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HELP HELP HELP Back to skiing after 30 years and need gear

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Me:  Male, 6', 200 lbs. Used to be a certified professional full-time ski instructor at a major resort many, many years ago.  Quit that to pursue a career and make $$.  Have not skied for 30 years.  Now ready to retire from the rat race and take up the sport again, which I loved.  Soooo... much has changed regarding equipment and I know little about it.  Can anyone recommend a good ski, boot, binding combo that would facilitate my needs.  62 years old, good condition, ready to dive head first back into the sport.  Practice up for a few years and maybe even start teaching little old ladies again.  Back in the stone age, I skied on K2, Head, Rosignol, Look, Marker, Nordica, and Technica.  Please give sincere and valid advise, I'd be grateful.

post #2 of 16

My advice - rent the first few times out.  Once you decide what type of sking you are going to do - ie mostly groomers, all mountain, powder, moguls etc then start looking.  First step at that point is to get a good pair of boots  - go to a good boot fitter.  You can continue to rent the skis and poles for the first while.  Skis have much more variation in design and feel IMHO than they did 30 years ago. I would suggest you demo or rent a few pairs, if you can, in various lengths, widths styles etc to get the feel  for what you like.   Many skis come with system bindings - they are built in and adjustable to your boot size - similiar to rental bindings.  You may want to go to a ski swap and buy a used pair (skis not boots) until you find out what you really want.



post #3 of 16

Welcome back to the snowy side!  I think you scared everyone off with your thread title.  Where are you likely to be skiing in the next year or two?  If you let people know where you are, then can point you to ski shops for new boots.  Once you get that sorted out, you can research online for skis to fit your budget and interests.


There are good articles about buying gear that are worth checking out.  Click on Articles in the top menu.  This one is particularly important to remind you of why finding a good boot fitter is the first step to having the most fun possible on the slopes.




Current style shaped skis are a lot of fun.  Might take you a few hours to get used to them.  But the transition from straight skis is pretty painless.  At least it was for me 12 years ago and I was only an intermediate skier then.  Of course, a lesson or two can help speed up the process.

post #4 of 16

Welcome numnutzl, your path is very similar to a lot of us on here.  Search around on the top of this site and you will find lots of threads on any equipment topic you wish.  There is a lot of gray hair on the mountains today.


Boot technology may have changed even more than skis since you last closed the ski locker.  Find a Master Boot Fitter in your region take your credit card, and get the full meal deal.  He will ask a lot of questions, take a lot of measurements and TELL you what to buy for a boot.  Follow their advise and you will expedite your return. would strongly suggest you NOT shop boots off the net.  Your timing is good here there should be some reasonable discounts appearing about now.  


There is a ski for everything today.  You could easily end up with more pairs of skis than golf clubs in your bag.  Demo a variety of skis before you buy, most the major players build really nice skis. Personally end up on an all mountain ski that is 90-100 MM underfoot, but that is just me.  Talk to staff in a quality ski shop they will give you some direction, your boot fitter can get you headed in a good direction.


As stated above, tell where you are located and we would be happy  to tell you where to go biggrin.gif.  You will be very pleasantly surprised by how quickly it starts to come back. 

post #5 of 16

With the information available, all you will get is people recommending what works for them, not you.


The best boot is the one that fits. Back in the day, I used to see a lot of magazine review over which boot "performed" the best, and almost nothing about what foot shape the boot was aimed at. Which makes the reviews pretty much worthless as the boots that the reviewer felt performed best almost certainly were the ones that fir their specific foot shape best. As others have said, go to a professional boot fitter.


As far as skis, rent or (better yet) catch a demo day somewhere where you can ski a bunch of different skis. However, you will run into a problem with the shaped and rockered ski revolutions. The old skiing form of ankles together and ankle pivot parallel turns is not how modern skis are designed to be skied. Modern skis typically respond to a bit of a wider stance and maximizing edge angle to actually carve a turn. I wouldn't buy a ski until I was comfortable making true carving turns on a ski, as the ski that feels best with an old-school technique will likely feel lacking for a carved turn.


Likewise, most skiers of straight skis back in the day skied very backseat. Not sure if this applies to you given your past history as an instructor, but modern skis react much worse than classic skis to skiing from the heels. Moder skis, even in powder, need to be driven and weight needs to be forward, even in deep snow.


And deep snow is amazing on modern powder oriented skis.

post #6 of 16

One other thing that I underestimated after I got back from my break: ski technology also changed how people ski (though some purists will probably disagree with me). Take some lessons early on (and read a lot on this board) to start modernizing your form. If you don't, I'm not sure that you'll really get a lot out of demoing because you won't really be able to perceive the salient differences between the skis and boots you're trying. At least that's what I found.

post #7 of 16

You loved skiing so much that you never did it at all for 30 years?confused.gif

post #8 of 16

you haven't mentioned where you'll be doin most of your skiin ? and dependin on how and what you skied - BITD - will have a bit to do with re-entry...

in any case, recommending a boot, ski, binding is kinda useless until you start clockin some hill time.


get some well fittin boots. Good Bootfitters are generally way better than they were BITD... and they generally have good stuff to work with...


get into the best condition you can - skiing in your 60's is a bit more taxin than skiing in your 30's, and every little bit of conditioning comes back in spades on the hill.

Skis - just about any old skis will do for the first few days or so - in fact I did the first 4 days of my re-entry on my old 205-07 slaloms. If you can carve on old, long straights you can carve on anything. But carving ain't everything these days..

I did the first 8 days just working the things I saw as 'fundamental', alone - for someone who knows how, I think this is a good plan to get back the solid basics. Then I bought a bunch of prior owned skis (yeah for CL !) which spanned the 1st shapers to the modern era skis - was little money, well spent (IMO). Some were resold, some were donated, some were kept because they're still rippin bds.


Then I joined the local ski club and went on my merry way. Can't emphasis how much joining a club has added to the re-entry ski experience. I can be very much a loner and spend all day on the mtn exploring my own way. But the mild push to socialize has added a great dimension to the 'recreation' side of things.


Everyone's 'way' is different, as will be your's. It was and still is all so exciting to get back in, almost like I remember the excitment of the first days I ever skied...

Hope it's as good for you...

post #9 of 16



Also, boots.


Did I say boots?


It is now possible to have a pair of boots that skis extremely well and does not hurt. Go to one of the recommended boot fitters (travel if you must) and get boots fitted for your feet. To be done correctly, this should involve a thorough stance evaluation, detailed measurements of both feet, custom footbeds, and a shell that you may initially think is too small. Often, the shell will require custom work (grinding, punching, etc.) to fit properly.


If it seems comfortable in the shop, it is probably too big. Again, get thee to a fitter.


IMHO, you cannot fit a boot properly without a custom footbed. With just the stock footbed, your foot becomes longer and wider when you put weight on it, leading to selection of a shell that's too long and too wide. Without a custom footbed, I always felt like I had a C-clamp pinching my forefoot, even in boots with a wide toe box. Now, with a correctly built footbed, I ski comfortably in a pair of boots with a very narrow forefoot.


A boot that fits well is a wonder. Your toes can wiggle, but your lower foot doesn't shift inside the boot. At all. It isn't necessary to tighten your buckles excessively to hold your foot down (a practice that is painful, anyway, and interferes with circulation), and it isn't necessary to unbuckle them to restore circulation to your feet while you ride the lift. The boot will help you stand correctly and move accurately. It will demand accuracy, though. When you move, your ski will also move, Right Now.


I hate shopping for boots, because it's time consuming and expensive, and I'm always afraid I'll screw up, although the fitter is supposed to prevent that. For my last pair, I went to a reputable fitter with a shop right at the base of a ski area. I spent four days there. After the custom liners were foamed and left overnight, I would take a few runs and come in for adjustments, take a few runs and come in for a punch here or a grind there. I skied with various shims for base canting. Cuff canting isn't the real thing, no matter what anyone tells you. We checked lateral alignment while standing on a hard surface and while skiing. I skied one foot at a time to make sure I could easily engage and cleanly carve with either edge of either ski.


Beware of too much forward lean. For many of us, knees too far forward translates into butt too far back and a "squatty" stance. Today's skis respond well to a more upright, centered stance - but your boots should let you load the tips (or tails) any time you want with no delay.


Know also that different bindings come with different delta angles - i.e., the difference in elevation between the toe and the heel. The fitter will set you up for a particular delta. Make sure the bindings you buy have the correct delta, or get them shimmed when they're mounted to achieve the delta your boots require.


Enough rambling for now. Get boots, get them fitted, do not buy them by mail order.

Edited by jhcooley - 1/15/13 at 1:01pm
post #10 of 16
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post



Also, boots.


Did I say boots?


Get boots, get them fitted, do not buy them by mail order.


Can't be stated enough. Boots are the roots. And PLEASE, not by mail order! Fitters need the work and are worth their weight in sore feet.

post #11 of 16

Boots are the roots, I like that!

post #12 of 16
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Boots are the roots, I like that!


*stifles incipient nodule joke*

post #13 of 16

I came back to skiing in 2011 after leaving it 20 years previous, without a decent reason... you owe nobody nothing, but there is a niggling little bit about where and how you like to/used to/hope to ski.  Thanks for letting the smart folks know your basic dimensions and who you used to be.


The boots are indeed more important than the modern sticks you choose; you will either buy into that, or not.  Once you have settled that, you get to wonder about the brave new world of East Coast One Ski Quiver/West Coast One Ski Quiver, or More Than One Ski to satisfy your home mountain/travel intentions.  A fountain of information awaits to answer those unasked questions, here and elsewhere.  

post #14 of 16

I am going through a similar situation right now.


Female, competitive freestyle skier for a dozen+ years (primarily ballet and moguls--stopped aerials when you had to start flipping). That finished up around 22 and then undergraduate and graduate school pushes things aside followed by the "real world". Two broken ankles (separate non-skiing injuries) and back injuries took me away from skiing.


Now at 44 (wanted to do it before my 45th birthday Saturday), I just got back on the boards for the first time since 1999. First thing I did was try on lots of boots. I was still couldn't make up my mind so I went to a place called "Larry's Boot Fitters" in Boulder, Colorado. Spent a couple of hours with a bunch of great guys and set my goals with them. At this point I realize I wanted comfort over performance since my ankle can still be very painful. I wound up with the Full Tilt so I can get modifications when I need, refit if needed as I lose weight, and add a stiffer tongue as I progress. I just knew that if my ankle was in pain and my feet were cold that my return to skiing would not be very successful even though I have missed it so badly. I still need to get custom footbeds, but since I went with a higher priced boot than I had planned on, I'll hold off a month or so to get them.


I'm renting skis for now. Actually went on a green slope the first run just to get the boots tightened right where I wanted them and to get the feel of shaped skis. Being an east coast skier, I want to carve hard and this is more of a roll. This weekend, I'm renting the same skis in a longer length. I'm 5'4" and used to ski on 185s in the bumps. 156s just weren't cutting it--there is no acceleration out of a turn. Once I find a length I like, then I'll start demoing different models.


Can't wait to hear how it goes for you!

post #15 of 16
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Boots are the roots, I like that!


Thank you, thank you....I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your server.

post #16 of 16

Olin Mark IV's....nuff said :)

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