Boot recommendations for long xc ski approach

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  • #6187

    Hi Scott,

    Since much of you background is in xc ski coaching I thought you might be able to field a gear question. I ski about 15 miles into Baxter State Park in Maine each year to go ice climbing. Last year my heels were really bruised by my xc ski boots (pretty basic backcountry setup, 7 year old LLBean) and in my alpine boots-La Sportive Evo’s. Boots and Evos fit pretty well, I think I’m somewhat pushing the limits of the equipment. The ski is mostly snowed-over dirt roads, pretty ice and boney. In any event, I was able to climb my objective, but I really felt those bruises and swelling, and it didn’t make me keen to go after much in the way of secondary objectives. This year I have bigger plans, so I’d really like to find a way to keep my feet in better shape. Do you have any suggestions?


Posted In: Alpinism

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    Anonymous on #6199

    I’m assuming you skied into the climb in the XC boots then switched to your Evo boots? Are the Evos coMfortable? Was the bruising from the old XC boots? Wouldn’t make sense to ski and climb in the same boots? Then your climbing boots won’t be ice cold when you put them on at the climb. We used to use the old Kandahar cable bindings for skiing into climbs. Then we switched to Ramers in 1976 and later Marker M-tour or Silveretta 404 (all of which had just a wire bail in the front and finally to Fritchi touring bindings. The Evo boots have a front and back welt so any you should be able to to any of the old bail types like the Silveretta or Marker. You can probably make Firtichis work too. I’ve only used them plastic double boots.

    If you are determined to use XC ski boots then your old LL Beans and their 3 pin bindings will need to be up graded by about 20 years. There are tons of good medium weight ski touring boots with medium weight toe only bindings. I’m not familiar with the touring models as my experience in the last 30 years has been exclusively with racing boots. A good fit is paramount though.

    For less than the upgrade money to newer XC gear you can probably find a used ski mountaineering set up on eBay.


    Mariner_9 on #6212

    To Scott’s point about ‘A good fit is paramount’, I’d suggest getting the liners of your ski boots heat molded (if you can) and possibly getting boots custom fitted.

    I’d also recommend that, if the boots come with a removable footbed, that you consider upgrading that (either off-the-shelf or custom: about $50 for the former and several hundred for the latter).


    nathanols on #7264

    Sorry, I forgot to say thanks for the advice on this! I will try a combination of both of these approaches-footbeds and some touring gear.

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