Scarpa Gea RS ReviewMarch 8, 2014
- Unbeatable comfort on the climb
- Good for hikes
- Instep buckle substantially stiffens the boot for downhill travel
- Easy to get on and off or adjust volume
- Fit problems in the calf—ski boot cuff banded the leg rather than wrapping it
- Sloppy lateral stiffness on heavier skis
- Difficult to adjust the instep buckle with gloves on
- No resort capability
In terms of thoroughbred AT boots, the Gea Rs is at the top of the class. It offers unbeatable uphill performance, all-day comfort, and stellar downhill chops for such a lightweight boot. But these specific-use ski boots are harder value-buys for an end-use consumer as more versatile freeride boots appear on the market. Look here if you spend 90 percent of your time in the backcountry.
Onward and Upward
The Gea RS brings joy to the uphill slogs required of dedicated backcountry skiers. Cuff mobility offers 37-degree range of motion. Add a 101mm last and lightweight materials and you get minimal discomfort on the uphill. That matters on a long hut approach, climbing thousands of vertical per day, or carrying a large pack for backcountry camping.
Made for the Mountains
With all that in mind, the Gea RS is an excellent tool for ski mountaineer objectives or multi-day trips. The Intuition liners add warmth on bitter cold days. Vibram soles provide sure footing on rocky ridges and icy surfaces. And when it’s time to ski, the instep strap bolsters the tongue for a stiff fore/aft flex that powers a lightweight set-up with ease.
The Gea RS set new standards for downhill power in a lightweight AT boot when it debuted in Fall 2012. We included it in the test because it’s still a backcountry stalwart. But more powerful competitors (Dynafit Mercury TF) and more versatile options (Black Diamond Shiva Mx 110) are challenging its dominance. The good news? Scarpa’s other entry (Freedom SL) is the most exciting boot in the test. Future versions of the Gea RS can only benefit from association.