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Skis and Boots and Underwear oh my..

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello skiing brain, 

Warning: Long Post

I returned to skiing last year after 10 years off or so (back injuries and such).  I picked up a pair of shaped skis and really enjoyed it.  I am now realizing that the skis are a little too long so I was going to get a different pair.  But.......

When reading this forum, I think that my best way to go is with the boots first and demo various types of skis this winter.

About me:

5-9, 170 lbs.

I ski at a 6-7 level.  I ski groomed trails in the Midwest so a lot of man-made snow.

When I did go out West, I loved the Blue/Blacks.  I like to carve on steep, fast runs.  I can get through the moguls, but was never that good at them (might have something to do with my 195 skis i had before).  We really do not have powder here.


So on to boots.

The boots I have are 15 years old or so.  They fit ok, but are cold.  My feet (and fingers) get cold quick.  I have read some good suggestions about not wearing your skiing socks while driving to the resort among others that I'll try this year.

I live in the Milwaukee area and do not like the few shops that are here.  They are way too expensive and rude.  That being said, I think that buying boots on-line is probably not the right way to go so I am looking for recommendations on a fitter in the Milwaukee/Madison/Fox Valley area.  I read about inserts for the boots after you get them.  Who does this, the place that sells you the boots?  What is the benefit?  Quick suggestions on the flex or type of boot as a starting point for my type of skiing.  


Undie Grundies:

I come from the Cotton long underwear and wool socks era.  I know that there are a lot of better things out there.  I usually wear bib of some kind as I'm on the ground a lot when I ski with the kid.  I invested in a helmet for the first time this year also.

What do most of you do for a bast layer.

Remember that here we are usually skiing in Jan and Feb where it is 0-20 deg F.  If I head up North, it can be colder.


Lastly; I have a truck with a good factory roof rack.  Suggestions on what ski rack to get and from where?


Thanks all



P.S. Hi Matt!

post #2 of 10

Well, you've got a good outlook, that's for sure.


IMHO its probably worth a trip to see JDoyle in the Chicago area for your boot fitting needs.

You can find him at the top of this list.



Once you get set up with boots, you can demo, or buy, or demo, or.......you get the idea.


There are some great skis that will suit you well for the midwest, beginning with a nice front side ski with a forgiving sidecut and fun technology.  I know Bud Heishman has some of last years Blizzard Magnum 8.7's in his store, you may get a deal on something like that.


On to your undies.......

the new(er) marino wool options are awesome, as well as patagonia capeline, silk, supportive types like Opedix, that have panels to support your knees, shoulders,  etc.  Whatever you do, get something that is warm, wicks away moisture and is good for your skin.


I prefer marino wool for the most part, like smart wool and icebreaker.  But I have friends who swear by Patagonia Cap.  YMMV

post #3 of 10

Welcome back to skiing.  Your decision to concentrate on boots first is the right choice.  I don't know of any fitters in your area (I'm in Montana), but I think there are a couple of boot brands you ought to check, Full Tilt and the Dalbello Krypton series.  The reason I mention these is because you stated your feet get cold easily.  Part of that is that your boots probably never fit you correctly in the first place and secondly, the liners are probably pretty much packed out to nothing.  Some of the boots made by Full Tilt and Dalbello come with Intuition liners, which are heat formed to fit your feet and probably the warmest liner you can get, much better than the stock liners you get with just about any other boot.  I replaced the liners in my boots last year with Intuition liners and was able to dispense with my battery powered heaters.  Visit the websites for these companies and check out which boots have the Intuition liners; with Dalbello is the model name ends with "ID", as in Krypton Pro ID, it has the Intuition liner.  Boots come in different widths and a given model is available in only one width, so the most important thing is to first figure out what width you need.  Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read all the wikis there about fitting 2-3 times and also check the list of fitters in case there is someone listed in your area.  


TC pretty much covered the base layers, but I will add that you want pretty thin socks for skiing and as far as the base layer goes, NOTHING but the sock goes in your boot.  Buy a couple pair of socks, preferably merino wool or a merino wool blend so that you have them for trying on boots.  There is a joke that if you need to wear socks your boots are too big.  It is only partly a joke because you only want one pair of lightweight socks, no liner socks and no heavy socks.  Try three finger gloves/mitts, your hands will stay much warmer than in regular gloves.  


Good luck and have fun.

post #4 of 10

Tom, I would be more than happy to work with you on your boot needs. I am about 2 hours from you and it is quite common for me to have customers who come in from much farther. I am at the Windy City Ski Show for most of this week, but after that I am in the shop most everyday. Our number is 708-389-4963 if you have any questions.



post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks JD, 

I looked you up and you are not that far for me.

I might be in the Palatine area in a few weeks, I'll call to set something up if I have time.




post #6 of 10

Welcome back!


I have had good luck with Cris Zeller at Zellers in Green Bay for boots, if you want a second source.


Smartwool is awesome, no more being cold with the terrific clothing  available these days.


Perhaps I will see you at Nordic Mountain this winter, it's a good place to bring your kids.


Good luck,



post #7 of 10

A good bootfitter should be able to recommend the proper flex from what you tell him about your skiing. Make sure you make an appointment.

post #8 of 10

If you don't mind a drive south you could stop in at the Windy City Ski Show in Schaumburg IL this weekend. Lots of shops and factory reps there. Also, you should be able to find which areas will be hosting demo days early in the season. That would give you a chance to try out skis for an hour or so for free. 


I was in the same boat a couple of years ago and now am back at it - from the couch to masters racing in the Midwest and Colorado. I found that the combination of going to shows, going to shops, using this forum, and online catalogs was what I needed tow get set up properly. Good luck!

post #9 of 10

if you really suffer from cold feet even with proper boots, as my wife did, I gave her some "Boot Gloves".  Ever since, she stopped using toe warmers and i didn't have to consider electric heaters.  The thing on these is while I think they're a pain if using the neoprene cover, the ones i picked up had the foil tape for the toe box and foot bed area.  it's perforated to allow some drying, but in the 2 1/2 seasons she's used em, she used the actual glove only 1/3 of the time at best, typically if in powder.


ideally a good fitted boot wouldn't need warmers but if you delay and decide to postpone new boots, Sam's Club may still have Hot Hands 8hr 16pr boxes at $10, pretty good deal for if not skiing, hunting, outdoors, etc.  Handwarmers are in a 28 pr box for the $10.


Wife swears by a first layer of silk, then other mid weight base layers.  Breathability is important so if your jacket hasn't, base layers will be less effective.  I run quite warm, so ... $5 Menard gloves or even fingerless flip mittens have served me well even in your neck of the woods.


I believe Doyal visits Chestnut Mtn (all 450 feet of it) yearly for a show?

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks Pete, 

Great information.

I'll probably take a run and see Doyal in a few weeks (looks like he is at the ski show this weekend and I cannot get there).


I did use the hot hand things last year for the first time for my daughter and I when it was around 5 deg.  They worked great while I was skiing alone during her 2 hr lesson and were not quite enough when I skied with her for a few hours after (with new ones in).

So while I was moving and pushing it, I was ok, but when I slowed down got cold again.  But not bad.  I will say, I think even those things really helped as my daughter wanted to stay out there in those temps because she said that her feet were fine.

I'm guessing that with the proper fit boot, that will make a great difference.


First frost forecast tonight..... bring on the snow!



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