Not many tougher places than back country Tasmania to on snow (and on a few other surfaces!) test the Roxa RX Tour backcountry ski boots. All the conditions you could encounter in the same day is pretty standard for one of the World’s more secret wild snow destinations.
Shaun Mittwollen gave them the full workout down there this season ..
What are the key advantages of the ROXA RX Tour boots?
- Great for hiking – through scrub, on snow, over rocks
- Huge 62° range of motion in hike mode
- Burly enough for steep couloir skiing
- Hinged liner for pinch free hiking
ROXA RX Tour test report
When I got my hands on Roxa’s new RX Tour backcountry ski boots I was told they were the only pair in Australia.
While many who enjoy the Australian Backcountry err on the side of stiffer, heavier boots that work well for charging, advances in technology continue to make light boots even more shredable. This is especially evident in the Italian designed and made Roxa RX Tour model, that adopt the Euro mindset of big days in the mountain made even bigger and easier with lightweight minimalist equipment that still performs surprisingly well under pressure.
I have practically lived in the Roxa RX Tour boots during the winter of 2020 and constantly been surprised by their versatility in all areas of ski mountaineering.
One place where light equipment is extremely beneficial is Tasmania!
Down here the access is long, and every extra gram carried, either in the pack during a multi day approach or on the feet on a Cradle Mountain day trip, is extra energy and slower access.
When targeting miniscule weather windows timing and speed is critical. Coming from the Lange Freetour range into the Roxa’s the difference was indescribable: 1800g vs 1200g on each foot made for a huge difference in fatigue over long hours in the boots.
But it was the huge range of motion (62 degrees) in the Roxa RX Tour boots that were the biggest benefit.
I never thought it’d be possible to trail run in a ski boot, but the flexibility in the heels means its pretty darn doable over short distances. Awkward scrub bashing (a lot of that in Tasmania!) and post holing was a cinch, where heavier less flexible boots can make balance tiring and suck you down with each post hole into the vegetated abyss.
One of our main goals for the winter was skiing an unattempted remote couloir in Tassie’s South West wilderness. Long access over two days was followed up by a technical mixed alpine mountaineering climb to access the couloir.
Here the Roxas were tested in the ultimate real world environment. Sketchy rock down climbs were negotiated well with the rubber soles and aforementioned range of motion.
Fixation with ultralight Leverlock crampons worked well on exposed icy traverses, and the boots were comfortable with good heel hold over long periods in awkward positions (I have narrow feet).
Mixed climbs with loose rock and snow were awesome with the RX Tour boots performing better than standard hiking boots owing to the extra rigidity around the shins akin to typical mountaineering shoes.
Skiing in Tasmania is frequently completed in terrible snow conditions. Wet, heavy and deep! Even the 130 stiffness Langes were thrown around when it was crappy.
Indeed the softer Roxas had a hard time in the deep wet snow, performing better at slow speeds, but definitely not as unruly as expected. In the occasionally firm or good snow conditions I really couldn’t tell much difference versus the Lange’s skiing wise with a centred stance.
The Roxa’s were less forgiving in the back seat, but handled an aggressive stance well, with nice even forward flex.
For steep skiing the RX Tour boots were terrific, with easy jump turns owing to the light weight and plenty of support during quick transitions. I didn’t baby these boots at all during the winter and Tasmanian approaches are notorious for wrecking gear.
However for an ultralight boot they handled it all well and I’m pleased to say there is no damage to report.
The boots are obviously well made and built to last several seasons.
Roxa RX Tour boots Tasmania ski test summary
All in all I’ve been super impressed with the Roxa RX Tour. Redefining what is possible on light equipment is always a pleasure. For me less effort equals more fun and if good skiing is possible on light gear then its an easy choice.
Roxa does also make a carbon ultra-light boot that weighs an absurd 899g that really makes you think: how light is the limit of good skiing?
Roxa RX Tour boots specs
LINER: U75 Tour or Ultralight Tour
WEIGHT: 1190g for size 26.5
BUCKLES: 2 aluminium + cable closure
RANGE: 62° ROM
SIZES: 24.0 – 30.5
They retail from around EUR 500 – not currently available in OZ
ROXA offer a choice of two liners for the RX Tour
ULTRALIGHT TOUR LINER – ‘The Ultralight Touring liner is extremely light weight yet provides outstanding high performance. This anatomic liner is perfect for any kind of excursion and is made with a back flex notch that will assist while walking. Moreover, the entire liner is heat-moldable to provide the most precise and comfortable fit.
U75 Tour Liner – ‘The Ultralon Touring liner is extremely light weight yet provides outstanding high performance. This anatomic liner is perfect for any kind of excursion and is made with a back flex notch that will assist while walking. Moreover, the area between the heel and the toes as well as the tongue is 75% heat-moldable to provide the most comfortable fit.’
We recommend the U75 – The ‘hinged’ lining is great for pinch-free hiking Shaun reports.
Check them on the ROXA site here