or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Boring questions from a newbie about buying my own gear.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Boring questions from a newbie about buying my own gear.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Okay, I regularly post on several other different forums relating to my other hobbies and am sure these questions get asked all the time and people are sick of them, but hopefully a few kind souls will take pity on me and try to help.

 

I've been reading threads on ski reviews and boots and boot fitting and everything else for a couple days now and just need to buy some gear and get it over.

 

Here's our info:

 

I'm 45 years old, 6'2" and 210lbs.  Pretty athletic, but not a jock, I run a lot so I'm in decent shape (2,000 miles last year). I've skied very sporadically until the last 5 or 6 years and now I ski usually 2 times a year, usually 3 days each time.  Always rented, and am finally going to buy some skis.  I'm a tightwad and figure if I buy some used gear I'll save a few bucks over the next few years.

 

My favorite runs are going groomed blacks.  i.e. International at Crested Butte, Pandemonium and Rays Ridge at Durango.  Nice and easy and fast.  Also ski some blues and greens with my wife and son.  I struggle with moguls and avoid them if possible right now although I need to get better at them.  I like to go fast.  (or what seems fast to me anyway)  I used my runkeeper app on my iphone and am averaging around 30 mph on the groomed blacks. 

 

My wife is 5'4" and 125lbs.  Also athletic and a runner.  She is a much more conservative on the slopes and doesn't even attempt blacks.  Prefers easier blues and actually even enjoys greens.  She can ski harder blues but doesn't prefer them.

 

My son is 7 and growing and with us only skiing a couple times a year I think we will just keep renting for him.

 

I've never really had any issues with the crappy rental gear.  Usually don't even pay to get the nicer stuff, just the "sport" category.  This last week I don't even remember the brand name of my boots and I was skiing a Volkl Unlimited ski in 177 I think.  Week before again, I don't remember the brand of the boot or ski, but I was skiing a 178 I remember.  Never really had a pair of boots that was too uncomfortable or that didn't fit decent.  When I put my foot on the measure thingy it says I should wear a 30.0, but I've always rented a 30.5 and it seems tight, and I've never felt that it got loose when I was skiing.

 

My wife always complains about her boots and this last week she liked her boots so I already bought her that exact make and model of boot.  She's been anywhere from 149 to 154 on her skis and doesn't seem to notice a difference one way or the other.

 

We typically ski Christmas in Colorado and then maybe one more long weekend in January in Colorado and then New Mexico sometime in February if we can fit it in.  Pretty much always skied "on piste", although Crested Butte has some off piste that I could possibly grow into and we ski there usually every Christmas.

 

Here's my plan:

 

I think I'm going to go ahead and buy a decent boot for myself online in 30.5.  I know I should go to a boot fitter and all that jazz, but I've rented 7 or 8 different boots over the last 5 years in 30.5 and in all different brands and can't think of any that did't fit decent or ski well.  I'm sure that's mostly because of my ignorance, but if I pick them up for a couple hundred bucks they can't be much worse than the rentals I've been using can they?  Right now I'm looking at a used pair of Salomon Impact 100 CS.

 

I really am leaning toward a pair of the Salomon BBR 8.9 skis for me in 186.  Probably going to take me a bit to get used to the longer length, but I'm worried if I got the 176 they wouldn't be enough after a year or two.  I've been getting steadily better each year and going up a few cm each time.  A few years back I was on 170's, now I'm on 177 or 178's.  If I don't get the BBR I'll probably get something right around 180 in another all mountain type ski.

 

The boots my wife liked are crappy Salomon Focus GT's but she always complains about her shins hurting and these didn't hurt her shins so I just bought some.  Found them for a whopping $40 used on ebay in her size so even if she doesn't end up liking them after a few uses it's not going to break the bank.

 

I've thought about buying her a pair of Salomon BBR 7.9 skis in 149, but not sure if that is too much or too little ski for her.  To be more conservative and just get her closer to what she's been renting I've also looked at some Salomon Origins in 152 and Volkl Attiva Tierra in 154.  This past week she had Volkl Unlimteds in 149 and didn't have anything good or bad to say about them one way or the other.

 

Any thoughts?

 

We aren't planning on getting into skiing any more than we already are.  Just planning on around 6 days a year and trying to save a few bucks over the rentals and maybe get a little higher quality ski than I would get as a bottom of the line rental.  One time a few years back they were out of everything in my size and they gave me a demo ski and I was amazed at how much nicer it was and I felt I could ski way better using it that I did on my regular rentals, but I have no idea even what brand it was.

 

Just thought I would ask and see if anyone has any thoughts or advice.  I'm not going to go hire a boot fitter and buy a $600 pair of boots or anything like that.  Just wanting to save a few bucks and get closer to demo quality instead of the basic rentals we've been using.

 

Thanks in advance.  Nathan

post #2 of 13

If money is an issue, spend the $$ on a good boot fitting and continue to rent skis. There is literally no point in spending money to purchase a pair of ski boots that are going to fit like a rental pair. 

post #3 of 13

One plus (and minus) to rented boots is that they are usually pretty packed out and not as likely to have pain points that new boots have during the break in and fitting periods.  If a 30.5 rental boot (i.e. used boot) feels good I'd go with a 29 or a 30.0 and pack that out to YOUR foot.  Many have heat molded liners these days.  If you don't heat mild the liner it will be AWFUL and just about unwearable.  It's possible to DIY with the baking the liners, but you do risk ruining them if you go too hot or too long in the oven with them.

 

Just get your boots from a reputable brick and mortar shop instead of online.  Most will fit/bake the liners for you at little or no extra charge and that works out well for a lot of people with mostly normal feet.  If you have the cash, custom fitting is something almost no one regrets having done.  But, if your feet aren't problem feet just get the right size and have the liners done properly.

post #4 of 13

Welcome to Epic! It seems from your tone that you want validation for decisions already mostly made. Well, I like your basic plan to get used equipment. Or rather, used skis and bindings and poles. Not so sure about boots. They'll be packed out to fit different feet. Moreover, odds are that the boots you've been renting are too big for you by at least one size. So you may be entirely happy with your skis and not so happy with your boots. Or more accurately, you may have boots that don't much help your skiing, but as long as they're comfy, probably fine for your agenda.

 

So I'll respect your statement about not wanting to buy new ones, and assume your point is to have fun. If you can find a boot with a flex more in the 110 range, at your size you might like it better when you're going fast, but the Sollies are good boots. We have a great "Ask the Boot Guys" forum you might try for advice about used models. You can also get aftermarket liners that can be inserted into your boots, that would help the fit if the basic shell is right.

 

If you plan to rent once more, rent the size you usually do, and pull out the liner. Move your foot forward until your toes are touching the end of the shell. How much room is there between your heel and the back of the boot? If more than about 1 and a half fingers, or say 17 mm, too much. Go down a size for buying. 

 

Also think about what rentals have fit best. (Not comfiest, but best). Think about what shoe salespeople have said about your foot shape. If you have a narrow foot, especially the heel, then brands like Langes or Salomons will be a better bet. If you have a wider, taller foot overall, then think about Nordicas or Atomics. Go read the boot review sections of a site like Skinet.com to get a feel for different models and fits. That will be better than just going blindly by price and appearance on ebay. 

 

The Salomon skis you've bought/gonna buy are fine for 6 days a year. If you want to think about others, you might try something from Head, like one of the former Peak series, say the 90, that will hold up to your size a bit better. K2 makes some nice all-mountain skis in the 85-90 range you might look at too. 

 

Good luck!


Edited by beyond - 1/8/14 at 10:58am
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much for the input.

 

I have read several other posts and realized I would probably get the "go to a boot fitter, get a size smaller, don't buy boots online" comments regardless.

 

What I'm still not sure of is how buying a new or used boot online would be worse than renting one.  crglidart helped with that to some extent that the rentals are already probably packed out by the time I'm getting them.  So should I buy some used rental boots online for myself like I did for my wife?  That's even a cheaper alternative.

 

I also don't understand the thought process that I should buy a smaller size than I've been renting.  If the rentals are already "packed out" and they fit decent, then if I bought an even smaller size that hadn't been packed out wouldn't it be even tighter?  If I buy the same size and it isn't packed out yet, it will probably seem too tight when new, but after a few wears it will loosen up a little to be just tight.

 

Thinking back to what boots have felt the best, I just draw a blank.  I guess like my wife has no preference between a 149 and 1 154 ski.  I just don't remember any feeling any better or worse really.  The ones I rented last week had a pressure point on my arch when I first put them on, but I don't remember feeling it after the first hour or so.  Even if I did, I don't remember the brand of the boots from one time to the next. 

 

I've intended to buy gear the last couple years or so, and I think about it right after we are done skiing and then decide to wait until the stuff goes on sale later in the year and then forget to buy it.  This time I'm wanting to go ahead and get it done.  Maybe even get to buy some and get back out there one more weekend and try the stuff out.

 

What about ski lengths?  Would the BBR in 186 be a stretch if I'm skiing 177/178's now?  I read that it skis a little shorter than it's length due to the tip so was thinking it wouldn't be too much of an increase.

post #6 of 13

Buying boots online is a crapshoot at best. Buying used boots online is even worse. The only way I would consider buying used boots online is if I had previously worn that shell and knew for certain that it fit me properly, I knew an accurate # of days it had been skied in, and I was prepared to buy a new liner/insoles for it was well, as a liner packed out to someone else's foot will not fit your foot correctly. As someone mentioned previously, you seem to be searching for validation for a decision you have already made. In my experience, you will save time, money, and discomfort if you do it right the first time and go to a brick and mortar store to get fit for a pair of boots. At the end of the day, the person that has to live with your decision is you. As to the skis, I have no personal experience with that specific ski, but that length sounds about right from the information you posted. Good luck in your gear search. 

post #7 of 13

I went a similar route to you, but I bought new boots and had them heat molded, and then bought used ski's and poles.   I used those ski's for 1.5 full seasons and then bought new skis once I started skiing more often and attempting more challanging terrain/speeds.

 

If you have a 'play it again sports' near you I'd recommend that option for used boots.  Go try on several different boots, tighten them up until they are nice and snug and walk around the store with them on for at least 20 minutes to see if any pain develops.   While you have them on do some jumping and mash your foot around to make sure your heel isn't lifting and that you don't have any pain for sure.  I  would NOT recommend buying boots online.   IMO you have to try boots on first before buying them.  Different manufacturers all feel so different and have different foot shapes they build off of.

 

I buy my kids used boots each season and have had a lot of success keeping the kids happy by making sure the boots fit decently (which isn't always easy with kids) before buying them.   I always fit them into the shell first (as I learned here ;) and then have them put the boots on and wear them around the store for a while as I mentioned.  You can usually buy decent used skis for $100-160 and boots for $40-100 depending on how nice/old they are.

post #8 of 13

Boot fitter for you, a real one. Don't make the mistake, you will regret it

 

I'm roughly the same size as you [6'3 215 47y/o) & have Atomic Metron 178's for the groomers, best all-mountain for me

 

I've outfitted three kids, nieces, and friends kids. Buy them on the cheap but not junk, swap meets & Craigslist are generally good places. I've stayed away from Play-It-Again places, seem to sell overpriced abused junk.

 

Can't help with the wife without pics :)

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by npaden View Post

....

I also don't understand the thought process that I should buy a smaller size than I've been renting.  If the rentals are already "packed out" and they fit decent, then if I bought an even smaller size that hadn't been packed out wouldn't it be even tighter?  If I buy the same size and it isn't packed out yet, it will probably seem too tight when new, but after a few wears it will loosen up a little to be just tight.

 

Thinking back to what boots have felt the best, I just draw a blank.  I guess like my wife has no preference between a 149 and 1 154 ski.  I just don't remember any feeling any better or worse really.  The ones I rented last week had a pressure point on my arch when I first put them on, but I don't remember feeling it after the first hour or so.  Even if I did, I don't remember the brand of the boots from one time to the next. 

....

 

This in red makes sense.  If you haven't worn boots that are waaay too big at least once (bad), and boots that really fit snug (good fit) at least once, and boots that are so-so at least once, then you won't notice any differences.  People almost always rent boots too big.  

 

So here's the big deal about ski boots:  in street shoes, you bend your foot as you walk.  When your foot bends, your toes move forward inside the shoe; in their bent shape they take up more room as they slide forward.  So street shoes need to have extra space at the front end for the toes to move forward into as you walk around.

 

Not the case with ski boots; you don't bend your foot inside the boot, and the boot doesn't bend. You spend most of your time skiing on the sides of your feet, thus the stiffness of those boots.  So you don't need any extra space in front of your toes.  Your toes should touch the front wall inside the boot when you stand up.  Thus the need to do a shell check, as described here:  http://www.epicski.com/a/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me

 

Your foot also needs to have the heel pretty much locked into the heel pocket in the boot; if your heel moves left, right, up, or forward, you'll have trouble controlling your skis.  If there is any air space to the sides of your feet, you will also have trouble controlling your skis when you are on the sides of your feet.  If there is air space above your foot, over the instep, you will have trouble controlling your skis.  If your rental boots always have this "slop" in them, you don't know yet what a snug fit can do for your skiing.  So you won't be feeling any differences.

 

So... buy used boots only if you can try them on first.  Or, buy old unused stock kept in the back of a ski shop at discount, before they have the tent sale.  Talk to the bootfitter in the shop to see if there's anything out back that he/she can fit you into at discount.  

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

If your rental boots always have this "slop" in them, you don't know yet what a snug fit can do for your skiing.  

 

^^^^^^^^^THIS!  LiquidFeet nailed the issue.  Because you have never been in boots that actually fit your feet, you don't know what they can do for you.  For years I tried to "buy" improved skiing by buying hot skis, but I would buy boots that were on sale as long as they felt comfortable in the store.  And I bought new boots at least every other year because they were never comfortable.  Several years ago I was persuaded/coerced into buying new boots from someone who actually knew how to fit boots. My previous boots as ranged as large as 27.5 and no doubt wide.  I ended up in a narrow low end race boot that was 25.5 and it was not terribly comfortable in the shop.  My first day in them was amazing, my skis actually did what I wanted instantly, not sometime later.  Those boots lasted over 250 days before the liners were completely shot.  I'm now into my third season in a new softer but still narrow boot that fits my foot perfectly.  

 

Going fast on groomers is pretty easy, don't need to turn much and boot fit doesn't really matter.  If you want to improve and take your skills up a few notches, you need boots that fit your feet properly.  It's no wonder you avoid bumps, the rental boots are no doubt too wide and too long so the skis can't do what you want them to do when you need them to do it.  You may think you need a 30 or 30.5, but a good fitter is very likely to put you in a smaller size.  A boot that is too small can be fixed, but a boot that is too big can never be fixed.

post #11 of 13

For your 7-year old, check out this thread: http://www.epicski.com/t/92869/money-time-saving-tips-for-parents-with-small-children-who-ski   If you learn how to tune skis (it isn't rocket science and there are a lot of videos on YouTube), you can buy great kids skis used or "new" old stock (usually only the tops change) and sell the skis for more than you paid for them once your son outgrows them, which will be about every year. 

 

Boots for kids that age are mostly about comfort, but for yourself go do the boot fitter thing like everyone above recommends.  Unfortunately, your wife won't improve and won't be skiing with you too much longer if her feet hurt.  Even if you avoid a boot fitter, she shouldn't. 

post #12 of 13

As far as I'm concerned, my experience with ski boots is this: I tend to buy used ones that are only a few weeks old. Let me explain.

 

When I rent my boots and skis, I ask for barely used models (for the boots in particular) and mention that I might be interested in buying them during my stay. I end up with ski boots that are almost new but without the hassle of going through the fitting period. And I pay less than for brand new ones of course, although the difference is not always very significant. But it doesn't really matter since it's all about the comfort/fit. Sure, it's a trade-off. There were other feet before mine and the boots will not *exactly* be packed out to my feet, but IMHO the difference is so minimal that it doesn't justify doing the break in myself vs. the fact that I'm sure the boots will fit over the long run. I'm stating that given the fact that you don't plan to spend months on slopes every year. Just a couple of weeks max.

 

Both my wife and I have difficulties finding boots that fit well (we're fairly experienced skiers/snowboarders with several weeks every year for 35+ years). It's always been a problem (I have large feet and usually go with Atomics, FYI). This solution has always worked out. As others pointed out previously, buying new boots is great but it needs to be done properly. Not having any pain points when trying them on doesn't mean you won't have any later on.

 

And online, no. Never for ski boots. IMHO.

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

 

^^^^^^^^^THIS!  LiquidFeet nailed the issue.  Because you have never been in boots that actually fit your feet, you don't know what they can do for you.  For years I tried to "buy" improved skiing by buying hot skis, but I would buy boots that were on sale as long as they felt comfortable in the store.  And I bought new boots at least every other year because they were never comfortable.  Several years ago I was persuaded/coerced into buying new boots from someone who actually knew how to fit boots. My previous boots as ranged as large as 27.5 and no doubt wide.  I ended up in a narrow low end race boot that was 25.5 and it was not terribly comfortable in the shop.  My first day in them was amazing, my skis actually did what I wanted instantly, not sometime later.  Those boots lasted over 250 days before the liners were completely shot.  I'm now into my third season in a new softer but still narrow boot that fits my foot perfectly.  

 

Going fast on groomers is pretty easy, don't need to turn much and boot fit doesn't really matter.  If you want to improve and take your skills up a few notches, you need boots that fit your feet properly.  It's no wonder you avoid bumps, the rental boots are no doubt too wide and too long so the skis can't do what you want them to do when you need them to do it.  You may think you need a 30 or 30.5, but a good fitter is very likely to put you in a smaller size.  A boot that is too small can be fixed, but a boot that is too big can never be fixed.

I tried many skis and always felt disapointed until I bought new boots that were meant for me....I retried the skis and they were all wonderful!!! Boots with good fit is priority #1...

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Boring questions from a newbie about buying my own gear.