New Scarpa NTN boots: “…we are working on it.”

It was a year ago that Scarpa said they would be working on new boots for the tele tribe. Then silence.

There were hopeful promises of prototypes “this spring” but that was last spring.

At the recent Outdoor Retailer trade show, the annual show of ski candy, Kim Miller went on record with Doug Schnizspahn, editor of Elevation Outdoors in Boulder who wrote in an industry newsletter that telemark apparently wouldn’t die, as the Abandoned Tele crowd has been bleating ad nauseum. Kim Miller, the CEO of Scarpa NA was smiling thanks to high demand for freeheel boots at the WWSRA on snow demo at Copper Mountain at the end of January.

“Tele, for us, is still much bigger than the uphill and the rando race trend,” he said. “We’re still selling a lot of telemark boots. The biggest question I fielded at this show is ‘When’s the next telemark boot coming out?And we are working on it.”

Future tele boots will share the NTN sole, inserts, and bellows but who knows what sort of material will be used.

Crispi is rumored to be working on a lighter tele boot as well. Hopefully they will do more than trim fat. There is clearly an opportunity for them if they step up to the plate. Scarpa might dominate the market but they don’t fit everybody’s feet.

No official talk about when, but the confirmation Scarpa has not shelved their development of a new telemark boot line is very encouraging.

In the meantime I’ve made peace with my current tele boots. Yes, they’re heavy compared to skimo boots but I’m not a skimo racer, I’m a telemarker that likes uphill skinning too, only at a pace where I can carry on a conversation, not see if I can blow a valve – literally. I might also want more range of motion in the cuff – oh yes I do – but not enough to chain my heel when burning turns. Certainly not where fresh tracks are on the menu. My tele soul needs a flexible sole. And for walking comfort, uphill or flat, tele boots rule, especially without the duckbill.

Like you I’m impatient for improvements but I’ll just have to wait for lighter tele boots with more cuff mobility and a higher price tag. Oh you can count on the last part more than the former. It’s the price of progress, right? And we have to wait because state-of-the-art 3D boot printing is yet future.

Ah, but an informant whispered, “1.4 kilos.”

That’s seven ounces (200g) lighter than my Scarpa TX’s, (sz. 26, BSL 299 shell with a Garmont liner and custom footbed). My boots are heavier than a stock boot so a future boot might only be four or five ounces lighter. That would still make a noticeable difference, especially if the range of motion is more and the flex resistance less. But that’s just a rumbling of the new generation of tele boots budding beneath the surface. My bet is they can and have done better with prototypes already. My sources went mute after leaking that number so if anybody asks, it’s just a rumor.

We don’t need no stinkin’ new gear.

It’s worth pointing out, if you don’t ever plan to earn your turns, you don’t need what Scarpa is cooking up. There’s plenty of solid tele boots available, at least for in-bounds performance. Duckbilled boots and bindings haven’t changed in years. The performance of 75mm gear is solid and compared to the silver age of tele, enviable, whether going up or down. It isn’t possible to get better without changing the interface, so if you want more downhill performance, or more uphill performance, NTN boots are the way to go. And if you’re headed out of bounds, make sure whatever boots you buy have tech inserts in the toes.

Related Posts
Scarpa’s New Telemark Boot Program
Pierre & Pierre’s New Telemark Boot

  • The silver age of tele:  before plastic telemark boots and free pivoting tele bindings that only those with silver hair remember.

© 2018

16 thoughts on “New Scarpa NTN boots: “…we are working on it.”

  1. I would love to see an TLT6-like tele boot. Give me a carbon cuff to make it stiff and light with a plastic boot with a removable tongue. I don’t mind sticking a boot insert in, it is a non-issue on transitions. But it must be light. I switched to an AT backcountry set up for the first time in my life (over 35 years of telemarking!) just because they are just so LIGHT. Even with a lightweight binding (meidjo & tts bindings) and skis it is the boot that is holding me back from switching back over despite feeling a desperate desire to telemark in the backcountry again. I have seen that Pierre at M-Equipment has something in the works for a lightweight tele binding. I telemark inbounds only now because the boots and other tele gear are just too heavy to compare to current AT technology. If telemarking is dead it is because the technology offered by manufactures just hasn’t kept up with the times.

  2. How about Scarpa making larger foot sizes? I have skied Scarpa my whole tele life and now I am suffering with Crispi NTN boots.

  3. How about Scarpa add a tech heel insert to couple with the M2.1? 1 boot and binding combo to do it all. Seems like the extra versatility is worth a thought.

  4. How about a 4 buckle boot with a removable upper cuff, one you could take off and put in your back pack. then you dont need any range of movement in the cuff at all. The base of the boot could fit all styles and the upper cuff could be added in for down hill performance. Skin up in the foot part of the boot and clip the cuff over the normal full length liners, tighten up the buckles and go.

  5. NTN has made Rando skiing all but obsolete. Tele is just more versatile. There is almost nothing that a tele skier on an NTN setup cannot do. While an NTN tele skier can make dynamic alpine turns, a rando skier cannot tele or single kick double pole in the flats.
    NTN bindings have become lighter, and they tour as well as AT bindings

    The only factor that keeps rando relevant is the damn boot.
    There is no denyig it. The alpine touring boot is lighter. So come on Scarpa. Where’s
    our light weight performance tele boot?

  6. For us in Montana, what we need is a lower price point rugged touring boot/binding. The scott/garmont excursion level of performance but in a boot that is not so expensive and clunky (or that expensive but less clunky, clunky but less money would work too). Our core customers have mostly converted to NTN or one of the disciplines of AT for the folks interested in downhill skiing and climbing but we have hundreds of areas ( and hundreds of people) we like to call meadow skipping or clearcut skiing. A waxless Rossi BC125 with a light boot binding robust enough to drive that size ski in low angle skiing.
    We all started telemarking 30 years ago because it was cheaper and a way to get out skiing we need to cultivate that customer again to really grow telemark skiing to its potential, can you imagine if we had a boot for 279 retail that would drive a wide light waxless style touring ski that is something we could sell up here

  7. They lost me at same bellows… Crispi has such a better bellows design with it bushing shape compared to the accordion style bellows.
    I’ll believe a new boot when I see it.

  8. The increased ROM is already here. Just get an upper Maestrale Cuff and walk mode from your local dealer and bang, 60 degrees ROM. The interface works perfectly on any Scarpa change over of equal size. Stop the bitch’n and satisfy that itch’n

  9. A much sturdier pin tech insert would be essential; after only a few weeks of use with the amazing M2.1 (amazing, apart from the pain in the butt ski brakes, they are going, money wasted) my lovely TX pro are looking real beat up, at the plastic surrounding the metal insert.
    OK, I am old, slow and clumsy, but when you are on and off with bindings (on or off piste) they do get very roughed up. As stated, part of the issue are the brakes making it harder to engage.
    Boot solution- make the metal pin tech insert studier (bigger, beefier). At this rate I will get through a pair a year; or is that part of the “master plan?”
    I would happily test a beta pair, it takes years to get as crap as me, no good getting just superheroes to test.
    Agree wholeheartedly with previous comments on walk mode. On my 5th pair of Tele boots, & never used the walk mode yet.

  10. Tease, tease, tease. Just like with the Lynx, this waiting – another year passes, and then another – is getting painful. I will buy every new tele boot that Scarpa makes, and will buy Crispi next season if they improve the ROM.

    @Tele-Martin – ha, you could have simply stopped with “Just leave the TX Comp unchanged” that was enough. I definitely need the walk mode and tech inserts should be standard on any tele boot. No one needed these on AT boots too…until now when no AT boot would dream of not having inserts.

  11. 1,4 kg might be good, or might bad, depending on what performance the boot delivers, and what the buyers expect and wants. Scarpa made some vague promises on a new program of boots, and sincerely hope that this is true.

    In the AT market there are more or less 3 segments of equipment:
    1. Sturdy gear for freeride touring, downhill performance prioritized before touring, think Marker Duke bindings and 4-buckle boots
    2. Efficient gear, a compromise between touring and downhill, think G3 Ion and Dynafit TLT series
    3. Fast and light, touring performance prioritized before downhill,think skimo race-like gear, Dynafit PDG-series, Atomic Ultimate

    There is a need for the same 3 segments also in the Telemark sector, although the last segments is characterized by light touring equipment and not racing/competition. In the 75mm system the segments have been covered traditionally by the T1, T2 and T4 boot respectively, with the last segment also partly covered by the NNN-BC (although the downhill performance for NNN-BC is almost non-existant). In the NTN-system the first segments have been covered by the TX comp and the old 3-buckle TX. So the question is, if Scarpa is only going to make one (1,4kg) boot, what segment will it address? It seems that in may only be a replacement for the current 4-buckle boots? At 1,4kg it is not much of a difference from the old TX, and it is heavier than the current T4, so the both the Efficient touring tribe and the TeleLite tribe, wouldn’t be too impressed either.

    I think there is a great need, and market, for better Efficient touring and TeleLite equipment, ie light telemark touring. It is where the soul of telemark originate from, if that segment is left to die, then Telemark is truly dead. Seems that it may be time to pile up on T4s and old F1’s.

  12. Just leave the TX Comp unchanged and preferably add slightly narrower sole. No need for pins or any other techie-hooga-booga. Ditch the walkmode. No one needs it. The boots are randoable without it as well, as it was with the original model. And bring back the original ankle strap. The new one is rubbish. Preferably visit Black Diamond designs where lower straps are inverted. Just make a proper boot. They wear out in about 3 years of use, so you’ll still be in business. The material in TX Comp is still way too soft under the bidings’ metal front. It was the issue with the original and still is.

  13. Beyond lighter-weight, and increase range of motion I hope the new Scarpa boot includes the ability to tune the ankle Flex of the boot to meet the skiers needs. One-size-fits-all ankle flexion, the primary contributor to boot stiffness, has been a major opportunity in boot development for a long time. Imagine if instead of TX, TX Pro and A TX comp, there was just one boot with a adjustable Flex at the ankle.

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