2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

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Stephen
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Ski style: Aspirational
Favorite Skis: Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178)
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance
Occupation: Beyond

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Stephen » Fri Aug 14, 2020 4:46 am

I know this is an older thread, but wasn’t sure it was worth a new post.
I’m looking for new leather NNN BC boots, and there is so much love here for the Alfa Guard that I was really sold on them.
I have already tried the Alpina Alaska, the Alfa Kikut, Alfa Outback, and the Alfa Skarvet. I like the Skarvet best.
I have a wide fore-foot, and it was just barely wide enough so that my foot was not pinched — just barely.
The Alfa website says about the Guard: “This boot is a reinforced model of the classic Skarvet / BC Advance GTX BC ski boots ...” so I was assuming that the Guard was built on the same last and would fit the same.
I can get the Skarvets from local REI, but the Guards would have to come from Europe, with no real option for return / refund.
So I thought, before I pull the trigger on this, I Better Be Sure about the fit, so I called Alfa in Norway.
Fortunately, I found an English speaker (I always feel so lame when I talk to people who know more than one language!).
Anyway, the whole point of this is that the Guard is “built on a slight narrower last,” he said.
The guy I talked to thought I would be better off sticking with the Skarvet.
I wish I could try some on, just to verify that they would be too narrow for me, but not really an option (without flying to Europe!).

On the one hand I’m bummed out about my wide feet keeping me from the pair of the boots I’m lusting after, but at least I didn’t end up with boots that would have been miserable to wear, since I get cold feet all too easily as it is.

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bgregoire
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Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring with lots of turns
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2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by bgregoire » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:21 am

Stephen, I believe most people who have raved about the Guard here have not themselves owned or tried the skarvet. Both are great boots. if I were you I would get the skarvets locally and be happy knowing you own one of the top NNN BC boots ever made.


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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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Johnny
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Location: Quebec / Vermont
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Favorite boots: ALFA Guard Advance, Scarpa TX Comp
Occupation: Full-time ski bum

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Johnny » Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:11 am

From what I understand, the Skarvets are very similar to the Guards, but with less ankle support. It might be enough for what you do...?

Personally, I would recommend you to first try your new Alaskas... Along with the Guards, they are just the finest boots you can get. I spent years skiing with different "high-end" sturdy leather boots... When the Alaskas came out, it felt like heaven. It made everything else totally worthless, especially pins. Take the time to enjoy your Alaskas... Break them in, ski them everywhere and enjoy their greatness... In the meantime, who knows, a pair of Alfas might fall from the sky in the most unexpected moment...
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."





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jyw5
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by jyw5 » Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:59 am

I have a very wide last and narrow heel... requiring 104 in plastic ski boots. I took a chance on the Alfa Guard and I am happy with them. I chose size EU 41. I have their quest core in EU 42 which with a wool footbed fits like a glove with a thin pair of ski socks. The Alfa Guard with a thick wool footbed still requires me to wear a medium smartwool sock. it has a lot of room. I tried on the Skarvet in EU 41 at REI last year. It was about equivalent to my Quest Core EU 42...so my take on it is that

Guard 41 is slightly wider than Skarvet 41 which is about the same as a Quest Core 42.

I don't know how it compares with the Alaskas because they didn't have my size in stock at REI.

The Quest Core is very soft but I love them for spring and summer skiing because I can hike and scramble boulder fields in them as needed. They are extremely comfortable and easy to take off and on...and much cheaper so I don't care that they get scraped up and soaked. I think skiing NNN BC takes alot of practice but if the conditions are decent, the quest core is all you need. For more challenging conditions and colder temps, the Guard is amazing.

Don't know if that helps!

My Alfa Guards matched up with Asnes FT62s and pomoca mohair race skins this winter! A dreamy combo.
FB_IMG_1597475823885.jpg

Skiing in June: (S112, Alfa Quest Core, NNN BC). Great soft slushy snow, steep 30+ degree descent was no problem!
FB_IMG_1597474836054.jpg
FB_IMG_1597474829312.jpg
FB_IMG_1597474520939.jpg





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lilcliffy
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Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon; Madshus Annum; Asnes Comabt Nato
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Crispi Svartisen BC; Scarpa T4
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by lilcliffy » Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:29 am

That terrain is super dreamy man- wow!
I love your laces.
Serious stylish customization going on there.
Your comments on the Quest Core are smart. If one finds a great cheap touring boot- cheap to replace!
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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Stephen
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Ski style: Aspirational
Favorite Skis: Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178)
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance
Occupation: Beyond

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Stephen » Sun Aug 16, 2020 1:37 am

Hi jyw5,
Thanks for posting!
One thing that is confusing is that Alfa seems to have changed their naming scheme, so boots with one name now had a different name in the past. For example, I do not see a Quest Core in their lineup. Maybe it is called something different now?
Anyway, this is pretty much exactly the debate I’m having with myself right now:
I can get the Kikut, or Skarvet (or even Alaska) from REI.
I really like the Skarvet, feels good. (And for me, comfort is the 1st criteria. I don’t care how good it is in some other metric, if it isn’t comfortable and warm, it’s not the boot for me.)
But some here on TT REALLY love the Guard.
I’m not really after stiffer, per se.
But the Guard has some nice attributes: it’s lighter (probably by enough to notice), I heard something about memory foam in the ankle (not sure if the the Skarvet has that), it has a nice leather rand down the entire side (for wear in abrasive conditions — it seems like a full rand is going to conform to the bending of the boot better that the rubber protector at the toe that ends right at a hinge / flex point), and I think it has a more customizable lacing system.
The big minuses are higher cost and difficult availability (and no cushy REI return policy safety net).

I’m still unclear about width for the Guard. I called Alfa in Norway, and the person I spoke to said the Guard is built on a slightly narrower last. I have a wide fore-foot. It’s always a challenge to find a shoe that fits wide enough in the toe box. Yet you think the Guard is wider than the Skarvet? If that is true, it would be fantastic for me and worth the hassle to get the Guards from Europe, because the Skarvets are JUST wide enough for me in the toes and the widest ball-of-my-foot area (although there is plenty of volume).

On top of all that, I see pictures of you skiing steeper terrain in boots that are a step down from the Gaurd or Skarvet, so who needs anything better?! :-)

As for myself, I will be skiing on Asnes Mountain Race 48s and if I can find a good deal, maybe something like a Gamme, or Ousland, so any of these boots are probably more than adequate (but light is nice and that’s the Guards).

jyw5, I know you already laid down a lot of information, but if you (or anyone else) can make a direct, bullet point comparison of just the Skarvet and Guard that might clarify things for me, that would be great (especially differences in fit).
Thanks

P.S. Does anyone know what the import duty is on a pair of boots from Europe? I saw something on a .gov website that gave me the idea there might be no import duty, if the dollar value is under $800?





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lilcliffy
Posts: 2932
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Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada
Ski style: Nordic backcountry touring
Favorite Skis: Asnes Ingstad BC; Asnes Gamme 54 BC; Asnes Storetind Carbon; Madshus Annum; Asnes Comabt Nato
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Crispi Svartisen BC; Scarpa T4
Occupation: Forestry Professional
Instructor at Maritime College of Forest Technology
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Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by lilcliffy » Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:25 am

bgregoire is one one of our resident Alfa boot experts-

I think that "Quest Core" became the "Rondane"?
https://sportalbert.de/alfa-back-countr ... arke_Alfa)

Though I don't see it posted on the Alfa website- perhaps it has been discontinued?
https://www.alfaoutdoor.com/shop/backcountry
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.





User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 2932
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; Madshus Annum; Asnes Comabt Nato
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance BC; Alpina Alaska BC; Crispi Svartisen BC; 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 » Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:34 am

bgregoire wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:21 am
Stephen, I believe most people who have raved about the Guard here have not themselves owned or tried the skarvet. Both are great boots. if I were you I would get the skarvets locally and be happy knowing you own one of the top NNN BC boots ever made.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
This is true for me- I have no experience with the Svarvet/Quest Advance boot.
I bought the "Guard" direct from Alfa in Norway.
The only other boot Alfa boot I gave is the "Kikut".
The Guard is a big step up in stability, support, and warmth over the Kikut- with little weight penalty.
I cannot speak to difference between the Skarvet vs Guard.
I can speak to the value of a full rand. My local backcountry skiing through the hills of the northwoods is very hard on equipment- including boots. The rand not only protects the lower leather of the boot from metal edges- but, also from the bush and icy crust and abrasive snow.
All of my hiking/working/ski touring boots have a protective rand- they just don't last without them- not in the environment that I work and play in!
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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Johnny
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Posts: 2104
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:11 pm
Location: Quebec / Vermont
Ski style: Dancing with God
Favorite Skis: Redsters, Radicals, Objectives and all Asnes skis.
Favorite boots: ALFA Guard Advance, Scarpa TX Comp
Occupation: Full-time ski bum

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Johnny » Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:22 am

Cool J5!
It looks like we have the same skis, same boots, same skins and same pink laces! Who copied who? :D

I can't believe only the two of us here are using Pomoca Race skins... They are just the best, especially in the X-Skin format...

Stephen wrote:
Sun Aug 16, 2020 1:37 am
Does anyone know what the import duty is on a pair of boots from Europe?
If I recall, I paid something like 60$ of duties when ordering the Guards from Norway...
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."





User avatar
Stephen
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:49 am
Ski style: Aspirational
Favorite Skis: Gamme (210), Ingstad (205), Objective BC (178)
Favorite boots: Alfa Guard Advance
Occupation: Beyond

Re: 2019 ALFA Guard Advance GTX M Boots Review

Post by Stephen » Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:37 pm

Jonny, thanks for the $60. That would be maybe 15 or 20% import duty, it seems.
I assume that was into the US, not Canada?





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