Intermediate to Expert
130, 120, 100
Last Width (mm)
22.5-30.5 M, 22.5-27.5 W
Eleven years after the late Arne Backstrom installed tech inserts on a pair of 150-flex Tecnica race boots, the brand has introduced what might be the purest realization of Backstrom’s original vision yet. The all-new Tecnica Cochise boot aims to be the end-all, be-all of freeride-specific ski boots that can tour uphill efficiently thanks to a walk mode, GripWalk, and tech inserts, but still charges downhill as confidently as a race-bred alpine boot.
With this in mind, I spent an entire month testing the all-new Tecnica Cochise 130 ski boot in Silverton, Colo. There might not be a better testing ground for this boot than Silverton Mountain, a ski area where a lift gives visitors a ride to a boot pack that gives access to enough massive bowls, tight chutes, and steep freeride terrain to last a lifetime. The terrain at the ski area and the surrounding backcountry is technical and demanding, requiring precise movements and ski technique. When the snowpack allows, there is also plentiful fast and rowdy terrain that requires huge amounts of power and ability.
But before I was able to get out in the Tecnica Cochise 130 in Silverton, I needed to get some work done. While the overall fit of the Cochise has been updated to more closely match the shape of most feet, The 99mm last still straddles the line between a low-volume boot and a medium-volume boot. They were just narrow enough that I needed a punch for my forefoot.
Tecnica’s Custom Adaptive System, or C.A.S., puts dimpled plastic at key locations of the boot to make the shell easier to punch and hold a punch better. Additionally, the shell material on the outside of the foot is slightly less dense than the plastic on the inside of the foot, meaning it is easier to modify. After a little more than a half hour at the bootfitter, I walked out with boots ready to go.
Whether ski touring on Red Mountain Pass or hiking the Silverton Mountain bootpack, I never lost confidence in the Tecnica Cochise’s ability to move uphill. With a 50-degree range of motion and tech inserts, I felt plenty comfortable yo-yoing up and down short tree runs and scrambling on exposed alpine scree on a daily basis. The addition of Gripwalk to the Cochise also helped significantly with walking on rocks, and might be considered as one of the most important updates to the boot after years of slippery alpine soles.
Weighing in at just over 4 lbs. per boot, the Cochise can’t really be classified as a lightweight backcountry ski boot. But that extra weight does make the downhill extraordinarily amazing. On super firm, wind-scoured slopes, the boot remained stable and smooth even though the skiing was definitely not. During a day of testing frontside and all-mountain skis at Kendall Mountain, Silverton’s town hill, the performance of the Tecnica Cochise 130 was comparable to the Mach1 MV on groomed terrain, and darn close in moguls and variable snow as well.
As mentioned previously, the performance to weight ratio is improved by the shell’s construction. The denser plastic on the inside of the foot provides crisper energy transmission to the ski’s inside edge, while the less dense plastic on the other side of the boot saves weight (and is still extremely responsive).
While I didn’t really use it, there is an additional switch on the ski/walk mode lever that can keep the boot locked in ski mode and minimize any sort of cuff/boot shell interface issues. This lock is probably overkill for most recreational skiers, but I would definitely lock it out if I were entered in a freeride competition.
This lockout was actually the only negative that came up during the Tecnica Cochise’s performance during testing. While in a hurry to test the boot’s powder performance in Silverton Mountain’s Tiger Gully—i.e. I was dropping into boot-deep snow and wanted all of the freshies—I absent-mindedly put the boot into ski mode and ravenously pointed my skis downhill. The lockout switch had rotated to “locked” while in walk mode, however, and the latch didn’t fully engage into ski mode. As I made my first turn, I could feel that the cuff was loose, forcing me to pump the brakes and adjust properly.
After that, I had to remind myself to make sure the boot was fully in ski mode before dropping in, which it always was. This might have been a one-off experience, but still something to be aware of when skiing in this boot.
Overall, the new Tecnica Cochise is a few steps above previous generations thanks to this improved walk/ski interface and the addition of GripWalk. The locking switch in the back will certainly be appreciated by some, but is overkill for most. Regardless, the Cochise is still one of the top boots for skiers who want one-ski boot to do it all and remains trustworthy all over the ski resort and in the backcountry. Arne would be stoked on it, that’s for sure.
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