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How We Tested Backcountry Ski Boots

By
Tuesday
Testing ski boots for flat light and firm snow control. It's a rough job  but someone has to do it. Skier: Jediah Porter.
Testing ski boots for flat light and firm snow control. It's a rough job, but someone has to do it. Skier: Jediah Porter.

Like all of our review categories, the bulk of our testing is in the terrain and conditions the equipment is designed for. We use the gear just like you will, if not a little more rigorously. Our test team is made up of guides, avalanche professionals, and accomplished ski mountaineers. Our lead test editor, Jed Porter is an IFMGA certified mountain guide working on skis all winter long. In recent testing seasons he has skied in Wyoming, Colorado, California, Alaska, Canada, Peru, and the Alps. Other testers are in similar locations, with additional experience in Washington, the Northeast, and other parts of Europe. To truly assess how ski boots perform in the backcountry, actual backcountry skiing is in order. Exposing the products to harsh conditions and extensive use is key to ascertaining strengths, weaknesses, and issues.

Testing boots sometimes involves a mountain top examination. Here  Jed digs into the details of the Tecnica Zero G on top of Wyoming's South Teton in the start of a big April "atmospheric river" storm.
Testing boots sometimes involves a mountain top examination. Here, Jed digs into the details of the Tecnica Zero G on top of Wyoming's South Teton in the start of a big April "atmospheric river" storm.

We also performed structured, indoors testing. We weighed the boots, noting the weight of a pair of the size 26.5 boots we chose. We wore different boots on different feet, at the same time, to make certain fit and flex comparisons. Finally, we measured the cuff articulation in tour mode. This measurement was made by standing the boot on its sole on a flat, stable surface. We flexed the shell backwards and measured its angle from horizontal with an inclinometer. We then flexed the shells forward and measured the cuff's angle again. The difference is what we report in our chart.


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