The dirty little secret in the Amer Sports conglomerate is that Salomon built the Arc'teryx Procline boot, and contributed heavily in its design as well. The sporting mad-scientists up in Vancouver certainly were the conceptual drivers, and the concept here has revolutionary potential. New for winter 17/18 are the black and improved Salmon X Alp boots. The S/Lab model is 100 grams lighter then the Explore model despite having a beefier, cam-locking, 50mm booster strap, thanks to a carbon-for-plastic substitution in the cuff. The big strap and carbon spine will provide improved precision and power on the down.
The lateral release is a game changer for ski mountaineers, particularly those who frequent mixed rock or ice climbs in their ascents. Lateral release is essentially that when the boot is in walk mode, the ankle can bend inwards and outwards as well as fore and aft. With a 35 degree lateral articulation range (23 out/12 in), the X Alp boots are bridging the gap even further between high performance ski gear and naturally moving climbing boots.
Don't sleep on the fact that this is a Salomon ski boot. Sure there may be climbers headed for remote ice that may take only this shoe, but this thing can ski. You won't be driving a resort powder board in these babies, but there is more than enough stiffness to ski that new S/Lab X Alp ski or something comparable on a steep and remote piece of snow somewhere. We appreciate the fact that Salomon didn't attempt to tag these with a flex number, since flex is an arbitrary number that can be more madening than helpful. Come try on the S/Lab X Alp boot and see if 360 degree articulation in a boot under 1200 grams is what your feet, ankles, lungs have been begging for.
|Forward Lean||14 degrees|
|Cuff Articulation||75 degrees (35 lateral)|
|Buckles||2 Buckle with Power strap|
|Binding Compatibility||Tech, AT|
|Manufactuer Warranty||2 years|
For my first use with the S/Lab X-Alp, I took them up the north face of North Maroon and the day after up South Maroon with a descent of the East Face to the Bell Chord. These boots were amazing with skinning, bootpacking, scrambling, and skiing down. At no point did I feel these boots would compromise my speed on the uphill, control on the climbs, and capacity to descend with critical jump turns.