Alpina Pioneer Pro Vital XP Discoverer XPLORE boots Review 2022

Real reviews by real skiers. What a concept! Add your own today. Reviews only please, questions can be posted as replies but new threads looking for opinions should be posted to the main Telemark Talk Forum.
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Johnny
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Re: Alpina Pioneer Pro Vital XP Discoverer XPLORE boots Review 2022

Post by Johnny » Mon Mar 21, 2022 8:04 am

Stephen wrote:
Wed Mar 16, 2022 2:56 pm
Curious how are you seeing these compared to the ALFA Free — these two boots compared to each other?
Maybe going so far as to include use of the hard flexor in the comparison…
Skiing the Pioneer is quite similar to the Alaska XP... But very different than the Alfa Free! The main differences are the flex and the feeeeling...

The forward flex (Flex zone #2 in the picture) is on the softer side on the Pioneer and Alaska XP. Which makes striding very smooth for nice and effortless transitions while XC skiing, but it also makes it easier to put pressure on the BOF in the traditional way. The Free is super stiff and much harder to flex in the same zone, which will give some skiers a better sense of safety, stability and control. On the Free, it's easier to use the cuff to flex the bellows, something you can't do on any other boot.

The feeling is totally different too. The presence of the Pioneer is almost non-existent. As I said, the feeling is the closest to being barefoot. Super-freaking-light, a feeling like if you were hovercrafting on snow. In the very same way of the Alaska XP, I think it's simply the best feeling ever for a XCD boot in my opinion. On the other hand, the Alfa Free feels like having your feet stuck in a cast. (Well, a super comfortable and superlight, adjustable cast!) A feeling of being more "anchored" in the boot, which can also be desirable depending on what you are looking for.

If you appreciate the pure telemark essence, the reward of the Pioneer (And the Alaska XP) is just unbelievable. If your priority is a sense of security instead of feeling, and the telemark turn in itself is not your main thing, the Free will make you feel in control of every situation like never before... But yep, at the expense of some feeling points... That's the thing about rigid boots... They give a more alpine-boot feeling rather than a pure telemark feeling...

Now about the flexors, both boots are getting a few bonus points on the downhill using the hard ones. But I have to admit that personally, I am not that crazy about the new XP hard flexors... More on this in a separate post... 8-)
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."

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fisheater
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Re: Alpina Pioneer Pro Vital XP Discoverer XPLORE boots Review 2022

Post by fisheater » Mon Mar 21, 2022 11:00 am

Johnny, how would you describe the longitudinal stability of the boot and binding combination in comparison to a similar NNN-BC boot and binding combination? NNN-BC has a rail, and that is what I’m trying to wrap my head around.
Perhaps your chart answers my question with the Alaska XP and BC having the same rating of 8?
For what it’s worth, I have an Alaska 75 and BC and I completely agree on those ratings. I really believe I understand where you are coming from in regards to these boots.



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Re: Alpina Pioneer Pro Vital XP Discoverer XPLORE boots Review 2022

Post by havuja » Mon Mar 21, 2022 6:15 pm

Thanks for these comparisons, Johnny!

I have just begun my life with plastic boots, T2's mainly. The support and stability are great when needed.

BUT:
Even though I am not an expert telemark or XCD skier, still it feels like half of what I have in my toolbox is not possible with plastics. Pure strength of the boot can get me through conditions I might not even try with leathers, but it seems like a completely different sport.

No offence on plastic boots or FREEs, they have their time and place, but if and when I go Xplore, I will not want to compromise on that "original" feel. Sounds like Xplore is able to give it a boost.



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Re: Alpina Pioneer Pro Vital XP Discoverer XPLORE boots Review 2022

Post by fisheater » Mon Mar 21, 2022 8:06 pm

havuja wrote:
Mon Mar 21, 2022 6:15 pm
Thanks for these comparisons, Johnny!

I have just begun my life with plastic boots, T2's mainly. The support and stability are great when needed.

BUT:
Even though I am not an expert telemark or XCD skier, still it feels like half of what I have in my toolbox is not possible with plastics. Pure strength of the boot can get me through conditions I might not even try with leathers, but it seems like a completely different sport.

No offence on plastic boots or FREEs, they have their time and place, but if and when I go Xplore, I will not want to compromise on that "original" feel. Sounds like Xplore is able to give it a boost.
I have T-4 for a plastic boot. I agree the feel is different to a degree, but my skiing mechanics don’t change much. I ski over 90 % of the time in leather, however with a bigger ski, in more challenging conditions, I’m quite pleased to have a T-4 in the quiver.
Perhaps the higher cuff of the T-2 is disagreeable to you? To me, without an active binding the higher cuff limits mobility, without really giving you much more ability to pressure the front of the ski. However that might be from a missing tool in my toolbox.



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Re: Alpina Pioneer Pro Vital XP Discoverer XPLORE boots Review 2022

Post by havuja » Tue Mar 22, 2022 8:13 am

fisheater, thanks for comment.

I have not yet managed to make my T4's work, so my experience is limited (well, so it is with T2's too, of course), and I think you are right that they are "better" in that aspect, although difference might not be huge. To me, big part of the issue seems to be the forward flex, or relative lack of it, which might be as "good" as it gets on my old, second hand, beaten up T2's. Moving to T4's and gaining more experience with the system (X2's, Kom's) will surely bring it in a way closer to leather boot XCD for me. Another factor could be the skis, my Kom's are wider than your Tindan's, must make a difference too all things considered. One drawback with this set up, that I have noticed, is that it makes my knees hurt fairly soon, nothing too serious as of yet, but something that has not happened with leathers. I guess I have been forced to be a sort of finesse skier with my flimsy gear, and have not, at least for now, managed to bring that finesse to my plastic boot skiing.

Well, again this post did not really hit what this thread is all about. I was planning to write about my experience (more of the positive sides as well) with Kom's and stuff in the thread where I was inquiring about that kind of gear before the purchase, but now some of it ended up here. Hope it will clarify to some, from my point of view, what Johnny might mean with his comparison of Free's and Alpina's.

Personally I would want Free's for skating everywhere fast with dogs (and often a pulk) on spring "steel-snow", but it is a curiosity case. Overall, if the old school leather boot feel and range of motion is compromised, like it sounds it probably is with Free, I will speculate that it would be worth having cables or duck butts too as an option, if opposed to more naturally(...?) flexing but nearly as supportive boots that sound like perfect match with Xplore as it is now. Also it sounds that in essence Xplore sole is designed to be relatively stiff, so it seems especially crucial to nail the flex points. That, again, said without any experience with the system yet.



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Johnny
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Re: Alpina Pioneer Pro Vital XP Discoverer XPLORE boots Review 2022

Post by Johnny » Fri Mar 25, 2022 8:47 am

fisheater wrote:
Mon Mar 21, 2022 11:00 am
Johnny, how would you describe the longitudinal stability of the boot and binding combination in comparison to a similar NNN-BC boot and binding combination? NNN-BC has a rail, and that is what I’m trying to wrap my head around.
I guess what you mean by longitudinal stability is what I call sole stiffness? 8-)

All my ratings do include the binding combination. The downhill rating on the chart is a combination of "Sole Stiffness" + "Support" + "Lateral control" AND the physical attachment mechanism to the ski, the binding itself. The NNN-BC rails and the wide XPLORE gap between the pins are already taken into account into my ratings. Or else the numbers would be quite different... 8-)

Perhaps your chart answers my question with the Alaska XP and BC having the same rating of 8?
Exactly. For example, despite technically offering less support than the Alaska 75, I still consider the Alaska XP a much better downhill tool.

havuja wrote:
Mon Mar 21, 2022 6:15 pm
Thanks for these comparisons, Johnny!
Pure strength of the boot can get me through conditions I might not even try with leathers, but it seems like a completely different sport.
Cool, you're welcome!

It IS a different sport! One is relying on a proper technique, and the other is relying on the stiffness and the materials of the equipment. One is relying on the ball of foot for control, and the other on a whole rigid plastic shell, a plastic sole, a plastic cuff and ankle support.

No offence on plastic boots or FREEs, they have their time and place, but if and when I go Xplore, I will not want to compromise on that "original" feel. Sounds like Xplore is able to give it a boost.
They ALL have their place!

Some people don't care at all about the feeling, they just want to reach the bottom of the hill... Some don't care about learning the proper technique... Some are skiing downhill alpine-style and others do only telemark turns... Some prefer comfort over control... And for some others it's the complete opposite... Thank God for ALL the GREAT offerings! (Especially the XP ones... 8-) )
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."



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Re: Alpina Pioneer Pro Vital XP Discoverer XPLORE boots Review 2022

Post by Theme » Sat May 14, 2022 11:37 am

Thank you @Johnny for the review! These boots definitely are on the top of my list now. Insane weight, just insane. And even more control than the Alaska XP? Sold!

The only worries I have are, that they will not fit my feet that well, and that they will not be available early into the 22-23-season!

Would you happen to have an update of the planned release of the boots? I do not really know how up-to-date they keep you. I am way too excited to wait until next winter :D

I am assuming the fit is similar to Alaska XP? I really, really wish Alpina would make a boot with slightly more space for the toes. 41 pinches my toes a bit too much, but 42 might be a bit too long. I do need to fit a thick wool sock in too. Any difference in the insulation compared to Alaska? The weight reduction might be worth it, even though the fit is not 100%






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fisheater
Posts: 1784
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:06 pm
Location: Oakland County, MI
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Occupation: Construction Manager

Re: Alpina Pioneer Pro Vital XP Discoverer XPLORE boots Review 2022

Post by fisheater » Sat May 21, 2022 11:02 am

Alpina has really been offering some great new products to go along with some great products that have been around for a while. I can only hope it continues under new ownership.



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Johnny
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Occupation: Full-time ski bum

Re: Alpina Pioneer Pro Vital XP Discoverer XPLORE boots Review 2022

Post by Johnny » Tue May 24, 2022 7:16 am

Theme wrote:
Sat May 14, 2022 11:37 am
Thank you @Johnny for the review! These boots definitely are on the top of my list now. Insane weight, just insane. And even more control than the Alaska XP? Sold!

Insane! That is the right word!

Theme wrote:
Sat May 14, 2022 11:37 am
Would you happen to have an update of the planned release of the boots? I do not really know how up-to-date they keep you. I am way too excited to wait until next winter :D

Official date is August 1st... 8-)

Theme wrote:
Sat May 14, 2022 11:37 am
I am assuming the fit is similar to Alaska XP? I really, really wish Alpina would make a boot with slightly more space for the toes. 41 pinches my toes a bit too much, but 42 might be a bit too long. I do need to fit a thick wool sock in too. Any difference in the insulation compared to Alaska? The weight reduction might be worth it, even though the fit is not 100%
Very similar... Just a tad smaller perhaps compared to the Alaska BC. Yep, the weight reduction is everything!
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"And if you like to risk your neck, we'll boom down Sutton in old Quebec..."



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