Atomic is expanding their tech touring boot horizons this season, and we like what we see. Atomic dove in to the race/sub 1 kilo boot category with the new Backland Ultimate. The Ultimate has a grilamid lower cuff matched with a light and stiff carbon upper cuff. The walk/ski mechanism is a sleek and simple one throw system. Cables pull from either side of the lever across the shin and are adjustable by the velcro strap they attach to. The result is an even pull with a decent amount of cinching material in front of the shin.
When it comes to walking, the Ultimate has a friction free pivot cuff and more range of motion in your ankle at 80 degrees. We are big fans of the washability of Atomic's liners, and this will come in extra handy for the extra level of stank that you generally find in race boots. Those liners are also heat moldable to keep the feet and ankle comfy on big days. The 750 gram weight beats all other options in this price range.
|Material||Grilamid w/ Memory Fit, Carbon spine|
|Forward Lean||10, 18 degrees|
|Sole||Skywalk Rubber Sole|
|Buckles||1 Buckle with Strap|
|Manufactuer Warranty||2 years|
If you're looking for a pair of skimo race boots I'd highly recommend these. They're as light or lighter than the competition, they ski surprisingly well thanks to their carbon cuffs, ankle mobility is excellent, ski/walk transitions are easy, and they're competitively priced. Out of the box the shells are quite narrow, but Atomic's MemoryFit technology makes it easy to mold them to awkwardly-shaped feet like mine - the shells just go in the oven for a few minutes as if they're liners. (Don't try this at home! You'll need to go to a fitter who's familiar with the process).
The BSL is within a mm of the previous-generation Dynafit PDG/DyNA Evo, so you won't have to re-mount your bindings if those were your previous boots.
I've been using them with Palau liners that are as light as the stock liners, but a bit thicker and more supportive.
The only reason I don't give them five stars is because the cuff cord has been wearing prematurely where it passes through the ski/walk lever. To protect against further wear I've threaded the cord through a bit of flexible PVC tubing that I found on eBay for a few dollars (1/8" inside diameter, 3/16" outside diameter). So far that seems to be working.