I am in search of a new pair of XC/BC/tele boots and have gotten a number of recommendations to try the Alaska 75mm with a lightweight 3-pin cabled tele binding. In terms of appearances this setup looks like it would fit my needs perfectly.
I'm concerned because I've read A TON of bad reviews of these boots regarding duckbill/sole failure. Has anything been done by the company to correct this? If not, is there a similar boot you could recommend?
Hi @ADKBCSkier! My recommendation to you would be to try the Alaska 75mm boots out and see how you feel personally about them. Depending on your skiing style, they may work great! If they fail as quickly as some of the reviews suggest they might, then rest assured REI will most definitely take exchange or refund you for them. My first impression of the reviews and what may be happening, is that perhaps the folks using these boots are trying to outski the boot. My belief is that a leather backcountry boot is best suited for rolling terrain, comfortable climbing, easier descents. You can only expect so much stability out of it before you either injure yourself, or you injure the boot. In this case the boot is being injured.
If you are looking to do more aggressive terrain or harder descents, I would recommend going with a plastic boot. A little heavier, but it will be much stiffer and provide better support for the downhills without breaking at the seams! There is usually always a compromise between durability/performance and comfortability. If you would like to try a boot that has better durability/performance for more aggressive downhills, I would suggest the Scarpa T4. It still has a hike/ski feature that you can switch on/off on your ascents. I hope that helps!
Hi @ADKBCSkier - Thanks for reaching out! In addition to @REI-DaveC's suggestions, if you want get more information on material/technique updates for the Alaska 75mm boots, we suggest contacting Alpina directly.
Hopefully this helps!