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Dec 03 2012

Review: Garmont’s Prophet for NTN

Garmont Prophet - NTN ski boot

The Prophet, Garmont’s boot offering
for the NTN system

As an in-bounds, freeride oriented tele system, Garmont’s Prophet is a solid choice for the boot side of the equation. As a backcountry oriented system, like the Freeride binding it was designed to work with, there are better choices available.

Prophet uses one of the classic ingredients of alpine boots, overlap construction to deliver a boot with a progressive flex in the cuff. As a result, the more you drive the turn with your lower leg, the more power you can coax out of the Prophet. With a locked heel that’s great. However, with a bellows, the cuff can easily overpower the bellows, making them collapse easily and quickly. That may be why Jason, a friend with extensive tele experience and acumen called the bellows of the Prophet “coffee filters.” That is not a universal response. Cascade Frank admitted the bellows were soft, but felt the quick collapse of the bellows allowed him to engage the power of the cuff faster and better, since it was tied to the lower shell.

What springs you pair it with will determine some of the response as well. A softer spring will contribute less to the bellows flex, while a stiff one will help create a strong ball of foot sensation sooner.

A look at the tongue of the Prophet, Garmont's NTN boot

The overlap tongue doesn’t end at the ankle, but turns upward to link lower leg power to the lower shell.

Whether you consider it moderate or soft – the bellows of the Prophet is progressive, with the rear half collapsing before a stiffer front half. It works, but compared to the progressive stiffness inherent in the overlapping cuff and tongue the bellows folds pretty quick. A Vermont tester felt like they crunched his toes, and I didn’t feel any toe crunch, but felt toe tippy, unable to develop much pressure through my metatarsals.

My guesstimate is that for a size 26, which is the smallest size boot with the large NTN 2nd heel, the bellows is at the middle of the NTN sole. With larger feet it is further aft, and with smaller feet, the NTN sole is shorter, so again, the bellows is at the back half and it flexes well.

If you like the feel of BD’s cuff dominant boots like the Seeker or Push you will probably like the Prophet for their familiarity with an NTN system. In the case of the Freeride, the Prophet skis even smoother, thanks to a ramped toe that helps engage the springs faster.

Garmont’s EZ-Lock buckles are easily one of the best implementations of a good touring buckle.

In walk mode the overlap construction that delivered smooth power gets in the way of flexing backwards because the overlap tongue is an extension of the lower shell that resists backwards motion. That and the fact that Prophet has a relatively tall cuff, so your leg feels the limit sooner. Even with the boots in walk mode I felt like I was doing the frankenwalk in alpine boots on a dry trail, especially compared to a SynerG or Cosmos.

Whether the downhill performance is worth it or not depends in large part on whether the boot even fits your foot. The Prophet has a kind of odd balance of dimensions, offering a tight 98mm width in the metatarsal region. By a tight 98mm I mean one that feels even smaller, whereas some boots claim 98mm and are much roomier. Usually boots with a narrow last at the ball of the foot have a correspondingly lower in-step height. In the Prophet, Garmont went for a performance fit around your toes while favoring those with a high in-step.

Garmont’s G-Fit liner has multiple densities of foam, lace eyelets, and a reinforced upper tongue with a stroebeled bottom.

The liner’s are a well crafted composite of thermo-moldable foam, with zones of different densities in strategic areas, like L-pads around the heel, a denser foam on the bottom to prevent pack out, and softer by the toes for wiggle room. Though few like them, there are eyelets for laces on the liner if you are so inclined as well.

My fave feature on the Prophet is the use of EZ-Lock ® buckles on the cuff that hold the wire bale of the buckle in whatever tooth you set it on, whether it is under tension while clamped tight, or not. This allows you to simply open the buckle to loosen the cuff for skinning without worrying about resetting the wire bale in a special touring style tooth. As nice as that is, it doesn’t provide as much range of motion as you may want.

While the use of a single buckle on the lower shell is adequate for making good turns, it is insufficient to hold your lower foot in place when the cuff buckles are loosened for walking our skinning. The inevitable result will be blisters due to excess movement of your foot.

In touring mode Prophet allows 10°+ of rear cuff motion and only one buckle to hold your foot secure when walking. D

Other than the limited range of motion in the cuff for touring, the biggest disappointment in the Prophet is the lack of tech fittings for use with an tech-style AT binding. In theory one of the values of NTN is the ability to switch between AT or Tele with a single boot. Few that I know care about this, so maybe it isn’t much of a loss.

Bottom line? If you’ve been looking for new boots anyway, spend most of your ski days in bounds and are interested in better downhill performance then you need to get your feet in a pair and see if they fit. If they do, this is a boot that can help you to the next level with an NTN system.

The Priestess is the women’s version with a slightly thicker liner.

Garmont

Prophet
MSRP: $700
Weight/pr (26.5): 8 lbs. (3.64 kg)
Sizes avail: 24.5 – 30.5

Priestess:
MSRP: $700
Weight/pr (26.5): 8 lbs. (3.64 kg)
Sizes avail: 23.5 – 26.5

Related Posts
Garmont’s Kenai
TTIPS Poll on Prophet

© 2012
 
 

  • teletilyouresmelly

    I actually found it to be a good touring boot- the lack of instep buckle was a bummer for me in-bounds though as the lack of heel retention allowed end of toe bang against end of boot (not top of  toe crunch) in multiple resort runs that I couldn’t cure in 2 seasons of tweaks (maybe worse for folks like me with long big toe)

  • skier6

    I think I am your “Vermont tester” . What I meant to say was, I had toe bang,  (not bellows crunch) impacting the front of the shell, on steep terrain.  Like teletilyouresmelly, the lack of heel retention as the boot packed out (and no instep buckle ) had a lot to do with this problem.  And some very experienced boot fitters, insist I had the right shell fit.

    Next up, I will try a new pair of Scarpa TX Pros, though in a carpet test the  forward cuff flex is noticeably softer than the Prophets..OTOH, the stiff upper cuff of the Prophets lets me really drive the ski tips, for carving my Mantras at the resort.

  • Dostie

    Thanks for the clarification TC. ;)

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