Friday, July 15, 2011

Gear Review: Garmont Radium

If the boot doesn't fit.  Mold it.

Searching for a reasonably priced "do-it-all" boot?  Garmont has the answer.

The Garmont Radium grabbed my attention when I was searching for a burly boot for short backcountry tours and resort skiing.  While I've been extremely happy with the comfort and control of the Garmont Megaride, it is pushed to its limits by the heavier skis in my arsenal.

Through my research I narrowed down the field to two reasonably priced choices: the Scarpa Skookum and the Garmont Radium.  As you can see from my 2010 Ski Boot Comparison Chart, both the Skookum and Radium have an excellent weight to stiffness ratio and are popular enough that they can be located on the secondary markets. Given my experience with the Megaride, I decided to stick with Garmont and go with the Radium. 

Initially, I thought I had made big mistake.  I wore the Radium on a week long resort skiing trip last December and was extremely uncomfortable.  I then learned that the Radium has a different footbed design from the Megaride and assumed that this was causing the problem.  Imagine my surprise when I learned that the reason they were uncomfortable was that I had not thermo molded them to my feet.  Yes folks, you need to thermo mold thermo moldable boots in order for them to fit properly.  In other words, my stupidity was causing the problem and not any design problem with the boots. I previously wrote about my adventures in stupidity in the blog post about thermo moldable boots.

Well, after putting some decent miles on the properly fitted boots I can confidently recommend them for both resort and tour skiing. 

After thermo molding the boots, the difference was night and day.  Not only did resort skiing stop feeling like a trip to Guantanamo, I became confident enough in the Radium that I decided to start taking them on backcountry tours. By the end of the season, they were feeling so good that I chose them for lengthy trips to Osceola and the Gulf of Slides.

While I had originally purchased them as a resort and short tour boot, they have proven themselves equally adept at longer tours.  Yes they are powerful and provide a lot of control, but they are unexpectedly light and comfortable.

For those that need more room for their toes there is also good news.  In my previous post on the Radium, I mentioned the gripe from some Radium owners that the stitching in the liner causes bunching in the toes.  To alleviate this issue the 2011-2012 Radiums are designed with a larger toe box.

Overall, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced, jack of all trades boot, the Garmont Radium is an excellent choice. 

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