<
>

Tecnica Bodacious boot ($699.99)

A boot with the performance of a race boot, but the features of an AT boot. Courtesy of Tecnica

Named after one of the rowdiest bulls in the Professional Bull Riders, the Bodacious is Tecnica's new top-of-the-line freeride boot. Unlike that bull, however, these boots won't buck you into the backseat.

WHAT IT IS:

The Bodacious' double overlapping shell has a 130 flex (stiff enough for ex-racers and aggressive freeskiers), a low-volume 98 millimeter last, four beefy micro-adjustable buckles, and a wide power strap. The boot comes with rubberized interchangeable Vibram soles to switch out for Dynafit-compatibility when you're using them for touring. The new Arch Grip system provides a rubberized arch for improved traction walking on rocks and, if you're lucky, getting in and out of the helicopter. Worried about the weight? The Bodacious weighs in at roughly nine pounds per pair, lightweight for an alpine boot but heavier than a typical touring boot. Cuff alignment on both sides and a shock-absorbing boot board round out the features. If this boot seems too stiff for you, check out the Bonafide, which is similar to the Bodacious but with a 110 flex.

WHY IT RULES:
Influenced by the mind and skiing style of the late Arne Backstrom and his homemade frankenboots, Tecnica has developed their free-mountain line in a way that no other ski boot company has been willing to try. Instead of trying to make backcountry boots perform like alpine boots, Tecnica has simply added backcountry features and compatibility to alpine boots. "Arne was very technically minded, and he was so interested in gear and equipment," says Ingrid Backstrom, Arne's sister and a Tecnica athlete. "When he recognized that there was a void between a high-performance downhill, almost-race boot and a Dynafit-compatible backcountry boot, he figured he would just make his own. It's really cool to see that Tecnica is incorporating this into their line -- Arne would be stoked."

WHERE TO FIND IT:
For the Bodacious and the full line of Tecnica boots, go to Tecnicausa.com to find a retailer near you.