For Black Diamond, the Seeker is the most touring friendly telemark boot in their line. It is not, an unfriendly touring boot, but it is more of a small big boot, than a big small boot. By that I mean it is optimized more for turning than for the earning. So while it certainly is the most touring friendly of BD’s tele boot line, if your emphasis is for touring this boot is a bit oversized, particularly on long tours.
It packs a lot of power for downhill control thanks to the extra muscle provided by the BOA lacing system on the liner. There’s a lot of overlapping layers of plastic on the cuff too, further adding to the muscle of this boot.
Some folks will automatically discount the power of this boot because it only has one buckle on the cuff. In most situations I’m inclined to view a fourth buckle as a mental crutch, but that’s because I don’t venture into the realm that requires it much either. Regardless, the Seeker delivers more than enough power to drive skis with a stocky 100mm plus waist width, even obese planks if you’re under the lifts. Backcountrywise I can’t imagine why anyone would pair these boots with anything wider than 110mm underfoot, but again, that’s the bias of an old leatherneck.
There are several noticeable but not dramatic revisions to this boot. The original Seeker suffered from an imbalance between the flex of the cuff and the bellows. In short, the cuff felt too stiff for the bellows. This revised Seeker for 2011 still packs a lot of wallop from the cuff, but it is a smoother, more balanced flex between the top and bottom of the boot.
The BOA LinerA good chunk of this comes from changing the routing of the BOA laces across the tongue of the liner. In the original Seeker the laces were held to a specific location as they crossed the tongue of the liner. Now the laces run under a patch which lets the laces move up or down the tongue a little, which allows the tongue to move with your shin as you drive your knee forward. It is a noticeable improvement, but does not completely eliminate the cuff dominant nature of BD’s telemark boot line, even in this, the smallest model. In comparing to other boots in the 3-buckle genre, the Seeker does not pivot as easily around the ankle. That’s a good thing for driving big skis at speed, but a limitation if you want more mobility.
I’m still not a big fan of the BOA system. Too much gadgetry and even though they have loosened the grip of the laces on the lower leg they still hold it much tighter than any other liner, or small big boot cuff on the market. The other problem I have with the BOA system is that it tightens the laces from the top. It would be better if they tightened progressively from the bottom.
On the plus side, these boots fit well enough to determine overall performance without having to make custom fit modifications. If I were planning to use them long term I would probably downsize to the next shell, add some padding above the instep, swap in a custom footbed, and heat mold ‘em. BD did their homework in developing their boot line so for a lot of folks, custom fitting won’t be necessary.
It should be pointed out that, while these are on the big side of smaller touring boots, they tour well for their size. The flex of the cuff to the rear when in walk mode was enough to allow my front leg to rock back a bit for a longer stride than, say BD’s Custom. My T2Xs allow my leg to bend back further and easier, but these were at least equal or better than Garmont’s Kenai. However, the Seeker’s are clearly the heaviest of the three, weighing 4 lbs. 6 oz. per boot. Ugh!
BucklesThe buckles are very light, and the instep buckle and cuff buckle both have teeth with an extra hook on the end to help hold the wire when the buckle is flipped open. This does a good job of not letting the wire unclip from the teeth so you can open the cuff buckle while skinning. However, once you’ve placed the wire in a particular tooth, it also makes it hard to move it to a different one. Just a little annoying side effect.
Though I didn’t bother, you can also adjust the forward lean a few degrees, or the cant by loosening and rotating the asymmetrical ankle bolt.
The most annoying feature of the boot, however, is an oversized duckbill. The spec calls for an 18mm thick duckbill plus or minus 1mm. This particular pair were on the fat side of that spec and I had a very hard time getting them to fit under the toe bale of an O1 and a Switchback. Hammerhead provides a full 22mm of clearance so they fit easily in those bindings but it was odd for them to have trouble wedging into two of the more popular telemark bindings on the market, especially BD’s own O1.
Who is the Seeker for? With three buckles it’s too small of a boot for the aggro downhill turn burner, and the cuff is so substantial it isn’t that efficient on the earning side of the equation either. It is not a good match for this writer but for aggressive skiers who are willing to flirt with the less is more perspective, the Seeker would be a good stepping stone to a smaller boot requiring more finesse with less material. It delivers the power of a bigger boot, while shaving weight and bulk, without fully embracing the light is right paradigm. A good match with fat skis on big days where saving a few ounces on the boot means more vert and thus, more turns.
Weight (Mondo size 27): 4 lbs, 6 oz. (1980 g) per boot,
Size range (mondo): 24 – 30.5
MSRP: $ 639