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Buying higher flex boots for skiing in bumps and powder

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

i realise my topic is not new, but i was surprised to read some comments from experienced useres here, which are reccomending softer boots for bumps.

 

I am 35 yrs old, 188cm, 200 lbs. I have skied for 13 years, but with a 10 years break inbetween. I ski for 5-6 years now around 10-15 days a year (no more days off) and look to ski mostly only bumps and powder/off-piste. I have been using Nordica Superscharger 80/90 flex boots for 5 years now. I do feel that when turning between the bumps i sometimes need to put huge pressure on the foot to be able to turn quickly, almost too much where my knee comes further forward than the front of the boot and the legs gets exhausted. I also feel the foot moving a lot in the boot (even when tightening the boots to a maximum) when doing the turn.

 

I took some lessons for bumps in Whistler this year and besides the tips for improving my technique the teacher recommended at least a 130 flex boot for me, saying one of the reasons why my legs feel so tired after doing a few runs on the bumps is because my boots are too soft and i need stiffer ones.

 

I read some comments here saying to choose a lower flex for bumps and powder.... which now confuses me a bit. Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

 

Many thanks

 

Best regards

 

Stefan

post #2 of 14

Hi - Don't think anyone's arguing for squishy soft boots; 80-90 is pretty soft for a normal male skier, but have never heard anyone, instructor or Epic member, argue before for stiff (as in 130 flex) boots as preferable for bumps and powder. From your description, sounds like your boots are too big - if you feel your feet "moving around" inside; maybe that's part of the issue too. Perhaps you misheard your instructor?

 

Also, you may be getting tired because of technique more than equipment. Normally, you don't pressure a ski significantly to turn in bumps. There are several ways of doing it, but generally, you might want to explore letting the bump unweight your skis, ideally through absorption, so that a little pivot turn around the top shoulder or impact turn on the front will be really effortless. And down in the troughs, if you're into that, you want to be quick, light, and reasonably even weighted, again not dramatic weighting of one ski, regardless of whether your boots or your leg muscles are doing it. 

 

The rationale for soft to normal flex (say 90-110 for a normal male) in bumps and pow is twofold: First, you are undergoing a lot of acceleration and deceleration, changes in vertical orientation, rebound from the snow, impacts from the next bump or some object or lump below you. Something has to absorb all those sudden changes in force. It can be your body, or it can be your boots. Most serious (as in pro) bump and pow skiers like boots that are engineered not to transmit all those forces instantly to you. I've skied bumps in race plugs and in all honesty, it's a hell of a lot of work. 

 

Second, you want a boot that fits snuggly but allows your foot to flex and move naturally, including forward pressure of the tips. A really stiff boot takes some of the effectiveness of that foot movement away, requires exaggerated forward thrust. A number of racers I know have moved away from 130 + boots just for that reason. If some racers ain't buying into super stiff boots, unclear why bump and powder skiers would want them. th_dunno-1[1].gif

post #3 of 14

As has been discussed here before, boot flex numbers in and of themselves are pretty much meaningless as the numbers (90, 110, 130, etc) are unit-less.

 

That said, I ski in a fairly stiff boot (Lange RS 130's) and I enjoy bump skiing.  They do require you to be very, very proactive in your absorption / extension movements or, as beyond said, the force gets instantly transmitted into your legs.

 

I've skied softer flexing boots in the past and found that they were disconcertingly soft.  I'd rather have some real support and be forced to move pro-actively then to have a little less support and be able to "get away" with some things.  Different horses, different courses and all that.

 

Yes, my approach is probably more tiring and it's certainly less forgiving, so I can see why not that many people would like it "my way".

post #4 of 14

^^^^^^  What he said, especially the part about your boots being too big.  If your feet can still move with the boots buckled as tight as you can get them, they are too big, probably 2 sizes and maybe even 3.  Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read the wikis about fitting and terminology, then check the "Who's Who" for a boot fitter near you.  Since you mention Whistler I assume you ski there and there is a good fitter at Whistler, Fanatyk Co, I think is the name.  Make an appointment and get boots that actually fit your feet in a 100-110 flex.  One thing to keep in mind though is that there is no standardization around flex ratings across manufacturers and sometimes even within the same manufacturer.  Also remember that if a boot is "comfy" out of the box, it is too big.  A new boot that actually fit your feet will be very snug, even tight, out of the box.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve159 View Post

Hi all,

 

i realise my topic is not new, but i was surprised to read some comments from experienced useres here, which are reccomending softer boots for bumps.

 

I am 35 yrs old, 188cm, 200 lbs. I have skied for 13 years, but with a 10 years break inbetween. I ski for 5-6 years now around 10-15 days a year (no more days off) and look to ski mostly only bumps and powder/off-piste. I have been using Nordica Superscharger 80/90 flex boots for 5 years now. I do feel that when turning between the bumps i sometimes need to put huge pressure on the foot to be able to turn quickly, almost too much where my knee comes further forward than the front of the boot and the legs gets exhausted. I also feel the foot moving a lot in the boot (even when tightening the boots to a maximum) when doing the turn.

 

I took some lessons for bumps in Whistler this year and besides the tips for improving my technique the teacher recommended at least a 130 flex boot for me, saying one of the reasons why my legs feel so tired after doing a few runs on the bumps is because my boots are too soft and i need stiffer ones.

 

I read some comments here saying to choose a lower flex for bumps and powder.... which now confuses me a bit. Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

 

Many thanks

 

Best regards

 

Stefan

 

You're tall as well, so you have a longer lever arm for your 200lbs. 

post #6 of 14

Welcome to Epic...You may have already picked this up from the other posts, but a stiffer and better fitting boot might improve all aspects of your skiing, not just powder/bumps (where traditional thought says you don't need as stiff as in the race course).

 

What your instructor may have been getting at is that your boot is too soft/loose in general and that this showed up in the mogul lesson you had.

post #7 of 14

I think that it depend of your weight to... Is a 130 boot flex as the same impact on a 210 pounds skier and a 175 pound skier?

 I tried many 130 flex boots last year and founded that they felt very differently from one brand to the other...especially in term on progression of the flex: I've found that the Lange had a real progressive flex as other marks ( like Tecnica) were not really progressive bot more of a nothing to all the way flex...

I think these 2 factors can have an impact...

I use to have an atomic hawx 90 and now ski with Lange xt 130 and it is night and day! I have so much more control now and I feel that I can get all the potential of my skis...

I must admit that it is harder on my feet and knees but, like Beyound said: I'm sure it is mainly because of flaws in my technic (I'm planning of taking  lessons next year...)...I also get really tired in my tights and I'm pretty sure it's because I get to ski back seated when I ski bumps...

Would it has been better with a 110??? Can't say...

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

there is a good fitter at Whistler, Fanatyk Co, I think is the name. 

Can also endorse these guys ^^^^. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogsie View Post

I think that it depend of your weight to... Is a 130 boot flex as the same impact on a 210 pounds skier and a 175 pound skier?

Totally true. All about a match. Also about style. Some brands make "moderate flex" models that are pretty stiff laterally and so really quick edge to edge if you tip and turn from a more neutral stance; the same boot might feel mushy to a tip pressure guy. Salomons come to mind. OTOH, will stand by my statement that most pros big or small who specialize in soft snow and/or bumps, do not ski in rec race boots. 

post #9 of 14

I bought into the softer is better for bumps too, but then I got a chance to ski my very stiff old race boots in bumps.  They worked much better than my comfy soft squishy (100 flex Solomon CrossMax) boots, and I suck at bump skiing (but at a higher level with the stiff race boots).

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Can also endorse these guys ^^^^. 

Totally true. All about a match. Also about style. Some brands make "moderate flex" models that are pretty stiff laterally and so really quick edge to edge if you tip and turn from a more neutral stance; the same boot might feel mushy to a tip pressure guy. Salomons come to mind. OTOH, will stand by my statement that most pros big or small who specialize in soft snow and/or bumps, do not ski in rec race boots. 

Here we go again! You always have a way to get my life more complicated! biggrin.gif

I knew that we had to look for flex and torsion stiffness for skis but it never crossed my mind that we had to do the same for boots!!! For me a stiff boot was  stiff all the way around...but it makes sense... so one more thing to check next time I'll shop for boots!

Very interesting!

post #11 of 14

to the OP

 

boot flex is as much a personal thing as is ski selection - and the 2 have an effect on each other.

 

if you have a fairly stiff ski (for your weight) and combine that with a fairly stiff boot, you'll likely find that absorption of dramatic terrain, like moguls, will get more difficult as you put in more speed. If both are very soft, then you may find yourself 'behind' on your intended line. There's a happy medium/combo for both. Extremes can provide extreme experiences.

 

SInce I generally don;t go hunting for mogul sections, unless it's a steeper section and in good snow, I generally like a little longer, stiffer ski. The longer, stiffer ski tracks easier thru rough snow. To offset some possible harshness and hyperactivity, I've skied with a slightly softer boot paired to stiffer skis. The softer boot flex allows absorption to be more even through my posture. If I was in a significantly stiffer boot and skied at my normal speed; with the ankle area giving less range, I would have to, dramatically, use more knee, hip and torso absorption for the same terrain.

Again, for me it's a matter of 'balance', at 167 lbs, I get bounced a lot more by a quasi-race boot. AS much as I now luv my Doberman 130 EDTs, I did take steps to tone them down a bit on stiffness, and like them much better now. If I was 200 lbs, I'd might be fine with them at the stock flex...

 

Not all flexes are created equal - My Fischers (heatfire-XL), listed as 105, are close to 120 (on my scale), I had a pair of Fischer RC4 RACE which were listed as 120, and felt the same as the 105s. I had already done a bunch of mods on the 105s, so I re-sold the 120 RACE, since they were skiing mostly identical...

 

POW - like ice, is best served with a delicate touch. On ice, a delicate feel for the edges works best for me. In POW, it's not edges, it's the planar surface, which can be harder to control well, especially in grabby, wetter snow, like our Sierra POW. The deeper you're down (deeper snow or narrower ski width) the less room for balance issues. I like that feeling of depth. So again, boot flex makes a difference for me in just about any snow condition.

At only 20-24 days a year, I sometimes feel 'imprecise' in my movement and balance, the little extra flex in the boot allows me that without causing major issues at the ski/snow level. I know what I need to be doin, but sometimes it doesn't happen.

 

If I find myself in a tough spot, the boots are solid enough for me to power through; but I like not having to constantly worry what the ski might do.

 

If you've had the boots for a while, a packed liner will allow more flex. A new liner, like an Intuition, will make a boot stiffer.
If you're moving inside a boot, that's a different issue.

 

Demo-ing boots offers a chance to feel your options, always a good thing

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Wow, many thanks for your comments and suggestinos, most appreciated!

 

What my instructor meant was definitely to go for a stiffer boot. In his opinion the boots, which i currently have (5 years in use, 90 flex) are definitely too soft, squishy, loose... and i guess too big as well from what you guys are suggesting. I am also aware of the fact that some of the pressure on my legs when skiing on moguls comes from incorrect technique, something i am going to work on.

Also as someone here suggested and this was also the opinion of the instructor was that the stiffer boot will allow much more fast, direct control of the foot onto the ski, which will improve my technique significantly. I can also understand the reasoning behind choosing a less stiffer boot to be able to absorb all the different changes of a powder and bump terrain.

 

I guess i will look for 110, max 120 flex boots and try to get someone to fit them best.

 

Cheers

post #13 of 14

I just joined. I've got...x-year old Tecnicas and I'm way overdue. I am 5'10" 175lb and ...OK, I'll admit it, over 50. But I still like to boogie in the bumps as best I can. I only get up 10-15 times a year at best. 

 

That's me, now you. I appreciate the level of discourse here. It is very helpful. I was leaning 120s but think I'm not as young as I think and I'm not getting younger. So the 110 is what I'm trying. I'm going with the Cochise (REI will take them back within a year if not beaten up). They are light and I hope stiffer on the cold slope than they feel in the warm store. Your comments have helped be feel like this is probably a good choice. Thanks so much. Now onto looking at cant!

 

Here's to snow in Cali!

post #14 of 14
Great topic . . . with alot of new boot info and possibilities now . . .
and good discussion from the experts here.

I am amazed at all the new adjectives being used to describe boots now, as in the 2016 SKI magazine buyer's guide.

Lateral stiffness and a narrow heel and tight ankle fit to edge the best for moi . . . roomy toes and warmth too to put in layperson terms.

Snow is forecast for the future, so all is swell.
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