Alpina Alaska 75 boots

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lilcliffy

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Re: Alpina Alaska 75 boots

Postby lilcliffy » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:05 pm

You have ignited a spark in me to try these boots as a true telemark boot. I have been using the Alaska as an off-trail backcountry-xcountry boot with NNNBC bindings for 3 seasons. I am in love with this boot (actually my wife often asks me- are you in love with those boots?).

After your passionate words regarding the joy of the trad feel of the Alaska in a telemark setup- I am convinced that I need a pair of Alaska 75mm boots!

Good stuff.
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Johnny

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Re: Alpina Alaska 75 boots

Postby Johnny » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:22 am

I'm am totally in love with them. So much that I now have two pairs of Alaska 75's, one size 44 and one size 43... 8-)

My actual goal is to save enough nickels and dimes to get the NNN BC version next winter...

So, how's the tele scene in NB?
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lilcliffy

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Re: Alpina Alaska 75 boots

Postby lilcliffy » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:11 am

If you love them with the 75mm tele bindings- you won't believe the kick and glide performance of the Alaska with the NNNBC binding. The NNNBC binding allows the complete extension of the Nordic stride. This is the ultimate xcountry skiing experience: rolling terrain, deep, soft snow, Alpina Alaska NNNBC boots, 195cm Madshus Annums- you can literally fly!

The tele scene here is variable. There are a few people using big-mtn tele equipment, and skiing at resorts like Crabbe, Farlagne and Sugarloaf- some of them are also going up to the Gaspe and doing some backcountry downhill-orientated runs.

There is a group of people (personal friends) using lighter 3pc tele gear (like me) (with light plastic boots) in Northwestern NB (rugged, steep terrain, lots of snowfall, hardwood-dominated forest). They also do backcountry tours in the Gaspe mountains (Chic-Chocs).

My wife and I do our backcountry mountain skiing in northwestern NB, Gaspe (Chic-Chocs) and the Laurentians (Saguenay). With our young family (we have 4 children- the youngest is 1 year old)- we have not made it to the mountains in QC for a couple of seasons.

So- most of our skiing is out of our backyard in central NB: lots of snow fall, rolling terrain, mixed forest. There is endless, 100s of km tours, of backcountry skiing opportunity in central and northern NB. (the weather and snow are less dependable closer to the Coast). The backcountry-xcountry skiing from my doorstep is second to none (IME)!

Due to the terrain of my backyard skiing; my everyday skiing has more of a kick and glide performance-focus; than downhill-telemark performance-focus. My family and I are all on long, backcountry skis, NNNBC bindings, and burly boots. Up until a few years ago- I reserved "hybrid" xcountry-telemark skis (e.g. Fischer S-Bounds; Karhu XCDs) for a telemark setup in mountainous terrain. Eventually I got fed up with the poor performance of trad double-camber skis in deep soft snow. So- now soft, 1.5 and single-cambered XCD skis are in our regular everyday use. For example; I regularly use the Annum (Karhu Guide) in a 195cm with NNNBC bindings- especially after a big snowfall (expecting 30+cm on Saturday!)
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CIMA

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Re: Alpina Alaska 75 boots

Postby CIMA » Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:07 am

Alpina Alaska boots seem nice, but I'm a little concerned about their usability and thermals related to their exposed laces and tongues. Wholly-covered design like Rossignol BC X-10 looks more attractive for me as I've already got used to my Salomon X-adv 8.
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lilcliffy

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Re: Alpina Alaska 75 boots

Postby lilcliffy » Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:52 am

Hi CIMA- the Alaska has a heavy-weight bootie beneath the leather. This bootie has a mid-layer of heavy-weight thinsulate, wrapped in an outer layer of "Alpitex". Alpitex is a waterproof breathable membrane (IME it really works). The exposed sections of the Alpitex reveal the outer shell to be a rugged weave. (I have more than 1500kms on my current pair- I think the leather may wear out before the synthetic inner bootie- not that I am worried about the leather). These boots are breathable and seriously warm. A little bit of searching and you will find blogs and reviews of skiers using the Alaska in Arctic expeditions (with an overboot).

There are many reasons why I prefer a leather boot- comfort, custom fit, responsive "feel" of the performance, breathable. The breathable part is a huge issue with comfort and warmth. I have tried a number of synthetic/composite backcountry Nordic boots (Salomon, Rossi, Fischer, Alpina)- they do not breathe- and after several hours in very cold weather my feet start to freeze. This would be a disaster on a multi-day trip. My "mountain" 3pc setup is based around plastic boots with a removable liner (T4s)- you can remove the liner at night and dry them out.

No matter how much my feet sweat- the Alaska's dry out in just a few hours, with the insoles out.

The leather is "mountaineer"-grade 2.8mm. I have been treating them Zamberlan hydrobloc (this product does not damage or inhibit the waterproof breathable liner). These boots are now perfectly broken in- but the leather is still very supportive.

The lack of lace cover does mean that the laces wear. At approximately 1500kms my original laces are still intact (and my skiing is a bit brutal- lots of spruce-fir abrasion)- but I do wear a full gaiter over the boot. The gaiter is primarily to keep snow out of my pants, and especially to protect the lower section of my pants from some severe coniferous abrasion! That being said- my laces are starting to look stressed and will need to be replaced soon. By the way- the mountaineering-boot style lace pulleys and cleats work great.

As many people have pointed out the Alaska is a large-volume boot- designed to accommodate high-volume feet (this is the predominant trend in shoe/boot design). If you are unfortunate enough to have low-volume feet (like me!) then you have to train the thick leather tongue of the Alaska to slide underneath the sides of the boot, when you are lacing up. Now that my Alaskas are fully broke-in, I have a perfect custom fit.

As LoveJohnny has pointed out the Alaska is a "soft" boot. It is not as laterally stiff as an "old school" leather tele boot. However, as LoveJohnny so lovingly points out- the Alaska has more feel than old school leather telemark boots (that never really broke in enough for a custom fit)- he feels they offer better performance as a result. That being said, the Alaska is the sturdiest, most supportive, non-hard plastic, Nordic boot that I have tried. I find it more supportive than the Salomon X-Adv8, Rossi BCX10 and the Fischer BCX6 (which are very similar in support- the Rossi BCX6 has no lateral ankle support at all). I do not know how the Alaska compares to the Fischer BCX8 in support- as I have never tried it.

MikeK's reporting on the Crispi Svartisen suggests that it is more sturdy and supportive than the Alaska.

The Alpina Rep describes the Alaska as a heavy-duty Nordic backcountry-xcountry boot- with the balance of performance more towards striding than steering. This is my experience as well. However; as LoveJohnny points out- I am routinely surprised at the feel and control in a tele turn (when I get it right).

I have the NNNBC version for my off-trail xcountry setup. I am now very keen to try the Alaska with my 3PC setup. I am looking to buy another pair of skis first though!

As LoveJohhny points out- we should be sponsored by Alpina! :D
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Re: Alpina Alaska 75 boots

Postby MikeK » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:32 pm

Thanks again lilcliffy - that is some excellent technical info about the Alaska.

Having these boots I'll echo the fact that they are super warm. I have sweaty feet, and I believe sweaty feet leads to blisters. I've never had my feet get to that point with these boots. Never too cold, never too hot and no blisters!

I don't recall exactly what I wrote about the Svartisen, but it doesn't fit like Alaska does. It doesn't have that slipper-like conformity. It is still much, much better than the old style leather boots in terms of both conformity and support. It's probably half way in between an Alaska and an older Asolo boot. Not perfect, but much improved. It's real plus over the Alaska is the increased bill/sole torsional stiffness and ankle support. We all know the Alaska has relatively no ankle support (great for kick and glide though). It also has a breathable GoreTex liner which I found to be adequate for breath-ability. I will say my foot took longer to warm up in the Svartisen though - I don't feel it has the insulation like the Alaska. Both are acceptable for laced boots.

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Re: Alpina Alaska 75 boots

Postby MikeK » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:00 pm

Oh blast - I forgot to add my comments about boot volume.

I have a high volume and wide foot. The Alaska feel low volume to me. It's tight in the width and instep... but it's tolerable.

The Svartisen is very high volume. It's the first ski boot I've tried that is actually a bit more volume and width for the length of my foot. Oddly enough I can't wear this boot as tight as I do my Alsaska, it gives me cramps. My foot isn't sliding around in there, but it doesn't feel as snug as the Alaska does.

I wish I understood foot science - because it baffles the heck out of me...

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CIMA

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Re: Alpina Alaska 75 boots

Postby CIMA » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:44 am

lilcliffy wrote:I have tried a number of synthetic/composite backcountry Nordic boots (Salomon, Rossi, Fischer, Alpina)- they do not breathe- and after several hours in very cold weather my feet start to freeze. This would be a disaster on a multi-day trip. My "mountain" 3pc setup is based around plastic boots with a removable liner (T4s)- you can remove the liner at night and dry them out.

I agree.
I have T4 and Salomon Xadv 8, and they are not very good in chilly days.
Though Crispi Jokulen and Svartisen have Goretex linings, I don't know much about their thermal performance.
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lilcliffy

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Re: Alpina Alaska 75 boots

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:58 pm

I actually find the T-4s very warm. Being able to take the liners out to dry them is a big advantage.
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lilcliffy

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Re: Alpina Alaska 75 boots

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:58 pm

I actually find the T-4s very warm. Being able to take the liners out to dry them is a big advantage.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry


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