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East Coast Expert - Where Should the Money Go?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

 

I'm 5' 10" and and east coast all mountain expert (as classified by myself and the numerous PSIA instructors with whom I have skied. After a couple of seasons up here in the great white North getting addicted to sliding on attached planks, I've decided that the time has come to consider creating a skiing kit with which I am happy. As of right now, I own 26/26.5 Salomon Xpro X90s and Head Rev 80 Pros. I am incredibly happy with the skis, but I have measured my foot and brought my boots to a bootfitter and we both agree that I have a 97/98 mm wide foot and the 100mm XPros are too wide for me. I get about 1/3 to 2/5 of my days in the backcountry - I have access to AT bindings and lightweight skis, but I tour in my XPros, as uncomfortable as it has been.

 

Let's suppose that I just received $700 and only that much. I'm pretty outdoorsy and involved in other activities so I don't need to invest in pants or a jacket or helmet and goggles. I'm deciding between a few things and want some feedback. Options, to me, are as follows:

 

1)  Buy touring skis and bindings online

 

2) Buy boots in person - one pair, either seriously downhill or backcountry oriented

 

3) Buy fatter skis and downhill bindings online

 

I have deals with certain companies such that buying a pair of lightweight skis and bindings will cost me under 700. Some brands with which this works are: Scarpa, La Sportiva, and Liberty.

 

Where should I spend $700? If I bought boots that fit really well and have a higher flex than 90 I would be really happy and that would probably do more for my frontcountry skiing than anything else. However, my days in the backcountry are spent at the cost of shin and calf pain from my boots and a pair of tech binding compatible boots would be huge. I just don't own skis that allow me to utilize tech binding compatible boots, so unless I have skis and bindings to back up that purchase, new touring boots feel pretty useless to me.

 

I would say that my two biggest open spots are a larger ski (anything over a couple inches of fresh and I feel uncomfortable) and my lack of well fitting boots. I don't know whether to invest in touring skis and bindings like the barons/dukes so that I can ski the backcountry if I want or if I should invest in larger skis with downhill bindings, or put all of my money into a nice intuition liner and master fit downhill boots. Opinions?


Edited by jmrobins3 - 3/1/15 at 6:08am
post #2 of 9

Unless you are a dwarf, 90 flex is pretty soft for an expert skier. There are many "touring" boots now that ski like real ski boots. They may not have the performance of a plug boot, but they'll perform on-piste better than what you have now.. If you really are going up hill as much as 30% of your ski days, I'd put the money there. A Dynafit compatible performance boot. I don't know what's in your area in Hanover, but you might want to consult with Benny at Inner Bootworks in Stowe. He has a lot of those on his wall.

post #3 of 9

What Epic said ^^^^^.  I'd also note that high performance, lighter boots with a hike mode seem to be a focal point for new 2016 boots -- check out some of the SIA threads from 2-3 weeks ago. If you can wait until the fall, there will be a lot of new options to consider.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm just barely pushing 150 pounds and the way that I understand my boots is that with the screws in the spine, I'm able to push them to 100 flex or down to 80 by either leaving the screws in or taking them out. Obviously 100 flex in a boot that's a bit sloppy fitting still isn't enough, but I've been able to make it work and I'm really only left noticeably wanting more when I'm banging gates.

 

In reference to the suggested boots, are you talking about something like the Salomon Quest Access BC or like the La Sportiva Spectre?

(http://www.salomon.com/us/product/quest-max-bc-120.html and http://www.sportiva.com/products/ski/boots/spectre just for reference) Given that the current pair of skis I have is mounted with regular downhill bindings and I am spending my money on a new boot, I think I want something that I can use both in and out of bounds and with both tech and frame bindings. To me, this seems to be the category of the Salomon boots more than the Sportivas.

 

Also, I've been keeping up with the SIA stuff and I have no issue waiting until fall. The biggest thing I have noticed is that most of the boots are coming in with lasts of at least 100mm. I have a rather narrow foot, as mentioned above, but a pretty high instep, so I think I'm going to be looking at a decent amount of bootwork and molding to get a precise fit for width and height of my foot. For this reason, as well, I'm leaning toward the Salomon boots or ones similar over something like the Sportivas. Is that consistent with your feelings and suggestion?

 

I also race casually, nothing serious and definitely not enough to justify buying a really expensive pair of plug boots for just the next two seasons, but enough that I want a boot that will feel good carving a tight course at high speeds and be compatible with a binding that also allows for such. Am I doomed to having to own two pairs of boots to account for my varied ski days (1/3 backcountry, 1/3 racing, 1/3 skiing whatever feels fun and looks challenging) or will a boot that has a walk mode and is tech compatible (thus needing different bindings because of the different soles) perform for what I need?

post #5 of 9
Not clear what you mean by "touring." AT is a lot different than dedicated tech, more for side bounds and back. But assuming the latter, and assuming you've had proper training in safety, all you need in a boot with a decent walk function. there are many out there, more about fit than which is "best." If you also want tech toes, fewer options but still some good ones. I'd think about skis that are light alpine, like Fischer Rangers, in the 90's, slap on some AT bindings and get some decent boots you can walk in. In all honesty I don't see a lot of earthshaking changes in skis or bidings next year so you could look for bargains now. Boots seem to be evolving rapidly, might be worth walking into a shop next fall.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmrobins3 View Post
 

I also race casually, nothing serious and definitely not enough to justify buying a really expensive pair of plug boots for just the next two seasons, but enough that I want a boot that will feel good carving a tight course at high speeds and be compatible with a binding that also allows for such. Am I doomed to having to own two pairs of boots to account for my varied ski days (1/3 backcountry, 1/3 racing, 1/3 skiing whatever feels fun and looks challenging) or will a boot that has a walk mode and is tech compatible (thus needing different bindings because of the different soles) perform for what I need?

Three very different tasks. If you try to get one solution to all three needs it will be terrible at all three.

 

The good news is you currently have alpine skis and boots, are the boots too big? You say a fitter said they are too wide by 2mm... sounds like they are really one size too big along with not being the perfect width. If they are the right size, do you use an footbed? If not, get one and see if the boots perform more to your liking and then address the touring needs with a real touring boot and piece together a touring ski/binding. Then get a cheap race ski at a fall ski swap. Should be doable with industry hook-ups for around $700.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Three very different tasks. 

I find that it's basically 2 different tasks. I don't race seriously enough to justify a plug boot and putting a lot of money into it. It's a bit of a hobby and a nice way to focus on technique and hang out with people. For me I ski on and off piste and while on piste, I split my time between recreational racing, which is rather similar, for me, to just maching down groomed slopes, and exploring the rest of the mountain - I don't plan on owning 2 boots for frontside skiing, as I think a high flex boot will allow me to happily do both, especially considering that I plan on skiing past the next two or so years, but don't plan on racing longer than that.

 

My boots are likely a size too big and too wide. I think I could deal with the size too big issue if they weren't wide as well. I do have a footbed - it's not a fully custom ski-specific one, but it's there and not stock - and I think it helps. I'm definitely leaning toward getting a touring boot as the primary concern here - but there's obviously a lot of variability within that market and I'm looking for some guidance therein as well. I want a boot that has the capability to tour and is tech compatible, but doesn't sacrifice a lot of downhill performance. I know that there are different soles for boots so that they can be alpine binding or tech binding compatible, so this concept definitely exists and I want to be able to utilize these boots as regular resort boots until I can afford to buy a second pair of frontside oriented boots. Does this seem reasonable/not like too much of a sacrifice in performance for either category?

post #8 of 9
You do realize you can get a NIB plugs for 50-200 on ebay right? Plugs are dirt cheap, its the fitting and foot beds that are expensive. If you have a narrow foot you probably won't need a ton of boot work though.
You're not going to be able to do any real racing on a 90 flex boot, so you might want to focus on that or a performance boot like the dobermann pro.
post #9 of 9

Technica Cochise line is another option for interchangeable DIN and tech soles.

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