Based in Utah, Black Diamond has been a force in climbing, skiing and mountaineering equipment for 21 years. Originally, Black Diamond spent the last 2 decades establishing itself as the leader of high quality climbing gear and backcountry skiing gear. In 2008, Black Diamond debuted a line of telemark boots after pouring millions of dollars in its most ambitious investment to date. Industry giants like Scarpa and Garmont already dominate telemark boot manufacturing so it was critical for Black Diamond to get things right the first time around. The new line, which featured the Custom, Push, and Seeker were impressing looking. All boots featured triple-injected molding and construction, a tongue-less alpine style overlap design and BOA Lacing System equipped liners. Skiers have raved about the look, design and features. However, the first line still needed some tweeks to the fit, bellows flex and buckling system.
Black Diamond featured their new tele boots at Outdoor Retailer Winter Show 2011, showcasing striking new color schemes. These new colors should appeal to skiers and snowboarders who like modern hues that reflect their freeride personas. The Push still uses pretty stiff Pebax plastic shells and polyurethane cuffs. The progressive flex is comparable to the Scarpa T-1 and Garmont Voodoo. The bellows have a smooth flex 110 that will offer high performance in a wide variety of snow conditions. This is extremely important for 75mm toe boots. It should work well with various binding manufactures and provide a custom fit for telemarkers. The Push still uses a BOA Lacing System to provide a personalized fit through the forefoot, midfoot and lower calf. The thermal-formable liners add further precision and feature an antimicrobial lining. Switching from Ski to Walk is simple with an on/off toggle by the upper heal. Under the ski mode, you can adjust the forward lean from 14 to 22 degrees. One of the nicer attributes of the Black Diamond telemark boot line is the power strap. It is wide and technically efficient. The combination of the power strap and four adjustable buckles provide better performance and comfort and secures the feet and legs in a progressive stance to improve technique. The forefoot buckle also rests more on top of the boot to alleviate pressure off the side of the boot. Finally, the D-Ring position on the top of the front buckle makes more sense than the side where the leashes can get caught under the ski.
Black Diamond definitely scores on the look and feel of their updated boot line. They retail for $659.99 and they are well worth it. I have tried a pair of Push boots at Alpental in Washington State and they worked great in the heavy crud. As the flagship tele boot, the Push should continue to be Black Diamond’s most popular model. Skiers will love the dependable feel and world class research and development that went into this boot.