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Thread Starter 


I am not certain if this is the proper forum for this post, but
I just wanted to share a positive experience with boot fitting
as a new skier.  
So this winter, after being in Seattle for a couple of years
my wife and I decided it was time to learn something new 
and learn how to ski.  After, taking a couple of lessons
we noticed that our feet were being destroyed by the rental gear.
Realizing that we know just enough to recognize that we know
absolutely nothing, we did some research on the internet (including here at
epic ski) and gave Jim Mates at Custom Boot Service a call.  Jim
does not sell boots; however, he has an initial consultation service
where he explains boots, their proper fit, balance, and feeling
to new skiers and then sends you off to a local boot store armed
with knowledge and a list of things to look for and questions to ask. 
This initial consultation was more than just a "this is a boot" type
of deal.  He went into detail explaining each aspect of fit and flex as well
analyzing our natural tendencies to obtain and remain balanced.  
After spending over an hour with him, my wife and I headed off to find our
boots at a couple of local stores.  When shopping, the knowledge he
imparted to us was invaluable to choosing boots that were the proper
size, flex and volume for our feet.
The next week, we returned to Jim with our boots for a more specialized
fitting.  Both of us have pronated feet, so after helping us find the
proper fore-aft balance, he recommended custom unweighted
foot beds.  Again, he spent time analyzing our setup, our balance,
our comfort levels, took molds of our feet and then sent us on our way
to ski and have fun. (and return the next week to get our footbeds).
The boots already felt good and better, but we both were aware
of the pronation issue and could tell our balance was not yet 
perfect.  Still, this experience was important in understanding
the progression from the worst boots ever (rentals), to something
that is tolerable (stock boots with some custom work for
fore-aft balance) to something which feels as though it is
an extension of my body.
Finally, we returned a third time to setup our new footbeds.  Again,
he spent even more time asking us questions regarding our experiences
in skiing without the footbeds and helped us set the boots up
to fit and balance perfectly. He helped us with balance experiments that
demonstrated, for example, that my lateral balance ability is increased
by raising the inner side of both feet relative to the bindings. 
(he will help with this once we get our own skis in the future. ) 
Sunday was our first time skiing with our entirely new setup and wow,
what a difference.  1) No pain. 2) Even at our experience level (level 4-6
or so), we both can already tell the difference in edging and ski
responsiveness (even with the rental skis). And 3) Did I mention no
pain! ;-)  Honestly, we both began to forget we were even wearing boots
as they blended into our legs perfectly.
Jim was thoroughly professional and his joy for helping people, even
new-comers like us, to better enjoy the sport was obvious.  I can't recommend
his services highly enough for beginners like or for experts found on this board.
Best of luck!