SCARPA didn’t have to do much to better the Maestrale, a proven balance of uphill ergonomics and downhill capability; its dependable performance has made it the most popular AT boot in SCARPA history. Instead, they took a design that works and gave it a couple simple tweaks. Think of it this way—the new Maestrale RS is essentially the same vehicle as the original, only it has a little more under the hood.
The RS means “Renn Sport” in German, or racing sport. It’s a way of saying they charge on the downhill. The new paint job separates it for sure, but the body of the boot is comprised of Polyamide instead of Pebax, which has a slightly higher strength to weight ratio, giving the RS a 120 flex index (20% advantage) over the original Maestrale’s intitial 100 flex; yet it only adds 1.4oz (40g) in additional weight—about as much as a gel pack.
Two slight alterations in the RS include the Zeus buckles, which help to increase power and cuff closure, and the Predator RS instep heel retention, which provides maximum heel hold and augments the tongue stiffness. Like its predecessor, the RS’s progressive flex provides both sensitivity and power transmission to the ski edges in situations when precision turns are paramount. Because backcountry conditions include the worst as much as the best in snow quality, the additional security of the RS is a welcome addition when you’re staring down a 1000-foot couloir of blower pow—or boilerplate.
The boot’s low profile sole is nimble in hikes and scrambles, and the sparse lug pattern keeps off unnecessary weight while maintaining ample traction. It also features a slightly upgraded Intuition™ liner that incorporates small reinforcements to the upper cuff and tongue that enhance the structural integrity from the inside out.
The RS is most definitely a backcountry AT boot, but with the recalibrated balance of downhill power and maximum tourability, the spectrum of use stretches in both directions, making the RS a desirable partner for a long, dynamic relationship. It can better hold its own with the rigors of resort based skiing, but will allow you the freedom to take them deeper into the backcountry, where wild snow can include breakable crusts, slop, variable conditions and refrozen coral. But you wouldn’t know it.