Review: Dahu Ecorce 01 120 Ski Boot

Dahu has been around for a while, I recall seeing them at the Copper trade show back in 2015 or so. Even though the current Dahu boot/exo skeleton looks similar to the earlier incarnations, the fit and function are generations better. Since the earlier designs, Dahu has gone through some evolutions to make it work more efficiently while maintaining the unique design.

First of all, this is not another Apex boot. Yes, the design concept does have some similarities (a removable inner boot set inside of an outer frame) but that is where the similarities end. The Apex is a luxury cruiser, like the early generation Lexus ES350 that your Uncle Carl and Aunt Martha had, a comfortable ride but hardly a canyon carver. The Apex is a really nice design and definitely fits a need but there are limitations, such as with skinnier narrow low volume feet and those looking to feel the ski and the snow. The Dahu Ecorce 01C with a 97 mm last is more of a Citroen, unique bordering on contrarian but still drives and handles very well, with a sport sedan panache … The Dahu and Apexes are indeed different tools, so different that if I was still a buyer for a shop and was to stock this type of boot, I would carry both brands.

Dahu is not a plug race boot and will not ski like that, but unlike some of the other alternative offerings, it will not limit 95% of the skiers out there who will be skiing it.

I spent some time at Snowbasin Resort with Dano Bruno, the man in charge with Dahu here in the US. I was fortunate that even with our condensed ski testing schedule, I was able to get out in the Ecorce for a few runs. I was pleasantly surprised with the boot’s performance, and actually impressed with how well the Dahu skied, but I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the inherent design and circle back to the actual on-snow part in a bit.

Dano filled me in on the recent update to the boots and the changes that he brought to the product. While he was telling me all of this, I took the boot apart and examined the design. The sculpturing and the integration of the pieces are very well thought out.

I am always leery when a rep or brand starts the conversation with “There is a process to…” For me, that means something is either very complicated or the design wasn’t thought all the way through and with the Dahu there is a little of both. So, putting the Dahu on does require a bit of a process. I figured that I had two boots to put on, a left and a right, so I said to Dano, “Let me figure one out, then you show me how to do it right.” Surely enough, their process was indeed a bit easier to start with the boot in the frame versus putting the foot in first, then getting into the frame … which will happen from time to time during a ski day. Putting my bootfitter hat on, the question then becomes: How much of the fitting process will the customer retain when they are thinking about this better mousetrap?

dahu_skiboot_1.png
Dahu-skiboot_2.png

The boot should come with a safe word.
Yes, the Dahu has more straps, cables and positional needs than an afternoon at Ms. Samantha’s Dominatrix Dungeon. But again if you are into this type of thing, the results can be rewarding. Once you get into the well-sculptured inner boot, laced all snug and cabled in, you are held in very well. Dano suggested to start with the boot in the Grilamid exoframe before putting your foot in. Once you are in, bring the rear spine up and lock the spine into place. Note that there are different degrees of stance available, ranging from 12-14 degrees. Once you get everything buckled into place, and if you didn’t look down, you would feel like you were in any other ski boot … which is a good thing, right? I think it is.

Yes, the Dahu is indeed a better mousetrap but for a select consumer, one that is looking for a shoe that can be skied in … and quite frankly one that skis very well. The Dahu 120 skied, for the most part like any other 120ish boot out there.

Once you get past the idiosyncrasies of putting them on and getting in and out of the shell when needed, it fits a need. It is a great option in today‘s age of remote parking or in a case when the resort village is also the place where you will be doing a lot of walking or aprè.
  • Who is it for: Those with a narrower foot who have to do a lot of walking.
  • Who is it not for: Racers or those with very athletic legs, higher volume feet or those who need a lot of punches.
  • Insider tip: These do run true to size. The frame is darn close to a traditional boot. My 25.5 frame I tried had a BSL of 302 mm, which is pretty efficient.
  • One thing I would change: Better positioning of the buckles. Right now it is tough to get the right leverage with the middle buckle.
  • Other Review: America's Best Bootfitters, Powered by Masterfit
About author
Philpug
I started skiing in the mid-70s in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania; from then on, I found myself entrenched in the industry. I have worked in various ski shops from suburban to ski town to resort, giving me a well-rounded perspective on what skiers want from their gear. That experience was parlayed into my time as a Gear Review Editor and also consulting with manufacturers as a product tester. Along with being a Masterfit-trained bootfitter I am a fully certified self proclaimed Gear Guru. Not only do I keep up with the cutting edge of ski gear technology, but I am an avid gear collector and have an extensive array of bindings as well as many vintage skis.

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I love the look and design of this Boot! I still find this concept a bit awkward though. I mean, you stop and unbuckle the boot and walk with the inner boots and leave the shells clipped into the skis? or remove the boots from the bindings as usual then remove the shells and carry the shells or leave them with the skis? I guess its cool to have the options to do whichever. That said, when you walk with the inner boot you get all kinds of crud on it and that might affect the shells when you get in them again so maybe you are required to clean the walking boots a bit before skiing again? Maybe I am overthinking this. :roflmao:
 
I have lace up liners and get all sorts of mud in my shells, putting things on/off in the parking lot. A few min in the sink every few days cleans them out no problem. No issues skiing.

Like the idea of these. There also seems to be a 135 flex option.
 
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Ok, so it may be a bit of a complicated process, but how easy is it to get into? Anything can be practiced enough to commit to memory. Second question is, how comfortable is it? Does the exoskeleton create any "hot spots"?
 

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