Fischer Soma Vacuum Ranger 12 Ski Boots
From the Print Edition:
Ernie Els, November/December 2012
When shopping for a new pair of ski boots, remember this simple maxim: comfort is king. Even the best technologies, after all, are rendered useless if the skier is plagued by the pain of an ill-fitting boot. Racers and advanced skiers know this, which is why they pay top-dollar for the skills of a professional boot fitter who can expertly bend, shape and grind a pair of boots to provide a custom fit.
Because not all of us want to endure this time-consuming process, the engineers at Fischer created the all-new Soma Vacuum Ranger 12s—a pair of boots that, for the first time ever, can expand or contract its plastic shell to the unique shape of a skier’s foot right at the time of purchase in the shop.
The hour-long process is simple: The retailer warms up the shell of the Ranger 12s ($895) to 176° Fahrenheit in a special oven. This makes the company’s proprietary plastic extremely malleable. The skier, who is wearing the Ranger 12s thermoformable boot liner, inserts his foot into the heated shell, which is then covered by a cooling pad and a compression pad. From here, the skier steps into Fischer’s Vacuum Station where the retailer can adjust for the stance width, forward lean and knee alignment of the individual. Compressed air is then pumped into the padded boot, forcing the shell and liner to adjust to the exact shape of the skier’s foot.
The result is a precise fit that will aid in transfering power from boot to ski, thereby boosting performance and enjoyment on the slopes. Add in a rubber sole from Vibram, and you have a boot of unrivaled comfort.
Additionally, the Ranger 12s are one of the most technical and customizable alpine touring boots on the market. A calf spoiler allows the skier to adjust for hard and soft powder snow conditions, while a tab on the heel of the boot gives the skier the option to adjust the boot’s cuff flex. The Ranger 12s have three cuff modes: hike, ride and lock. Hike provides maximum range of motion so it’s easier to walk; ride means the cuff is blocked at the back but can still flex in the front, which is better for powder; and lock means the cuff is blocked in both the front and back like a racing boot, good for maximizing speed.
Whether you are an avid alpine tourer or a weekend warrior, the Fischer Soma Vacuum Ranger 12 boots make it easier to get more turns in a day, and that is a comforting thought.
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