i know that the fun part for many of you is speculating and making stuff up as you go along, so you will have to excuse me for throwing a bucket of cold water on your baseless comments about LV's boots.
the supposed smoking gun duct tape is not duct tape. the boot shells have been ground down from the bottom of the shell towards the top at the spot on the boots where they can make contact with the snow when the boots are at a high edge angle. this prevents LV from "booting out" against the snow. if you look at how the head is shaped in the toe box, you will see that it is one of the widest boots up towards the binding toe piece. many other athletes have the same external grind work done however on most other boots the widest spot is further back than on the heads. this info applies to her speed boots from the shots taken from Tarvisio and Garmisch. without fear of contradiction i can tell you that those boots are head boots with an external shell mod to prevent "boot out".
The video from from Spindleruv is somewhat inconclusive in that first of all these are different boots than what she uses for speed. you can see that they have the spine flex buckles. secondly this is where Maria first started to make public statements about something going on with LV's boots. but because there is not a clear shot available from the video clip, speculation is the only tool in your belt. that being said, an athlete needs to make what ever modifications that are necessary to achieve the desired feel of the boot on snow to win races. they also have an obligation to their contracted supplier to protect that contractual agreement. in real world terms, anything that was done to modify LV's boots was done with either permission or help from head. everyone that is close to the sport of ski racing knows that the products the athletes use and the products that are commercially available are not the same. it is also very well understood at the top levels that ski boots must be modified for each individual athlete so that they can perform at their best level.
having worked as a boot serviceman back in the day, at our company we attempted to protect the design principles of our retail products by always masking any modifications done to race athletes equipment so that the competition never got wind of what we were doing to modify products to get them to work for athletes. there was a time when testors model paints in matching colors to the boots were a must have tool in my zarges box. with the purpose of covering up extra rivets, or additions of welding rod, fiberglass, or carbon fiber.
now i would like to interrupt my rant about world cup ski boot mods, and attempt to get you guys back to discussing LV, pro or con........