Originally Posted by east or bust
I'd like to keep the conversation focused on boot to ski relationship. Mainly, is it possible to drive a race ski with a softer flexing boot?
Depends on what you mean by "drive" and "race ski." Some race skis are flexier than others; those will be a better candidate because they will require lower forces to bend into an arc, and your softer boot + lighter weight will only be able to pass on lower forces. Typically, brands that are popular with juniors, such as Volkl, Rossignol, Dynastar, and Fischer M, should fit the bill.
Also keep in mind that there are "true" race stock skis from good race shops with FIS specs, although not the custom beasts you see in Sochi right now - they just have the same topsheets - and then there are true race skis aimed at Masters and juniors, which can be bought at good shops, have slightly different or non FIS specs, and usually softer plates, and then there are race skis that are aimed at beer league/club, Nastar, and freeskiing at speed, such as the non-FIS spec GS and SL skis from most companies. Blizzard GSR's or Stockli GS's come to mind. In general even the latter will only be found at slopeside shops with some connection to racing, or online. Pretty constant demand for racing skis, but not a huge market.
Boots are all about technique and basic physics; F=Ma. Assuming you know how to stay on the front of a ski, boots that will adequately pressure the tips of a race stock ski tend to start at 130 flex for finesse skiers and go north, rapidly. Most serious racers - as in development league and above or higher level Masters - are in 140's and up. Again, assuming your mechanics are there, boots that will adequately pressure the fronts of a typical Masters or junior ski, given the average speeds and body sizes, can get down to 120 or so depending on your size and strength, but IME 130 is fairly common for anyone over 16. Boots that adequately pressure the fronts of a cheater GS ski can probably get down to 110 for a lighter male; if you're skiing at moderate speeds, say below 45 mph, it should work. At higher speeds, a 110 will start to feel squishy and unpredictable, as it's overmatched with forces running both from the ski to your leg and back the other direction. And if you match a 110 to a FIS ski, you'll just feel like the ski has its own agenda, you get to hang on and offer minor suggestions.
So a long way of saying, sure, you can drive a race ski with a softer boot, but you'll enjoy the experience more if you match boot and body to ski...