I saved what I think is one of the best AT boots for one of my last boot reviews of the up coming winter and new ski season. This last flurry of boot reviews has been my attempt at a "buyer's guide" for the best of the current AT boots. I'll do at least one follow up on the Spectra, my stripped and lwt TLT 6 and a full review of the Dynafit PDG a bit later after more time on all of them. But this is my last full size AT boot review. Tracy has her own review coming mid winter on ONE boot as well. Her story of a newbie to AT boots should be interesting for anyone contemplating switching full time to tech bindings and AT boots for lift and side country skiing.
That story started here:
The plot continues to thicken with Tracy and more of our industry contacts come on board to sort out her gear selection. Pretty funny actually watching all that happen as she gets over whelmed with all the newest gear I see. Not that she wants any of it mind you. But no question she is getting to see the best available in every category. I can't wait for the first really nasty weather day here in the Cascades. I am expecting a huge smile on her face when she realises just how comfortable her clothing is and how much easier it is to ski on some of the best of the new gear. This while her class mates suffer through some bad weather and dreadful snow conditions. I know I have already BTDT. Fun knowing she won't have to.
First day in the ONE and first skin track for a skier I accosted at Crystal this week. "Love them! No blisters and they are Beautiful!" I too have high hopes for this boot. And a big fan of the color combos myself!
Sorry to get side tracked! Back to the Dynafit's ONE PX review!
Early last winter I started to worry about the durability of my beloved TLT5/ The more I was skiing the more likely it was I would be doing a lift day as easily as I would a BC day. My TLT5s were taking a beating. Knowing all along they were never made to ski on a a lift. By mid winter I decided I had to have a beefier boot that could take the abuse of big days lift skiing. First chair to last when I got out of the house. A spring pass at Crystal was a gimme as my health improved.
After the required visits to Marmot in Bellevue I had decided on the Dynafit Mercury. I wasn't excited about a heavier boot and I hadn't yet been clued in or convinced the Maestrale RS was the boot I really wanted. By the time I finally got the coin together for a new boot the Mercury and the RS were both sold out locally. Seems like a common occurrence in the AT world for all the gear....it is very seasonal for supply and demand. What I learned from that was save your money,,plan early and buy in Sept or October when the first shipments arrive in Colorado. Boulder Colorado the center of the AT universe in North America. Scarpa, La Sportiva and Dynafit are all there.
Anyway no Mercurys to be had for me. But a boot I could get was a Dynafit ONE. I liked how it fit..and more importantly I really liked the progressive flex. At the time I was bummed I couldn't get the Mercury. But I had already decided I didn't need the Mercury's extra tongue or weight. I seldom use the tongue in my TLT5s so why bother. Going farther a ONE won't allow the extra tongue for support ..and it is the lightest boot of the Series. I was sold on a couple of levels. The big one really? I'd like to brag on that progressive flex which I keep talking about in the ONE and other boots. Or how light they are. But it was really the price. Retail for the Mercury is $800. Retail for the ONE is $650. It was enough to ease my bruised ego on the hill of not being one of the cool guys in a Mercury or Vulcan.
Last winter I owned and skied what I considered three BIG skis. A DPS Lotus Pure 138 @ 192cm by 138mm under foot, a Dynafit Huascaran 196cm by 115mm under foot and a DPS Pure RPC 192cm by 115mm. My "stiff" boot as I started the season was the last version of the Dynafit Zzero Carbon. It was the last version of the Green Machine. It was a $1000 boot at retail, stiff and old technology. It was the second AT boot I felt was a major and costly mistake buying, The BD Prime the other. Nice skiing boots but not very friendly touring or in a boot pack. The ONE replaced the Zzero 4 Carbon. I have seldom been happier mailing out a pair of boots even though I took a heavy loss selling them.
Enter the ONE! I wasn't expecting much to be honest. Almost half the price of my Zzero 4s Carbon when it was sale. I knew they would keep my TLT 5 Ps alive for another Spring season. Typically, I was fat, dumb and happy.
Then I made my first run of the day on the 138s in knee deep powder with a heavy chalk wind layer on top. Not quite a crust but on another ski I might have thought it was "crust". Hot damn those were some fine turns! I don't have a lot of pictures of me skiing the 138s. They aren't for picture days. I take them out on days I want t really ski, not dick around.
But the thing that really impressed me that day besides how easy kind of ever reasonably soft snow had just become was how well the ONE skied. It was way beyond what a carpet test might have had first indicated. And the Dynafit ONE suddenly rips!
I've since skied the ONE on 196cm Huascarans, The 192 RPC and a host of other skis. The soft carpet test data in the store does not relate to how well this boot feels or skis on the snow. The ONE IMO is a lot more boot than most will give it credit for.
Left to right, Spectre, RS, One, TLT-P, PDG
I liked what Dynafit did to the ONE so much that I took a pair of the TLT6s, added the ONE's buckles after stripping the factory versions, knowing full well the direction I was going because the ONE is such a great performer.
I ski the ONE a lot on lifts. It is incredibly comfortable and warm. Enough boot and support to ski any of my quiver. Typical day skiing for me even off a lift is some time booting. The ONE is solid there as well. Sure I miss my TLT every time I unlatch the walk mode the ONE. But I don't miss them much and I sure worry a lot less about the durability of the one.
Down side? It could me a stiffer boot. But I am not unhappy with the boots performance. If you have a BIG calf the high cuff might bite you. I have very small ankles for my size and my calf is higher than most so I can buckle this boot up tight. Being able to do so allows me to take full advantage of what ever stiffness the ONE has to offer. Worth checking that out on your own fit.
Up side? How they might ski has no basis in reality compared to how the carpet test.
This boot is the sleeper in the ONE/Mercury/Vulcan series. Long skin tracks, mid-Winter powder, meadow skipping, riding a lift or steep spring gullies, this boot will do it all. An incredibly progressive flex that might be a under appreciated attribute for some skiers. One will hold its own compared to any of the new AT boots. Only a few will better/equal the ONE's walk mode. And all but one of those will be Dynafit models or full on race boots.
I like the ONE a lot! There will people that ski the ONE because the boot is inexpensive by comparison. There will be others that ski the ONE because they realised early on just how good this boot really is. I ended up skiing the ONE by dumb luck. I continue to ski the ONE because I now know just how good it really is.