Back to the rhythm (Fischer BCX 675 boot)

Classic diagonal striding is all I used to do, as far as skiing goes.  It’s an odd rhythm, with so many gangly appendages required, but like other foreign and mechanized ways of getting through the world (riding a bike!), once it becomes habit the execution is at least as satisfying as walking.

When I started skiing seriously four years ago I quickly gravitated towards powder hounding in the woods and thus the heavier end of things.  This winter’s wolverine trips have put me back in touch with the longer, flatter, lighter side of things, and gotten me back on the light, skinny gear where things began decades ago on Ohio golf courses and in Michigan state parks.  I’ve rediscovered the efficiency of thin skis with double camber, and am now a good enough skier to control them on much of the steep terrain which had me reaching for plastic boots and fat skis four years ago.  I’m also rediscovering all the shortcomings of plastic boots; the reasons I used to hate those frankenstein things.  My plastic touring boots work pretty well; they give good enough control for turning, have better than decent fore-aft range of motion, and are warm and waterproof.  They suck for hiking, however much rocker they may have, and the rigid sole just fatigues my feet after a long day, even though I’ve now ironed out almost all the fitting nits.  The one remaining issue, which has only emerged recently, is the pressure they put on the inside of both ankles, which in the last few trips has been quite painful.  My theory is that my gentle bowleggedness angles my bone against the cuff, which packed out the liner foam and is now bereft of padding and just owie.  I could stick some cant rivets in and solve that, but then I’d truly have the most advanced pair of T2s on earth.

Instead, I saw some Fischer BCX 675s on sale at REI last week and jumped.

2 lb 7 oz per boot in size 45.  I wish they were lighter, but I’ll take what I can get for a boot that fits.  I have odd feet: low volume, skinny heel, widish forefoot, and unlike my old Alpina 2075s these fit very well.  I would not recommend them for wide and high volume feet, but I have a great fit with a liner sock and vapor barrier.  Based on one outing, they stride great, turn ok, and should hike fine.  I’m wary of the durability of pleather ski boots (after my Alpinas ripped and Mountain Gear gave me tons of crap before agreeing to take them back), so having the REI backing here is crucial.

I’ll keep ya’ll updated.

It was raining in town today, so running high to find snow was in order.  I spent a few hours striding (and occasionally skating) through an increasingly blinding and soaking blizzard, and by the 9 or 10 kilo mark finally felt the old muscle memory wake up and things start to click and chug along.  I had to ask myself why I haven’t been doing more of this in the past few years.  Of course, with a growing ski quiver and a nice fat bike it’s increasingly hard to pick.

Back at the car.  Pictured are clear Remington shooting glasses, which fit great and are dead cheap, and a Rab Cirrus which will be part of a BPL windshirt state of the market report.  We picked from the cream of the crop, but even so I’ve been really impressed with all of them thus far.  Compared to 15 years ago, when Activent was the best available, modern windshirts blend weatherproofing and breathability, weight and toughness in a manner which is very impressive.  I even have only a handful of gripes thus far about fit and features, out of all the test pieces!  In any case, today was the sort of day when it was just impossible to stay dry (caveat, I haven’t worn Paramo), but a wool-poly blend baselayer and the Cirrus kept me impressively comfy for impressively long.

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Back to the rhythm (Fischer BCX 675 boot)

  1. For less aggressive outing, without a lot of steep up and downs wouldn’t something like the Crispi Antarctic or Mountain fit the bill. I use the Alpina 1600 leather (BC NNN) boot for ski touring in Michigan’s UP and Ontario with no problem. Granted the terrain over here isn’t as steep as Montana but the old-fashioned leathers are flexible and easy to hike in. I’ve never had a moisture problem with them even after 5 days in the backcountry with single digit temps.

    Good luck with the footwear quest.

  2. Another well timed post, from my own perspective anyway. We appear to be converging at the same point, you from the steeper, heaver side of things and myself from the lighter, skinnier direction.

    Three weeks ago I found myself in the outdoor shop with the best selection of ski boots in Bergen. I knew I wanted to switch to a 75mm binding (from NNN-BC) and a more supportive boot (with more volume for my recently acquired RBH socks). I tried on the Alpina 1575 but they felt narrow and the shop didn’t have it in a sufficiently large enough size to feel comfortable in my sock combination. The two shop attendants argued (nicely!) between themselves about suggesting the Crispi Antarctic boot, with one of them concluding that he found them impossible to keep dry. That left the T2. I knew I would probably have to chop it up almost as soon as getting it home to make it work for my style of skiing but I tried to ignore the price tag and pulled them on. Almost instantly I knew they would just be too much boot for me. Warm, yes. Supportive, yes. But, my god, walking around the shop illustrated just what a steep-skiing orientated boot this is.

    As I am about to leave the house this morning for the 30 minute walk to the bus station and the awaiting Skibussen to the mountains I am glad I left the shop empty handed and with my old NNN-BC set-up as my only choice for now. Impulse buying would have crippled me (both my feet and financially). Thanks for highlighting the Fischer boots. I’ll try and track down a retailer in my area.

  3. I hemmed and hawed over the T2 vs the BCX11 and ultimately opted for the X11 (thanks in part to the recommendations of a good number of people including yourself, Dave) and I’ve now put around 50k on them with great results. Comfort and ski-ability is proving wonderful. I can wear them all day w/o soreness and they remain warm. I have not yet had them on an overnight trip however which I’m curious about since they don’t have removable liners.

  4. If cash weren’t an issue I would’ve looked at the Crispi leathers. The owner of our local mountain shop speaks highly of them. Obviously you’d have to keep on top of the snosealing. I anticipate the Fischers being waterproof, and with a VBL sock should stay dry inside as well. Thus far they feel good. I’ll probably remove that bit of pleather stiffener on the upper tongue, it seems pointless.

    I’d like to see a durable all-synthetic XCD double boot for touring, but that would take a company ready to put their money forward and lead the market. Though Surly did it with fat bikes..

  5. I noticed those boots a while ago. It sure looks like they are designed for hiking, which is a very nice feature. I do almost all of my skiing on regular cross country gear. I’m no Steve Barnett, but I manage to ski down some pretty tough stuff, as long as the snow is decent. I always have the flimsiest set of gear, often by several levels. For example, I may not see anyone with BC boots (Randonee and Telemark only) but there I am, with my plain cross country gear. To be fair, this means that I often have to pick my route carefully (traversing and finding spots with good run out) or that I fall a bit too often.

    Since plain cross country boots are pretty soft (much softer than BC boots, let alone plastic boot) they are reasonably comfortable for hiking. They are a bit slippery, as they don’t have the good tread like the ones you are using. My biggest concern is hurting them, though. The little pin in the front gets banged up quite a bit. I have thought about making a cover for it.

    From what I’ve heard, the really fancy Randonee boots (TLT 5) are actually quite comfortable for hiking. Not like trail runners, but like good mountaineer boots. I’ve heard of guys who have no qualms about walking miles and miles in them, as opposed to carrying trail runners (which would be my choice). Of course, like all shoes, fit is the main thing.

    1. I own a pair of TLT5 boots. They are indeed the most comfortable plastic boots I have ever tried and can be compared to a good pair of mountaineering boots in terms of comfort (I used to own La Sportiva Glacier). They also feel quite warm, they performed excellent when it was -20 C outside. However, I didn’t have chance to try them under very cold conditions (below -30 C). Another advantage is the fact that toe pieces of Dynafit bindings allow full rotation and provide excellent kick and glide movement. And of course you may lock your heel if you use heel pieces.

      So far my experience with TLT5 has been limited only to day tours, so I cannot tell how they feel in a long tour. I don’t carry trail runners so I walk all my approaches in TLT5, so I can confirm that it’s possible to walk in them miles and miles. However, trail runners and winter hiking shoes are much comfortable to walk in (but not as warm).

      Fit is the most important with TLT5. I have a narrow feet and they fit me very well, so I guess for most people TLT5 would feel a little bit narrow. I have got only one issue with TLT5. My right foot is a little bit wider than the left foot. After walking for more than an hour I have an uncomfortable feeling that the right boot is a little bit narrow and that the boot presses on the inner arch of the right foot. I tried thermomolding the liners but that didn’t help, so I guess I will have to have the shell punched to make it a little bit wider. It’s worth to note that I have this problem only when walking in the boots, I don’t have while skinning up or skiing down.

      What do people think about the following bindings? :


      With this bindings you may use almost any boot you want and ski even in overboots.

  6. The issue of hiking ski boots is an interesting one. In many respects my going with more and more minimal trail shoes over the last few years has ruined me for ski boots; I have to spend a bunch of time getting rid of arch supports, and even under ideal circumstances find such harsh soles pretty brutal.

    That being said, I’m eyeing some Dynafit PDG boots for next winter.

  7. Last week a purchased a pair of the Fischer BCX 675 boots. The latest storms here in the Adirondacks has provided me with some great snow to test the boots in. So far I’m am very happy and would highly recommend them. I do agree with your comment about the lacing.

  8. I’m curious to try a boot, like the Fischer, that’s a little taller and stiffer with a power strap. I have some older all leather NNN-BC Fischers that could use some more lateral stiffness and a power strap. Plus I like the stability of a 75mm binding when I’m going to be doing any turning. I’ve done a lot of hiking in Scarpa plastic mountaineering and tele boots and it’s not always much fun, so a lighter more natural boot would be nice for touring too. My T1’s serve me well when touring specifically for turns.

    I’d like to give the Garmont Excursions and the Scarpa T3 or T4s a try for hiking and skiing. They are all lower cuffed and lighter. They might be the perfect boot for me for backcountry ski travel that involves turns. If only I could find a pair used. Anybody used those boots and have any input?

    1. I traded in some high-top Crispi boots for T3s a few seasons ago and have been very satisfied. I’ve found them comfortable for multi day hut touring, climbing 14ers (with skis on feet or on the back), and though not the smartest gear choice, even orienteering meets at CC ski areas. When I got them, I didn’t think they’d perform as well on inbounds terrain, but they’ve worked well for me in moguls, steeps, and variable conditions with no issues. I think the main difference between the T3 and the newer T4 is the T4 doesn’t have the power strap (which probably makes a difference when you only have two buckles). That said, I’ve been wanting to shed some weight for BC racing, and have been looking at the Fischer BCX 675s to pair with the skinnier of my skies

          1. Andrey, I had a pair of the Fischers a few years ago. I found the forefoot too narrow. If they fit they’re a good option. I think Fischer makes the best nordic backcountry skis, so it seems reasonable that their boots would also be good.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s