Down ‘N Dirty: Atomic Hawx Ultra Xtd 110

Atomic’s goal with the Hawx Ultra Xtd 110 was to make a boot that walks the line between freeride and backcountry skiing — blending lightweight uphill capabilities with powerful response on the downhill. A one-quiver boot, ski or binding, isn’t a new concept, but before the Hawx, I had yet to fully appreciate what this could mean. I won’t name names, but in my experience, a piece of ski equipment that can supposedly “do it all” often comes up mediocre in a few categories. That being said, rumors of the Hawx boot peaked my interest last season, and I was eager to try it out.

Living in the Tetons, or any area where you’re constantly in and out of bounds, the Hawx really is the perfect boot. In the backcountry, the reinforced Grilamid shell keeps the weight down (less than three pounds per foot), and the cuff boasts a 54-degree range of motion that feels natural and efficient on the skintrack. The Frictionless Pivot allows your foot to move smoothly with each step, minimizing fatigue on a long tour.

Inbounds, I’ve been skiing the Hawx with the Black Crows Atris Birdie, and it feels stiff and responsive while I’m skiing anything from steep hardpack to tight chutes. The Energy Backbone is a reinforcement along the spine of the boot, creating a powerful and stable feel while zipping through technical terrain. You can also step into any WTR alpine binding without swapping out the soles, transitioning seamlessly from the backcountry to the resort. Since I started skiing the Hawx, I haven’t once thought about my traditional alpine boots.

MSRP: $699

Pros:First off, the walk mode on this boot is amazing. I’m not exaggerating when I say it feels like a hiking boot. Like I said before, the Frictionless Pivot allows an incredibly smooth and natural stride, and the large external walk mode lever is super easy to throw up or down while you have mittens on. Atomic’s Memory Fit system lets you mold the boot to fit almost any foot. They technically have a 98mm last, but with Memory Fit you can fully customize the liner, shell and cuff. I have a pretty low-volume foot and they fit perfectly out of the box, so I can’t actually speak to the molding process but I do have a few friends who have difficult feet to fit, and they swear by it.

Cons: I wasn’t a huge fan of the strap the Hawx comes with. Due to the lightweight, minimalist design of the boot, the strap doesn’t feel very secure. I replaced it with a Booster Strap and it feels really solid now, plus it’s a little stiffer. The 110 flex is slightly softer than a true 110 on a downhill boot, but again, with a Booster Strap I’d say it’s pretty even now.

Where We Took It:Riding lifts a Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee. Backcountry skiing in Grand Teton National Park and skinning up Snow King Mountain after work.

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