Rossignol BCX11: not quite enough boot

There’s not been much to love about the BCX11s since I bought them almost exactly a year ago, but there has been a fair bit to like.  They’re not totally waterproof, but they’re waterproof enough.  They don’t have excellent control, but with skinny XCD sticks they have enough control for survival skiing just about anywhere.  They walk pretty well for a reasonably supportive boot, but the harsh midsole does wear after a while.  They’re not especially warm, but with my easy-to-heat feet they’ve been just fine with thin liners and VBLs well below zero.  The zipper can freeze shut under especially un-ideal conditions, and the ratchet on the buckles tends to pack with snow.  The top buckle is window dressing, a velcro strap would serve as well, but the bottom one is great for locking in the forefoot.  Most importantly, they fit me, especially in the heel, and thus I was content to live with the other foibles.  Until yesterday.

IMG_8092

Sunday morning I woke up to a 3″ tear right at the front of the boots.  I hadn’t noticed it the day before, and thus what caused it remains a mystery.  As shown above, and despite my efforts to tape it shut, the tear grew substantially on the not exactly flat ski out.  Note that it’s a tear in the fabric, not an issue of delamination.

Campsaver referred me to Rossignol, and I’ve put in a warranty claim.  We’ll see where that leads.  The nordic season is easily over so I’m not too excited, though the possibility of what boot to use next is rather puzzling.  Even if I got a replacement pair I’d be loath to just use them and wait for the inevitable.  Perhaps the local shop is right, leathers are the only way to go, and I should just get some Scarpa Wasatchs, snoseal the shit out of them, and be done with it.

As usual, watch this space.

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20 thoughts on “Rossignol BCX11: not quite enough boot

  1. Dave, have you checked out the Alpina ‘Alaska’. I am curious what you think of that new boot. It looks more like a La Sportiva ‘Makalu’ with the three-pin sole. I have heard almost nothing about that boot. Any thoughts.

    • Not much info out there, as usual, and I haven’t had a chance to see them in purpose. It’s basically impossible to assess torsionally stiffness without putting hands on, sadly.

      Two things would make me hesitant: the 2075s I had a few years ago were high volume, which is bad for me, and had a warranty issue which generally confirmed my inclination that Alpina isn’t so high quality.

      • I too have had problems with Alpina’s construction and warranty with the exception of their leather BC 1600. Looking for a more rigid boot and I was hoping maybe the Alaskas would be exception to the rule regarding Alpina’s boots. I guess the search continues. Good luck.

        • I have good experience with the Alpina BC 1600, going now somewhere past 1000km mark (mostly XC expedition skiign with a pulka). The membrane gave up around 600-700km so they are not waterproof anymore. In addition they look quite beaten but still work and have a great fit for me (I need volume in front and secure heel fit).

          I’d like to find an stiffer option and will ne next testing plastic Garmont Excursion boots but those are not really for long distance XC. Maybe just go with “soft” 3-pin expedition boots with buckles and put in the stiffest Intuition liners I can get?

          Friend has BCX11s for XC/kite skiing so will keep them on eye to see if this is a common problem.

          • Hopefully mine is an isolated issue.

            I was able to glue them back together fairly easily, I’m just nervous about what might be next.

  2. Wasatch On sale: http://www.scarpa.com/scarpa/products/SKI-TELEMARK/p_47299-300
    I just bought rossi x12 at an end of season sale, I was planning on x-adv8 with glittertind trying to modestly follow the footstep of steve barnett (http://www.earnyourturns.com/9240/sb-notes-on-tele-lite/) , but the salomon fit was strange and had massive heel lift, x12 were the best fittingfor me.

    By the way, SB didn’t seem to have any freezing or toe bar ripping with SNS-BC system (even with auto) and he’s been skiing them for a while. People seem to complaint with NNN-BC freezing up…

    Another option, Crispi Svartisen: http://en.aventurenordique.com/crispi-svartisen-75mm-boots-backcountry.html
    Read a little bit on french internet forums and people seems to like them, hard to try in North america…

    Good luck!

  3. Oh Dave this are bad news.
    After I have read you review in the last time I also bought the Rossignol boots, because they fit best and were available in my size. Last weekend I could test them on a ski trip in the alps with my new Hoks. I can confirm the problem with the ratchets. I did not use any gaiter and in the evening I always had problems with the ratchet because they were full ice and snow and I could not open them.

    Please keeep us up to date what Rossignol says about this big FAIL.

  4. Andrew Shoes (http://www.andrewshoes.com/index.php?lang=en) might be worth a look. I haven’t used them myself, but I know that they’re popular with Scandinavian polar travelers. In Scandinavia they’re known under the name ‘Varg’. Unfortunately there’s hardly any info available about their products.

    As far as I know, it’s the only company that makes a flexible 3-pin backcountry boot with a removable liner:

    http://www.andrewshoes.com/dettaglio_prodotto.php?cat=2&id_p=126&lang=en

    http://www.andrewshoes.com/dettaglio_prodotto.php?cat=2&id_p=20&lang=en

    They’re pretty heavy though, only available online, and probably cost a fortune.

  5. Wow, interesting post and comments. I was already to pull the trigger on the Rossignols after Dave’s initial review but couldn’t find them in my size over here. I managed to get my hands on some Alpina 2250 for this winter at a ridiculously cheap price but so far I’m not enamored with either the fit or the quality.

    The Andrew shoes look really interesting, if a little kooky, and I’ll also be looking at Alfa next year: http://www.alfa.no/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=56:gaiter-75mm-gtx&Itemid=294

    A problem I had was trying to find one boot to do it all, fine weather resort XC and BC touring but this leads to bad compromises; either not enough boot or way too much. Think I need to expand my ski quiver slightly.

  6. I don’t own any 3 pin boots, and regret it. I went with NNN BC a few years back (along with my regular cross country gear) and now have a few skis and boots of that type. I started with Alpina boots (I forget the model number) but they never seemed to fit my foot just right. I even exchanged for a slightly smaller size but that didn’t help. Then I bought those same Rossignol boots (but the NNN BC version). I liked the fit but I didn’t like the lacing. It always seemed hard for me to get them really tight (for those occasions when I needed to). So then I went back to the Alpina boots, but with custom insoles. This made all the difference in the world. I’m pretty happy with them.

    I tried plastic boots (Randonee) but they killed my feet. I ended up selling them. So now I’m back to NNN BC gear for my most challenging tours. I regret having so much NNN BC gear because it seems like there are a lot more choices for boots in 3 Pin, including leather. If I were you I would definitely explore the world of heavy leather boots. If the boots start by fitting your feet fairly well, then they will eventually fit your feet great. I also think you can get great control with heavy leather boots. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that most alpine skiing was done with leather boots.

  7. Pingback: La Sportiva Boulder X Mid GTX: numbers and rationale | Bedrock & Paradox

  8. re: Alpina Alaska boots. These are awesome leather boots – like the BC 1600, they are made in Slovenia and are much higher quality than the China-made plastic ones. Unfortunately for me, the forefoot is not as wide as the BC1600, I had to return the Alaskas because it was too narrow in the toe box. However, it was still wider than the Crispi Antarctic and the Scarpa Wasatch. Other than the toe box issue, the fit was awesome, they come fairly high up your leg with a lot of laces to conform the fit, but they are not unbearably stiff either. Very nice boots, very comfy for hiking too. Highly recommended.

    Actually I would have tried a larger size, but they didn’t make a larger one – it only goes up to 47. You can order these direct from Alpina US and designate a local shop that gets to benefit from the deal, seems to work well. Not many US dealers stock the BC 1600 or Alaska and it’s a shame, the quality level is off the chart compared to the plastic boots with their silly cuffs and straps, etc.

      • I recently picked up a pair of Alpina Alaska BC boots for the upcoming season. They fit like a insulated leather mountaineering boot, think the La Sportiva Nepal EVO, only with a flexible sole. I figure you can easily find a pair of Nepal EVOs to try on in Montana.

        The quality is obviously better than any other boot they produce. The boot is a smidge narrow in the forefoot. The toe-box has a little more volume. This is a benefit for myself. After a long day on the skis I have found my toes tend to swell a tad. The heel cup is narrow and snug. With the lacing setup, much like a mountaineering boot, the heel is easily locked into place.

        For people with lower volume feet, the boot adjusts volume via the widely-spaced (across the tongue) rollerball lacing hardware. One can wrench down on the laces to take up the volume, unlike the BC 1600 where the hardware is too close together to be remotely effective in volume adjustment. I wish I could post photos for you. I am a size 11 in foot length, 11.5 in the more important measurement – ball to heel with short toes. I wear a 45.5 in La Sportiva Nepals and a 46 in the Alaskas.

        Hopefully, they perform and hold up as well as they initially appear. As an extra-added bonus, crampons will easily fit the boot. This should be the boot for multiple-day, backcountry XC skiing trips over undulating terrain.

  9. Hello Dave! I’m curious what you used to glue these torn boots. I just fell yesterday (nothing substantial, the usual getting hung up on hidden brush under the snow) and upon returning to the car to remove my skis, although much less severe, I have similar damage on both of my BC X7s which I bought in Jan 2007 and only use a few weeks each year. Otherwise, they are in perfect shape as I’m damn anal about cleaning them up and drying them out. I emailed customer service at Rossignol and they basically said, too bad, they’re out of warranty and the materials will break down… These didn’t just break down, they broke apart. I feel so ripped off having spent what I did initially on them, I just bought a throwaway pair off of Sierra TP for $53 to replace them in the near term so I don’t lose out on skiing this year. But I would really like to try to fix these Rossignols. Thanks!

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