Little known fact—the Backland Carbon had a secret tryst with the Hawx Prime W and out popped the Hawx Ultra, yep it's true. How do we know Backland Carbon was the dad? He's carbon—stiff and potent. And he's light and fast, always up for a quickie—or a long tour, this one's got multi-day game if you do.
The lower boot grabs the foot in a snug wrap with some extra space in the toebox and a super snug grip on the ankles. The cuff fits a little low on the leg and tight in circumference, with a firm liner feel on the shin and calf—testers were less pumped up on the cuff fit than they were on the lower fit. The beauty of the Backland series is that while these boots utilize Grilamid and carbon fiber, they also employ Memolink, the Memory Fit additive that lets the shell get cooked in an oven for 5 minutes and be molded straight to the foot—this is a huge benefit as the super thin shell walls here can make traditional bootfitting solutions tricky.
The foot feel is incredible, testers agreed—the carbon reinforced Grilamid lower boot is stiff and responsive and has a tactile feel for the snow and ski. Testers liked the moves the Backland carbon made when using the foot to make them happen. The cuff is aggressive—stiff, low and a bit abrupt on the leg, so testers docked it some points for big power carves and the ability to drive a big ski. This is a backcountry machine, so narrower waisted rides and softer snows will make more sense here. The range of motion was insane, testers said—one of the very best of all the backcountry boots they tested.
The Free/Lock 2.0 cuff release is straightforward and cool-looking—locked on solid for skiing and totally disengaged for touring. The Cross Lace instep buckle does a good job of retaining the foot with minimalist flare. The stiff external tongue can be pulled and stowed for touring to reduce weight and free up maximum range of motion. Note that the toe and heel lugs are not compatible with step-in AT "frame" style bindings—tech bindings only for Backland.
“Unparalleled range of motion in hike mode!” -- Jeff Harper
“Great hike mode!” -- Charlie Bradley
“Crisp feel underfoot makes for strong foot steering.” -- Mark Elling
“Good, neutral positioning helps drive the ski with quick effectiveness. Easy up.” -- Bob Gleason
“Lightweight with good balance.” -- Andrew Barr