When we arrived in Las Leñas, we skied groomers for our first few days on snow. As we ripped laps down Caris II and Vulcano I, the XT was OK on the firm groomed snow. For carving, the lateral stiffness was adequate, and I could roll the ski on edge and maintain balance. However, the fore-aft stiffness and precision of the XT was lacking compared to the RX, and I could not fully manipulate the ski.
The differences between the RX and the XT became especially obvious when I transferred my weight between turns and drove forward into the new turn. As I unweighted and extended my ankles at the bottom of the turn and moved my weight forward to begin the new turn, I could not immediately deliver precise input to the ski. As I flexed forward through the middle of the turn, the boot did not fully transfer the power I delivered. The upper cuff was essentially floating, and the forward lean would change what felt like several degrees based on where my weight was at different parts of the turn. I found that I was able to carve, but not with the precision and performance I was used to and expect from an alpine boot.
At that point, I was not totally confident in the XT, but I wanted to see how it performed off-piste.
On day three, we began venturing into the sidecountry, and the difference between the RX and the XT became more pronounced. In hard, variable snow on Errare Humanum Est, I didn’t find the XT to be responsive enough. I slotted a narrow straight line in a variation off the main chute, and when it opened up and I went to throw a slash to scrub speed, I was not able to apply adequate pressure to the tails. I ended up hip-checking to ditch my speed and avoid cheese grating myself over the rock garden below.
Through the punchy, cardboard-like, wind-affected snow in the middle of the chute, the XT did not transfer the input I was giving to the ski. I didn’t feel like I had enough control; it felt sloppy.
At the bottom of the chute, we found some pockets of drifted-in, soft snow. When the Atomic Rituals I was on started to plane, I could steer the skis effectively. I tried to make small adjustments to the angle and orientation of the ski and could not feather the ski as precisely in the XT as I could in the RX.
At the bottom, the apron opened up and I ripped super-g turns down to the Marte chair. The XT was capable of driving through the shallow wind-affected pow at high speed, but, again, there was a degree of imprecision in comparison to the RX.
After four days, I can’t say that I found the XT to be an RX with a walk mode, but I returned to my RX 130s to see exactly how much more precision I could get from the riveted, full alpine-style boot.
When I put my foot back in the RX 130s and buckled them down, I felt locked in. Once I got the boot out on snow, the difference was obvious: the RX 130s gave me significantly more control over the ski.
The RX especially outshone the XT for specific micro adjustments, such as changing the degree of feather on the tail while slarving through corn. On groomers, I was able to really carve hard and fully bend the ski, especially when doing an A/B comparison on the Fischer Watea 106—a fairly demanding ski.
Later in the trip, I also got back on the Atomic Ritual while wearing the RX 130s (I had skied three days on the Ritual in the XT 130s) and found that I could articulate turns in spring-like corned-up crud on the groomers with more precision than I could in the XTs. The fore-aft stiffness and direct, precise delivery of input set the RX apart from the XT.
Also with us in Las Leñas, the new Lange XT 130 LV, a freeride alpine boot with a walk mode. In short, Lange is calling it a high-performance alpine boot that climbs, and we're here to see if it lives up to the expectations.
The 2011-2012 Lange RS 110 S.C. is a great boot that blends race boot performance with surprising comfort and playfulness.