2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

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lilcliffy
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Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by lilcliffy » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:04 pm

So I really pushed these boots yesterday and today. Very deep snow- faster snow today than yesterday.
We have heavy snow coming down again tonight!!

Have an epic gruelling hillcountry tour planned for tomorrow with these boots and my Ingstad BC.

Some initial impressions:
- the sole of the Guard is softer than the Alaska BC- but still stable and supportive. The Guard is perhaps a little stiffer than the Svartisen BC- definitely stiffer than my Rossi BCX6.
- the upper is more supportive on the Guard than the Alaska. Just feeling by hand they seem about the same- but, once laced up the full-grain, full leather of the Guard offers more ankle support than the Alaska. The leather is thicker and more supportive on the Guard than the Svartisen. The rigid carbon-plastic cuff and buckle on the Svartisen offers more ankle support, but with very problematic pressure points when tightened right up- the Svartisen has much less support than the Guard and the Alaska when the cuff is let out for XC skiing.
- the Guard is VERY comfortable and form-fitting with its contoured heel, foam lined heel-ankle and full-grain leather. Equal in comfort to the Alaska- without the rigid seams and pressure points of the Svartisen.
- the lacing system on the Guard is second to none- fantastic. I find the Alaska very good as well- especially on the most recent model with the open locking cleat. The lacing system on the Svartisen is a real pain in the arse.
- although I have always found the Alaska very warm- the Guard is even warmer. The large volume of the Guard allows them to be customized for changing temps as well with different insoles and socks. At the moment, I have my thick supportive and contoured wool insole in the Guard which allows me to use a single mid-thick sock. If it was EXTREMELY cold I could switch out for a thinner insole and add more sock insulation or perhaps even a thin liner...
- with its combination of large volume, contoured and cushoined interior shape, trainable leather, and excellent lacing- the Guard is a highly adaptable touring boot!

I am thrilled with this boot so far!
Is it better than the Alaska BC?
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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fisheater
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by fisheater » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:09 am

Gareth, good to know that you have found good fit in your Guard Advance boots. I would be interested in the contoured wool insoles, those sound awesome! I have flat wool insoles in the Ski March, and my feet are very happy. Contoured wool insoles would be the shiz! I am assuming they Alfa insoles? Do Alfa and Alpina boot sizes match as far as length?
I think you finally gave me something to complain about my Alaska. On my Alaska the fit so matches my feel and ankles that I fear I wouldn't have room for a contoured wool insole. That would stink, but given the opportunity I would try it out. Contoured wool insoles would not lie around long with me, without a boot to go into.

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lilcliffy
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by lilcliffy » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:26 pm

fisheater wrote:
I would be interested in the contoured wool insoles, those sound awesome! I have flat wool insoles in the Ski March, and my feet are very happy. Contoured wool insoles would be the shiz! I am assuming they Alfa insoles?
20190216_204915.jpg
They are not made by Alfa. The father of a good friend of mine is a shoemaker. He makes these insoles. They are amazing.

Do Alfa and Alpina boot sizes match as far as length?


The footbed length is consistent between all of these boots- at least in Euro sizing. There seems to be some inaccuracies in their Euro-US-UK conversion charts.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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bgregoire
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Location: Rimouski, Québec
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring with lots of turns
Favorite Skis: Fisher E99, Åsnes Ingstad & Cecilie, K2 Wayback 88
Favorite boots: Crispi Sydpolen, Alico Teletour & Alfa Polar
Website: http://living-laponia.tumblr.com

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by bgregoire » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:32 pm

lilcliffy wrote:The father of a good friend of mine is a shoemaker. He makes these insoles. They are amazing.
They sure look AMAZING! Wool? PINK!!! How can I place my order? Seriously!
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM

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lilcliffy
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Posts: 2239
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by lilcliffy » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:41 pm

Ha- yes they are pink- it was the only 42EU he had in stock at the time that I got them. They are two big for my wife and eldest daughter's boots- otherwise they would have already stolen them from me!
They are the perfect mate for my cavernous boots- Guard Advance and Ski March.

They are beautifully hand-made wool insoles. This dude had shoe company for a few decades specializing in orthopedic shoes and insoles. He has retired that business but is still making these insoles at home.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

User avatar
lilcliffy
XCD KNIGHT
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Posts: 2239
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by lilcliffy » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:43 pm

Some more notes on this boot:

The midsole on this boot is considerably softer than the Alaska BC.
I can torque and twist the sole of this boot with my bare hands- I still cannot do that with my Alaska BC after more than 5 seasons of use! The Guard Advance could do with a stiffer and more stable midsole in my opinion- I would gladly accept a little more weight for that extra stability- especially as they get softer with age.

I think that the leather is thicker on the Alaska than the Guard- just from examining it.

Regardless- I am very pleased with the Guard Advance.
I took it on a pretty grueling hill tour on Saturday with my Ingstad BC. The snow was very deep, heavy and wet. Trailbreaking was very intense!

The temperature dropped out of sight on Saturday night and we got some more snow as well.
Sunday's tour was like freaking lightening! Snow was set up, soft, and cold. Kick wax heaven and these boots mated to the Combat Nato was the stuff of dreams.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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bgregoire
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Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:31 am
Location: Rimouski, Québec
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring with lots of turns
Favorite Skis: Fisher E99, Åsnes Ingstad & Cecilie, K2 Wayback 88
Favorite boots: Crispi Sydpolen, Alico Teletour & Alfa Polar
Website: http://living-laponia.tumblr.com

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by bgregoire » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:43 pm

lilcliffy wrote: This dude had shoe company for a few decades specializing in orthopedic shoes and insoles. He has retired that business but is still making these insoles at home.
Ok...very cool! So how can we buy some?!
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM

User avatar
lilcliffy
XCD KNIGHT
XCD KNIGHT
Posts: 2239
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon
Favorite boots: Alpina Alaska; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
Husband, father, farmer and logger

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by lilcliffy » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:46 pm

I will contact them and see how many he might have for sale- and price. (They were given to me as a gift.) He is making them by hand with some sort of press/stitching machine that he made himself apparently!
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.

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fisheater
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by fisheater » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:02 pm

Gareth, I am a 45 Euro, and would gladly pay the the gentleman in dead presidents or pretty colored money with the Queens portrait. To me wool is just a marvelous fabric. I did have some polyester wool blend long johns once that I didn't like, but I have never a quality made wool garment that I didn't really like.

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bgregoire
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Posts: 1048
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:31 am
Location: Rimouski, Québec
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring with lots of turns
Favorite Skis: Fisher E99, Åsnes Ingstad & Cecilie, K2 Wayback 88
Favorite boots: Crispi Sydpolen, Alico Teletour & Alfa Polar
Website: http://living-laponia.tumblr.com

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by bgregoire » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:08 pm

fisheater wrote:Gareth, I am a 45 Euro, and would gladly pay the the gentleman in dead presidents or pretty colored money with the Queens portrait. To me wool is just a marvelous fabric. I did have some polyester wool blend long johns once that I didn't like, but I have never a quality made wool garment that I didn't really like.
Fishm, good one! Group order! Have you ever considered wool knickers? :mrgreen:
I live for the Telemark arc....The feeeeeeel.....I ski miles to get to a place where there is guaranteed snow to do the deal....TM

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