The Factor will be at the top of the Power Series food chain
and will handle the demands of hard charging skiers.
Okay…I know I’m the last one to blog about the new Black Diamond boots (sorta), but hey…sometimes you gotta get away from the computer now and then. I haven’t read much about what the other guys have to say about them (I only look at pictures)…so if it’s a re-run…I apologize. Here’s my take so far.
As a BC skier that likes to have a tool for all occasions, I can defiantly see one of the new Power Series boots in my quiver. I’m not sure if I’ll need as much beef as the Factor, since I rarely ski the area (or heli ski for that matter…unfortunate), but I could see the Method fitting into the mix for the occasional day on the lifts, bootpacking up Glory and possibly hauling up to the top of my “worker turn” runs in the Park. The AT boots in the Power Series really turned out nice from a design stand point and I’m excited to see what the Efficiency series will turn out in phase two of BD’s AT boot launch. Although I’m not a huge fan of AT boots with bellows, I have heard some rumors that Black Diamond will offers some models with flexible toes…FYI.
I skied the Factor in Utah a few weeks ago and it skied like a full on alpine boot…which was nice. I was using them with Fristchis, so they should be even more responsive when locked into the rigidity of Dynafit bindings. If I skied the Village more I could see the benefit of using a boot like this instead of true alpine boots. While standing in line for the gondola and hopefully the new tram in 08/09, boots with rubber soles and walk modes make all the more sense. Black Diamond is using their own rubber for the soles, which have tested to be grippier and have better abrasion resistance than what’s already available. The triple density of the shells provided great progressive flex that allows you to absorb and feel the snow…as opposed to giving you shin bang from boots that have stops built into the shells. BD also used Net Shape Fit Technology which means the boots were build from the foot…out. I have a medium-wide foot and the boots fit me well with no pressure points. I’d say the sizing is more in sync with Scarpa as opposed to Dynafit boots, which I think run a bit bigger, but it’s tough to say without a side by side comparison.
The high quality proprietary BD liners were also very nice. Made with three different densities of foam and with a footbed that you wouldn’t just throw away, they will also be offered in four different lasts, Power Fit, Power Fit Light, Efficient Fit and Efficient Fit Light. The BOA closure system held me in the liner nicely and provided immediate transfer of power to the boot as I tried to keep up with the rest of the crew. It will be interesting to see if the BOA mechanism will hold together with the abuse of the huckster crowd. I also wonder if it will be included in the Efficiency series, as I think some will just have a quick, pull type lacing design. Personally, I don’t think I need a lace system in my BC boots. The liners are said to be wearable right out of the box as well as being heat moldable. This is nice from a retail stand point because it sometimes is tough to convey to the customer the fact that the liner will compress when molded. They felt very cushy and have a lot of padding in the tongue, which most liners like this tend to lack…my shins will thank you BD! So far…I think BD is at the top in the liner game…but only time will tell.
The interchangeable “Tech” fittings (Dynafit compatible) felt pretty substantial, but it will only take four screws to hold them in per boot, compared to other brands that need up to eight to keep them locked to the soles. I’m sure the models in the Efficiency Series will have the fittings built in, saving lots of weight, but these boots need to be able to fit into alpine bindings, so I can see why they choose to have the removable option. Something to consider…I wonder if they will be compatible with G3’s rumored AT rig???? Here are some weights of the boots (size 27) with the tech insert fittings. The DIN compatible sole will be sold separately.
Factor: 24-30.5 / 9lb 2oz Method: 24-30.5 / 8lb 12oz Shiva: 23-26.5 / 8lb 12oz
Custom: 24-30.5 / 8lb 6oz Push: 24-30.5 / 8lb 4oz Siletto: 23-26.5 / 8lb 4oz
Seeker: 24.31.5 / 7lb 8oz Trance: 22-26.5 / 7lb 8oz Axis: 24-30.5 / 7lb 3oz
The ski/walk mode will be different than most brands out there. Instead of the usual pin and hole assembly, BD will go with a clamp type system that will also have up to eight degrees of adjustability, in three positions, according to your preferred forward lean needs. The adjustment will be similar to what’s on the F1 from Scarpa, where you unscrew and the move the rear lever up and down according to how much lean you want. It looked bomber and a nice feature since everyone has their own skiing style. Mine tends to be way forward.
The telemark boots were very similar, but with all the AT hype these days, I was surprised BD launched both the Power and Efficiency Series at the same time with the telemark boots instead of AT. Kinda hurts inside. I thought the reverse toe buckle on the telemark boots was a pretty slick and all tele models had very little rocker built into the soles.
I’m hoping to get a pair of the BD boots to ride and test this season, but I’m not holding my breath until they are in my hands. In know I’m not at the top of the list. But if I do get some to try out, feel free to grab a look see if I’m out and about on them in the mountains. I’m going to another BD boot demo in Aspen in a couple weeks though, so I’ll get some more time in them then. Ciao for now!!!