Testers who were not necessarily backcountry veterans were won over by the Backland XTD Carbon 120 GW for a variety of reasons--the first being access to the goods. The molded GripWalk outsole meant that some testers were able to use their GripWalk compatible alpine bindings to at least experience how the boot fit and performed on snow, even if they weren't testing it going uphill. And they loved how well it drove their on-area sticks! Yes, it was a little under-powered in that application but they felt that it handled most of what they threw at it and held up pretty well against other stiffer 130's. The crew that mated the Backland XTD Carbon with a more appropriate, lighter weight ski and tech binding found that the set up was at the top of the heap for a combination of natural and smooth ascending and more-than-capable descent skills. This little two-buckle affair had few flaws for testers to write home about.
Atomic calls the Backland XTD a "touring last 100 mm" which we assume means it runs a little to the snug side of all-mountain alpine medium width boots--cuz it did. Across the board testers praised the evenly contoured shape in both the lower boot and upper cuff, claiming the Backland's fit as one of its very best traits. Hyper-focused testers thought that the cuff height ran a touch to the low side on the leg, which made for lots of mobility while going up but left a little leverage-lacking on the down for the stork-legged on the test team. Some testers also commented that the instep felt a bit more snug than most medium widths but not enough that testers dropped its fit scores, which remained at the top of the category.
The GripWalk version comes with a 50mm Velcro power strap, which our testers liked, though the full rockered touring norm lugged sole comes with a quick-releasing cam buckle style strap. Testers were fans of the washable 3D Platinum Tour liner, which our bootfitter testers agreed might become the new standard for any re-molding of used BC boot liners. Wash that thing or we won't put it in the oven!
“Surprisingly comfortable and skiable for a backcountry boot--pretty strong on edge though that's where it fails slightly compared to how well it fits and tours. It has great range of motion for the skin track and is super light and super lively. Home run for Atomic!” -- Mark Elling
“Agile, light-footed feel. Never skittish or squirrely. Definitely made for walking but pretty good skiing too!” -- Marc Stewart
“A lightweight BC boot that skis better than many competitors' all mountain models. Very impressive entry to the market. The other interesting thing is that the 120 flex delivers plenty of input to the ski.” -- Jim Schaffner
“Holy sh**! i could dance in these things! Likes slower speeds and smoother terrain. I'm sure would ski great in pow and corn.” -- Charlie Bradley
“The foot fit is comfortable. The touring quality is well engineered.” -- Bob Gleason