progression in touring boots is truly inspirational. As the fastest growing
market in the ski industry this shouldn't be surprising. Scarpa's introduction
of the Gea in 2011 was a huge leap for me. The 2012/2013 Gea RS is an even
larger step down the path of touring boot downhill performance coinciding with
ease of touring. The new Scarpa Gea RS
shares the same construction as the 2011 Gea. Differences are brought about by
stiffness resulting from:
- Shell is now made from grilamid/polyamide; a plastic that can be molded
thinner and lighter than Pebax with same stiffness but adds cost to the boot
(hence the price increase of around $100)
- Buckles are beefier which Scarpa says contributes to boot stiffness. I did
find a more progressive difference in stiffness when going from one notch to
- Tongue hinges stronger than the ones on the first retail models of the Gea.
- Gea RS has two ski modes; 16 and 20 degrees so its slightly more upright than
before. With 37 degree cuff movement for a very flexible walk mode
- Fasteners use rivets instead of removable hardware previously used which had
a tendency to break.
- Tongue remains Pebax but is noticeably stiffer than the tongue from the old
- Sizes are 22.5-27 for Gea RS
Based on past issues with the fasteners
present on the boot, I checked all the threaded fasteners (fewer now, as
mentioned above) before field testing and the hardware was tight. After the 10
days I went over them again and all was still locked down nicely
The Gea RS is heavier then the previous Gea at 3 pounds 2 Ounces ( 2011 Gea
was 2 pounds, 15 ounces, women’s size 25). I didn't find the increase
weight to be an issue.
Scarpa's Alpine Axial Tongue design combines the benefits of tongue and overlap
construction to provide stiffness and a progressive flex. The Axial Tongue
opens via hinges on the inside of the boot, which allows for ease of entry once
you open the tongue and more room for larger feet.
As the Gea is the women's version it is designed to fit
people with a narrow heel, lower calf and higher instep.
The Gea also shares the following characteristics with other boots in the
Scarpa line up:
• Plant based (rather than petroleum based) Pebax Rnew plastic.
• Ultra lightweight and super strong magnesium buckles.
• New Quick step tech fittings and Fitting Indicator System combine to make
getting in and out of tech style bindings easier than ever.
• Asymmetric tongue provides precise power transmission.
• Wide range of cuff motion translates to comfortable touring.
• Comes stock with Intuition Pro Flex RS liner
• Active Power Strap.
The Gea RS is a noticeably stiffer boot then its predecessor. The buckles offer
a greater progression of stiffness. I found the 2011 Gea to be to tight at one
buckle notch, then too loose at the next one. Due to the changes to increase
downhill performance, this did translate to a stiffer touring feel. I do loosen
all the buckles completely in tour mode. Still you could feel more resistance
when your shin moves forward. The 2012/2013 color scheme is also very unique.
Scarpa's Alpine Axial Tongue
Developed in 2010 as a variation of Scarpa's Cabrio construction, with a
twisting tongue (the tongue opens to the side) it integrates the best
attributes of both overlap and Cabrio constructions.
The asymmetrical tongue has perforations at the top to reduce weight and a cut
out with a softer insert for increased flex at the crease (see photo below).
The instep buckle which tightens over the crease is effective at reducing boot
volume, a characteristic missing in most four buckle boots. This tongue is also
designed to facilitate motion and create an even flex to the boot. When taking
off the boot, the tongue moves away from the boot at an angle so you need to
clear the tongue of the buckles to move the tongue over to take off the boot.
The top of the boot shell covered by the tongue is not composed of Pebax, but a
lighter flexible material to keep snow out. The Gea comes with a raised inner
foot and a soft pad in the heal for support and warmth. The Gea does not come
with a foot bed for weight savings. This along with the Scarpa liner, which is
an Intuition Pro Flex RS liner with a thinner sole, allows consumers to use
their own footbed if so desired. The rivets are also inset to prevent wear on
the liners and a waterproof membrane covering the vents in the back cuff to
prevent snow from entering and allow for increased breathability.
The Active Power strap on the Gea is very wide, lighter then the booster strap
and offers further support to the upper cuff depending on how tight you pull
In order to lessen the stiffness of the Gea RS I substituted
the Scarpa Liner with an Intuition Pro Tour or Luxury Liner.
I found the Pro-Tour and Luxury liner both created a less resistant tour mode
without loss in downhill performance. The Luxury liner was slighter stiffer
then the Pro-Tour liner, all three were equally warm. The Intuition liners also
come with laces, which I removed since I didn't find a benefit with them.
The size 27 boot was tested in this review. My shoe size is between women's
9 and 10. Scarpas size 26 is for a size 10 foot, size 27 is for a 11 foot. I
was more comfortable in the larger boot. As an added note, I weigh 150lbs, ski
about 90 days a year, half of those touring. We ski mostly in powder or packed
powder conditions. Sometimes on ice and sastrugi when unavoidable.
When fully buckled this boot was very stiff and offered solid, consistent
support in even grabby variable conditions.
I used these boots with the G3 Tonic 177 skis. The boot was able to drive this
skis effortlessly. I tightened the boots enough to get a snug feel. My foot did
not move in the boot. Every foot movement transferred directly to the ski and
the ski did not deflect in variable conditions so long as I kept my feet
I was able to ski confidently in powder, wind affected snow, hard pack groomer
I found the boot confidence inspiring, comfortable and responsive in all
conditions. It had a consistent feel that allowed me to stay in control.
The light comfortable boot made those long days easy. In all conditions the
boot was supportive, warm when it was really cold ( -25oC) and easily vented
when it warmed up. Fully unbuckled it was very free. I did have to loosen the
Active Power straps for longer tours for the best comfort.
The Quick step tech fittings and Fitting Indicator System did make it easier to
line up the holes to the pins in the binding. This was a nice touch.
A very comfortable boot with a wide range of ankle flex for touring that
provides ample stiffness during descents. This boot is stiffer then its
predecessor. It can be made less stiff for touring with Intuition Pro-Tour or