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Advice on First Skis & Boots [ex-hockey player, Tahoe]

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'd like some advice on a first pair of skis. I'm pretty stocky and athletic at 5-11 and 230 pounds and have gone skiing a few times this year. As an ex-hockey player, I picked it up pretty quickly and feel very comfortable on most blues. I rented skis for the past season and had 165cm Atomics which were very narrow underfoot. I quickly came to realize that these were much too small for me.

 

A good friend of mine (who is an expert skier and the one who first taught me to ski) suggested that based on how quickly I progressed and based on my height, weight, etc. that I look for something around 175 cm long and 195-205mm underfoot. I've been looking based on these characteristics and have come up with the following as a list of potential first skis that would suit me and that I won't outgrow quickly. These are roughly ordered based on my initial thoughts on which ones would be most suitable for me.

 
Note that I plan to do the vast majority of my skiing in the Lake Tahoe area. The top two issues I would run into during my first few times out were lack of flotation and lack of stability at speed. Although, that's probably not surprising...
 

Volkl 90Eight (177/98)

K2 Shreditor (177/102)

K2 Annex 98 (177/98)

Head Monster 98 (177/98) - too advanced?

Rossignol Experience 100 (174/100) - too advanced?

Salomon Q98 (172/96)

 

 

Also welcome any input people may have on first ski boots. I haven't done much research yet but am thinking 100 flex. Would 90 be better?

 

 

Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

Add to the list the Fischer Ranger 98. Comes in 172 cm (too short or just right?)

post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by JH1680 View Post

 

 

Also welcome any input people may have on first ski boots. I haven't done much research yet but am thinking 100 flex. Would 90 be better?

 

 

See a bootfitter. Spend your $$ on a good pair of boots first. He will be able to look at your foot, and then fit you with something based on that. A good bootfitter is worth his weight in gold. You can have the best skis in the world, but if you have improper fitting boots, it won't matter. I know there is a guy in Tahoe (area) that comes highly recommended on the forums here - does anyone know?

 

Get boots first. Demo skis until you find something you like.

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/ski-boots-the-most-important-piece-of-gear-you-will-own

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by JH1680 View Post
 

I'd like some advice on a first pair of skis. I'm pretty stocky and athletic at 5-11 and 230 pounds and have gone skiing a few times this year. As an ex-hockey player, I picked it up pretty quickly and feel very comfortable on most blues.

 

[snip ski stuff]

 

 

Also welcome any input people may have on first ski boots. I haven't done much research yet but am thinking 100 flex. Would 90 be better?

 

 

Thanks in advance!

Welcome to EpicSki!  As mentioned earlier, the effort you put into finding a good boot fitter for your first pair of boots is a lot more important than getting suggestions about skis.  If you look at the threads tagged with "Boot Fitter list" that I just added to Topics Discussed (right hand column), you'll get more ideas of why boots matter so much.

 

There are a few threads in the Beginner Zone related to buying equipment for the first time.  Turns out boot flex is not really a number worth worrying about too much.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/116467/buying-boots-what-does-that-boot-flex-mean-a-beginner-zone-thread

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/142999/what-is-a-demo-day-for-skis-a-beginner-zone-thread

post #5 of 8

I concur. Forget about skis right now. Buy boots. And buy them from a good bootfitter. I can't emphasize enough that the right boots, fitted by a professional is a must. 

 

Let me clarify what we mean when we say bootfitter. That's not just any guy selling boots in a shop. And fitting boots isn't like getting shoes, where you get the right size and you're all set. Nope, boot fitting is a science and an art, where they stretch and grind and punch the shell of the boot to fit your unique foot shape. They might add some padding to the liner to fill in void spots. They will definitely do a custom footbed for you. They will probably adjust the cuff alignment of the boot, and do some canting on the sole of the boot so that your boots match the angle of your lower legs. Sound complex? It is. That's why you need a guy who really knows what he's doing. Not just any random Joe in a shop sizing boots. That's also why you want to buy your boots from the guy who is going to fit them. If you buy the boots there, the labor for the fitting is included, and that's most of the cost. You'll probably get a discount on the price of the footbed too, which is the only other significant expense in fitting. 

 

As far as what boots to get when you walk into the shop, here's my advice. I've been skiing for a handful of decades now. I've taught thousands of people how to ski in my time as an instructor. I've probably forgotten more about ski gear than most people have ever known in the first place. With all that experience and expertise in skiing, when it's time for me to get a new pair of boots, know what I do? I walk into the shop and say "Matt (my bootfitter), I need new boots." That's it. He picks the boot, he fits it, and I walk out with whatever he gives me. In my case, Matt doesn't need any more input. I work with him every weekend, we ski together all the time, so he knows how I ski, what I ski, and can choose based on that. Your guy will probably ask you questions about how much you've skied, what kind of skiing you do, your weight, etc. Just answer the questions, and buy what he gives you. 

post #6 of 8

If you're in the Bay Area, I highly recommend the California Ski Company in Berkeley.  I got my last boots there and was very impressed. If you live near Tahoe then Start Haus in Truckee is also good.

 

As others have said, skis are less important than boots.  Plus, it's fun to demo different skis for a little while.  But if you really must buy, I'd avoid the Shreditor - probably a bit soft for someone of your weight. 

post #7 of 8
As a hockey player you will understand how a snug, close fit in a stiff (but not too stiff) boot translates into control, power, and yes, comfort, on the hill. Size down, foot width matters a lot, and for a good athlete and aspirational skier, at least 110 stiffness boot, probably 120, understanding that these numbers vary from boot to boot. I'd rather ski my own boots on any random ski in the shop, new/used, tuned, not tuned, wide/narrow, etc. than vice verse. Good luck!
post #8 of 8

I'll echo the call to first buying boots, and freeski919 has summarized the issues/process very succinctly. It's been said around these forums that you date skis, but that you marry your boots. It's also been said that most avid skiers only finally get it right with their third pair of boots. It would be great if you could manage not to repeat that pattern.  

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