New gear highlight: The Arc’teryx backcountry ski boot
Long awaited Arc’teryx Procline backcountry ski boot is here.
Later last year, Arc’teryx announced its foray into backcountry gear. It has recently introduced the avalanche backpack for backcountry skiing and their first pair of backcountry ski boots. Both will be available in the fall of 2016.
The Procline ski boot
Arc’teryx began making footwear in 2013 starting with hiking boots and approach shoes. During testing, they noticed their athletes were taking two pairs of boots with them for their winter mountaineering objectives: a ski boot for the approach, then changing to a climbing boot. They got the idea to make a boot that could transition between climbing, ski touring and descending.
The most innovative feature of this boot is the rear cuff: this cuff, unlike other ski touring boots which use one cuff which wraps around the lower leg, the Procline’s cuff is in two parts. This allows more freedom of movement, as rigidity from the upper part of the boot can be eliminated and allows the ankle to move freely 70 degrees forward and backward and 30 degrees side to side.
This flexibility allows the boot to behave more like a hiking boot, giving better precision when ice climbing and traction for ski touring. For example, this would be great on skinning up wind hammered snow, which can be as hard as concrete. The ability to move your foot with lateral flex will allow you to let the ski follow the natural line of the slope while allowing your foot to stay straight.
To put the boot in ski mode, a cable wrapped around the whole boot tightens, locking both cuffs together and stiffening the boot. There is also a powerstrap which is slightly elastic and uses a mechanical hook and cam system instead of velcro. They have comparable downhill performance to similar three-buckle touring boots.
The boots have a sticky Vibram sole good enough to stick on rock for climbing and are crampon compatible.
The boot has a waterproof gaiter built in, which is another first for a ski boot. If you’ve ever had to wade through a creek with your skis, you will surely appreciate this feature. How it works: after lacing the removable liner, a waterproof zipper seals the boot from top to bottom.
Of course the worst part of this is the price. These boots will range in price from $750 to $1000 per pair.
Also, read about Arc’teryx avalanche backpack. Both items will be available fall/winter 2016.
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