I've read dozens -- maybe hundreds -- of ski reviews over the years, and have a semi-informed view of what to look for, how to assess different skis, etc. But I don't know squat about ski boots. Five years ago, when I was still skiing green groomers, I bought a pair of Tecnica Diablo Sparks. They were amazingly better than rental boots. I got that model because that is what the guy at my local ski store recommended -- they were within my price range, they fit my then skiing needs, and they were one of the few models that could be heat-molded to fit my "uniquely-shaped" feet.
I'm still using these. But my skiing has progressed a lot since the day I got them: my kids and I now do blacks, double blacks, ungroomed, moguls, trees, bowls, terrain parks, etc. I don't have any complaints with my boots, but I have this gut sense that maybe I should move up in the boot world. Questions:
1. Is my gut (that I should move up) correct -- or should I just follow the "if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it" rule?
2. What should I be looking for in new ski boots? (I find it harder to read ski boot reviews than ski reviews.)
3. Am I right that, unlike skis, new ski boots can't be demo-ed?
4. There are end-of-season sales of boots on the web now, but I have this vague sense (maybe read it on Epic?) that boots are the last thing you should buy on-line. True? If so, should I just wait until next October and go back to my local ski store?
5. Any particular brands/models I should consider?
Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this!