Boot: Fischer Vacuum 130
Weight Per Boot: 2005 g / 4.42 lbs.
Test Location: Taos Ski Valley
Days Skied: ~20
Any ski shop that didn’t pick up Fischer in the last few years missed a great opportunity to sell some really good fitting boots. Not only do Fischer boots fit well but they ski great.
And now, Fischer is about to redefine the industry.
The Fischer Vacuum shell is, in a word, amazing. I was lucky enough to get in on the introduction of the Vacuum boot two weeks ago, thanks to Charlie Webb, Fischer’s regional sales rep.
We have already seen a custom shell boot from Salomon that has been well received, but the Vacuum is a whole different animal. The Fischer is a full “custom shell.” The shoe and the cuff are made of a combination of plastics that truly mold to the foot and leg.
Furthermore, this boot doesn’t just get wider where it needs to be wider or taller where it needs to be taller. It actually gets smaller where it needs to be smaller. (To everybody out there who has dreamed of a boot that really, truly locks down the heel, take a few deep breaths and try to contain yourselves.) Not only does the Vacuum’s Fit process take care of shape, but it also deals with stance. The cuff is supposed to move to a more neutral stance relative to the skier’s lower leg, assuring the skier is standing flat, resulting in easier simultaneous edge initiation.
The fitting process is straightforward: put the boots on, measure the skier’s stance, set the stand to that measurement, and set the forward lean bar. The boots are then placed in an oven and heated to 175 degrees. It takes twelve minutes to bake them. The skier then puts the boots back on, and the technician wraps a cold pack around each boot, then a pressure bag (Think of the doctor’s blood pressure cuff). The pressure bag is then inflated, exerting an inward pressure on the boot that molds the shell to the contours of the foot.
It is Thursday morning at Taos Ski Valley and I am itching to make some turns. I put my new boots on and notice how easily my foot slips in. The next thought: SNUG. REALLY SNUG! I have never had a fit around my heel and ankle like this before. Also, the fit over my instep and forefoot is incredible.
As I ride Chair 1, I am reminded of the the first foam fit I ever had. It took two full weeks to break in. Now I am a little concerned about how tight this boot really is; I can feel every aspect of my foot. I am worried that my feet are going to get migraines and that I am going to have to unbuckle (I hate unbuckling my boots). But when I get off the lift and glide toward Chair 2, I am relieved to find that my worries were unfounded. All perceived tightness fades as I flex the boots and start rolling edge to edge.
And the surprises keep coming: the ease in which these boots roll is incredible – I can’t remember the last time I felt this kind control. My Dynastar Pro Rider 105 now feels a little more slalom-y, and edge change is quick and smooth. Now I can’t wait to hike Kachina Peak.