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Intermediate Skier Needs Help with Gear Selection

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hi, all--first post here.  I have been skiing intermittently for 30 years, but for some reason have never bought my own set of skis.  I've finally decided to jump in and buy a set of boots/skis/poles.

 

I'm 6'3" tall, 200 pounds and fit.  I am typically paired with 160's at ski rental places, and they have always seemed to work well for me.  I'm not at all interested in being the fastest skier, nor do I do any stunts/jumps and so-on.  I just enjoy going side-to-side down the mountain at a semi-fast clip.  I did, however, spend the entire day yesterday teaching my 9 year-old daughter to ski, and spent the entire day skiing backwards... something I had never done before but thoroughly enjoyed it.  I know they make skis that are tapered in both directions, but if that can be an issue perhaps I'm just as well off with regular skis (I mentioned skiing backwards because I'll be teaching my son, 7 years old, very soon, as well.  But... after that, who knows if I'll spend any time skiing backwards).

 

As for skiing conditions, they are night and day.  I honeymooned in Utah, so my wife and I make a trip out there every couple of years.  Obviously, the conditions are wonderful there.  However, I live in NC about an hour from Beech, Sugar, Hawksnest, etc., so this is where I would typically go.  The conditions are usually a mixture of ice and powder, and oftentimes areas of slush.  The conditions yesterday were wonderful, but that's not typical.

 

Regarding price range, I'm looking to spend $700 to $800 total for boots ($300?)/skis ($400?)/poles ($100?).  Since I typically only ski 2-3 times/year, it's hard to justify spending more.  Based on the above personal info, skiing locales and budget, can anyone recommend a good set of skis?  I've been told that boots are the most important item, and I know it's a personal choice based on comfort.  However, what are some good brands in that range, and what "technologies" are perhaps out there I should look into?  Keep in mind I've only rented boots, but I understand they make boots that allow for easier walking, etc., etc.  And what about bindings?  Are they made to fit the ski and universally fit all boots?  Do they have to fit the boot and ski?  Are these a "standard" item, or do I want to be sure and get something specific?  Essentially, assume I know nothing :-)  

 

Thanks for any advice and/or input you can give me!

post #2 of 28

Welcome to EpicSki!  Isn't it cool that Sugar is already open? biggrin.gif

 

Always nice to "meet" others who ski in the southeast and Utah.  I highly recommend checking out the articles in First Run that talk about buying boots and skis.

 

http://www.epicski.com/atype/9/First_Run

 

One reason you are having an easy time skiing backwards is that for your height and weight, 160 is pretty short. Fun, but short.  I'm 5'0", 115 pounds, female, and ski a 159 in rockered mid-fats out west and my regular all-mountain is 154.  When I started skiing after a long hiatus, I got a cheap pair of used demo skis from eBay for $100 that were around 135.  I knew I'd be skiing with my daughter (started her at age 4 in ski school) at Massanutten in northern VA.  Next pair of skis were 142 for skiing in the southeast.  I rented on trips out west.

 

I got a pair of boots from Snow Country in Boone, right across from Sugar, during the SugarFest Demo Days in mid-Dec quite a few years ago.  From the previous model year and about $260.  They have a couple guys who are pretty good boot fitters.  If you want to work with the best boot fitter in NC, make the drive to C&R in Elon.  But call first to make an appointment.  C&R is going to have an early season sale soon.  I got my current boots from the C&R shop in Hillsborough.  Complete with custom footbeds.  When the guys at Alta saw them, they were impressed that someone in the southeast did such good work.

 

Don't stress about the bindings.  Get your skis from a good shop and they'll take care of that.

 

For skis and poles, if you are willing to drive up to Wintergreen on Black Friday, they are having their annual ski swap that day.  But if you decide to do that, buy good boots from a boot fitter beforehand.

post #3 of 28

If you are only skiing a couple of days a year, I would reccomend raidng your budget for boots and getting a good pair of boots fitted by someone who knows what they are doing (not me LOL).  Then if there is no money left over for skis, I would continue renting skis but now using your new properly fitted boots.  You will wonder why you didn't get your own boots earlier.  It will make a huge difference for you.  Then you can rent or demo some different skis and perhaps buy a pair once you have a better idea of what kind of ski and length you want.

 

IMHO you have been skiing on skis to short for your size.  I would reccomend at least a 170 for someone who is 6'4" and 200lbs.

 

Good luck,

 

Rick G

post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanEngr View Post

teaching my 9 year-old daughter to ski, and spent the entire day skiing backwards... I'll be teaching my son, 7 years old, very soon, as well.  

 

Since you are a self described intermediate skier who only skis 2-3 times a year, this is not a good idea at all.  And even if you skied a lot more than that, it would still be a bad idea.  Whatever bad habits you have you will teach to them.  Please start them right and put them in lessons with the ski school.  Believe me, they will have more fun and so will you.

 

As for equipment, as has been mentioned, just spend your money on boots that fit your feet.  If your boots fit properly, you can and will have fun on just about any rental ski you encounter.  And the really big plus is that your skiing will improve immediately with properly fitted boots.  Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read the wikis about terminology and what boot will fit to understand how boots should be fitted.  Then check the Who's Who for a fitter near you and make an appointment.  Boots are absolutely the most important piece of gear you can buy for skiing so do it right and don't trust any hacks in "sporting goods" stores.

 

And please put your kids in ski school.

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

Mtcyclist--I guess I should have been a little more specific...!  Although the "bunny" slope wasn't open yesterday they still operated the ski school at Sugar.  I enrolled my daughter in a private lesson first thing that morning (and it gave me a chance to run several good runs!), and all I did the rest of the day was act as her eyes and "human shield".  She was terrified that someone was going to plow into her.  You're right--of all people to give her pointers, I'm not one of them!  The lesson only lasted an hour, but it gave her some good foundations to build on.  I honestly don't know if they have a more advanced ski school there or not.  This also begs the question... what about equipment for her?  She loves it, and now that I have a ski pal I'll likely go more often.  At the same time, she's growing like a weed, and I shudder at the thought of having to purchase expensive equipment every year.  Just do rentals for now, or would it really be a plus to get at least a pair of boots for her, too?

 

MarzNC--yes... it is wonderful that Sugar opened yesterday!  It was just what I needed to give me the push to make the trip with my daughter this year.  It had been a while since we've had time for just the two of us, so I made the most of it.  I surprised her by picking her up right after school on Tuesday, and we headed straight up the mountain (yes... I let her skip school on Wednesday...).  We had dinner at the Banner Elk Cafe (we were the only ones dining there) and stayed at the Best Western right below Sugar.  We were able to get a good night's sleep and make it to the resort without having to rush a bit.  Truly wonderful. You might have an answer to my question above--is there anywhere in the NC mountains that gives more advanced skiing lessons?  

 

Well, it seems that the consensus is that I need to buy some good boots.  I'll read through the link mentioned by Marz and see if I have any questions past that point.  Now that football season is in, I'll be heading by Elon for some NCSU games and I'll make it a point to swing by there.  As for skis, I'm not so sure they even have rentals longer than 160's.  When I went in yesterday they actually asked me for the length, and I told them I believe either 160's or 180's.  The look the guy gave me was quizzical... and he responded "it would definitely have to be 160's".  So--if they only carry 160's, any idea where I could rent/try out longer skis?  I assume longer skis will be more difficult to turn?

post #6 of 28

Don't waste money buying gear for your daughter, even boots.  What you might want to look for is a season rental which should, does here anyway, allow you to get bigger boots, longer skis as necessary.  You'll spend enough just keeping her in clothes that fit and keep her warm.  Same thing with your son.  The ski school should have group lessons that will sort kids out according to age and experience.  Private lessons can and should be tailored for the student's ability and age.  Our son had exceptionally good balance when he started at 6 so he progressed quickly and was often the only child in his group so he got a private lesson for the cost of a group lesson.

 

It is possible that where you skied doesn't have any rental skis longer than 160.  But they might have demo skis longer than 160.  Also check local ski shops to see what they have which is also where you will find season rentals for your kids.  As for longer skis being more difficult to turn, that isn't an absolute.  My carving skis are 163cm but my daily drivers are 170cm.  On a groomer they feel like they're about the same length because the 170 has an early rise tip so it feels a bit shorter than 170.  Also remember that 10cm is a bit less than 4 inches, not a huge deal.  If you went from 160 to 180, that's a different story and you would definitely notice nearly 8 inches.  Try to find a pair of 170s and see how they feel.

post #7 of 28

Totally agree with all that's been said about the boots. It's a bigger consideration than most people realise. As for skis 170 should be ok. It would be strange for them not to rent anything between 160 and 180. Maybe the stock isn't there yet for the season. If you do buy skis I wouldn't worry about buying twin tips to ski backwards. Maybe if you're planning going into the park but not to do a bit of leading the kids. Agree with mtcyclist about teaching the kids although I have read that you say you're not. Just be careful of the advice you give them. Have a chat with their instructors. I would always be happy to give parents some pointers for skiing around especially if it stops them telling their kids the wrong information.

 

Unless you find an inexpensive source of skis and boots that can be passed down and then passed or sold on don't worry about buying kids skis or boots just yet. Make sure they're comfortable and happy. Good warm clothing is essential. I've seen parents turn up to the mountain with epxensive kit and their kids dressed inadequately. Warm and comfortable equates to fun and a blossoming passion for the sport.

post #8 of 28

Jonathan-  160 cm skis are woefully short for a fit guy your weight (and size).  You need to be at least on 175 skis. I am sure you are turning the 160 just fine, but you likely not using proper mechanics (how do I know: because there is no way a rental ski would even hold a guy your weight using proper turning technique; a race ski that short would, but I seriously doubt that they are renting race skis to you).  But as everyone said, boots are the most important starting point.  If you don't get good boots everything you spend on skis, lessons, and trips may just go down the drain, so get good boots first.  They will be shockingly expensive relative to the rest of the stuff you buy, but they will be worth it.  BTW, then you will feel right away what garbage the 160 rental skis are.    After you get boots, look at the Epic classified section for a suitable skis, there usually are quite a few good models and (unlike boots) skis can be fitted over internet (well, sort of).  Ski swap is also good, but here you can have the board "ratify" your purchasing decision (as we love nothing more than giving free gear advice here; even skiing comes second ;-)).  Good luck.

 

A counterpoint about daughter's equipment: if stores in your area have season rentals, that's a great deal, otherwise buying  a used set and reselling it when she grows out of it is a very good way to go.  You are not paying for used skis, that makes your ski trip cheaper (so if you go more often, you don't pay the penalty), and that way you won't have a nasty surprise of a broken buckle of someone else's PBJ sandwich remains stuck in a rental boots. rental gear is typically in a disgusting shape, because people just don't care about it, and shop dudes also don't give in much thought.   As Larry Summers once said- no one has ever washed a rental car....   

post #9 of 28

It's easy to save money on used or demo skis, so don't worry about budget there.  It's not smart, however, to skimp on boots. 

 

Sage advice from the experts above, and believe me, I learned the hard way.I went through the same trap when I got back into skiing after 15 years off.  I fretted about the skis, got the boots as an afterthought, and regretted it ALL after a few times on the hills.  If I had proper boots, I could have made my skis work for me, or just gotten different skis.  But with the wrong boots I was screwed no matter what. So I had to start all over, and wasted my money the first go-round. 

 

There's a smart saying around here: "You date your skis, but you marry your boots".  Sink all the money you can into professionally-fit boots, it's worth the weight in gold.  Then you can rent skis, even high performance ones, for cheap by comparison, and you'll be far better off moving ahead.

 

For your kids, keep them dry and warm above all else.  They'll equate skiing with fun and life will be grand.  Lessons when they're beginning are awesome, because young kids learn SO FAST that it's an excellent investment and it will stay with them for years.  Then consider lessons for yourself if you get the bug even more.

 

Look at it as "phases" rather than an "all in" approach.  Start with the foundation (boots), then the walls (lessons), and once you have those in hand, then top it off with the roof (skis).  Solid foundation, solid skiing, lots of fun and you'll be safer too with less chance of injury.  Bad foundation, bad boots.....the skis won't matter when they cart you off the slopes.

 

Be safe, have fun!

post #10 of 28

Here's the link for Snow Country, although it's called Ski Country instead.  Haven't been there for a while.  They have a shop in Asheville, as well as Banner Elk.  You may be able to find some bargains on new stuff for the kids.  For my daughter (now 12), she managed to use her jackets and ski pants for two seasons since I bought the kind that can be lengthened by an inch or so.  While your son might not care, a tween girl likes to pick out something that looks good. wink.gif

 

http://www.skicountrysports.com

 

You could call and see if they do a season lease.

 

The worst place to rent equipment in the southeast is on the mountain.  Usually cheaper and better to stop somewhere on the way.  I know I've seen rentals longer than 160.

post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanEngr View Post

Mtcyclist--I guess I should have been a little more specific...!  Although the "bunny" slope wasn't open yesterday they still operated the ski school at Sugar.  I enrolled my daughter in a private lesson first thing that morning (and it gave me a chance to run several good runs!), and all I did the rest of the day was act as her eyes and "human shield".  She was terrified that someone was going to plow into her.  You're right--of all people to give her pointers, I'm not one of them!  The lesson only lasted an hour, but it gave her some good foundations to build on.  I honestly don't know if they have a more advanced ski school there or not.  This also begs the question... what about equipment for her?  She loves it, and now that I have a ski pal I'll likely go more often.  At the same time, she's growing like a weed, and I shudder at the thought of having to purchase expensive equipment every year.  Just do rentals for now, or would it really be a plus to get at least a pair of boots for her, too?

 

MarzNC--yes... it is wonderful that Sugar opened yesterday!  It was just what I needed to give me the push to make the trip with my daughter this year.  It had been a while since we've had time for just the two of us, so I made the most of it.  I surprised her by picking her up right after school on Tuesday, and we headed straight up the mountain (yes... I let her skip school on Wednesday...).  We had dinner at the Banner Elk Cafe (we were the only ones dining there) and stayed at the Best Western right below Sugar.  We were able to get a good night's sleep and make it to the resort without having to rush a bit.  Truly wonderful. You might have an answer to my question above--is there anywhere in the NC mountains that gives more advanced skiing lessons?  

 

Well, it seems that the consensus is that I need to buy some good boots.  I'll read through the link mentioned by Marz and see if I have any questions past that point.  Now that football season is in, I'll be heading by Elon for some NCSU games and I'll make it a point to swing by there.  

I see you are a good ski parent. biggrin.gif  My daughter has missed school for skiing more than once.  Especially that winter of the two blizzards.

 

You root for the Wolfpack . . . well, I guess I'll still give you advice.  I'm a Tar Heel all the way. wink.gif

 

Between Sugar, Beech, and App, my recommendation would be for the ski school at Beech.  The school at App is good, but the terrain is limited.  Beech has enough steeper trails for an intermediate to learn quite a lot.  Plus the main lift is a high speed quad, or at least high speed for the southeast.  I know Beech has Level 2 instructors.  It's a good idea to request a PSIA Level 2 or above for private or semi-private lessons.  Could be that taking a lesson or two with your daughter would be worthwhile.  If you can get up there before the Christmas holidays, a group lesson is likely to be a private or semi-private.  Especially if you sign up for the first one in the morning.  Many parents are still trying to figure out how to rent equipment at that point.

 

If you can take the family out to Utah, your kids will be better than you in no time.  The ski schools out there are all very good.  My daughter has learned a lot from the instructors at Alta.

post #12 of 28

Quote:

Originally Posted by marznc View Post

 

Could be that taking a lesson or two with your daughter would be worthwhile. 

 

No.  This is really not a good idea for either him or his daughter.  If the object is for them both to receive instruction there's far too much disparity in their level for either to get much benefit.  If the idea is for him to understand what is being taught, talking to the instructor after the lesson is much better.  Beginners need to focus on what the instructor is saying and asking them to do.  With a parent right there, the child will be distracted and learning will decline.  I know from experience that if a parent is lurking somewhere close the child feels inhibited and is less likely to behave in a more "natural" manner.  I have had to ask more than one parent to leave the vicinity because their proximity was interfering with the lesson.  We have had parents ask for semi private lessons with their child and the answer has always been "no."  Even if they were both beginners it still wouldn't be a good idea and the ski school would not put them into the same group.  Kids and adults don't learn the same way nor at the same pace.

post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

 

No.  This is really not a good idea for either him or his daughter.  If the object is for them both to receive instruction there's far too much disparity in their level for either to get much benefit.  If the idea is for him to understand what is being taught, talking to the instructor after the lesson is much better.  Beginners need to focus on what the instructor is saying and asking them to do.  With a parent right there, the child will be distracted and learning will decline.  I know from experience that if a parent is lurking somewhere close the child feels inhibited and is less likely to behave in a more "natural" manner.  I have had to ask more than one parent to leave the vicinity because their proximity was interfering with the lesson.  We have had parents ask for semi private lessons with their child and the answer has always been "no."  Even if they were both beginners it still wouldn't be a good idea and the ski school would not put them into the same group.  Kids and adults don't learn the same way nor at the same pace.

I understand your point from the perspective of an instructor intent on teaching in the best way possible.  But there are other reasons for a parent-child semi-private at a small place.  I've done it with my daughter and found it useful from a bonding standpoint.  Also useful for her to see what I could do and vice-versa.  Clearly not for every family though.

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 

Marznc--Tarheels???  Really???  Well, there just went my opinion of you wink.gif  I'm a Wolfpack grad, so I'm kind-of obligated to pull for them.  I have, however, been a fan since I was a kid.  The icing on the cake was the 1983 NCAA Championship.  We are REALLY due for another one!!!  It does stink being surrounded by two sports powerhouses--Duke and UNC.  Between the two, it's UNC hands-down.But to live in Cary and pull for UNC, that's just... horrible!  

 

Thank you to everyone for the input.  I took some time last night to read through the "First Run" links, and I plan to look more in-depth at boots this weekend from the boot guys.  Does anyone out there know any really good boot guys here in Western NC?  Marz--I'll def keep in mind the folks in Elon, but I think I might make a run up to the mountains this weekend with the family before the snow melts.  I don't want to waste my money buying boots from someone who really isn't proficient at fitting them, so if no one can recommend anyone I might just hold off.

 

I know this is a loaded question, but I browsed online last night looking at boot prices.  They seem to range from $200 to about $900 on the sites I visited.  I know you "get what you pay for" in many circumstances, but what really is the biggest difference in less and more expensive boots?  If I really need to consider spending $600 to $900 on boots, I'll likely do that.  But I just want to be sure I'm not paying a huge premium for something that isn't worth it.  I'm a tech-oriented kind of guy, and I guess I am comparing it to processors.  You can get an excellent one for $300, but to buy the top of the line you'll drop $1300.  It might be worth it for a power-user, but a 20% increase in performance for quadruple the price is just a waste of money for most people.  Boots might be very different, however.  The $900 might actually be a bargain in some ways.  I'd like some input there if possible.  And.. is there one (or two, or three) absolutely must have, can't do without feature(s) in boots?  I would hate to drop $600 on a pair of boots only to find later that spending $650 for another pair with a specific feature would have been immensely better if I had only known.

 

I'm glad you guys have put so much emphasis on instruction.  To be quite honest, I would like to take some lessons myself.  Although I'm a "good" skier (I mean someone who can make it from point "A" to point "B" safely, fully in control and at a decent clip), I'm a "good" skier on predominantly blues.  I have tackled a few blacks, but feel much less confident.  I even had the opportunity to ski the olympic downhill course in Utah before the olympics... if you consider "skiing" the course sitting on your rump and hoping that you didn't start to slide uncontrollably.  It was simply amazing just how steep that run was at the top, and even more amazing that there are people who want to ski *straight down* that thing.  I even read the article in the forums about just such an event, and I realize how idiotic even going up there was now.  At least I knew better than to try to ski it.  Anyway, I oftentimes feel that my turns have to be "forced", especially when I make a turn more-or-less uphill (if I'm on the edge of a run that has tapered down and I turn to go back up on the middle part of the run--if that makes sense). Although my skis never cross, I envy those people that always keep their skis perfectly parallel at all times about 6-inches apart even on the roughest and bumpiest of terrain.  I definitely could use work on my form and techniques.  The only lesson I've ever had is the same one-hour lesson my daughter had on Wednesday.  I don't suppose buying a good pair of boots will fix all of the above?????? biggrin.gif

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanEngr View Post

Marznc--Tarheels???  Really???  Well, there just went my opinion of you wink.gif  I'm a Wolfpack grad, so I'm kind-of obligated to pull for them.  I have, however, been a fan since I was a kid.  The icing on the cake was the 1983 NCAA Championship.  We are REALLY due for another one!!!  It does stink being surrounded by two sports powerhouses--Duke and UNC.  Between the two, it's UNC hands-down.But to live in Cary and pull for UNC, that's just... horrible!  

 

Thank you to everyone for the input.  I took some time last night to read through the "First Run" links, and I plan to look more in-depth at boots this weekend from the boot guys.  Does anyone out there know any really good boot guys here in Western NC?  Marz--I'll def keep in mind the folks in Elon, but I think I might make a run up to the mountains this weekend with the family before the snow melts.  I don't want to waste my money buying boots from someone who really isn't proficient at fitting them, so if no one can recommend anyone I might just hold off.

 

I know this is a loaded question, but I browsed online last night looking at boot prices.  They seem to range from $200 to about $900 on the sites I visited.  I know you "get what you pay for" in many circumstances, but what really is the biggest difference in less and more expensive boots?  If I really need to consider spending $600 to $900 on boots, I'll likely do that.  But I just want to be sure I'm not paying a huge premium for something that isn't worth it.  I'm a tech-oriented kind of guy, and I guess I am comparing it to processors.  You can get an excellent one for $300, but to buy the top of the line you'll drop $1300.  It might be worth it for a power-user, but a 20% increase in performance for quadruple the price is just a waste of money for most people.  Boots might be very different, however.  The $900 might actually be a bargain in some ways.  I'd like some input there if possible.  And.. is there one (or two, or three) absolutely must have, can't do without feature(s) in boots?  I would hate to drop $600 on a pair of boots only to find later that spending $650 for another pair with a specific feature would have been immensely better if I had only known.

I have enjoyed a ski day at Wintergreen with another NCSU grad, so I guess we can be friends too.  Believe it or not, I married someone who connected to Duke after moving to the Triangle.  Have even gone to Duke basketball games at Cameron . . . but never against the Tar Heels.  We watch those games at home in separate rooms. wink.gif

 

The analogy to computers makes sense to me.  You want new boots that fit properly, but who cares if they are the current model year or a couple years back given that you are going to be skiing with kids in the southeast for quite a few years.  That means going to a local shop that has an experienced boot fitter, but if a boot they have left over from last season works for you then go for it.  In NC the early season sales will last through mid-Dec.  Then late season sales start right after Pres. Day.  I bought my current Nordicas in late Feb 2011 at C&R for $440 and the MSRP was $760.  Boots typically last 100 days, which means 5+ years for sure.

 

Sent a PM with more info about NC boot fitters.

post #16 of 28

Setting aside discounted boots, cheap boots tend to be wider and made from softer shell material and are usually meant for beginners.  The quality of the buckles tends to be low, meaning they might easily break.  The liners are not very well made and will pack out quickly leading to cold feet and loss of control.  The cuff cannot be aligned which is actually fairly important unless you have a perfect skeletal structure in your feet and lower legs. Cheap boots also tend to be not as tall which means you don't have as much leverage.  At the other end of the price scale are high performance boots, usually race boots and custom molded boots like the Fischer vacuum.  You want to be somewhere in between and a good boot fitter will give as as much boot as you need, but not more.  You don't want a boots that's too stiff or too soft, too long or too wide.  For recreational skiing I would recommend a Dalbello Krypton series boot or a Full Tilt.  They are easier to get on and off and the Full Tilts can be easily customized for stiffness by changing the tongue.  Some Dalbello models have adjustable stiffness as well.  Both have models that come with Intuition liners which are heat molded to your feet.  I have them in my boots and will never use a boot without them again.  They are warm and fit like a very fine glove.  They are worth the extra cost IMO.

 

My 2¢.

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

Setting aside discounted boots, cheap boots tend to be wider and made from softer shell material and are usually meant for beginners.  The quality of the buckles tends to be low, meaning they migt easily break.  The liners are not very well made and will pack out quickly leading to cold feet and loss of control.  The cuff cannot be aligned which is actually fairly important unlees you have a perfect skeletal structure in your feet and lower legs. Cheap boots also tend to be not as tall which means you don.t have as much leverage.  At the other end of the price scale are hig performance boots, usually race boots and custom molded boots like the Fischer vacuum.  You want to be somewhere in between and a good boot fitter will give as as much boot as you need, but not more.  You don't want a boots that's too stiff or too soft, too long or too wide.  For recreational skiing I would recommend a Dalbello Krypton series boot or a Full Tilt.  They are easier to get on and off and the Full Tilts can be easily customized for stiffness by changimg the tongue.  Some Dalbello models have adjustable stiffness as well.  Both have models that come with Intuition liners which are heat molded to your feet.  I have them in my boots and will never use a boot without them again.  They are warm and fit like a very fine glove.  They are worth the extra cost IMO.

 

My 2¢.

Agree that Intuitions are great.  But I had mine added at Alta.  While I'm perfectly happy with the boot fitting I've had in NC for my boots and custom footbeds, I couldn't get Intuitions in NC.  Not much call for them for southeast skiing so there isn't a dealer in SC/NC/VA.  Do have dealers in Washington DC and Atlanta.  I wasn't interested in doing the home fitting myself.  We end up skiing in the 30's most of the time, even mid-winter, so keeping feet warm is not as much of an issue.  Also, getting back to the lodge to warm up kids takes 5-10 from anywhere on the mountain, including the very top or farthest point away.  I got the Intuitions because I'm skiing out west more and more.

post #18 of 28

For me, warmth is secondary to what is as close to a perfect fit as I've ever experienced, and the comfort that goes along with that fit.  I have better control over my skis than I have ever had and that is really important when you're ripping down a steep glade; turning late because the skis didn't respond is not an option.eek.gif

post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

For me, warmth is secondary to what is as close to a perfect fit as I've ever experienced, and the comfort that goes along with that fit.  I have better control over my skis than I have ever had and that is really important when you're ripping down a steep glade; turning late because the skis didn't respond is not an option.eek.gif

Understood.  Not quite the same situation for an intermediate who plans to ski where the black runs take no more than 6 min to finish when making turns or 3 min for an advanced skier who is doing GS turns.  There isn't anything remotely in the southeast like a "steep glade" like you have in MT.  Many southeast blacks are easier than blues in the Rockies.  Almost all skiing in NC is done on groomed trails because that's where the manmade snow is blown or placed.

 

Of course, if someone has a hard-to-fit foot then considering Intuitions at a later point makes good sense.  Since the OP has managed to keep skiing in rental boots for 30 years, hopefully finding a boot that fits won't be that hard.

 

Are Dalbello and Full Tilt at the high end in terms of price?  Or more in the middle?  Since my husband is a non-skier, I know nothing about men's boots.

post #20 of 28

For me and I tell students the same thing, control is everything and I don't think it matters where you ski.  Just because it only takes a few minutes to get down even a black run doesn't mean you don't need or shouldn't have good control over your skis.  Intuition liners give you that control and that control will make a huge difference in a person's skiing.  This all assumes the shell is the proper size.

 

The Dalbello Krypton series ranges from about $300 to $700 and the Full Tilts range from about $400 to $700. Those are published prices so they could be less expensive in some shops.

post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 
For better or worse, the deal is done.  
 
I headed up to Ski Country in Asheville with my family since it was closer than Banner Elk, and it worked out well since my wife needed to buy some supplies for a 5k race that she is helping to organize.  They came in with me for the first 1/2-hour or so, and when it was obvious it was going to take some time they headed out.  The first thing the fitter did was have me start trying on boots.  I specifically asked about the Full Tilt boots.  I don't know if it is true, but the fitting guy told me immediately that the full tilts (which they carry) have very narrow shells, and thus just wouldn't work for my feet.  We jumped right into Head brand boots.  I tried on a total of maybe 5 different styles, and I never asked about a price (as someone recommended so I could try a full array of boots).  Actually, the very first set of boots I tried on I *loved*.  I have never worn a pair of ski boots that were so comfortable.  We ended up going back to them after trying several others, and they had me wear them for 30 mins or so.  My right foot ended up getting a bit sore, so they removed the boot to take some measurements.  Sure enough, my right foot is about 1/4" wider than the left.  They cold-stretched the shell and it fit like a glove.  LOVE these boots. They are Head Vector 100's.
 
I really wasn't sure about skis, but decided to look while I was there. The guy really seemed knowledgeable, and he told me that the skis they had in the $300 range would likely be too flexible for someone of my size, and he thought I wouldn't be happy with them.  We went through a full array of skis he felt would be good for my size and skill level, and I settled on a set of Head Rev 80 skis.  They are wide underfoot (80 mm), and have bindings that come around the full front of the boot.  They have the camber/rocker shape (I think that's what it's called?), and they're rated for upper-intermediate to advanced level skiers.  I did look them up online after returning home, and I'm a bit worried.  In several sites online there seems to be a concensus that they are extremely fast skis, and in one review a guy stated that they can easily keep up with most skis you're likely to see at twice and in some cases even three times the price.  The same sites, however, also say they have excellent control and are good for all conditions, so hopefully this will enable me to keep them somewhat tamed. I would appreciate any comments on this... I don't want something that is going to require lots of work to keep under control.
 
I also bought some socks, as my old ones are getting a bit thin, as well as a set of K2 composite ski poles.  As an added benefit, the skis, boots and poles all match color-wise.  I left the skis and boots at the shop.  They needed to mount the bindings, heat stretch the right boot (I assume to make the modification permanent) as well as do a $75 ski tuning and waxing that they threw in for free (pretty standard I would assume).  The boots were $499, the skis were $599 (I got them to come down to $449 on the skis due to a sale they had going even through I didn't have a coupon), the poles were $60 and the socks were $15/pair.  One thing I need to consider, too, is that two of their staff members spent nearly 3 hours with me that afternoon.  In total, I came out spending right at $1100.  To my relief, I rushed back and browsed online, and it seems like I wouldn't have saved much--if any--money buying them anywhere online, even on eBay.  I did see the boots online at one place for $349 on sale, but no way could I have bought them without a fitting.  The nice thing about Ski Country is they guarantee the fit of the boots for life, so any tweaks at any location are free.
 
Any thoughts and opinions would be appreciated!
post #22 of 28

Sounds like you got what you needed and with good service.  FWIW, the guy who told you Full Tilts have very narrow shells was not correct.  They make boots in 99mm and 102mm shells.  Other companies make narrower and also wider shells.  But, the important thing is you got boots that fit your feet at what sounds like a reasonable price.

post #23 of 28

Glad Ski Country could help you out.  What length skis did you end up with?

post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Mtcyclist and Marz!  And Marz--sorry I forgot to fill you in on the length.  They are 177's.

 

By the way, I did ask about the Intuition liners, and they don't carry them in stock.  They have done some fittings in the past, and even have the equipment there to mold them (so I wouldn't have to use the microwave technique).  I completely forgot to ask about custom foot pads.  Is that what they're called?  I assume they'll know what I'm talking about if I ask?  I'll be going back up this weekend to pick up the skis and boots so I'll inquire about them.

 

Things are warming up here, so I assume the conditions aren't going to be too good in the near future. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a strong, moisture-rich cold front!

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanEngr View Post

Thanks, Mtcyclist and Marz!  And Marz--sorry I forgot to fill you in on the length.  They are 177's.

 

By the way, I did ask about the Intuition liners, and they don't carry them in stock.  They have done some fittings in the past, and even have the equipment there to mold them (so I wouldn't have to use the microwave technique).  I completely forgot to ask about custom foot pads.  Is that what they're called?  I assume they'll know what I'm talking about if I ask?  I'll be going back up this weekend to pick up the skis and boots so I'll inquire about them.

 

Things are warming up here, so I assume the conditions aren't going to be too good in the near future. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a strong, moisture-rich cold front!

Aah, certainly will feel different than 160's. smile.gif

 

I'd say you might as well see how the new boots do without custom footbeds first.  Can always add them later.  What Ski Country in Banner Elk recommended was a generic after market footbed instead of the stock one that came with the boot.  That worked fine.  By the time I bought the next pair of boots, I was going out west for about two weeks every season, in addition to skiing 15-20 days in the southeast.  Had pretty much become an advanced skier so was ready and willing to spend a bit more money on my boots.

 

Snowshoe plans to open for Thanksgiving.  Hopefully by then the places in NC will have been able to build a base that doesn't melt away before Christmas.

post #26 of 28

Lots of people find the stock footbeds fairly useless.  Unless you know absolutely that you need custom footbeds, like you have to wear orthotics in all your shoes, there is one thing you can try for free and that is A-Line footbeds.  I tried a pair two years ago and the company had a money back guarantee.  They didn't work for me so I took them back after about 3 weeks and my money was refunded.  As long as they still have that guarantee you have nothing to lose by trying them.  But, if you don't have trouble with your feet in general, I wouldn't bother.

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

Lots of people find the stock footbeds fairly useless.  Unless you know absolutely that you need custom footbeds, like you have to wear orthotics in all your shoes, there is one thing you can try for free and that is A-Line footbeds.  I tried a pair two years ago and the company had a money back guarantee.  They didn't work for me so I took them back after about 3 weeks and my money was refunded.  As long as they still have that guarantee you have nothing to lose by trying them.  But, if you don't have trouble with your feet in general, I wouldn't bother.


Superfeet!! I have a set for every ski boot, you can find them for about 35 bucks if you look hard enough. They replaced the set of 250$ orthotics I was wearing

post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDIII View Post


Superfeet!! I have a set for every ski boot, you can find them for about 35 bucks if you look hard enough. They replaced the set of 250$ orthotics I was wearing

I've used Superfeet in ski boots and other shoes.  Work well.  Once I was skiing 10+ days locally plus a couple trips out west, I got the custom footbeds.  By then I was good enough to tell the difference.  Since they will last 10 years or so, for $140 I have no regrets.

 

BDIII: Welcome to EpicSki!  Did I see somewhere that you ski in NC?  If so, what's your favorite mountain?  I'm in Raleigh.  Ski weekends at Massanutten with my daughter the most, but sometimes meet up with friends at Beech or Snowshoe.

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