WHAT IS SKI MOUNTAINEERING?Ski mountaineering represents the evolution of alpine skiing, as it merges skiing with mountaineering. The excursion includes an uphill stage and then a downhill stage, with various degrees of difficulty depending on your level. The uphill stage is aided by sealskins worn under your skis, which help your skis glide upwards, but then stop them once you've taken your step. Therefore, the boots must allow the ankle to move in order to be used in this way, which also helps you walk in any links on your route. However, when it comes to tackling the descent, the skins are removed and the boots are worn in the correct way, so you can fully savour the experience of skiing on fresh snow. Thanks to the wide variety of routes, you can find excursions for all skiing abilities.
Ski mountaineering boots, also known as Skialp or Skimo boots, are a close relative of ski boots and are made up of a few main parts:
WHAT DO SKI MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS CONSIST OF?
- The shell, the area where the foot rests, created with cutting-edge materials and guaranteeing sensitivity and control;
- The cuff, from the ankle up, wraps around the calf and is responsible for guiding the skis;
- The liner, the link between the foot and the boots, provides comfort and warmth. The entire SCARPA collection features liners that are the result of an exclusive ski mountaineering collaboration with the brand Intuition, which produces thermoforming materials (which adapt to heat), ensuring the complete customisation of the fit to your foot;
- The Ski-Walk System, the mechanism that allows you to switch between the two modes by adjusting the mobility of the cuff;
- The levers, also called hooks, are the mechanical systems that fasten the boots and can be adjusted down to the millimetre. Depending on the number of levers, the ski mountaineering boots change in terms of weight and downhill performance. They may be racked, Velcro or integrated with the BOA technology. The latter type of lever features a pressure ratchet, which allows the boots to be fastened by simply pushing and then turning a dial. Once unlocked, on the other hand, it releases the fastening and allows the boots to be opened without difficulty.
- Sole: as with our trekking boots, a compound that offers grip and safety at all times is necessary, both with or without crampons.
In order to choose the right boots for your needs, you need to understand the style of ski mountaineering you intend to practice. Secondly, you need to look for the right size and then adapt the boots to your feet.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE SKIALP BOOTS?
Largely speaking, ski mountaineering styles differ depending on the duration and altitude difference of the excursion, on whether the focus is on the climb or the descent, on the skis and the ability of the skier.
This is the link between alpine skiing and mountaineering, dedicated to people are approaching the world of fresh powder for the first time or want to do both sports with the same boots. This is comfortable, warm, suitable for all levels and compatible with both types of binding.
All-round ski mountaineering
This represents classic ski mountaineering, for anyone who is looking for the perfect combination of agility when going uphill and pure happiness when going downhill. These boots combine two features to offer comfort, responsiveness and control of your skis. They go best with high-performance, multi-purpose skis, including those that are fairly wide.
Tour lite, fast ski mountaineering
The sporty ski mountaineer best espouses the Tour lite philosophy of speed, both uphill and downhill. In order to experience such adventures, the boots must be lightweight, technical and reliable. They pair best with light skis with narrow width.
Competitive ski mountaineering
In this instance, only one thing matters: the stopwatch. Ski mountaineers focused on competitive and professional performance continually challenge themselves, which steers them toward a boot that is pared down to the basics. The focus is on time, which is why the boots must offer unparalleled agility and lightness. They must be paired with “racing” skis.
HOW TO FIND YOUR CORRECT SIZE?
The right size of skialp boots is the one that fits your feet perfectly. The sizing chart used is MONDOPOINT, which corresponds to length in centimetres. Once you’ve got the right length, the Last (width of the sole ranging from 99 to 102) must be taken into account when making your choice. To choose the stiffness, on the other hand, you have to understand the skiing ability, selecting a softer model for newbies or a stiffer model for the more expert.
HOW TO ADAPT THE BOOTS TO YOUR FEET?
In order to adapt the boots to your feet, you can work with the thermoforming, on the ramp angle and on the forward lean. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to get yourself in the closest condition to when you will use them (socks, insole if any is to be used, etc.) and then proceed with the modifications.
What is meant by thermoforming?
“Thermoforming boots” means customising the shape of the liner using heat. The boots are made using high-tech materials that guarantee comfort and heat insulation, yet which also respond to high temperatures. By heating your boots, the ability of the materials to change their shape is activated. Once heated, it is inserted into the shell and worn for a few minutes, thereby creating the shape of every individual’s foot.
What does ramp angle and forward lean mean?
Ramp angle is the tilt of the heel compared to the base of the boots. Therefore this parameter affects the skier’s centre of gravity on the skis, the position of their joints, and their resulting motor response. As this angle increases, it facilitates a downhill position. Forward lean, on the other hand, is the angle of the cuff in comparison to the boot board. Both parameters can be adjusted by the wearer to offer complete product personalisation.
Once you have purchased your ski mountaineering boots, you need to adjust the binding of your skis to the new size and, last but not least, move on to choosing your next excursion.
To find out even more technical details, or identify which boots are the best for you, you can find out all the information in our Boot Guide page.