Why we chose the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130: That buttery smooth flex.
Drawing experience from their two highly successful all-mountain (Hawx) and ski touring (Backland) ski boot ranges, Atomic have combined technologies to create the Hawx Ultra range; a range where impressively smooth flex meets a near frictionless walk mode – shout out to the product’s Free/Lock 2.0 walk mode for that one.
“Impressively smooth flex meets a near frictionless walk mode”
Something that the Hawx Ultra XTD series has kept throughout is the beautifully simple walk mode – originally taken from the Backland range of boots from Atomic and aptly named Free/Lock 2.0
Free/Lock 2.0 involves a simple lever that’s easily flipped up and down to lock and unlock walk or ski mode. The bar locks into a metal point in the heel cup to provide a full locked out ski feel. To go into tour mode, all you have to do is flip the lever up to release the lock.
As the guts of the Free/Lock 2.0 are exposed on the outside of the boot, it’s worth mentioning to keep an eye on any icing issue that may block the locking out of the lever – particularly after bootpacking in deep snow.
Grip Walk has been built into the all-new 2019 – 2020 Hawx Ultra XTD. Manufacturers have been competing to create their own sole norms, with Salomon and Atomic pushing their own MNC norm while Marker created the Grip Walk norm. It’s great to see all boot manufacturers getting their heads together and using a universally recognized boot sole norm for multi-binding usability, no matter the brand.
“One of the smoothest that we’ve felt on a touring boot in this weight category”
Something worth noting is the use of four buckles and, most importantly, two upper cuff buckles. Many skiers prefer the confidence of four buckles locking them in, rather than two buckles – particularly for a full-on downhill boot. The Atomic Hawx Ultra is the only boot we’ve included in this weight range, which utilises four buckles.
The use of the four buckles, combined with an improved liner and an all-Grilamid shell construction, leads to a smooth flex of 130 – one of the smoothest that we’ve felt on a touring boot in this weight category.
If you’re looking for the single boot quiver then you’ll most likely be looking at this boot, the Salomon S/Lab MTN, and the Dynafit Hoji Free. Give them all a try to see which boot works best for you.
The important difference between the Hawx XTD 130 and the Salomon S-Lab MTN or Dynafit Hoji Free is the use of those four buckles, which some people may simply prefer over the more minimal two found on its competitors.
“I think that this is the boot that a lot of folk have been waiting for. It skis like a good alpine boot (almost like a good race boot), but it has the range of motion of a top end touring boot. I think 1400 grams is a respectable weight – there’s for sure a lot of lighter boots out there, but not with the performance same performance as this one.”
Graham Bell, Former Olympic Downhill Ski Racer
“Gone are the days when if you wanted the lightness and uphill advantages of a touring boot, you needed to sacrifice flex and function on the descents. The Hawx Ultra XTD is light weight and comfortable in walk mode yet has the power and torsional flex needed to blast around the mountain on piste.
“The memory foam liner makes it easy to fit, and according to my boot fitter Colin, the shell is very easy to blow out if like me you have bone spurs left over from ski racing days. It has the feel of a high performance alpine boot and at the same time is light enough with a pin system to qualify as a touring boot.”
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