It’s about time designers figured out how to make thermo-moldable liners breathable. Thanks to a Gore-Tex membrane, this liner allows sweat vapor to escape through tiny perforations in the dual-density foam. (Find this same tech in the Superguide Carbon, next page.) In conditions where other boots would get swampy—like a 10-mile skin in 40ºF temps—we couldn’t wet out the Winter Guide.
Before touring, fine-tune tightness for downhill skiing with standard ratcheting buckles, then flip the plastic catches to lock your sizing in place. When you open the buckles for skinning, they can’t shift or otherwise resize themselves, like standard buckles do. “It’s so much easier to adjust tightness at the car or in camp than it is to do it on an exposed ridge with frozen fingers,” one tester says. “With these, all you have to do on that woeful ridge is snap the buckles and then first tracks are as good as yours.” Closing the buckles automatically locks the boot into ski mode, further streamlining the tour-to-ski transition.
The Winter Guide isn’t the lightest boot, but if you’re going to be in it all day, standing around a lot (like, um, a winter guide), it’s a solid choice. We wore them for a 3-mile skin with a 40-pound pack on a winter camping trip in Colorado’s White River National Forest—then stayed in them all day at basecamp. “Why not? They’re warmer, dryer, and cushier than my camp shoes,” a tester says.