This year boots have gotten lighter and we can point the finger at the success of lightweight skis in the Alpine market as the primary trend driver—that and the fact that while most of us can't manage to shed a few pounds of our own, we can and do appreciate shaving mere ounces off the gear we haul around. Less fatigue, heightened quickness, fewer pounds to schlep—sure we can get on board, so long as these boots still perform! And at this year's boot test at Silver Mountain Resort in northern Idaho, we found that the lightweights more than held their own with established category stalwarts. (read more)

We moved our annual boot test to Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg, Idaho this year because we were looking for a boot test headquarters that had on-hill space for us where we could access a variety of terrain right out the test center's doors, that would have good late season conditions and offer base village accommodations that would be attractive to our volunteer test team but not break the bank. Silver Mountain Resort has all those elements in spades, as well as a killer indoor water park in the base village and great restaurants like the Hill Street Depot Pub or Radio Brewing Company within walking distance.

Masterfit University and Masterfit insole products are prominently featured in the new book Physical Skiing by Neil Woklodoff.  A PhD with an extensive training background,  Wolkodoff explores the physical side of skiing and shows how to optimize training, diet and equipment so skiers perform at  peak levels while reducing the incidence of injury.

Virtually every skier will benefit from some basic lateral stance fine-tuning in the form of a well-made custom footbed and a properly adjusted upper cuff, but many skiers can really elevate their performance and comfort by taking the next stance step and having their boots canted—even a little bit makes a difference. Canting essentially means tipping the whole boot left or right in relation to the ski for the sake of improved edging balance and for stability and comfort of the legs during skiing.

We'd like to thank all the boot brands who support our annual boot test--we couldn't bring this unique content to you without their help. This year we asked 16 brands to submit up to eight boots each, in as many as 4 sizes per model--that's a big commitment on their parts, and the key to why our product test is the industry standard. Every brand brought something fresh to the table this year, and some perennial favorites, too. Read on to see what's new in each brand's boot line-up this year and see how the Battle of the Brands shook out....

Special thanks to all of our sponsors!