Our take Just getting into backcountry skiing? Save yourself the hassle of owning two pairs of boots with the Ascendant, which performs equally well in the skin track and at the resort. It has tech inserts (for pin-style bindings), but the sole is easily removable via an Allen key. Pop it off, affix the alpine-style ones (included), and boom, resort boots with plastic bottoms that fit seamlessly with alpine bindings. “It only took a couple minutes,” one tester says.
The details The Ascendant’s relatively high volume means there’s room to move around if you’re in the boot all day (although that reduces precision on downhills), and it’s the warmest boot in the test due to a plush lining. “My toes never got too cold even when I was moving slow in deep powder on a 20°F day,” one tester said after doing laps in Colorado’s Butler Gulch. Tradeoff: It’s the heaviest boot here.
Trail cred “You have to remove the tongue for walk mode, which can be a hassle, but the freedom of movement you get while touring is worth it,” one tester says of the Ascendant’s 60 degrees of flex.
8 lbs. 4 oz. (26.5); unisex 24.5-30.5