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Backcountry Ski Boots

The Best Backcountry Boots of 2022: SCARPA Maestrale XT

The newest generation of this iconic backcountry ski boot is still as stiff as can be, but still gets up a skin track well.

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Brand: Scarpa

Model: Maestrale XT







3lbs. 5oz.

Tech Insole




Last Width (mm)




While most backcountry ski boots have “130” flexes, the SCARPA Maestrale XT could outflex many of the 130-ratings in the resort ski boot category. These are the burliest backcountry-specific ski boots available today, and an ideal option for strong skiers who demand pure responsiveness when it matters most.

This skiing power comes from the carbon-infused Grilamid lower shell, bi-injected Grilamid/Pebax cuff, and a Grilamid tongue. The footbed and cuff angle also put the user into a more aggressive stance, and the RECCO-equipped Booster strap adds even more power transfer from higher up on the cuff.

All of this downhill power still prefers soft snow. Skiing near Berthoud Pass in Colo., the SCARPA Maestrale XT took on steep, powdery terrain with aggression, but sent vibrations to my knees on the skied-out ice luge back to the trailhead. Further testing in Silverton, Colo., proved that this boot is most at home in steep, technical terrain where exact movements and edge control can be the difference between nailing the line and a trip to the hospital.

“Ski mode is downright solid,” notes tester Calvin Davenport, a ski guide at Colorado’s Silverton Mountain. “Walk mode is as easy as it gets with very little effort required to switch from ski to walk mode and no unnecessary leg movements are required to make the switch.”

Thanks to a thermoformable Intuition liner and a 56-degree range of motion in walk mode, the Maestrale XT makes for pleasant uphilling in the skin track and booting up couloirs. The full Vibram rubber sole was especially grippy in the San Juan’s alpine scree, and a few days at the ski resort proved that these boots can handle moguls and groomed terrain as well (albeit with a stiff disposition).

Besides being so stiff, the only thing that really bugged testers about this boot is that the liner is extraordinarily hard to get into the shell. There was a comical amount of time spent putting the boot back together after a long day in the mountains that required drying out the liner afterwards. A small price to pay if you demand the best downhill performance from a dedicated pair of backcountry ski boots.

Buy the SCARPA Maestrale XT: evo

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