Atomic's Hawx range has long been versatile and diverse; and this year's improved version of the Hawx Ultra XTD 130 promises to stretch the meaning of all-mountain versatility even further.
This is a model ostensibly aimed at freeride touring rather than out and out lycra-clad speed missions; and the 130 flex rating is genuinely stiff enough to warrant a look from the hardest of big-mountain chargers. The oversized walk/ski mode lever becomes the 'Energy Backbone' when engaged in downhill mode, and while lateral stiffness might not be quite as solid, that spine is incredibly effective.
It's the weight that precludes it from Atomic's signature backcountry line-up (having around 300 extra grams compared to their Backland range). Nevertheless, at 1430 grams per boot, this should be a serious contender for anyone who values the downhill. It certainly outperforms many other models in the free-tour niche comfortably, both in terms of lightweight skinning ability and downhill power.
And at this price point it should. The Hawx Ultra XTD 130 is certainly in sight of the most expensive free-tour boots out there, but the price is justified given the performance. Every skier tourer will have a slightly different preference in terms of uphill-weight-to-downhill-power ratio, but perhaps Atomic's own marketing - which in this case is accurate - says it best. "Blurring the line between all-mountain and freeride touring." It's unlikely to be the fabled one-boot-quiver for most skiers, but this boot is certainly blurring some lines in both the powder and the hardpack.