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What's wrong with skiing a boot that's too stiff?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Just thinking ahead to my next purchase.  Boots come in various flexes.  If everything else is done right, why not get the stiffest setting?  What would be wrong with normal weight skier skiing a boot with a very high flex index?  What would be wrong with a normal weight skier skiing a boot with a low flex index (say 100)?

How stiff is too stiff for a 175 lb skier who skis fast with good technique.



post #2 of 5

Most skiers ski with too high a flex. Skis are softer nowadays and require less longtitudinal flex and more torsional flex to control them. Most ski boots are very torsionally rigid.


I think this question should be answered be the ski instructors!


I know skiers with softer boots kicking butt and I see guys in race boots doing the same.


I went back to my 1985 Koflach 512's (stiff overall boot)for a day last year on a new ski I was very familiar with. A little adjustment time and all was good. I went back the next day to my 90 flex Atomic Hawx and saw little difference.


I am sure race skiers will benefit from firmer equipment because of the conditions they are on.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

For reference:

I have stiff = old Koflach Comp 911 with double (or maybe tripple; can't remember, but seem-busting pressure) stacked VIP foamed liners.  I was on the rebound from poor experiences with mushy boots and wanted as stiff as I could get for kamakazi speeds and instant response.  I may just be able to peal off the bottom of the liners so they will expand to the propper size and I can wear the boots in comfort (long story as to why this never got done, though I'm sure it was the original plan).  These could be my next boots.


My current boots are Crossmax 10s with flex index 100.

post #4 of 5

Interesting question!  I am unaware that skis are softer now, but perhaps they are.  If they are how it affects boot flex I'm not certain.  Perhaps it should be referenced to instructors and coaches.


I skied a few years ago at Epic Big Sky with the coaches and I don't think anyone was skiing a boot softer than 130 in bumps or groomed.  Many of the men were on 150s.


It seems to me one of the reasons to ski a stiff boot is to aid balance in variable conditions.  The more changeable the terrain and conditions and the faster you ski the better a stiff boot works.


Race boots haven't changed in flex despite the changes in ski design.


From my perspective a boot purchased too soft can't be fixed while one that you decide is too stiff can be softened.



post #5 of 5

A stiffer boot is like power steering, it responds well to small but accurate imput.  This can be a great thing if the skier's movements are accurate and a bad thing if they are not.  While beginner skiers make gross balancing adjustments taking longer to detect and correct imbalances, experts want quicker and more accurate transmission of impulse to their skis.  A stiffer boot, aligned properly, will aid balance recoveries as well, when the skier does get off kilter.  A stiffer boot will need less movement to transmit the same amount of impulse as a softer one.  A stiffer boot which limits ankle flexion requires the skier adapt his/her flexion movements to remain in fore/aft balance by actively breaking at the waist and reaching forward with the hands when flexing deeply.  Remember there are only a couple places the body can flex forward, the ankles, the hips, and to some extent the spine.  If one is compromised the others need to pick up the slack or the skier will be relegated to the back seat. 


A stiffer, higher performance ski will be complimented by a stiffer boot, whereas a softer sport ski will work better with a like boot for that level skier.  A stiff ski combined with too soft a boot, will compromise the skis performance.  


As I have said many times before, the stiffer you go the more important good alignment becomes.  The boot should place you in your optimum fore/aft positioning when standing cuff neutral.

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