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Time To Purchase?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am looking for some help/opinions from all you experienced skiers out there.  But first my info:  I am male, 25 years old, 180 pounds, and have size 10.5 feet.  I consider myself a moderately aggressive(liking speed and hard turns 80% of the time) and high advanced level(hard blues and blacks, some bowls) skier.  I ski mainly groomed runs about 70% of the time, but I like to venture off in to the trees and bowls when I can break from the less-adventurous crowd.  I don't do the terrain parks.  I ski Keystone, Breckenridge, A Basin, and Vail.  I am from the midwest and have skied, on average, one week a year in Colorado, starting when I was 5.  I have always rented the advanced level ski package from the local Silverthorne, CO ski shop.  I am to the age where I have a job and money and plan to start skiing more often.  I intend on making trips out west 2-3 time a year, and hitting the hills around Iowa/Minnesota/Wisconsin while travelling for work when tickets are cheap.  I have always had issues when renting boots as they are all too wide for my feet and allow the boots and skis to rotate around my foot.  They work for the week, but I have to over-tighten them causing my calves to be tenderized by weeks end.  I am considering buying my own equipment to avoid the steady payout to the rental places, and to get quality stuff that fits me well.  

 

Now for the questions...given the few amount of times I ski a year, is it advisable to purchase my own equipment?  Just skis, just boots, or the whole package?  I know boots are the most important, but I have never heard of someone owning boots and renting skis to use them in.  Is that a good idea or not?  I am willing to pay what is needed to get the appropriate gear, so price is not super important as long as its not a ripoff.  I have been looking online at equipment, but with all the options, and not knowing what to look for, I am sort of at a loss.  Boots are the biggest problem, because obviously you can't try them on online, and we don't have much(if any) in the way of ski shops here in the flat land.  Any tips or recommendations would be much appreciated.  If looking to give specific advice, any purchases would most likely be done in the Denver/Silverthorne/Breckenridge area on my trip out there in January.  Thanks for your time!

post #2 of 16

Buying your own boots and keep renting skis for a while longer is your best option, I think. That way, you can spend your money wisely and not too much at one time. If you rent or demo different skis, you'll learn about the specific characteristics in them that you like. That will definitely help when you're ready to actually go and buy skis.

 

As for boots: get to a decent boot fitter (there must be local members who can suggest one or two in your area) and fit many different brands and types. Since you like to go relatively fast and mostly on groomers, any performance boot of 100-120 flex will be fine, as long as the fit is matched to yout specific foot shape (which is unique, that's why you need the help of a certified bootfitter). Every brand has some narrow or 'low volume' models in their lineups nowadays. But most important: let a good bootfitter help you selecting and properly fitting your boots. Worry about skis later. They are much easier to pick up at a rental shop than boots that fit well.

post #3 of 16

Boots are where to start. There are plenty of people who own boots and rent skis.

 

If you are on a budget, Mountain Sports Outlet in Silverthorne (or Colorado Ski & Golf in the Denver Metro, essentially the same store as both are owned by Vail) would be a good place to start. They are not professional bootfiftter, but understand what a proper fit is and should be able to get you squared away. They have a fit guarantee and will also punch the boot for free if needed.  Their prices are very competitive and there are coupons flying around out there.

 

Before settling on a boot, a shell fit should be done. This is where the liner is pulled out of the boot and the foot inserted into the shell to check the space. If this is not done, don't trust the fit. Most people, left to their own devices, will buy a boot 2-4 sizes too big for them. A correctly sized boot will have about 1 1/2 fingers of space behind the heel with the toes touching the front of the shell (no liner). More space and the boot is too big, less space is for performance/racing.

 

Not to rain on your parade, but from what you are describing, you sound like an intermediate skier (mostly groomed runs, "some" bowls/blacks). An intermediate skier will want to go a little bit easy on the stiffness of the boot- maybe an 80-90-100 flex depending on weight. You need to be able to flex the ankle to ski well.

post #4 of 16

Boots first.


But once you buy the boots, the skis will come soon after, whether they maybe used or new old stock last years skis on sale.

Mainly because once you have the whole set, you don't have to go through the hassle of the rental process which eats up your ski time.   

 

There's also something to be said about having the same equipment each day, just like driving your own car, you get familiar with the exact limits, then you can improve on your technique.

 

If the equipment keeps changing day after day, you never fully trust it, and won't find the limits of where the ski ends versus where your technique ends.

post #5 of 16

I am taking the advice you have given the OP and using that myself I will concentrate on a great boot fit first before even looking at skis, do most ski rental shops have better quality skis for rent if you request them? Thanks.:hijack:

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daza152 View Post
 

I am taking the advice you have given the OP and using that myself I will concentrate on a great boot fit first before even looking at skis, do most ski rental shops have better quality skis for rent if you request them? Thanks.:hijack:

 

Typically, but you can also hit up ski swaps and get a decent hard-snow ski for $10-$50. For a developing skier, having consistent equipment can make a huge difference. I recommend developing skiers buy a cheap (but serviceable) pair of frontside skis rather than spend real coin on new equipment. Most people find that their preferences in skis changes dramatically as their ability changes, so if a developing skier buying equipment for the first time spends $$$ on a pair of skis, they can find that they no longer like the performance of the ski after 10-15 days on the snow.

 

So, I recommend people spend good money at a reputable place to buy boots. Online or Sports Authority is not that place. As I said above, if the bootfitter does a shell fit, that is a good sign that they at least have some understanding of how the boot is supposed to fit.  If they do not, I would not be convinced at all that they have sized the boot correctly.  The vast majority of people buying boots that do not do so from somebody who knows how to fit them will buy boots several sizes too big (this includes me).

 

Signs that you are in a correctly sized boot-

1. With your foot in the shell and with your toe at the front of the bootshell, there is only 1 1/2 finger width or less behind your heel in the shell.

2. You are using the first one or two catches for the buckles. If you are having to use the tightest buckles to get a firm feeling, the shell is too large.

3. The boot pressure is comfortable. A brand new boot in the proper size that you have just stepped into should feel tight and borderline uncomfortable. There should not be pressure points/hot spots, but it should feel like one of those handhsakes where the other guy is trying a bit too hard to show you how manly he is. If the boot is  comfy when you put it on for the first time, once it packs in you will be wallowing in it.

4. Your toes should be touching the front of the boot, but not uncomfortably. There should be room to wiggle toes, but not to shift any portion of your foot.

5. You should be able to easily flex your ankle upwards most of the amount that you can do so out of the boot.

6. Your heel should feel firmly gripped, again you should not be able to shift the position of it, and should be able to unweight but not lift the heel off of the liner of the boot.

 

A boot can always be punched out to make it larger (and a reputable shop will do this work for free for boots you bought from them). Nothing can be done for a too-large boot except to get rid of it and start over.

 

Being in the wrong boots ruins skiing. Being in less than optimal skis generally does not.

post #7 of 16

Everyone will say boots first, and they are obviously right.  Unless your feet are really screwed up (when something custom is in order), take the advice people gave above and find a good bootfitter in your area. Your skiing will improve much faster and you will be more comfortable.  Then demo some skis with your new boots and decide if you want one ski for every condition, or just rent the best ski for the conditions you have when you get across the Continental Divide.  If your skiing occurs while away from home on a vacation, consider a boot bag you can carry onto an airplane.  There are other posts on these things. Some bags are roomy enough to carry the boots, a helmet, gloves, goggles, etc.  

 

Congrats!  You will no longer have to put your feet into boots worn by unknown people with a multitude of foot diseases.

post #8 of 16
Find out where your next ski trip is going, ask here for a great boot fitter in that area. Call him or her and set up an appointment for your first day there.

Have them fit you in the correct boot then go ski.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daza152 View Post
 

I am taking the advice you have given the OP and using that myself I will concentrate on a great boot fit first before even looking at skis, do most ski rental shops have better quality skis for rent if you request them? Thanks.:hijack:


Yes, most ski rental shops will have better quality skis to rent.   Even the "discount" rental shops that advertise $10 ski package and work on volume, will have newer or better equipment for an up charge.  But you need to ask for it, especially if they are in the zone and equipping people as fast as possible with standard skis.  

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
I appreciate all the advice. Based on that description of the way boots should fit, the rental boots I have had in the past were worse than I thought. I will be heading out to Colorado at the end of January and will be in the market for some boots then. Can anyone recommend a good shop in the Denver/Silverthorne/Breckenridge area that knows their stuff and will treat me well? Also, in the interest of planning my skiing days, how long does it take to find and fit boots? Can you just take the morning and get them, then go straight to the slopes, or do they need any sort of break-in period?
post #11 of 16
I'd allow four hours for the purchase and fitting at least. Then the best way to break them in is skiing. Might take ten days. Just rough estimates. I'm wearing mine to tune in, but still expect several days before I even know if I need any tweaks.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I'd allow four hours for the purchase and fitting at least. Then the best way to break them in is skiing. Might take ten days. Just rough estimates. I'm wearing mine to tune in, but still expect several days before I even know if I need any tweaks.

 

Four hours sounds about right. Maybe you will be lucky and you find a spot-on boot right away, but I would budget the time to not rush the process.

 

Also, expect your first day to be PAIN. Expect and plan for it to be a 2 run/break/2 run/break kind of day, and you may also benefit from lapping a fixed-grip chair to give yourself more time for your foot to relax between runs.

 

If you don't want to mess up your vacation with this, buy the boots, but rent boots for your vacation. Then, wear the boots for as much as you can at home to help with break in- I try to get 3-4 hours in boots around the house before I take them to the mountain. You will never fully break them in until you can ski them, but it makes that first day a LOT easier if they boot liners have had some time to at least start conforming to your feet before you try and ski them.

 

You may be happier breaking in boots at your local ski hill rather than on your once a year ski vacation...

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmoney View Post
 Can anyone recommend a good shop in the Denver/Silverthorne/Breckenridge area that knows their stuff and will treat me well?

 

This is the place I recommended above. http://mountainsportsoutlet.com/

 

They are not quite pro bootfitters, but they have a fit guarantee (refund if the boot doesn't work for you) and do free punches and boot adjustments. Prices are very competitive with the internet.
They should be just fine for a first pair of boots for a developing skier. Several years back they were the store that showed ME how to properly size a boot.

 

If you have specific issues with your foot, I would recommend a specialty bootfitter, but for what it sounds like you are looking for, you should be able to get both a properly fit boot and a good deal here.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
I know Mountain Sports Outlet well, that's where we have rented for years. I really appreciate all the input.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Any other places in that area people would recommend in case MSO doesn't work out?
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all the help on here, I am now the proud new owner of some Full Tilt boots and waiting for Copper to open so I can hop on these E88 demos. I would give a big recommendation to podium sports in Frisco for boots. I tried 3 places without anyone even wanting to talk to me, so I left. At Podium, the owner greeted me and took me straight to their boot fitter. He measured my foot and confirmed what I thought- I have small feet(width b). He brought out all the low volume boots they had and shell fit and tried every one. The 2 Fill Tilt models fit best with one a little better than the other, so I went with them. He heat molded the intuition liners and got them all adjusted and set the skis up for them. Great place. And a big plus, I am 700 miles from home and the boot fitter graduated from the University of Iowa just 2 years before I did(and I was wearing an Iowa shirt). Today is going to be great day, I feel it.
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