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Are my boots starting me out in the backseat? (pictures included)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Skiing History:  I have only been able to ski about three long weekends a year (6-9 days) and I am starting my third skiing season. Fist season was in the mid-west at Mad River Mountain (OH) and Bittersweet (MI).  Last year I got four days in at Snow Summit in CA (stayed on Chair 9, Summit Run and Miracle Mile) and two days in Tahoe at Diamond Peak (Freeway, Penguin, Popular, Crystal Ridge during a storm – no groomed runs) and Northstar (day after the storm, nice groomers off Zephyr Express lift).  So far this year I’ve put in one day at Jiminy Peak in Mass (hit most of the greens and blues on the right side of the hill on cheap rental gear in very icy conditions – struggled, burning thighs, backseat).


Body/Fitness:  I am 31 years old, 5’10”, and 165 pounds, size 8.5 Nike running shoes (run 2-3 miles 2-3 days a week with light gym workout focusing on legs, pushups and crunches, played varsity soccer, basketball and baseball in high school)


Boots:  Rossignol Zenith Sensor3 100 size 26.5 (“fitted” at Mountain Air Sports in San Luis Obispo – about two fingers in empty shell)


I ski 167cm K2 Apache Raiders with Marker Mod 11.0 bindings.


All of that said, I will be taking some lessons this winter and I am not blaming my beginner skills on my equipment, however I would like an initial check on whether or not my boots are working against me.


I usually end up in the back seat a lot, lose confidence and end up pressing my skis against the snow (series of hockey stops) instead of standing over my feet with my skeleton carrying the load.  Result is burning thighs and diminished confidence.  (I recognize this is a technique/skill issue).


These questions may be too loaded or open-ended, but some initial evaluation on this would be nice.  (Note:  I have read all of the “heel lift”, “burning thighs/quads”, “backseat” threads)


  1. My novice technique (flaws) aside, are my boots working against me?
  2. Are my boots too stiff?
  3. With my limited (haven’t measured) dorsiflexion, would the heel lifts help?
  4. Are my skis too long?


(Easy answer:  take private lessons and stop by SierraJim’s .... but I just don’t have the time (leave days) or money)


I am heading to China Peak (Sierra Summit) this weekend and will likely try a day with the heel lifts (while also working on some hopping/stepping/side-slipping/garland drills)!


I have attached some pictures for reference.





A.  this shows my max flex forward barefoot without heels coming off the ground(dorsiflexion?)





B.  Another barefoot shot (note the right foot ... maybe some canting or cuff work is needed?)




C.  In boots




D. In skis




E. With Tognar Small 3/8" heel lifts




F.  Boots




G. Footbed with heel lift



post #2 of 5



I measured to 8.5 on a "Brannock" device with a metric tape and came up with 26.5cm (there about) of length, usually a person who wears a 8.5 shoe will have feet slightly shorter than the shoe, how long is your foot in cm?  It is possible your boots are too big, this will allow your  feet and liner to slip around inside the shell, as your foot moves forward inside the boot, your knee will move to the rear(backseatitus).  Another tell tale is if your foot bed is longer than your feet.


The forward lean on a boot "can" push the knee too far forward causing you to sit back, plus in the shots you appear to be standing with your hips hanging out behind you heels (backseatitus again), to see this draw a vertical line upward from your boot sole center through your torso, the center of your hip seams to be about 4 to 5 inches behind the boot sole center.  If you were to have your femur more upright, would you feel like you would fall over forward?



post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply.


I will stop by a shoe store this evening to measure my foot on a Brannock device for reference.  That said, it is highly likely that the boots may be too big (both slightly long and wide - I will do some empty shell measurements using a pen as a reference).  I tried on a few different boots in the shop and went with this boot because it was the tightest.  However, my left inner ankle did feel pressure (no punch or grind was done) and the tops of both feet felt great pressure.  These boots killed my feet the first couple of times out, but as I wore them around the house and after getting about seven days in them, they packed out and are pretty much pain free for most of the day.  The tightest pressure points are on the top of the foot (high instep), but this is releaved by popping the buckles on the lift.  They are still a bear to get on though (impossible if at less than room temperature).


I realized that another question that I did not directly ask was, is the issue physiological (flexibility)?   This is in reference to photos A and B above.  As you have pointed out, my hips are already behind my heels.  Likely a more upright (femur and torso) stance would help this, however I don't feel like I can effectively keep my shins pressed against the front of the boots and get the tips to engage on steeper terrain in this stance (flexibility or boot prohibiting issue remains to be determined).  I am attempting to self-assess and address the TAPP (Technique, Alignment, Psychological, Physiological) areas.





post #4 of 5

You need to "TAP" (I couldn't resistsmile.gif) into a boot fitter who can asses your needs and recommend a good approach to solving them.  Doctors don't work on themselves.  Check the list at the top of this section for someone near you and set an appointment.  Fore/aft balance being off is one of the biggest problems in skiing---If you are pushed to far forward you will sit back if you are too far back, well you know the answer.



post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 



After receiving some technique tips from others, I attempted to ski more upright while I was at China Peak.  This helped a bit.


As far as the boot foot.  I measured my foot in my ski sock on a Brannock device at a shoe store and the tip of my big toe rested on the 8.  I did a self shell fit (they did not do this at more local store) and heel space definitely approaches 25mm and probably varried on the sides between 2-3mm (with at least 1mm +/-1mm margin of measurement error in both dimensions).  That said, I could definitely go down to a 25.5 in this boot based on the shell fit (I do have a high insteap and have significant pressure on the top of my foot a buckle #3 from top).


I am going to attempt to use the heel lifts this weekend at Diamond Peak and Homewood.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ask the Boot Guys › Are my boots starting me out in the backseat? (pictures included)