Skiing the powder
Pugski Ski Tester
- Nov 9, 2015
- Breckenridge, CO
The ROXA R3 is what I call a crossover boot; it has alpine boot performance with walk mode and GripWalk soles yet lightweight and pin-binding capable. It offers strong alpine descents and easy touring. This boot that delivers that.
I have not demoed ski boots for review nor have I skied a cabrio boot other than too-big Raichle Flexons on retro days.
In my noob-ness to cabrios, I had to fiddle a bit to get the liner lined up and the outer tongue all on the outside where it belongs. Putting the boots on with the right pieces overlapping properly has been an ongoing learning process. It isn’t a shortcoming of the boot, but of my lack of familiarity.
My initial reaction when I had them on in the house was "They are stiff." I worked the walk mode hinge and the easy-to-operate walk mode power strap. I was dubious of the strap/buckle at first. Once I got the location on the strap dialed, it became easy to get the boot adjusted quickly.
Opening the buckle and leaving the strap velcroed as you would to descend skiing loosens it enough for easy walking. The buckle has a sliding mechanism that gives the range and lets the buckle lie flat against the boot.
I went touring in the boots while they were pretty new to me, 3rd or 4th day old. They were comfortable and, as they are similar in weight to my Hawx [get stats on weights], were not a burden. The range of motion is considerable less and different than the Hawx or even the Lange FreeTour XTs I had a couple years ago. The cabrio tongue doesn’t move nor bend much. The farthest back you can open your ankle is to about 90* which isn’t a touring killer but is really nice when you are going extended distances on flats such as roads. I skied on a pair of BD Carbon Megawatts in 5 in. of dense on low-angle, smooth, firm snow. It was fast and I felt pretty happy making GS turns on the hill. The pin fittings are Dynafit-certified and work great.
Except for the tour, I have been skiing them with a ski that I started using with my Hawx. The Renoun Endurance 98 is a fine ski. These are shortish for me (178 cm) with some early rise tip and tail. Their dampness makes them ski longer. Their radius is just over 20 m but they can turn much smaller than that. I’m pretty fond of 9X-mm skis. If I wasn’t buying a new furnace next week, I’d make an offer on these. So, I’m on a pair of skis I like and trust.
As I alluded to before, these boots are a strong alpine ski boots that tour nicely. After a bit of time skiing the boot with no modifications, I decided that my stance in the boot was off. I felt like I was too erect in the boot and as it is stiff, I always felt like I was getting pushed back. I was uncomfortable charging pitches I knew and liked.
I needed a little more forward lean so I added some 3-4 mm shims at the boot top in the back between the already installed shim and the liner. This made a big difference for me. I was able to get forward enough so that I didn’t have to push into the tongue, but was flexing into with more effect due to my more forward COM.
The newly adjusted R3s fit right into my routine. I was back to hitting everything with my usual enthusiasm. We’ve had powder, slush, hard winter snow, sastrugi and frostings of cream cheese blown in overnight. I have been skiing everything hard and enjoying the boots a lot. They deal with large edge angles on hard snow (no ice to test on, though), heavy and crusty conditions as well as quick tree skiing and SL-like turns very well. Lateral stiffness and control are excellent.
I would like to soften them a little as they are far more like my RC4 Pro 130s than my Hawx 130s, and if I am to have a ‘tween boot, I’d like it a bit less stiff. That said, if I didn’t have my race boots, these would be just right as is.
The fit of these boots is unlike what I’m used to. First, the cabrio tongue leaves your foot without direct, firm contact with the boot. My double overlaps provide all around contact while barely buckled. I like that feeling. As I’m not interested in cranking the lower buckle on the R3, I am living with a different feel. So far I haven’t noticed that it affects the skiing.
The BioFit last is
This marketing sound bite actually is true in my case. I typically have pressure on my right little toe. Sometimes on my left little toe. Not so with these boots. The areas are textured to illustrate where they are on the boot and they are pretty common punch zones.“Anatomic 99 mm last with pre-formed relief in the most common fit “issue” areas provides an outstanding fit for all day comfort.”
Heel hold has been very good. I’m not surprised with the middle buckle's position. I suspect this is a benefit of the cabrio design and typical buckle location. I don’t often have heel-lifting problems skiing, but I certainly haven’t had any with the R3s.
This boot delivers. Strong alpine descents. Easy to tour. What more could you ask for in a touring boot?