One of the better boots to come out last year, with great performance on either side of the boundary line, was Tecnica’s Cochise. It’s a mid-weight boot with a stiff forward flex and good mobility in the cuff for touring. However, it favored feet with average width but a high instep.
That meant a good percentage of skiers would be so unimpressed with the fit they’d never experience the performance. This year that changes.
The most obvious change to this years Cochise is the lowering of the instep to accommodate those with an average to high instep. This was done by adding a shim beneath the liner to raise your foot up. Thus, if you have a high instep and want the extra room, it’s an easy adjustment to make and for the majority of folks, the new Cochise will hug your foot without having to change a thing. The holding power is further enhanced with a tighter heel cup. For overall general comfort the toe box is rounder this year; better for long second and third toes. A subtle change was a slight pre-punch to the styloid. If you don’t need this you won’t notice, but if you do, you’ll love the out of box comfort.
The last is the same, 98mm for the Pro 130, 100mm for the Pro Light and softer flexing shells. For some the 98mm last may be a bit narrow, but that is more easily remedied than a boot too wide. Just make sure you have a good bootfitter who knows how to properly punch Pebax; a material that doesn’t like to heat evenly, or keep the shape being forced on it. The new Triax 2.0 shell is Tecnica’s flavor of Pebax.
As with the original, Tecnica’s Cochise is a powerful AT boot in downhill mode. Key to that is a solid metal connection between the cuff and lower shell when locked for turning. Other boots like the Lange XT rely on a snug matting of plastic pieces that do deliver a very progressive flex, but it’s not as stiff as the Cochise. The Cochise has a progressive flex when you begin driving the cuff, but at around 15° of forward lean it gets very stiff, almost like hitting a wall. If you’re big and/or aggressive, this is just what you’re looking for. For the rest of us the 130 rated flex is probably too much. Thankfully Tecnica offers softer versions rated at 120, 110, or 100. The stiff forward limit remains, but with the overall flex of the shell being softer the limit isn’t quite so hard.
By the numbers the cuff range of motion for the Cochise doesn’t set any records. To the rear the cuff goes dead vertical which translates into the sensation of about 12 degrees of rear motion. Except for rando racing, which this boot is not intended for, that is plenty of cuff motion. In the forward direction, again, this doesn’t set any records, but is more than adequate for recreational touring.
What sets the Cochise apart isn’t the numerical ROM, but the ease with which your foot can pivot fore and aft; there is surprisingly little resistance to motion. In addition, the Pro model comes with a buckled power strap which makes changing modes extremely fast. Set the power strap once at the trailhead for downhill power; when it’s time to loosen the cuff for skinning, simply pop open the top buckle and pull up on the mode switch loop to unlock the cuff. You might also want to loosen the lower cuff buckle, but you may not need to.
Pro or Pro Light?
The Pro Light model is a lighter weight version, and slightly softer, but I can’t in good conscience recommend it except if you’ll be using it primarily for touring. In that case, by all means, save yourself over ½-pound per foot. The heat moldable Palau liner is definitely improved over the introductory version that was thin and wimpy, so the liner is no longer the issue. The Pro Light also comes standard with tech inserts in the sole blocks for those who have already upgraded their touring skis with a 2-pin tech binding. The sole blocks remain swappable with DIN soles if you insist.
The main flaw of the Pro Light is the omission of the buckled power strap to save 40 grams of weight. Alpine companies have a tendency to get their priorities mixed when it comes to touring boots and this is another example. 40 grams (~1.5 oz.) is a non issue compared to how easy the Power Lock Buckle is to use, especially for a mid-weight boot which even the Cochise Pro Light still is.
From a cost perspective it is probably cheaper to get the Pro Light and buy a replacement Power Lock Buckle than to buy the Pro with the PLB and replace the liner with a lighter, heat moldable liner and the sole blocks. However, if you’re interested in the Cochise it is probably more for the downhill power. The liner in the Pro will improve downhill control more than the Palau liner in the Pro Light will. In addition, the alpine style liner comes with a rubbery sole, for more comfortable apres hang time. Furthermore, most retailers will carry the replacement Dynafit-compatible sole blocks, but not the Power Lock Buckle. If you can get them to order it for you, it’s a pretty easy DIY project.
For those who spend equal time riding lifts and setting skin tracks the Cochise is a boot that will deliver solid turns no matter how technical the terrain, and not bog you down when you’re earning your turns. The revised last of the boot will fit a wider range of feet so you can ignore last year’s warning of only being good for feet with a high in-step. With a slight amount of extra work, even low instep feet can experience the power Cochise provides.
Cochise Pro 130
Weight/boot: 4 lbs., 8 oz. (2040 g)
Sizes available: 22.0 – 31.0
Cochise Pro Light
Weight/boot: 3 lbs., 14 oz. (1745 g)
Sizes available: 22.0 – 31.0
Review: Tecnica Cochise (2014)