Stated Last: 97mm
Flex Rating: 130
Boot Sole Length: 285mm at 24.5
Skier: 5’10”, 145 lbs., athletic, aggressive, ex racer
Foot: size 8 street shoe; D width; medium arch; low volume heel, ankle and instep
Regular Ski Boots: Lange RX 130
Days Skied: 6
Testing Location: Las Leñas
I spent six days in the new Lange XT 130 during our trip to Las Leñas. This initial review will highlight what I learned about the XT.
I spent quite a bit of time in Las Leñas in my regular boots—the Lange RX 130s—in order to accurately test the skis we had brought with us, but I have been told of a modification to the walk mode of the XT 130 that involves adding a small shim to minimize some play that was present around the upper cuff, and I am curious whether this will increase the precision and allow the boot ski more like the RX 130. BLISTER reviewer and Taos Boot Doctor boot fitter Charlie Bradley has had some very positive results with this mod.
So this report is how I found the Lange XT 130 to ski without this mod, and with merely the addition of a booster strap.[Editor’s note: For the Lange XT boots that were shipped this fall, Lange has lengthened the metal tab of the walk mode by a couple of millimeters which, according to Lange, has alleviated the need for the shim mod. We expect to be receiving the tweaked XT soon, and you can now read Marshal Olson’s review of the Lange XT 130.]
I grew up racing, and therefore spent about eight years skiing in narrow-lasted 150-flex boots, namely the Nordica Doberman, (one of my all-time favorite boots) and the Tecnica Diablo.
When my focus shifted to freeskiing, I opted for a more forgiving flex and slightly more spacious fit, which I found in the Lange RX 130. I prefer to have a boot that makes no compromise for the down, and for the past two seasons, I have absolutely loved my Lange RX 130s.
At Jackson Hole, I frequently hike in search of fresh snow. Hiking options for sidecountry travel at Jackson Hole involve fifteen- to twenty-minute boot packs up the Headwall, Cody Peak, or out to Four Pines. So when I heard about the XT 130, I was psyched; with the same lower as the RX 130 and a walk mode, this sounded like something well suited for my needs, especially given Lange’s own description of the XT 130 LV:
“The new Lange XT 130 boot delivers the performance of a competition boot with the functionalities needed to enjoy All Mountain/Freeride skiing. Thanks to the Ski/Hike function, the Arch Pad and the extra light liner, the Lange XT 130 is the perfect boot for adventure skiing. Available in 97 and 100 mm last.”
A comp boot with a walk mode. Sounds perfect.
When I got the boots a few days before boarding the plane for Argentina, I put them on and did a side by side comparison with the RX 130. The XT was noticeably softer than the RX, even with the addition of a Booster strap, in the 90-degree mid-August heat in Jackson. Initial thought: This is not the same boot. I am bringing both my RXs and the XTs to Las Leñas.
In case you missed our preview of Lange the XT 130 LV, I will sum up some of the highlights. The XT 130 LV has a 97mm last. The bottom of the boot is covered from toe to heel in Ultragrip rubber. The Ultralight liner, is a thin, light, foam lace-up liner with a plastic tongue.
The lower shell shape, as I mentioned earlier, is identical to the RX line. The upper cuff is attached to the lower shell by only two rivets at the ankle, the back spine is free floating to allow for full range of motion in walk mode.
The walk mode, which Lange calls the Power V-lock, consists of a Ski / Hike switch on the outside and a flexible piece of the lower cuff that extends up where the RX would be riveted. The Ski / Hike switch is comprised of a tab that rests on a ledge on the outside of the lower shell. Pulling up on the tab releases it from the ledge and allows increased range of motion for hiking. Flipping the switch down into ski mode and flexing forward resets the tab on the ledge to lock it for descending. The issue with this system, which is immediately obvious upon inspection of the walk mode, is that there are several millimeters of back-and-forth play when the tab is resting on the ledge. And this is when the boot is in ski mode.
(Again, it’s important to note that Lange has modified this tab and they state that there is no longer any play. See Marshal Olson’s Update.)
Time to see how this walk mode affects the performance for the down.