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Can 120 flex boots work out for a beginner who's not heavy/strong/aggressive skier?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

This is a repost from the boot guys forum thread. I was advised to post here by one of the members. Please let me know if you were in a similar situation, if it worked out, your advice.

TLDR: 
Beginner skier, 33 y/o male. 6 total days of skiing experience. Barely learned parallel turns and easier blues at Alta. Couldn't properly flex a 130 boot in the warm shop, according to the fitter. 6'1"-2" @ 175-180 lbs, lanky weak build. OK endurance fitness (I trail run, kayak), but below average strength, balance and coordintation. Didn't do sports, dance, etc growing up. Don't aspire to do much beyond single black diamonds / easy powder runs. No history of knee or ankle problems, but knees did feel beat up after Alta vacation. 

Told all this to the fitter (except weight, he didn't ask). Ended up fitted and sold Salomon X-Pro 120 boots. I was clueless about flex ratings at the time. The fitter said solid boot for blues, but decent for greens and single blacks, marginal for double blacks. Said I could flex it, I'd be fine.

I bought it for an April trip, but it fell through. Won't have a chance to even test it until next season. Now I've read some stuff about boots and I'm concerned that boot is inappropriate for my skill/weight/strength, and an overkill in stiffness even for my future skiing goals. Read on this forum that softening (bolts out, cuts) compromises proper function of the boot, better off buying softer design boot in the first place.

Would appreciate your thoughts on this.

Thanks!

Long version in the wall-of-text original post if you want more details :)

post #2 of 14

Would they work? Yes and no. I know proper answer is plain no, they wouldn't work, but there's no explanation needed for this, so let's go more into why they would work. Thing is, with 6 days on snow, with no prior ski experience and if I understood right, with "but below average strength, balance and coordintation", you won't be flexing boots doing proper turns anytime soon. So for that, anything will work, even way too hard boot.

post #3 of 14

Ski them.  They are not ideal, but if they fit really well, that is the most important thing imho.

 

Cons:

You may develop some habits of excessive movement of upper body to compensate for not being able to flex them enough, but with modern shapely skis, a lot of fore-aft movement is not required and certainly not at your level.

The boots will transmit your exact movements immediately to the skis, so you may end up falling when you send the wrong signal to your skis.

 

Pros:

You will be forced to remain centered on your skis.

The boots will transmit your exact movements immediately to the skis, so you will quickly learn to send the right signals to your skis.

 

After a few more days on snow you will likely be skiing fast enough that your momentum will be enough for you at your weight to flex those boots in the cold.   I admittedly ski fast, but weigh 158 lbs and find my 100 flex boots way too soft;  I always liked my old way-too-stiff race boots.

 

You can always have the flex softened temporarily, if after skiing them a few days you are still skiing at a snail's pace and you decide you would rather have softer boots (or permanently if you find they don't fit as well as you thought after a year and buy new 120 flex boots).

post #4 of 14

If you have non-permanent means of softening the boot like removing a bolt or two, do so.  You can always stiffen them back up as you progress and your legs get stronger.

 

I've found that stiff boots give me that toggle switch feel, but pulling a bolt allows me to keep the pressure optimally balanced.  The last thing I want is a boot that keeps me from getting my weight forward.

post #5 of 14
You can really help your Flex of that boot by replacing the strap with a booster strap.
post #6 of 14

I had some Sal Impact 10's briefly with a 120 flex. I thought they were a soft 120 - flexed smoothly and easily even in cold temps on the hill. I went back to Tecnica and sold them off with only a couple of hours of skiing use. 

 

Not sure if your boots are similar to the Impact 10's (I suspect they are) somebody more knowledgeable can chime in. Mine had rivets that could be removed that made them even softer.

 

Translation, if they fit good and put you in a good flexed skiing position you should be fine at 180#. Do some offseason work to strengthen yourself to be sure.....these forums have lots of good recco on offseason ski drills.

 

As suggested by Levy1 above a booster strap would work nicely with those. 

 

Good luck!

 

Are these your exact boots?

 

http://www.salomon.com/us/product/x-pro-120.html

post #7 of 14

It may be more punishing in the beginning, but assuming you've gotten them fitted to you properly, I'd recommend getting some lessons (better yet, a season long adult program) instead.

 

I'm close to your weight (my weight fluctuates more throughout the year) 169 to 178ish, and 5'11" and I got fitted on the stiffest flex Full Tilt boots (2011 Seth Morisson) my second year skiing.  It's not apples to apples, but the flex on it is often compared to ~130 flex in traditional boots.  On it, I got from a beginner who could get on single blacks, but was making all sorts of wrong movements to make zigzagged turns to a level 7/8 skier in couple of years.  And I attribute a major part of that to the lessons I've had.

 

People in the past have learned to ski on much tougher (to learn) equipment, hence my humble opinion is that some good lessons will take you much further.

post #8 of 14

I am just going to add that proper boot  flex is critical. Any good boot fitter can tell. 

post #9 of 14
Have never heard of a fitter who talked about a boot in terms of its applicability to blues and blacks. Also IMO 120 is too stiff for you unless you're at least advanced level. What'll happen is that you'll compensate, learn to ski without really flexing the boots, probably develop into a serious backseat skier. Not trying to be a downer, just realistic. If he didn't blow them out, and you haven't used them, you should be able to return them for something in the 100/110 range. If he did modify them, you're stuck. Go to a reputable (eg, different) filter and see about having the flex softened a bit. Not that complicated. Good luck.
post #10 of 14

If they fit and don't cause you pain, then I would ski them myself. Most back seat skiers are there because of stance and/or fear, and they are always on the back cuff, never pressuring the front anyway. It's not a 150 fleRD boot, it's a recreational Salomon. I can find a lot of video of some very high level skiers and they don't look like they are pushing much plastic, and certainly not in transition between turns when you are apt to re-center. If he has good ankle ROM then I'd try them before I butchered them.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyL View Post
 

Now I've read some stuff about boots and I'm concerned that boot is inappropriate for my skill/weight/strength, and an overkill in stiffness even for my future skiing goals. Read on this forum that softening (bolts out, cuts) compromises proper function of the boot, better off buying softer design boot in the first place.

 

The nice thing about taking out bolts is you can put them back in. 

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyL View Post
Now I've read some stuff about boots and I'm concerned that boot is inappropriate for my skill/weight/strength, and an overkill in stiffness even for my future skiing goals. Read on this forum that softening (bolts out, cuts) compromises proper function of the boot, better off buying softer design boot in the first place.

Not exactly. Depends on the boot and what you do to it. But yes, simpler to buy the right flex in the first place. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris719 View Post
 

If they fit and don't cause you pain, then I would ski them myself. Most back seat skiers are there because of stance and/or fear, and they are always on the back cuff, never pressuring the front anyway. It's not a 150 fleRD boot, it's a recreational Salomon. I can find a lot of video of some very high level skiers and they don't look like they are pushing much plastic, and certainly not in transition between turns when you are apt to re-center. If he has good ankle ROM then I'd try them before I butchered them.

Agree about back seat drivers, but try to recall when you were a beginner. How exactly did you learn to pressure the front of the boot? Unless you raced or took a slew of lessons early, you didn't. It's not instinctive to lean forward into the fall line. You don't worry about ankle ROM. You worry about going too fast when your brain is saying to slow down and get in control. 

 

But let's say he does take some lessons. At 180 lbs and 6' 1" 120's will work for him if he's say an aggressive, athletic intermediate, and takes some lessons. But less clear how he gets from A to B. Remember that the trend is actually toward softer boots; instructors, coaches, racers all are dialing it back a bit. We've talked about this online here. More fluid to bend a ski if you can bend the boot without feeling like you're doing leg presses. Let your COM do the work. 

 

Don't agree about high level skiers, it may not look like they're pushing much plastic because they're good enough not make a big mechanical deal about it. It's the high intermediates to low advanced who mash the tongues and ride their tips; out of date style anyway. But good skiers are pushing enough at the right moment to get the job done; they have to unless they can magically violate basic physics. Or are like some of the TGR crowd who backseat powder and are proud of it. 

post #13 of 14

Hey Andy,

 

To answer one of your questions.....from the seemingly very honest description that you gave of yourself......the boots would seem to be too stiff to allow you to learn and execute proper technique. I would hope that despite you being in a boot that is too stiff, that the boot itself does fits  your foot shape correctly and is the correct length. This is by far the more important issue at hand, as making a boot softer is a much easier task than having to do a bunch of punching and/or grinding to make the rest of the shell fit.

 

This leads me into the second part of your question in regards to softening the boot.  If I am correct the X-Pro (depending on the year) has one bolt at the rear, which allows you to flip a metal piece around to change it's flex (sport to performance or vice versa).......and I can't say that it changes the flex of the boot appreciably one way or another. All this means that you most likely wouldn't be able to remove a bolt on this model, as there usually needs to be 2 bolts at the back in order for this to work. The good thing is that all overlap boots pretty much work in the same way, and by cutting a V-shaped notch into the upper portion of the backside of the lower shell will allow for a softer flexing boot. This is a permanent change, but if you are happy with the fit of the boots then it doesn't really matter as you should have these for several years to come....and no the boot will not be compromised by doing this type of work.

 

The biggest thing here is that you need to remember that once you cut the notch you can't go back, so it's best to have a good boot fitter help and to not remove too much on the first attempt. Trust me there are plenty of guys out there with what looks like the top boot model and stiffness, that have them softened so they can actually ski properly, and there are many more that could do with a bit of softening. The advantage of the stiffer, higher end performance boots is not only limited to the plastic, in most cases the 120 flex boot will also come with a better liner that will make it fit better as well.

 

Lot's of interesting opinions and POV's here, but a long time skier makes not a boot fitter......however they do make for some interesting and sometimes amusing chatter.

 

One last comment.....the flex rating on boots is a farce to begin with, as there is no standard for it to be rated on, and you will find varied differences at the same listed flex between manufacturers and more surprisingly within the same company's models listed at the same flex!

 

Cheers! 

post #14 of 14

I would agree that the 120 is rather stiff for your height/weight/strength/aggressiveness. I also think the guy selling you the boots was talking out his other end when he said these boots were good for blues, blacks etc. Flex rating has really nothing to do with what terrain you're on, and everything to do with you and your strength and how hard you ski.

 

My question is, did the guy who sold you the boots actually fit them? Meaning did he do a custom footbed for you? Do any stretching/punching/grinding of the shell? Because if you just had the guy get the right size boot on your foot, then you weren't really talking to a bootfitter. Best advice, see a real bootfitter face to face, and he'll tell you what you should do next. 

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