A little background: I am a 36 year old aspiring masters racer. Skied a lot when I was in high school and college, stopped for over a decade, restarted 3 years ago, started race training this season, and got addicted. I am in very good athletic shape and plays multiple sports. I am 5'8" and 148".
Last season I was skiing on Technica Cochise 110 and fat all mountain skis. This season I eventually settled down to training mostly on Technica Cochise 130 and a cheater GS skis (Elan Ripsticks). I have gotten a lot better in technical skills during free skiing. Early pressure on top part of turn, stacked over outside ski, that kind of stuff. Things still fall apart somewhat in the gates on steep slopes, but things are starting to slow down for me and it's coming together... just when the season is ending :(. I need more training and gate time to get better.
With the season end sale and a possible long summer of scouring ebay (for skis), I am thinking about equipment for next season.
For boots, I would like some advice on whether it's worth going to plug race boots. I like my technica cochise 130 much more than my 110, but I feel I am not driving optimal performance. I feel like there is too much room around my calf, and perhaps a little around the heel pocket as well. Using a car analogy (I used to race cars when I was younger), it's like going from a comfort street suspension to a sports suspension, but I know there are race suspension out there. On the other hand, I wonder about flex due to my weight. I got the boot at the beginning of the season and my bootfitter observed that I could flex the chochise 130 just fine, but I could not flex a Lange 120 nearly as well. Conceptually I think a snug fitting plug race boot might give me more control, but I worry about the ability to flex it. What would be the biggest differences between a 130 flex recreation boot and a plug race boot? I plan on going to Start Haus next week to chat with the bootfitters there, but I want a little more collective advice before going in.
For skis, I would like some advice on whether it's worth going to a stiffer real race ski. I know that I am not skiing my current Elan Ripsticks to full capacity, and I can certainly continue to get better on these before moving on. On the other hand, there are some good deals on race skis to be had right now, and possibly all summer in scouring ebay. I am confident in my athletic ability to flex stiff skis. My question is whether moving to a stiffer race ski will enhance my training. What's better - Staying with my current equipment which is relatively softer and give more margin of error, or go straight to the stiff race ski that's harder to ski and punishes errors? When should I take the training wheels off (for the lack of a better term)? I plan to discuss this with my coach this weekend, but again I want a little more collective advice before going in.