Dave Simpson, from Scarpa PR, called me last week to see if I wanted to test some of Scarpa’s new boot offerings for the 07/08 season. I have been skiing Scarpas for the past few years now and they tend to fit my foot well, so I jumped at the chance.
Dave had a pretty good selection of models down at the Base Camp Communications office, located in ‘West’ Jackson, and I decided to start off with some Spirit 4s and then move on to some F3s once the hike-to-ski ratio increases as the snow melts. I currently ski Spirit3s in the BC, so it will be a good comparison to the new four-buckle model.
Today is kind of a ‘healing day’ in the mountains around here, but I managed to get out for a lap on the pass and my first outing in the Spirit 4s. My initial impression was that I really didn’t feel the 4.7 ounce/pair weight increase from the Spirit 3. I guess because weight is not the main concern when choosing a four-buckle boot like the Spirit 4.
I did feel a difference in skiing performance though, and I felt like I had a bit more control in the dust-on-crust conditions today. The Spirit 4s also felt as if they where taller than the 3s, but a side-by-side comparison shows the shells to be nearly identical, with the lower buckle position being the only difference. The Spirit 4 shell is made with a stiffer version of Pebax, and that is how it gets most of its increased stiffness.
The Spirit 4 will come with a stiffer, one-piece tongue, in addition to the stock flexible one. I have some of these stiffer tongues for my Spirit 3s, but I find I don’t use them much for touring, but at least it is an option. The overall fit feels similar between the two models, but next years Scarpas will come with a new thermo-moldable liner, made with better materials, and a nice minimalist ‘sole’, for when wearing the liners at camp, or a quick trip out of the tent to relieve oneself. I think it would be a cool option to have even more of a sole stuck onto the liners, with more side protection and even more waterproofness. I think I would be less apt to bring booties on overnight trips if so…just a thought.
Anyway, the Spirit 4’s will go for $669 next year, $30 more than the Spirit3’s. Today was just a bootpack day, but I will continue to use these boots to get a bitter feel for their ski-ablity as well as skin-ablity. Off the bat though, I think they fit in well as a quiver boot for BC gear gurus dedicated to Dynafit bindings…to drive the biggest skis on the fattest of days. The Scarpa Spirit 4’s will also work nice for someone that wants one boot for both the area and the BC, cuz it is plenty stiff for the hardpack…IMHO.
That is the boot I have been hoping Scarpa would make. 4 buckle, Dynafit compatible, and not a Garmont (nothing against Garmont, they just don’t fit my feet).
Time to start saving my pennies.
Add some F3s…and you’ve got a quiver! 😉
What do you think of the Kilo Watt skis?
The more I ski them…the more I like them. I think this pair will get some Dynafits and replace my Havocs in the line-up next season.
Any comments on the new intuition liner? It seems that they take up more volume in the boot. Maybe that is the extra “height” you felt in the new spirit 4. Anyway, did you have space in your spirit 3’s last year near the top of the boot, between the liner and plastic? It looks like you added a booster strap, is the liner/extra space why?
Vertically…yes…there is space from the top of the shell/plastic to the top of the liner.
Horizontally…no…there isn’t any extra space between the shell and the liner…if that is the question. I added the Booster Straps to where the regular strap goes. It’s supposed to add a more progressive flex.
Did I answer your question??
Yeah, kinda. I think I’m looking for your opinion here. Do you think that space affected the boot’s flex? Also, I’d love your hear your comparison between the Spirit 3, Spirit 4, and your new Zzeros. I think I’d be all over the Zzero’s C’s but the price tag is killer. Is it worth it?
Not sure where the ‘height’ thing came from anymore. As I said…they measured up the same.
I think the Zzero C is worth the cash if weight is of great importance to you. Honestly…I think there are minor differences in all three of the boots and a good skier should be able to adapt to all of them. If the boot fits…ski it!! 🙂
good point…. thanks steve
any comment about the upper plastic buckles ?
did you suspect it as a potential failure point after several seasons of intensive use ?
Not really. Mine have held up over the years. The cable ones Scarpa uses on some models used to break all the time though.
Thank you for the side by side 3 to 4 comparison, it has been my biggest question in my shopping. I’m a former dirt bag NY ski racer gone CO BC pinhead. Though I do everything well on the tele’s, some friends are encouraging me to AT. I’m looking into getting AT(dynafit) boots for the Colorado steep spring descents. It does seem convenient to have tails which won’t sluff away in the steep heavy corn. It is harder to get excited about the CO winter sub 30 slope angle powder days with my heels locked down. Maybe I aught to buy AT stuff, selle the tele, and move to the Tetons. That would make me a quitter wouldn’t it?
You’re welcome Evan. I’d probably go for the 3s over the 4s. There are plenty of stiffer, Dynafit compatible boots out there if that is my priority and a black tongue will make the 3s a lot stiffer if you need it.
A quitter moving to the Tetons? Maybe just a north Texan. 😉
Like Evan, I too am considering the switch from tele to AT for CO inbounds and bc. I’m interested in the spirits because my T3’s have treated me well up to this point. Can you elaborate on why you think the 3 is better than the 4? I didn’t follow your comment. The price is lower which is nice for the budget.
Thanks for the great site.
I think if you can get the black tongue, there would be little noticed performance difference between the 3 and the 4…and you would save the weight of the extra buckle…that at the very from of the boot…may or may not do anything for you. The shells of the 4’s are supposedly stiffer plastic…but I don’t thin enough to really notice …especially if you toss in the black tongue.
Hope this helps!!