I'm a level 7/8 skier and have been skiing on boots that are a bit too big for years. I've been able to get away with it since I only ski 6-8 days per year (2 trips of 3-4 days each) but I think it's time for a replacement pair. Surprisingly, given my ability I'm rather ignorant when it comes to boots. I know little about the different options and how they affect my skiing (flex, forward lean, etc.) quite simply because I've never really experimented with or demoed different types of boots. I suspect the boots I'm in have a soft flex for someone of my ability but I'm not positive. When I replace them, I want something that will help me to improve my skiing. I will go to a bootfitter but before I do I have some questions.
For reference, I'm 5'8" and 150#. I like to ski all terrain, I'd speculate about 65% off-piste in a typical day if the snow is good but I still like to rip groomers. I am not an experienced powder skier but it's something I want to get better at. I primarily ski blacks, some double blacks, rarely ski really tight chutes, and avoid mandatory air (cliffs), and parks. I do not own own skis and have no plans to buy given the limited number of days I ski each year. I typically rent an all-mountain demo ski.
- What can I expect in terms of skiing feel when moving to a stiffer boot?
- What effect will forward lean have on my skiing?
- Should I plan to buy a pair of boots on day 1 of a trip so I can ski on them and return to the boot shop each day for adjustments if needed? That worries me a little because I don't want to ruin a short trip by spending it on uncomfortable boots while I get them adjusted. At the same time, if I buy after my trip who knows when I'd return to get any adjustments made.
- I read something about a break in, how much time does that take? My concern is that I may not be able to break them in during my short ski trips.
- I sometimes get a slight irritation on my shins in my current boot. I suspect this is because I have skinny legs and that even with my upper buckle clamped all the way I may still have a little shin bang. I also find myself leaning against the shin of my boot in lift lines which may be the reason. I'm assuming a bootfitter can address the former by putting me in a boot with a narrow cuff.
- I'll be going to Whistler next month, can you recommend a good bootfitter in the area? I can wait if there are better bootfitters at other resorts. I remember hearing of a really good one in the SLC area and I will likely get back there next year.