside of the upper cuff, which has a bit of a grade school arts & crafts feel (and unfortunately my grade school daughter wasn’t available to assist). Three different foam thicknesses are provided, but I highly advise using the thickest of the three. Once you have affixed the foam to the upper cuff, you’ll be amazed at how the upper cuff not only goes very far past vertical yet even approaches horizontal! This can be a bit of a drawback as the long mode switch lever might get embedded in yak dung during your month-long expedition to Whereveristan (or more prosaically in ski resort parking lot mud). Speaking of that lever, Scarpa reverted to the excellent 1.0 design after the failed Tronic experiment on the briefly lived 2.0 predecessor.
Before my first outing, I set the cord far looser than I do on my Alien 1.0 boots, and not even as tight as on my Dynafit RC1 carbon boots. At the top I flicked down the lever and …what?!? I was almost locked into place with nearly zero ankle flexion. I then set the cord even more loosely so I have a bit of give before everything is engaged. Yet even with that much give, the 3.0 still skis so well that an old soft 2012 race ski now absolutely rails on firm groomers like its alpine racing cousins. At the other end of the spectrum, the 3.0 isn’t even remotely challenged while driving my 97mm 168cm Dynafit Denali. During one training session, the cord seemed to have loosed up too much on my first descent. Inside the lodge, I pulled up my race suit gaiter and … actually, the large loop on my figure-eight-on-a-bit had slipped off the hook entirely. Yes, that’s right, the 3.0 still skied okay with the forward closure provided only by my lycra race suit!
The downside is that those awkward backcountry maneuvers while still in ski mode for herringboning, sidestepping, etc., are even more awkward in such a stiff boot. And don’t even consider this boot if you’re picky about having a “progressive” flex pattern.
Durability is mainly speculative at this point with only ~118,000’ vertical, but the identical walk/ski mechanism on my 1.0 is still perfectly fine after nearly 1.1’ million vertical. And the 3.0 sole rubber seems just as substantial on the 1.0, which is still almost pristine despite lots of travel over various non-snow surfaces.
Hi Jonathan, thanks for pointing out the gaiter issue. Indeed, the version now shipping has a different, lower gaiter. We've just uploaded all new photos. We recommend wearing fancy pants!
Huh, so I suppose my version is the 3.1!
Also, forgot to mention that for those who are not familiar with them, the Dynafit-supplied "Quick Step-in" toe sockets do provide a bit of an advantage compared to the French and Italian competition for all-carbon boots. I have this style socket on my Alien 1.0 boots but not on my PG boots, and it does make entry a bit easier, as well as reduce the frequency of botched entries with unsteady legs after long race descents.
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