Testers look at the backcountry category in three main areas: fit, downhill performance and uphill performance. Sure, they're interested in how well they go on and off and how warm they'll be, but the big three dominate. What element stood out to testers with Salomon's new Mountain Lab? How this boot skied flat-out shocked the hell out of us. The super-sensitive, close-to-snow feel of the boot sole underfoot was the first indication that something was going right with this one, and then the crisp, direct-drive nature of the transmission of movement and energy to the ski made every tester take note.
The Grilamid lower boot and so-called Alpine Pebax cuff combine to make this a lightweight powerhouse with a touch on snow that will appeal to solid, technical skiers considering going uphill. And this boot does that well too—we especially loved the cleanly finished and easily operated sideways-oriented Surelock cuff release switch. The released range of motion is vast to the rear and better than most in forward flex, and a few testers noted that the fit of the boot actually improved a bit in hike mode—a rarity, that.
The fit was the only element of the BC triad that testers faulted the Mountain Lab for, saying that the fit in the lower boot was inconsistent (loose in the toes and forefoot and choked off at the instep) and harsh on ankle bones. Testers noted the feel against the shin was a bit abrupt and overly firm at the boot top. A few mentioned wishing for a Custom Shell option here, but alas, no such luck. Cooking the full-thermomoldable CF 3D liner helped many testers even-out the fit in the lower boot.
“Balanced. Tuned into the ski and snow.” -- Mark Elling
“Light. Comfortable and great ski/snow feel. ” -- Eric Lilley
“Skied pow like a charm. Light weight, good skiing boot. ” -- Brian Elling
“Skied well! Super light weight.” -- Steve Remer
“Quick and straight forward. Good feel for the snow. Light. ” -- John "Moose" Millslagle