I have skied since I was 12-years old, and over the years have cycled through just about every make of boot available: San Marco, Dalbello, Tecnica, Lange, Dolomite, Rossignol, etc. Over the past few months, however, I have fallen in love with the Tecnica Dragon 120 HiPerFit ski boot. It is by far the best boot I have ever worn.
Though Tecnica was kind enough to let me use its Dragon 120 ski boot for the second half of the 2008 ski season, it wasn't until I put the boot through its paces in Las Lenas, Argentina, that I fully discovered just how pliant and powerful the boot is. The Tecnica Dragon 120 HiPerFit ski boot is flexible when you need to flex, and stiff when you need it stiff. By simply rolling my ankles into a turn, the Dragons seemed to fuse with my skis (both Volkl AC4s and K2 Apache Recons).
I've never found it as easy to ski blistering hard with my boots catering to my whims, rather than fighting them. Such are the Tecnica Dragon 120 ski boots. They are amazing.
It wasn't always this way. I've skied Tecnicas before () and, while I found them enjoyable, they weren't nearly as comfortable and high performance as the Dragons. This is the best boot Tecnica has made in many years, and puts the company ahead of Lange, Salomon, and other boot manufacturers that had surpassed Tecnica in recent years.
The secret? It's in the technology, as Tecnica boasts:
- Three-density shell technology combines two types of plastic (70 percent hard, 30 percent soft) to create three zones of hardness, maximizing performance, fit and comfort
- Asymmetric shell design maximizes power transmission to the inside edge for superb skiing performance
- HiPerFit liners utilize self-molding and thermally formable materials to ensure a precise, customized fit that adapts to foot anatomy
- Carbon steel buckles are 5 times stronger than magnesium, allowing the buckles an extremely low profile without sacrificing durability
- Instep catch is hinged, allowing excellent pressure distribution; plus, it pivots away from the shell, letting the shell spread for easy entry
- 45mm UltraFlex Booster power strap securely wraps around the leg and offers progressive flex and shock absorption
- Bi-injected A.V.S. sole design does maximizes shock absorption and provides a nonslip surface along the sole of the boot
- Flex index 120 provides powerful energy transfer preferred by aggressive expert skiers
In English? The boot is a solid combination of flexibility and rigidity, with plenty of room for customization, all of which means the Tecnica Dragon 120 HiPerFit feels good and delivers well on the slopes.
I took the Dragons pounding between soft and deep moguls, chattering down dangerously steep chutes of ice, and hopping through crud. I've never skied better, and I credit the Tecnica Dragons. The Dragons are as simple as rolling your ankles: the fit hugs your feet, enabling you to get the most from the camber of the ski.
Of course, the Tecnica Dragon 120 may not be for you. The Dragon is geared toward expert skiers and racers. That said, I've never liked racing boots and to me the Dragons didn't feel like racing boots. They were far more comfortable and flexible than racing boots I've worn before.
Indeed, though I am an expert skier I'm also not certain that only an expert would benefit from the Dragons. It's true that Tecnica uses a stiffer blend of plastics in the shell to suit the performance-seeking skier, but the softer plastic and snug HiPerFit hold on the foot make it a very comfortable boot.
My personal recommendation would be that if you're going to put down $750 for new ski boots, the Tecnica Dragons are worth every penny and will suit any skier that is hoping to use them for a few years while they become an expert.
I hope you'll take the time tofor the greatest snow on earth here in Utah this year. If you can get your hands on the Tecnica Dragons to rent, do it. You won't be sorry. Even better if you can find a pair to buy.
This ski apparel review is provided as a courtesy to The Open Road readers who ski and aren't blessed to live in Utah, like I am. For those not interested in skiing, there's more of our regularly scheduled programming on the way.