The Best Boot Models for Niseko's Unique Terrain
Boot fitters worldwide will agree that accurately matching the size, shape and flex of a ski boot with a skier’s anatomy and ability is crucial when selecting a boot model. However, a well-fitting boot is only part of the picture. Skier’s also need to ensure the boot they choose is compatible with their type of skiing and the terrain they plan toski. So we’ve put together our recommendations for the best ski boot models for those wishing to make the most of Niseko’s unique combination of lift accessed and short hike-to-powder skiing terrain.
What type of skier are you?
An All Mountain Traditionalist, an All Mountain Adventurer or a Backcountry Adventurer? By identifying which category you fall into will help guide your choice of ski boot.
Will you be skiing off-piste?
If your answer is yes, whether it be a dabble into knee-deep powder at the sides of the groomed runs, or an aggressive early morning assault of the superidge, you will need something that skis well off piste and ideally matches a freeride style of skiing. Freeride boots tend to have lower ramp angles to facilitate the occasional backseat position as well as allow good close feel of the ski underfoot. They will also have some inbuilt shock absorbing material underfoot to dampen the jarring forces of rough terrain and variable snow. For those spending most of their time in resort then the All Mountain Traditionalist boot with freeride specs is what you want!
Our All Mountain Traditionalist pick: Men’s K2 Spyne/Women’s K2 Spyre
- Low ramp angle boot board facilitates better weight position for powder skiing
- Rear cuff is forgiving in the backseat (powder seat)
- Rivet free cuff lock allows smoother ride in varied terrain and snow conditions
- Fully moldable Intuition liner
- Varied flex options
- Three last width options: caters for narrow, medium and wide feet
- Dual Cuff alignment: so the boot can be adjusted to perfectly match skier’s leg shape
Will you want to hike?
On a good clear day the hike-to-the peak is a must. Also, those who ski at Hanazono will at some stage look out towards the east face of the mountain and want to explore everything there is to offer in that direction. Skiing this terrain will require some extra traversing and a decent hike in and out of some places. For these All Mountain Adventurers, choosing a ski boot with a “Hike Mode” is highly recommended. Hike mode essentially allows the upper cuff of the ski boot to unlock and allow for the ankle to move more freely, allowing for a more natural walking gait. This takes considerable strain off the knees and hips when climbing or walking in deep snow.
Our All Mountain Adventurer Pick: Men’s Dalbello Panterra/Women’s Dalbello Kyra
- Hike mode mechanism is easy to engage/disengage and offers a good range of motion for easy movement up the mountain when skinning and through deep snow when hiking.
- Centre balanced rocker stance: optimum control of wider skis and easy balance in powder ( less back seat)
- High grip rubber soles allow easy grip on packed powder and steep hike ascents Relatively light weight but does not give up downhill performance
- Smooth and responsive flex optimized for all mountain skis and powder conditions
- Width adjustment from wide to medium fit
- Optional custom moldable Intuition liner: (the warmest on the market)
Will you be going skinning?
Fancy going a little bit further into the wilderness? Guided backcountry tours are fast becoming very popular and Niseko is blessed with an abundance of easy access, relatively safe terrain for skiers of all levels to explore and enjoy. If you plan to spend a majority of your time skinning up mountains and hiking from the roadside, then a backcountry-touring style boot is essential. There is a vast range of boots on offer in this category that are really lightweight with plenty of cuff range in hike mode. However, buyers should be aware that many of these lightweight, easy-hike models don’t perform as well downhill as traditional boots. And considering the majority of ski touring around the Niseko region consists of short hikes with amazing powder filled descents, it’s recommended you choose a model that is light, but still performs to a level that allows maximum powder froth when descending!
Our Backcountry Adventurer Pick: Unisex Dynafit Vulcan
- Designed for freeriders, this super light (only 1600gms) boot hikes well and skies brilliantly
- The stiffness of the boot is equal to the most solid of downhill ski boots and can therefore handle fat skis with ease, and skis varied powder terrain with good responsiveness
- Overall it is a great compromise between skiing well on powder skis, and keeping a light weight boot with high range of motion for fast and easy hike up. Compatible with a large number of touring and freeride bindings
- Thermomoldable liner