I need help getting pointed in the right direction.
My background detail:
I am an advanced expert level skier on natural treed or head wall steep types of terrain, and a struggling intermediate on ice, or boilerplate hardpack. I am returning to alpine skiing from a 5 year stint on telemark, 3 of which exclusively vintage leather boots with no plastic or buckles- 3 pins, sometimes cables.
I have many 100 day ski bum seasons at western resorts such as snowbird, jackson, and abasin in the past.
I have rather wide feet and high arches, enough so street shoe fit and ski boots have always been a real challenge.
I am in used head rental boots right now, I bought them for the adjustable wide last.. 100 flex number on the side. 3 finger shell fit, liners with some years of packing out. I have removed the spoilers, and mounted them on the inner side of the cuff for desperate canting. I have installed booster straps I use them outside the cuff. I hand cut my own custom foot beds, to reduce volume.
Now it is very clear I have committed every possible sin. Not suprisingly, I ski like crap in this setup.
Some things I have noticed:
I have unpleasant pressure on the instep directly under the second buckle. I frequently leave both lower buckles completely undone, and still long chair rides can induce some ache.
I was looking at my bindings today, some older look brand, and the ramp angle is so extreme it cannot be below 5 degrees.
I removed the spoilers because the boots put me in such an extreme forward lean I could barely stand up even before stepping into the ramped bindings. I constantly jam my toes into the front of the boots. even while waiting in line for the tram, not skiing. If I am standing still on my skis, I am jamming my toes. After a long period of evaluation I have determined I am in a constant state of attempting to stand upright, and my leg is blocked by the rear of the boot, levering my foot forward. Also, my heels come up an inch routinely while skiing.
I had high hopes for the booster straps when I installed them, but after a week of the worst skiing of my life I noticed on a traverse as I absorbed a bump, I was violently thrown into the back seat. After this I started paying attention, and while riding the conveyor belt through the tunnel at snowbird I tried some simple up down leg extensions and it became very clear my knees were not moving forward at all. In fact, My shins were never touching the cuff. I could try put all my weight into the shin of the boot, but no forward flex. I was being forced into the back seat every time I flexed my knees. Placing the strap on the front of the cuff rather than inside the cuff dramatically fixed the problem To this day I am still confused how this fixed the situation.
From day one I have abhored the fact that the boot cuffs seem not to move at all. even completely undone, with no liner, there is almost no movement at all in the cuff. The flex is super soft though. rather than pivot the cuff, I just crush the lower boot when I flex forward. I swear I can make the buckles touch just flexing the boot in the lift line unless I buckle super tight and strap tight.
If I buckle up tight, and strap down, I can carve (my idea of carve...), and have control on groomed slopes. the moment I enter soft snow it is havoc. I need movement to operate in 3 dimensional snow. I loosen everything, and suddenly it all works. of course with the loose boots on hardpack, its just mahem and slop, no real edging.
My skis are intermediate K2 apache 190s at 98 mm width, core shot up, missing an inch of edge on one ski, no wax,
Now my specific questions for the Boot Guys:
1. I really want to stand upright, and ski upright. forward lean and ramp angle is really annoying me right now. Is this a good direction or am I being reactionary to a bad setup?
2. I honestly want range of motion, but with absorbant flex in my cuff. I need freedom but I need support. Should I just accept high performance requires foot immobilization and learn to ski in boots that feel like cement blocks?
3. I want a normal lasted boot punched out for my duck feet. Wide last boots are rare and often low performance models, and I think my ankle is narrow compared to my forefoot, Am I thinking in the right direction here? I think need like 104mm at the wide point. I also need volume for high arch.
4. I am planning to to take the advice of the boot fitter, however I had a negative experience with a custom surfboard primarily from not being directly involved in the process enough. Is it gonna cause problems if I want comprehensive boot fitting rather than "Just do what works best, I will watch"?
5. related to question 4, Am I so overly biased and far off from the right line of thinking I should just go to the bootfitter, tell them "do what ever it takes" and then spend the next season taking as many PSIA lessons as I can?
I sincerely appreciate any help. Thank you.