Editors' Choice Gold, Snow 2017: SCARPA Maestrale/Gea Series

The gold standard of touring boots gets lighter and stiffer.

Brand: Scarpa

Model: Maestrale/Gea Series

We’re not alone in our love for the Maestrale. For years it was the world’s best-selling alpine-touring boot, due to its balance between downhill skiability and uphill prowess (and relative affordability). But then other boots caught up with—and passed—the Maestrale, and suddenly we wanted our favorite model to be lighter and have more ankle articulation. And SCARPA gave us what we wanted.

The new Maestrale is about a pound lighter, thanks to upgraded materials and the switch to a wave-system closure on the forefoot. And best of all? Sixty degrees of ankle articulation. We felt it on flats (“No restriction when skating across lakes,” one tester wrote on her score card after our backcountry test), ascents (“They climb 25-degree slopes surprisingly well for burly boots,” another said), and even on bootpacks (“I didn’t sap all my energy stair-stepping up Dead Elk Couloir in Rocky Mountain National Park, so I went for it twice,” reported yet another).

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But don’t worry, loyalists: None of the touring improvements affect downhill chops. In fact, the new Maestrales are actually stiffer. (In the beefier RS models, SCARPA uses carbon-fiber hybrid material to reinforce key areas without affecting the progressive flex.) All models still use the three-piece shell for more power and easier entry.

If you’re the type of skier who likes to argue about “the greatest ski boot ever,” better put the Maestrale family back in the conversation.

Sizes: m’s 24.5-32, w’s 22.5-27. Weight quoted is a m’s 27. 

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