Gear Review: Scarpa T2 Eco Women’s Telemark boots

Scarpa T2 Eco Women's Telemark Boots

I’ve been wearing Scarpa T2 boots ever since I switched to telemark skiing in 2003. They are my go-to brand of choice for ski boots, approach shoes, trail running shoes, etc. because they tend to run narrow. My foot is thin with low arches, and all bones, no meat. Other brands like Garmont, Rossignol, etc. are so wide in the toe-box and heel for me that I cannot perform well. Boot to binding engagement is critical, especially on the variable terrain of the backcountry.

I purchased last season’s model of the T2 Eco Women’s Telemark boot, but the design is essentially the same, even compared to the version I purchased in 2003. The key for me, again, is the fit to my feet and leg. With my skinny, no meat feet and ankles, I have regular sized women’s calves. No matter how I tried, I could not fit into the more racer-like and traditional ski boot-like T1 Telemark boot. I could never get the top buckle closed. But, the T2s come down lower on the calf. This allows my skinny joints to be seated deeply into the heel-cup, and still have space up the leg. Nothing stinks worse than skiing down a fantastic powder run and 3 turns in realizing your foot is falling asleep because the calf buckle is too tight. The T2 is the perfect balance of flexibility and performance.

With only three buckles and a power-strap, it seems like the T2 won’t provide enough support. I was skeptical at first, myself. Their design perfectly keys in to the sweet spot – the ankle strap. If you look at most ski boots today, there is rarely a strap right across the ankle, from the two protruding bones on each side. That’s exactly where Scarpa sets their strap. This allow for maximum fit and support through the shin area, because the boot and leg are not flexing forward as much. It’s simple, elegant, and functional. The buckle on the top of the boot near the toes, is almost just for show. It doesn’t tighten much, but then again, my feet are skinny.

The buckle plus power strap on the calf provide additional snug fit and support, once the heel-lock is in place for skiing down. Because of the shorter boot height, and the Pebax Rnew recycled & petroleum-free plastic, the T2 is lighter than the T1, perfect for long ski tours. Additionally, a small lever on the outside back of the boot allows for easy conversion to walk or ski mode, an excellent update compared to the 2003 version. There is now also a lacing system for the liner that can provide additional support, and keep the liner in place. I don’t use this, and have had no problems so far.

The only bummer about the physical boot itself, is the seemingly long cable on the ankle strap compared to my old boots. Somehow my skinny ankles max out on the serrations of the new strap. The local ski shop owner in Ouray claims to have put short straps on, but I think it was the serrations that were shorter, not the cable. I keep maxing out on the cable, unable to tighten the boot any further. For right now, it hasn’t been an issue. However, with another season of hiking and skiing abuse in the backcountry, the liners will likely pack out, creating “slop” in the boot. I’m wary of this, because I did not fit my 2003 boots properly, and thus had terrible slop from almost day one, causing toe jams and shin bruising, etc. Eventually, I had to have the boots refitted, but that was after a few years of not knowing any better and feeling the physical effects. If I hadn’t already sold my old boots, I would have swapped out the straps.

As of this writing, I contacted Scarpa USA with my dilemma, and will hopefully receive a reply with a solution. They seem to be very active about taking care of their customers.

Scarpa is a family-run business in the mountains of Italy, committed to excellent design, but also efforts to reduce carbon footprint and provide environmentally friendly options to the outdoor types who use their products, like me. Most of their ski boots are still made at their manufacturing plant in Italy, which gives me a sense of security that they will be high quality. They actively seek materials that are not so harsh on the environment, but still provide the performance thrill-seekers crave. If wearing the same brand of telemark ski boot for 13 years doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

At the Ridgway ski swap, there were a few sets of Garmont telemark boots in my size, so I tried them on because they were on sale. I knew immediately that there was simply too much room. I went home and ordered a new set of T2s straight away. When I find something that works, I stay with it. 13 years later, there’s absolutely nothing I’d change about the Scarpa T2 Eco Women’s Telemark boot. I’m grateful for Scarpa’s narrow fit and passion for quality. I’m looking forward to many more turns to come!

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Update June 14, 2015

After attempting to summit Mt. Hood and not making it, but having an _epic_ ski down, I really felt the lack of support on the ankle strap in my arches. Unfortunately, right before leaving for that trip, I contacted Scarpa by phone because the email I sent through their website was never answered by them. The customer service rep said he had not come across it. The guy said the strap was meant to go over several sizes of boot. Therefore, the strap on the size 24’s that I have, was the smallest one they made.

I find this difficult to believe. If this strap is “big” for my boot, how can it possibly work for a size 23 (US Wms 6) or size 22 (US Wms 5), which Scarpa makes in this boot? Something’s not right here.

The customer service rep I talked to suggested I wire the cable to pinch it, then wrap it in electrical tape. This jury rigged solution does allow for a couple more clicks on the buckle. I followed his idea only because I’d like to try for Mt. Adams in a couple days. It’s not a very elegant solution, or long-term. I will try calling Scarpa again, to speak to someone else & see what they can do. I can only imagine that the cable on a pair of 23’s or 22’s must be smaller.

Let’s hope Scarpa will step up to help me better, instead of giving me the run-around. They make awesome products, but their US distributor is not representing their high quality in their service. Maybe the Italian family who runs the company will send me a bottle of chianti to say “We’re sorry”? One can hope!

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