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​TGR Tested: Dynafit TLTX Ski Mountaineering Boot

Dynafit's new TLT X is a light-and-fast solution to the answer of "what should I put on my feet while ski mountaineering?

Over the past few years, I’ve learned a few lessons about the mantra of “light is right” when it comes to ski gear. The main one is that it’s definitely not always true. In general, ultralight ski gear is pretty bad at actually skiing, but the tradeoff of light weight is often worth it if carving high-speed turns and shredding your face off isn’t the objective of the day. When I first stepped into Dynafit’s new TLT X ski mountaineering boot, I already sort of knew what I was signing myself up for. It doesn’t promise “race-boot” like feel or stability for hucking the biggest and baddest airs. It’s an ultralight boot that’s meant for walking (or better yet, running) through the mountains to access steep and technical skiing.

I’ll admit that I’m not really a skimo athlete. The closest I’ve ever come to skimo racing is signing up for the Grand Traverse only to bail a few weeks before when my partner and I decided we just didn’t think it would be fun enough to warrant our time. However, moving through the mountains in a light and fast manner has always fascinated me – and I do enjoy a day that really puts the “mountaineering” into ski mountaineering. Dynafit, of course, has always been about that life, and the TLT X is the latest iteration of a long line of ski touring boots designed for big days. This time, it’s been slimmed down to 1030 grams of the absolute essentials.

Like the previous versions, the TLT X features the Ultra Lock 5.0 system that combines the upper cuff buckle and walk mode lever into a single mechanism. That means all it takes is one motion to change boot modes. The boot does not a have a tongue, and the forefoot closure system relies on a soft gaiter and BOA dial system. Inside, Dynafit provides a thin but comfortable customizable Ultralon liner. The walk mode is incredible, with a nearly frictionless 60-degree range of motion, plus options for either a 15 or 18-degree forward lean. I’m stoked to see that Dynafit went back to using actual toe bails for crampon attachment, so this boot should work with most automatic crampons. I tested it with the Petzl Leopard and Black Diamond Cyborg and the fit was secure. Finally, the boots come with a removable ultralight Velcro power strap that could be replaced with a Booster Strap to stiffen them up a bit.

The single-move walk mode lever and the BOA system make for a very streamlined and efficient boot. | Dynafit photo.

The boot fit me very comfortably out of the box. In alpine boots, I typically ride a 27.5, but have tended to size up to a 28.5 in touring boots. I was glad I did for the TLT X, as it does seem fit a bit small, and sizing down isn’t going to eke out any extra performance the way it might in plug boot. Tightening the BOA kind of hugs your foot and pulls it into the heel pocket. Up front, there’s plenty of room laterally and vertically in the toes, and with a 101mm last, it should fit most feet without mods. The lack of a tongue also gives plenty of room over the instep, but the BOA does a good job of keeping your heels locked in.

In the mountains, I took advantage of the long-lasting spring snowpack here in the Tetons to take the TLT X out on a few adventures. Nearly all of the days I wore them involved lots of walking with skis on my back. This is where the boot’s performance stood out the most. They are stupidly comfortable to walk in – so much so that I found myself jogging in them for fun, much to the dismay of my partners. Can’t say I’ve ever done that before. The one-motion changeover is something I didn’t think about much until I used it. Now I wish all my ski boots had something like that, fiddling with three or four buckles just to change modes is just plain annoying. Additionally, the sleek forefoot and cuff make these much less likely to get caught on rocks or ice when scrambling around in technical terrain.

The first time I wore these skiing, I was very skeptical of their ability to do much going downhill; I was actually slightly nervous. Like many of us, I’m used to skiing stiff boots and aggressively driving big skis. I can’t say that the TLT X has the ability to do that very well. However, I will say that, when paired with an ultralight ski mountaineering ski, they are more than capable of ripping turns. While they are not very stiff, the Grilamid shells have an incredible amount of rebound and “bounce” in them, that allows for quick turns and a surprisingly stable ski feel – especially in soft spring snow.

At the end of the day, the TLT X is not a ski boot for everyone. It’s a tool for a specific job – technical skiing in big mountains that requires a lot of walking. It does that job very well, with no extra frills (or weight) to complicate things. I’m excited to start planning some more objectives for next year and exploring deeper into the mountains than ever before.

Get the Dynafit TLT X here - $800

From The Column: TGR Tested

About The Author

stash member Max Ritter

I manage digital content here at TGR, run our gear testing program, and am stoked to be living the dream in the Tetons.

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