You know, sometimes I still hear jokes from alpiners about telemark skiers eating granola, hugging trees, and not showering. Such ridicule immediately falls by the wayside, however, once they see a freeheel skier rocking some Garmont Ener-G’s. The old stereotypes just don’t apply and the punchlines fall flat when you see a guy on pins stomp a rodeo over a 60-foot table.

When you see something like that happen, in a film or on the mountain, more often than not the pinhead riding away has his feet wrapped in the revolutionary Garmont PEBAX-shelled Ener-G boots. There’s a reason Max Mancini has ridden this boot for years. It has more burl than many alpine boots, but its multi-injected shell allows for a bellows that’s 20% softer than its trademark red cuff, and a silver “chassis” that’s 20% stiffer for absolute responsiveness.

Garmont’s PEBAX plastic does a better job of managing extreme cold temperature than the cheaper plastics used in most alpine boots. That’s because tele boots sometimes need to be their most supple on the coldest days. Talk about a tough bill to fill – but the Ener-G delivers in spades. Sweet flex, no twist on the turns – that’s what it’s all about.

I rode the Ener-G on some K2 Piste Pipes and couldn’t have been more pleased with how those boots handled them. I’m an alpiner by nature, so when I decide to free the heel I’m looking for a boot that gives me as much strength as possible so I can still charge, albeit a bit more soulfully. The Ener-G is exactly the tele boot for me. It’s strong enough to make solid alpine turns when you’re in a tight spot, and also has a light and agile feel that makes it very comfortable to hop around switch when the itch hits you.

The Ener-G’s fit is its number one advantage, in this writer’s opinion. Having ridden Scarpas on occasion, I was so happy to strap on a boot that wrapped the forefoot better and locked in my heel extremely well. I’m not badmouthing Scarpa – they make an extraordinary boot if it fits your foot. And I’m not saying anything new: If a boot fits your shape of foot, that’s what matters most. For me, that’s consistently Garmont. However, as with all boots you should always be using a Surefoot orthotic and have the innerboot tweaked to your individual needs as well.

A few great features to know about:

  1. The cuff has two forward lean positions it can lock into – 19 degrees and 24 degrees. It also unlocks to a “walk” position.
  2. Weight is about 1850g
  3. Buckles on the cuff have a telescoping “Touring Clip” to secure it in wide-open position (for walking or storage).
  4. Buckle catches on the cuff can be adjusted to shorten or lengthen the distance the buckle has to reach – depending if you have chicken legs or tree stumps for calves.

One gripe: At the base of the shin area there’s a pinching that I’ve noticed on other Garmonts, as well. I realized that it’s because the inner-boot’s tongue appears to be designed to settle inside of the innerboot’s side-cuffs (make sense?). This causes pressure points along the shin & top of ankle that are only noticeable after a few hours of riding. The solution? Simply position the innerboot’s tongue to overlap outside the side cuffs instead, and the problem’s solved.All in all, a stellar boot for alpiners looking to make the transition to tele easy, or for freeheelers who spend the majority of their time in-bounds or on short dawn patrols. Or, for any freeheeler on a ski with a waist wider than 85mm. This is not the boot for a granola-head who takes week-long tours to inspect the health of our forests. Okay, okay – I’m just kidding about the granola-head thing…. 😉 Happy riding!

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