Stiffer Boot for Xplore

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JohnSKepler
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Favorite Skis: Voile Objective BC, Rossignol BC 80
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Stiffer Boot for Xplore

Post by JohnSKepler » Tue Jun 04, 2024 12:19 pm

My experiment with the Alfa Free is dunzo*. I love the concept, love the BOA, love the way they tour, but it's a one-way love - at least with my right heel. It's really sad because they are SOOOO good on my left foot. I've done a lot of experimenting to stop the calcaneus blister on my right heel but to no avail. It's like dating a pretty girl who treats me like _ _ _ _. Dunzo.

I also like the Alaska Alpina Xplore. Fits great, doesn't give me blisters, but sometimes you just need a little more support. Skiing the Voile Objective with Xplore, for instance.

What are the current offerings for an Xplore xcD boot? It doesn't really feel like the Alpina Pioneer Pro ever really materialized, kind of like their Explore ski. Did the Pioneer Tech ever break demo? Both boots have more reviews than they have places to buy! There's the Alfa Skaget and Lundhags Abisku. I'm hesitant to try another Alfa foot-grinder and the Abisku is hard to get in the US and I don't know about sending them back to Finland.

Is there anything else out there I might try? Maybe somewhere I can find a Skaget, Abisku, or one of the Pioneer boots here in the U.S.? Maybe even somewhere outside CONUS where I can be relatively sure that it can be returned and get my money back. Of course, I won't be trying anything until, probably November, but wearing it around the office and maybe on an elliptical can give me an idea at least.

Dunzo:
Veni, Vidi, Viski

mca80
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Re: Stiffer Boot for Xplore

Post by mca80 » Tue Jun 04, 2024 1:38 pm

According to a prior US distributor of Lundhags with whom I spoke they are no longer available in the US period, and won't be. Same person (as well as others here) said they are hands down the best boots. Might be worth the effort to get them shipped from Finland. If they don't fit in your living room at least you will then know; and if they do, then you know.



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JohnSKepler
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Occupation: Rocket Scientist

Re: Stiffer Boot for Xplore

Post by JohnSKepler » Tue Jun 04, 2024 1:58 pm

mca80 wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 1:38 pm
According to a prior US distributor of Lundhags with whom I spoke they are no longer available in the US period, and won't be. Same person (as well as others here) said they are hands down the best boots. Might be worth the effort to get them shipped from Finland. If they don't fit in your living room at least you will then know; and if they do, then you know.
And I’ll be able to sell them here at a 100% markup!
Veni, Vidi, Viski



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Stephen
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6’3” / 191cm — 172# / 78kg, size 47 / 30 mondo

Re: Stiffer Boot for Xplore

Post by Stephen » Tue Jun 04, 2024 6:05 pm

Is it just a blister, or blister + pain?
If just blister, there is tape that I and others have used successfully to eliminate blisters until the boot wears in (maybe 100+ miles), and/or the heel toughens up.

For me, the Free works pretty well.
As I have said before, my biggest gripe is that there is no way to cinch the heel tight, independent of the two BOA adjustments.



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fisheater
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Re: Stiffer Boot for Xplore

Post by fisheater » Tue Jun 04, 2024 7:43 pm

Hey, @JohnSKepler Didn’t you buy an F-1? I’m just saying for the Objective, it’s light, great ROM, it will take a while to break in.
If you don’t like the F-1, let me know what size, I wouldn’t mind a second pair. Well, mine are F-1 Race, I wouldn’t mind at all having a “stiff” pair with a tongue!
I hope you have a great summer!



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telerat
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Re: Stiffer Boot for Xplore

Post by telerat » Wed Jun 05, 2024 10:18 am

I have both Alfa Free and Skaget. My impressions are here:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4512&p=68806#p68806
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=6448

Alfa Free does not give me blisters at all, but does crunch my toes. It is noticeable when just flexing the boot on the foot, but especially with the hard flex that I think is mandatory to get the full downhill performance from the boot. I would prefer more heel retention too, and also a bit more height and perhaps more warmth, but the flex is what really needs fixing in my opinion; it is too far forward and localized, but I still bought a used pair to see if they can work for me. My wife also tried on a pair of Alfa Free and loved the BOAs and the fit, but the toe crunch keeps her from buying them even at a steep discount. She also has blister issued with almost any boot, so it also sounds like that could also be an issue with this boot.

Alfa Skaget is very supportive for a pure leather boot and both my wife and me like it very much. We use it both with 50-55mm waist skis, as well as Asnes Falketind XP on softer snow. The original Skaget had a very nice lacing system in my opinion, but the latest is similar to Alpina Alaska which I do not like. The heel cup is hard and not padded, so that may be an issue with regard to blisters. My wife did however avoid blisters in her Skaget, at least until this Easter when we did a longer and steeper tour. Alfa Free has a stiff shaft that can not be bent, while Skaget also has good it will bend, but the sole will flex much better. The rest of those boots feels pretty comparable with regard to support.

Is Crispi available in US? If so the Crispi Futura Pro/CPX is the obvious alternative to Alfa Free. It has a ratcheting strap for heel retention, in addition to regular lacing. It is different and not as elegant as Free (IMO), but worth checking out. Neither Alpina Pioneer Tech nor Lundhags Abisku Guide seems like equivalent boots, but I have not tried them. I did manage to try on the Pioneer Pro and it was not a supportive boot.


A light boot like the Scarpa F1 seems like a very good fit to the Objective for all-round skiing, but for longer tours on mellow terrain Xplore and Alfa Free also seems very nice. I have too little soft snow to buy such a setup, and would likely choose steeper terrain on such snow days anyway.
Last edited by telerat on Fri Jun 07, 2024 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.



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JohnSKepler
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Occupation: Rocket Scientist

Re: Stiffer Boot for Xplore

Post by JohnSKepler » Thu Jun 06, 2024 1:47 pm

fisheater wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2024 7:43 pm
Hey, @JohnSKepler Didn’t you buy an F-1? I’m just saying for the Objective, it’s light, great ROM, it will take a while to break in.
If you don’t like the F-1, let me know what size, I wouldn’t mind a second pair. Well, mine are F-1 Race, I wouldn’t mind at all having a “stiff” pair with a tongue!
I hope you have a great summer!
I love the F1. Favorite boot for resort skiing and much of my xcD. I've toured in it quite a lot, too. Here at the end of the season we've had some low angle stuff available and I "rediscovered" the joy of really, light touring. I just can't do it in the Free. It really tears up my right heel, @Stephen, and is quite painful! And Crispi's don't tend to fit me well at all.

Getting my projects lined up for summer. I want to revisit the cable for Xplore. I decided it wasn't going to work with the standard Xplore sole. It just isn't designed for that. But I think I've figured a work-around. Also want to experiment with putting scales on skis. I'll find a pair of beaters and learn on those.
Veni, Vidi, Viski



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John_XCD
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Re: Stiffer Boot for Xplore

Post by John_XCD » Thu Jun 06, 2024 3:53 pm

is it real??

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=alpina%2Bxpl ... nb_sb_noss

size 43 only for pioneer



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fisheater
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Re: Stiffer Boot for Xplore

Post by fisheater » Thu Jun 06, 2024 8:38 pm

@JohnSKepler I’m think you may have seen this, but I encourage you you look again a Johnny’s report on Xplore boots. It is very spot on, in regards to boots I know.
Perhaps the easy button is to follow Johnny’s advice. I mean the man can ski, and he demos lots of equipment!

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=5668&p=59262#p59262



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telerat
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Location: Middle of Norway
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Favorite Skis: Any ski suitable for telemark or backcountry skiing, with some side-cut for turning.
Favorite boots: Scarpa plastic telemark. Asolo and Alfa leather boots.

Re: Stiffer Boot for Xplore

Post by telerat » Fri Jun 07, 2024 4:53 am

fisheater wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2024 8:38 pm
@JohnSKepler I’m think you may have seen this, but I encourage you you look again a Johnny’s report on Xplore boots. It is very spot on, in regards to boots I know.
Perhaps the easy button is to follow Johnny’s advice. I mean the man can ski, and he demos lots of equipment!
Johnny might demo a lot of equipment, but he has his own preferences. Of course we all have different preferences and use cases, so there is not an universal answer. If we try to list the properties of different gear, each user can decide for themselves what fits their needs.

Johnny is very enthusiastic and has many times shown his preference for lower and softer boots, so I take that into account when reading his opinions. I too like the feel of a low and light boot, but claiming it has better downhill performance than a stiffer boot like in his chart:
Image
is misleading people. Just as claiming Xplore has superior lateral power than 75mm due to the Springpins being spaced wider apart than 3-pin, ignoring the wider sidewalls of the 75mm bindings:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4071
I prefer the no play, no noise, step-in and -out interface of Xplore to 75mm, but a stiff 75mm boot sole clamped firmly will match Xplore's lateral power even without a cable. The 75mm gear will be heavier and less good for cross-country though. Any gear is a compromise, the question is just how much and if it fits the user and his preferences.

The Pioneer Pro that I tried on in a shop was significantly softer and less supportive than my Alfa Skaget, so unless there is some magic it is not a very good downhill boot. I have not tried it on snow though, and it was very light and soft so it might almost disappear on the foot on more mellow terrain. That is not my use, but others might love it.

I bought a pair of used Alfa Free this winter, even though the flex does not agree fully with my toes. I find it quite light, especially considering the support it gives; it is my lightest boot that gives good support for downhills on firm conditions, and where my telemark gear is overkill. 805 grams for my size 41 Free versus 1742 grams for my size 265 original TX is less than half the weight, as well as lighter bindings and skis giving a much easier uphill. I can flex Alfa Free the knee to the ski even with the hard flex, but that will hurt my toes. Otherwise it is comfortable on my foot and does not give me blisters.

Using the Xplore free pivot plate might reduce blister issues, but the standard flex is quite soft so I am unsure if it would be a significant improvement. I hope you find a solution/boot that works for you.
Last edited by telerat on Mon Jun 10, 2024 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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