I'm writing this to share my experience which some very is bad....and some is very good (Boot Lab in Vail to the rescue). I'm not going to name the shop who I was very dissapointed with but I will disclose it if anyone wants to PM me. The shop is well known and the bootfitter is registered on EpicSki. I suppose if really persuaded I might post it though just to steer people away.
Late this season but not yet spring ski time I had an issue with my boots XR9s which yes, I have had for 15 years. They were causing me quite a bit of pain which I had never experienced before. Desperate I went into the local mountain shop which had this bootfitter. I explained the situation and they strongly suggested I buy a new pair of boots rather than mess around with the old ones. Their reasoning sounded good and I started the process of being fitted for a boot which they told me was complimentary with the purchase of the boots. They made a few modifications for my feet and told me to expect some discomfort while it broke in. The boots felt fine in the store but certainly the test would be on the slopes. I'll just add here, I probably should have run. I got the feeling that this shop was a little overconfident and thought pretty highly of themselves and their ability to fit boots. Boy was I right 100 times over (more on that later). One other red flag should have been the nickel and diming. Sure the fitting was free but a couple pieces of styrofoam and readjusting my bindings cost almost $50! Wow.
I skied on them the next day and was in excrutiating pain. I went back into the shop and here began the drama. The bootfitter made some minor adjustments, started to argue with me that I need to let it break in more. He seemed quite put out that I came back. Then he started asking about how I ski. He told me I was leaning too far back which I why I was in pain in those parts of my feet, maybe I don't know how to ski on new skis and that I should take a lesson. WTF?! I'm too nice because I just smiled and said maybe you are right. I raced as a kid and into my young adulthood, USSA, not some flimsy high school team. I know what it means to get forward, work a ski's edge, flex the whole ski and snap out of a turn. I ran rapid gate SL and raced GS and was ranked in my state. Sure, I'll get right on that lesson, thanks.
After another day of mods I was still in pain but he refused to mod anymore since I only had 2 days in the boots. Fine. 3 weeks later I went back to the mountain to take a "mental health" day because of the great conditions. Boots still bothered me so the next moring I stopped into the shop. This time I worked with an associate who from the start was not that happy to have to deal with me. She had nothing else to do for crying out loud. I came as the shop opened their doors. She listened to what I had to say, begrudgingly made some modifications to the shell to give me more room and gave them back. Since I probably wouldn't be skiing again this year I asked if I could come back next year after I tried them again. Guess what! She said NO! It apparently was not their policy to continue fitting into the next season. I wanted to tell her what I thought of the shop using a lot of explatives. Not to mention the fact that 3 weeks later they were trying to clear inventory for spring and the boots I bought were $130 less than what I paid. Never going back there again....they frankly don't deserve to be in business.
Enter my impromtu trip to Vail. Spent 4 days skiing. On the first day when my feet hurt I was referred to Dave at The Boot Lab in Lionshead. He seemed very sympathetic, measured my foot, noted I had the right size boot but said he never would have sold that boot to me. Why? I apparently have a wide foot and I was sold a manufacturer who makes a narrow boot. He suggested I see if I can return them...ha....fat chance given my experience. I told him look. Do whatever you need to do. You don't need to guarantee the work but do your best. He told me how much it would cost (which was nominal....seriously...it was nothing) and I let him loose cutting and stretching the liner and toe box, expanding the shell. Next day....boots were incredibly better. I skied in them a whole day without finding a place to rip them off for a break. But I felt it was almost there. I went back and said I think we are 50% there and Dave went back to work. Next day my feet finally felt like they fit the boot with the exception of a little tightness in the toebox. Final test.....I found myself skiing and forgetting that my feet hurt. He did it. I even paid him extra (which he didn't ask for) because I was so happy.
Moral of the story....if you have a gut feeling about a bootfitter....follow it. Oh, and I can't recommend Dave at the Boot Lab enough.