Sorry, long post, couldn't help it, but made the pertinent facts easy to find. The bottom line is that my current boots, which are marvelous
, cost about $750 including fitting, and footbeds (a necessity for my old feet) were about $150, so I'm a hair under your four figure boot purchase. This was after a lot of really bad pain and suffering with bad boots and a kinda mean bootfitter, though, the $900+ seemed and still seems well worth it.
$600 boots, $200 footbeds, fitting and a purported "fit guarantee" included. Told the bootfitter lots about my skiing, burbled and bubbled (I'd just had a fantastic day in a pounding storm) and said I'd skied for one season and wasn't much good yet but was getting better quickly, that I'm aggressive and like to go fast, and that I dreamed of going off piste and skiing the whole mountain. I had no idea what ski boots were about, just what I was told here and on a women's ski forum: find a good shop with a fit guarantee, tell the bootfitter everything, and put yourself in his hands. He didn't seem very interested in any of it, and after maybe 1/2 hour of checking me out he gave me two boots to demo and said to pick the one that seemed to be uniformly tight all over, which was the Rossi Sensor Electra 90, a cushy comfort boot with fuzz at the top of the cuff and a big forward lean, heat-molded a pre-made insole, and baked the liners without any padding I can remember, although he must have used toe caps because it squished my toes badly. On the snow the boots were pain standing still, pain on the lift, pain relieved by skiing because it's so fun, but pain coming right back as soon as I stopped. I had crushed toes that were simultaneously cold and numb and painful, a wandering wobbling heel, screaming quads and calves, knees well in front of my boots, and spent my days fighting like mad to escape from the back seat. At least I had stronger quads and calves than ever before in my life.
Over 1 1/2 seasons I made over a dozen trips to the shop begging for relief for my toes and stability for my heels and asking whether my knees should be so far forward. He'd say he stretched or punched something but I could feel no difference; he put heel lifts in, which made my fore-aft balance so crazy that if I hit uneven snow I thought I'd shoot out of my boots; he took those out and put pads around my heels that just dug into me and made my hamstring ache all the time, even with the boots off; and at that point seemed to run out of ideas and interest. He didn't hide the fact that he was tired of seeing me, and poo-pooed any comments, like my knees being too far forward and heels just not fitting, which might have indicated that the boots weren't right. Other fitters stepped up, probably protecting me from him, and tried the same things which I'd just told them he'd already tried. I felt like a loser, like it must be my fault.
$750 (or so) boots, fitting and one year of tweaks (up to a certain amount of punching or grinding) included, $150-$200 for footbeds, from a guy recommended by a woman on a woman's ski forum who I trusted.
The fitting took an amazing six or seven hours over the course of two days. The first day was what I'd call an extensive interview. He wanted to know what I skied, how I skied, what it felt like, what my boots felt like, and what I wanted to do in the future while he examined my feet and legs and posture and gait. Eventually he put a boot on me, but although the shape seemed right it was too big. It was late in the season so it would take a while to find the right size, but he could get the following year's model in a few days. I was desperate and had been saving my pennies, so I forfeited a few hundred dollars and was back a few days later to stand around for several hours while he worked away. I don't think he did much to the shell, but finishing up the footbed he built out of cork and leather and whatnot (as opposed to the first guy's heat-molded one) took a while, and before molding the liner he carefully and thoughtfully padded the tops of my feet and a few other bumpy bits here and there, and put a lot of stuff on my toes so they would lie flat when I'm in skiing position.
The result was beautiful. The new boots were snug enough that I could only wear nylons for the first few months while still feeling comfortable, and the minute I clicked in I felt balanced and stable and even comfortable. With more upright cuffs and nice stiff resistance from the liner and shell I could stand in line without pain, was naturally balanced over my skis without any particular effort, my toes lay flat, just touching the end of the liner, when I skied, and tilting my ankle tilted my skis without any sideways movement of my heel. There was a slight pinch on the outside of my right foot that never bothered me enough to get it adjusted, and I'm now the person who usually doesn't even unbuckle her boots at lunchtime.
I had no reason to get a boot adjustment (though they did work on my skis a few times) before this April, two years later, when the stock liners rather suddenly got packed out enough that thicker socks didn't help and I could no longer compensate for the lack of control. It may be because I was so low maintenance for two years, but although we didn't finish figuring out whether to replace the liners because he closes for the summer, it's pretty clear that everything's going to be free until I actually buy something that requires him to do work, like new liners or heaters.
Regarding fit guarantees, the term can mean any number of things. Sometimes it's a free return and exchange of boots and free fitting if the boots they recommended and sold you can't be made to work, but sometimes it's letting you come back for as long as you can stand to be unwelcome. I'd rather pay extra to work with someone who doesn't offer a fit guarantee but really cares about my skiing and has the experience and expertise to give me equipment that makes good skiing easier.
Anyways, I eventually went back to the first shop and told the manager what happened, being careful not to whine or appear to be trying make him or the fitter look bad. I'd just read some threads on epicski by people who'd had shops take their boots back and either give them a full refund or new boots when they couldn't be made to work, so considering the fit guarantee I was sure he'd give me at least a considerable refund or store credit for the same amount. What happened was that he was very rude, said nasty things about Earl, predicted that I'd have heel spurs (??) in a few months, and eventually gave me a $100 store credit that I never used because although I still demo at one of their outlets, I didn't want to go into the store and risk running into the jerk.