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clueless noob seeks guidance (long)

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Okay, so I understand the maxim: "when seeking advice on the Internet, you get what you pay for", but here goes.

This entire post is directed at getting some levelheaded, non-biased advice about the kind of equipment I should be looking for.

There are lots of issues here. Trust me, I have issues! So I hope the gurus here can indulge me on what is most likely the (infinity)+1 revival of these questions, coupled with a long rambling post.

Oh yeah -- the reason I'm posting this here, rather than going to my local ski shop, is that I've been to several already, and my BS meter got rung more than once. I used to work in a bike shop, so my ability to smell a salesmanship rat in these situations is pretty sensitive. I'd rather either buy what I need on Ebay or go into a shop with a decision in hand than be at the mercy of some sales geek eager to unload some useless garbage they basically couldn't give away to a wiser shopper.

Here's my story. I've skied, infrequently, for fourteen or fifteen years. Roughly 2 or 3 days, every third year or so, has been my pattern. I'm sick of never getting any better at it, so this year I've decided to do something about it. I want to go ahead and get equipment so that I'm not stuck renting stuff that will continue to contribute to my problems (read below).

I learned to ski in Ohio of all places. I'll leave it to the imagination as to conditions; rest assured they were not optimal. I still have my original skis: old Head straight skis (I believe the model name is "Elan") with Look QR bindings, circa 1982 or something like that. I took the requisite 3 hour "never-ever" lesson and was off.

Four years ago I moved to Colorado and decided to give real skiing a shot. I bought a "learn to ski" pass at Keystone and did the 3 days + a couple of other days trying to figure the whole thing out. I took advantage of the free rental pass, and tried out shaped skis (the Rossi "Cut", a basic beginner model, I think).

The shaped skis were a mixed success. At least the ones I was renting at the time. They were a blast to turn with, and I was finally able to put together good, balanced, parallel linked turns...but only so long as the snow was really soft and pristine. Any ruts, bumps or ice caused chaos - these things just got all squirrelly with me. I was having difficulty gaining any sort of balance and/or control with them because the handling seemed very unpredictable. I can't do smooth linked parallel turns on my old Heads, but at least they don't act up like the Cuts did. Skiing anything remotely steep was challenging, and ice was out of the question - and this from someone who used to ski blues with elan on a cruddy Midwestern hockey rink. Bottom line; the shaped skis cured my tendency to skid/snowplow a bit in turns, but at the expense of my courage on anything but the most banal green groomers.

So okay, I'm a girl. And I ski like a girl, apparently. But I'm also a competitive bicycle racer, and did 3-day-eventing (riding big horses over big solid fences at high speeds) as a teen / young adult. So I have to assume that I'm at least average in the courage and coordination department.

I'm really starting to believe that the skis the rental shop dudes handed me were both too short and too soft for me. The length they invariably set me up on were 150s. My Heads are 162s, but I know that's comparing apples to oranges.

I'll preface the "what to buy" with the part where I already spend the bulk of my disposable bank on bicycle equipment, and that's my primary (and will remain so) sport. I'd much prefer to buy the right stuff used / cheaply on Ebay.

So, here goes with the real gear questions:

1) Ski / ski length / binding recommendations? I'm 5'4", 145# (read: built like a miniature Sherman tank), and as a bike racer I'm a sprint specialist, which means I've got endless muscle to put into a ski. Ideally I'd like something that will take me from my pathetic level 4 to comfortably skiing blacks by the end of this season. Ambitious? Maybe, but ya never know until you ask.

2) Boots? Holy cow, is this ever a challenge. As you can probably imagine with my build and background, I've got short little legs but calves for days. I've also got somewhat largeish feet for my size (Mondo 26.0). Is there anything out there that's going to give me the stability I'm looking for without strangling my lower leg? Once again, the challenge here is that I can't really afford to spend a bunch of money on fancy new / custom gear, but hope springs eternal that there may be something used out there that can do the trick.

Thanks so much for reading your way through all the rambling.
post #2 of 33
I will start and other will add...

Questions back...how much will you be skiing? if less than 10 days/yr. Just invest in boots and demo a bunch of different types of skis. Some shop guys will just try to impress you with how much they know and will talk more than they listen. Find a shop that will listen more than they talk. But boots..boots...boots are your top priority.

Since you are in Colorado, I assume you will be skiing there. Will you be skiing at a particular mountain? If so, check out the base shops, that way you can keep going back in for boot adjustments. I know at Copper there is a Superfoot store there. That would be a good place to start. Will you pay more there? Probably, but you will get more for your money there. There is not a bad boot/ski or binding out there, just some that are loss better than others. Its what your foot will fit.

I will let others talk about skis.
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 

questions answered

My goal is to ski at least 20-30 days this season to get my mojo on. I've been lucky enough to happen upon a situation where I have a partner willing to sponsor my habit, so lift ticket costs won't be a factor. Keystone / Breck / A-Basin (Buddy Pass), with 10 days at Vail. My experience tells me that having your own equipment is a big cost savings in these situations.

Thanks huge for the answers on boots. This is the sort of information I need. I'll definitely start looking at this. I don't have problems with my feet getting cold, ever, but I sure need to find something that fits these bowling pins of mine.
post #4 of 33
do some searches on this site to see if any of the boot threads will steer you in any direction. For instance Delta888 just did a lengthy thread on her quest---different foot type---extremely small as opposed to you rather normal size, but as I recall, large calves were an issue for her as well.

You may find good stuff in there.
post #5 of 33
I would still conentrate on the boots. And as mentioned here...demo...demo...demo skis. Find an (on mountain) shop that will apply your demo cost to the ski purchase. Some will do up to a certain amount. Like racing bikes, an aluminum frame "feels" different than steel or carbon fiber. Although they look the same, the mannerisms are vastly different. Demo skis. I am sure there is a very good shop at the base of Vail that will take care of you.
post #6 of 33
There is a boot guy at Boulder Ski Deals who knows what he
is talking about. I don't recall his name right now but I can find
out if you are interested.

As far as improving your skiing: Breck has unlimited lessons for $139.00.
They are Thurs-Sunday with some blackout dates. It is a great way
to meet fun people and work on your skiing. You must have the Colorado
Pass to do the ski lesson package but it is worth it. You should probably
call soon if you want to do it because I am not sure when they stop
selling the package.
post #7 of 33
I agree.

Boots first. find a good fitter, don't worry about what brand but concentrate more on fit and "balance" which a good fitter will be able to do. We have several members that ski/teach or work at the mountains you list. I'm sure the recommendations will be coming in.

The length of skis you were put on were appropriate if not too long. The problem might have been the quality of tune. due to expense, many shops don't tune their rental line a great deal. The demos are usually better tuned because they are supposed to be helping you select a ski to purchase. The mfg and reps usually see to it that their demos are well tuned.

as far as lessons, ask around for an instructor that might have experience with cycling or horse back riding. Make sure you mention that you have these experiences. A good instructor will take your experience in these 2 sports and find lots of movements/feelings you have on horses or a cycle and help you find the movement patterns that will take you a long way.

post #8 of 33
To add to what has already been said, I think you are in for a pleasant surprise when you strap on some current generation skis (assuming they are the right size, appropriate for your skill and terrain preferences and tuned). The best that you have had is Rossi Cuts (which you demoed/rented), which are no longer as good as it gets in terms of shaped ski technology. As you demo, you will undoubtedly find the newest stuff gives you the easy turning you have already experienced in some conditions with better versatility all around.

Also, about finding boots, custom footbeds are the way to go, both for comfort and performance. I found that they really helped me tighten my connection with my skis.
post #9 of 33
I agree with everyone above - good boots are very important. Don't worry too much about brand or anything, find a good boot that fits well. It sounds like you're a reasonably athletic woman, so you could probably go with a stiffer men's boot, which might help with the calf fit. Obviously you don't want one that you can't flex, but if you get one that you can flex too much, you won't have as good control of the ski. Once you've found a good fitting boot, spend the extra money on custom footbeds - it's definitely worth it, no matter what your ability level is. It will increase the comfort, as well as improving how the boot transfers your foot movement to the ski.

As for skis, demo as much as you can. Again, you sound fairly athletic, so with a decent instructor you should be able to progress fairly well, and you'll want a ski that won't be too much for you now, but will still keep up as you progress. Probably something along the lines of an upper-intermediate carver.
post #10 of 33
As other's have said, get boots properly fitted by a shop near you, and get a footbed.

The rest of my advice is based on your description of yourself: Your have a high degree of "physical intelligence" and natural athletic ability.

Get the boot that fits, but don't be afraid to get an "expert" type boot, say one level down from a "race" boot. Ditto skis.

I advise getting a somewhat stiffer boot than typical intermediate, something with a flex index of about 100 maybe. The problem with a too-stiff boot is that a light skier might not have the ability to flex them properly, but as you are not afraid of speed (at least if you have the right skis) you should have no problem. The problem with too-flexible boots is that you give the command but the boot absorbs it, like driving a car by tying an elastic to the steering wheel instead of gripping it directly. People who have little control of their body tend to unintentially give commands that are better ignored by their skis. This does not sound like you.

I'm not familiar with the skis you describe, but they sound like typical ski rentals. They are too soft and flexible, because new skiers often end up a little off balance, catch an edge, or do something else untoward that can send them on a quick trip to the ground. With a too soft ski, if you catch an edge on the snow it will let go and you can recover. If you are off balance and put too much weight on the back left edge of your right ski, nothing bad will happen with a too-soft ski; with a stiff ski the ski's tails will steer you where you don't want to go. Too soft skis are for people who make a lot of mistakes and would rather be "forgiven" than have their bad instructions followed to the letter by the ski. DON'T go out and buy the stiffest ski you can find; stiffer skis can put more force on the snow, but only if the snow can take it (eastern ice can).

The problems you indicate with your skis imply that you were giving them the correct instructions, but the skis were not strong enough to obey. They lost their grip on the snow. They were also not designed to be stable at the speeds you wanted to ski at. I would look for ski's about forehead height. Check out a higher performance level of skis. Try a Rosi 9S oversize out; the ski seemed plenty forgiving enough to me, but then again I was comming of a 208 cm Super G racing ski.
post #11 of 33
Boots first!

Lessons second! Doesn't one of those CO hills offer an unlimited lesson package? Seems like you may need some help making friends with the shaped ski.

It's hard to buy a bad ski these days. Go in and get a package deal in the $200-$300 range and rest assured that you're in good hands. K2 Omni (formerly Escape) and Salomon Scramblers might fit your ability level.

Then get out there. If you get 20 days on snow this year, and take at least 4 good lessons, you will be twice the skier you are now by season's end. That's the Xdog guarantee.
post #12 of 33
Something about boots.

don't close your mind to women's boots just because someone tells you they are softer or more comfortable. One of the differences that current womens boots have are lower cuff's which allow for a longer or bigger calf.

Or find a fitter willing to cut the spoiler on the cuff off.

post #13 of 33
Originally Posted by dchan
One of the differences that current womens boots have are lower cuff's which allow for a longer or bigger calf.
Yes- very good point. There are differences between male and female calf muscle anatomy- the female calf muscle attaches lower on the bone. Men's performance boots with a high, low-volume cuff are likely to be uncomfortable for you.

As tempting as it is to save a buck, I suggest you don't do it with your boots. At least not your first pair. You may want to browse this link http://www.bootfitters.com/ for more info. and see if you recognize a shop in your area. Even better is a shop where you'll be skiing so you can adjust and test after every run if you have to. Good luck!
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 

thanks to everyone, this really helps

Thank you to everyone who read their way through that, and especially Ghost for the long and considered reply.

I will go to Boulder Ski Deals and talk to them about boots tonight. I also looked at the Bootfitters site and got some great info from there.

I will look into the lesson package at Breck, but I have a Buddy Pass, not a CO pass, so I don't think that particular one applies.

Again, thanks to everyone. I know just enough about ski gear to know that I know absolutely nothing. But I really don't like going into the shops and feeling like I'm at the mercy of the shop guys.

Cheers, LFR
post #15 of 33
boots first. don't buy 'em for comfort - buy 'em for fit and performance.

skis - get a good all-around ski, something that has a waist of somewhere between 67-74mm and can do anything. you're not going to go far wrong with skis.

at this point in your skiing, focusing on "demo" days and trying lots of skis is stupid. seriously. learn your technique, learn what you like to ski terrrain-wise, and then get into finding the optimal skis.

your technique is too unrefined to make good use of demo days and repeated demos of different models.
post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by gonzostrike
your technique is too unrefined to make good use of demo days and repeated demos of different models.
Thank you, that's exactly what I was thinking, too. I want to maximise my learning time, not be fooling around trying to figure out what feels "good" in a demo, when I'm not informed enough to even know what "good" is yet.

Plus, I'd rather spend the money once and be done with it, at least for a couple of seasons. Demoing stuff costs cash that sounds like I'd be better off allocating to lessons. I watched a friend go through this with snowboards. By the time she found a board she really liked, she'd literally bought the darned thing three times, if you factored in her demo costs. So, okay if you're experienced enough to be picky, and having the "wrong" board or skis would ruin your experience on the mountain, then sure, the cost is worth it.

I definitely appreciate the direction on not cheaping out on boots, and making certain they fit properly - I was tending to consider boots as an afterthought, and the folks here have certainly helped me avoid that big mistake.

In a nutshell, I am looking for a good package deal on skis that don't suck. I'm just athletically competent enough to be suspicious that the shaped skis that I have been exposed to, pretty much sucked.
post #17 of 33
Hi, one very reliable choice in skis would be the Atomic C:9W which is the women's version. It's mostly for cruising blues and blacks, has good edge hold, but is versatile enough for lots of conditions. My fiance has them and loves them. She's an advanced skier, but i don't think they'd be too much for you.

I think you should definitely buy skis and not have that as a changing phenomenon. And be sure the base bevel is not more than 1 degree. This is a critical tuning issue. If the bevel is too much (which can happen on new skis or from overtuning) you will have a harder time getting a good edge grip.

The C:9's can be gotten on eBay for around $300 with bindings. You would also be fine with the C:8 at your level. Both of these might be last year's names, btw, but that's a great way to get your skis for less anyway.

Also don't go too stiff on your boots. The trend is for a little more flex, a custom fitting is worth the cost of buying boots from a shop, not eBay. I've had them spend 2 hours with me on a new pair of boots for no charge.

Good luck. I have a siimilar skiing develoment background to you and in the last three years I dedicated myself to it, skied 33, then 51 days in the last two years and it made a HUGE difference. 2-3 times a week is really key to learning much of anything.
post #18 of 33
I'm by no means an expert (nor did I sleep at a holiday inn last night), but as far as skis go, someone mentioned the K2 escape series (well the new version)... I demo'ed these last year (the K2, I think either 3500 or 4500) and by buddy demoed the Rossi B2 Bandits. The Rossi's were much stabler than the K2 and were much better in the bumps and crud. I'm not technical enough to know the how/why, but there's my opinion =)
post #19 of 33
No question- your money will best be spent on boots. (i.e. superior fit, not the most expensive on the wall) If your feet hurt so bad you can't stand properly or you're flopping around in there, your skiing will not improve. Sounds like you're headed in the right direction for boots.

Not sure how "stupid" it is to try a few skis if you get a chance. Right now you don't have much of a reference point for differences in length and shape. Given the chance to try a ski before you buy it, I think you should take it.

If you're going to go with a super discounted, discontinued ski where no demos are available, then it's probably not worth demoing something completely different. However, if want to see the difference between skiing a 150cm and a 165cm and your $30-$50 can be applied to whatever you buy in the store, what's to lose?

Alternately, if you run across a demo day where you can try all the skis you want for the cost of a hamburger, it isn't a bad $10 spent. More than likely you won't feel the intricate nuances between skis, but you'll probably find some skis easier to turn than others (i.e. the shorter ones).

Your skiing is going to improve the most when you gain a feel for getting the ski up on edge. (Assuming you're going to spend a good amount of your time on groomed surfaces at first.) Longer and larger radius skis may make you feel less comfortable as you explore the built-in turning features of shaped skis because they won't turn as tight an arc without effort from you and they'll "run faster" also.

One other aspect of trying different skis is psychological. When you're having that particularly frustrating day (we all have 'em) and the person next to you on the chair says, .."if only you would have bought these superduper bling blings- you'd be ripping up the slope right now". Then you can snicker, knowing there are no miracles.

...just some thoughts...
post #20 of 33
The boots are the most important. I would call Jeff Bergeron at Boot Fixation in Breckenridge at 970-453-8546. He can either look at your feet and tell in minutes what boots would fit you, or possibly be able to tell you over the phone. He doesn't sell boots, at least he didn't when I went there, he just makes them fit.

I'd look at the K2 escape 5500 or the T-9 women's skis. My daughters have also had good luck with the Volkl women's model. I really don't think it matters that much which ski you get as long as it's a fairly recent model of an intermediate level ski. It matters that it's the right length and it's tuned up.

I have a preference for the Look or Rossignol bindings, but you may not get to choose if you're buying used skis.

For lessons, I'd strongly consider the Front Range Fall Workshop at Eldora at the beginning of December. It's been my experience that having an excellent instructor makes a world of difference.
post #21 of 33
I would echo everything that Lurking bear said. Jeff worked on my boots, and he is a master. There are other great bootfitters in the area as well, including one who is here on Epic shose name I have forgotten. don't skimp on boots- they are the only thing I have ever bought for skiing that were not on sale, and are worth every penny, and they last for years anyway, so the amortized cost is not really too bad.

Definitely look at the workshop at Eldora (and look up Rusty Guy there, too for lessons).

For free demos of Rossignol skis, you can visit their demo center on the mountain at Vail, at the top of lift 4 (mountaintop express). Rossis only, but it is free! There are some real bargains to be had at places like Garts Sniagrab sale (ends this weekend in Denver), but you really need to go with someone who knows to sort the junk from the good stuff. I suspect that you will probably not be dissapointed with any of the intermediate/advanced intermediate all mountain skis that are current (within a year) with about a 70mm waist.

You sound like someone with not only a high degree of athleticism, but also good balance and kinesthetic sense (if you race bikes seriously), so you are likely to progress rapidly if you ski more than 20 times in the season and get good coaching. Good luck!
post #22 of 33

All these comments are correct, boots are the #1 thing by far. If you want good and trusting advice from professionals, that will not steer you wrong, try Applewood Ski Ltd in Lakewood, CO (303) 239-6900. I was professional tuner, instuctor, and racer for 5 years and they know what they are talking about. If I had my own machine in my house I would do it myself, since I don't I trust these guys. They are in the business because they love it, and the money is what they get on the side.
post #23 of 33
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by Gainer
try Applewood Ski Ltd in Lakewood, CO (303) 239-6900.
Thank you so much, Gainer - I will definitely give these guys a call, as well as getting in touch with Jeff up in Breck (thank you dp).

I have already been in several Boulder and surrounding area shops (to remain nameless) and this is partly why I'm 99% convinced to just get skis and bindings on Ebay. At least then I'll only have myself to blame for a mistake. I don't know if I'm being overly suspicious, but I just got that nasty itch between my shoulderblades every time I talked to the shop staff. I got a lot of technical jargon thrown at me, with little to no explanation of WHY I needed xyz superduper latest-greatest widget, blah, blah... and (more pertinent to me) how said widget is actually going to help me improve my skiing. So, I'm okay with the part where these guys are busy, and don't have all day to spend with some dumb snow bunny, but I'd rather be talked TO than AT.

I don't want to slam any particular shop - I'm sure if you're an experienced skier who knows what they want, these guys are the cat's PJs and you can talk gear all day with them. But having been a bike shop tech / wrench for a number of years myself, I know how things work - someone like myself is a prime candidate to send out the door with some 2 seasons' ago moronic industry fad that you've been sorely tempted to sell way below cost just to get it the hell out of the shop. I don't need a big warm fuzzy and major hand-holding, I just want these guys to sell me equipment with the same consideration they'd use when selling stuff to their mom or their sister. Is this too much to ask? One of these places is where some young chica (who was purportedly the women's ski expert) was the one pointing me in the direction of 170cm skis, and even I know enough to know that's too long.

The sort of substantial information I've gotten in this thread is the very reason I came here and posted in the first place. When I started racing bikes fifteen years ago (and yes, I am a very serious bike racer), I was fortunate enough to have a kind, knowledgable and patient mentor to go to shops with me to help deter the snake oil treatment from the shop rats. With his guidance, I ended up with excellent gear that was correctly fit (a miracle in itself, trust me), a great value, appropriate to my skill level, and worthy of racing with for the next six years.

As far as skis are concerned, I wish I had the benefit of the same kind of mentor for this mission, but I don't, so I figured you lot would be the ideal alternative. This has proven correct, especially with the boot references.
post #24 of 33
Go see Jeff Bergeron at Boot Fixation in Breckenridge. He posts here and help out people everyday on this board. He is generous and has the goods. Go get boots. The rest is easy.

Try the Volkl ski womens line. Excellent performance and quality.

post #25 of 33
I think you should at least demo some skis from different classes. Ski press grouped their skis into racers, Groomers and all terain cross. They then further grouped the groomers into high-performance carving, performance carving, and sport carving. They grouped the terain cross into high-performance all-terrain cross and sport all-terain cross. As you can figure out, the sports are less able to handle speed and have less grip than the high-performance skis, but are more forgiving. Other testers will have different groupings, but the same sliding scale from HP to Learner friendly. People tend to direct most people who need to ask to the learner friendlier end of the range. You should try out a high-performance ski and see if that is what you are looking for or not.
post #26 of 33

You're the best!

lonefrontranger you're not alone. You have lots of friends here at epicski.

I'll toss in my $00.02

You will here all kinds of advice about equipment. Find a level III PSIA cert and talk to them. Buying ski equipment is a great deal like bikes. You will hear some good advice and a whole lot of junk. I will be glad to take you to a local Boulder shop and help you find a pair of boots.

The first consideration is.......the shape of your foot. Any reputable boot person will be able to describe boots designed for narrow feet and boots designed for wide feet. Anatomically SOME women have calf muscles that attach a little lower than mens to the heel. That can easily be mitigated via something called the "boot board" and potentially via heel lifts.

All here know I work as a pro rep for a boot and ski company. I'm partial to the brand I represent, however, the truth is there are many very good skis on the market. I think the most important decision is WHERE you are going to ski, the type of turns you like to make, the type of turns that are DIFFICULT for you to make, and a few other considerations. When Eldora opens I'll be glad to let you demo either the Nordica SUV12 or the Speedmachine 12.


Now you know who I rep for! Send me a PM if I can be of any help. I do think the Front Range Fall Workshop at Eldora would be ideal for you


We are bringing the very best PSIA examiners and Trainers to Eldora for two days. If you want to jumpstart your skiing these are the folks who can get you on the right track. It is very reasonably priced. If you sign up for the workshop I'll toss in use of some high end demo skis so that you can make a decision!

Check for a Private Message!
post #27 of 33
You and I are exactly the same size (height and weight, anyway - you are athletic and I am the mother of twins - I'm sure we are shaped differently!)

I have been skiing for over 30 years, but only 8 - 10 days a year these days.

Last year I demo'ed Atomic C:9W (160s), and fell in love. They were effortless to turn, and fast.

I also tried K2 Flights, which I didn't like nearly as much. I can't exactly describe the difference, except the Atomics made me feel like I was dancing down the slopes; the K2's didn't feel as good. I suspect the Flights were not keeping up with my ability. I tried a pair of Volkls that I think were a beginner ski, and hated them.

Since I hadn't bought new skis for decades, I was amazed at how much difference there was between different skis. For that reason, I definitely recommend trying a few different skis - but when you find one that sings to you, buy it!!
post #28 of 33
Thread Starter 

thanks - and an update

Thanks, Ann - I really appreciate the feedback, and I've been leaning towards the Atomics. I actually found a LOT out on Saturday, despite it being wild and wooly up at Keystone. I got run over TWICE by snowboarders on the same run. : My instructor was livid about the 2nd one - I think they pulled the guy's pass.

I still have not solved the boot issue, and I think this is going to require a lot of hunting. I rented some Dalbellos that were quite a bit better than in the past, but I still wound up with some mild chafing and bruising on the fronts of my shins from where the seam of the tongue bites in. Had to release the top ratchets each time going up on the lift, which is typical - but trust me, it was far better than past boots I've dealt with. Usually my lower legs are constant pins-and-needles, hotspots, and on fire until my feet just go numb / fall asleep. Then the shin gets so bruised, cut up and sore it's black-and-blue for days afterward. My shins are a touch sore today, and there's a little rub mark on one, but the boot thing is definitely getting way better.

I am going to need a serious bootfitter. I not only have huge calves, but I also have that low calf attachment deal that is referred to higher up in this thread. The worst part - big calves, low attachment - then I have small, slender heels and ankles and a big, fat, wide forefoot. I don't think I'll ever find anything that fits "right", but something close that doesn't chew on my shins would be nice. The fact that I actually have muscular development on the FRONTS of my shins (cycling) is probably going to cause some issues. I'm betting most ski boots are designed pretty much flat in the shins, because I doubt a normal skier's shins would taper like mine do. I have as much taper in front as some folks do in their calves. I sure hope this doesn't mean I'll have to shell out a grand plus for full custom boots like I did when I was a kid riding hunter jumper horses.

The best thing I did was take a 2hr private lesson. I also sprung for a demo on some decent Salomons - they were a lot stiffer, more predictable and controllable than the base model shaped ski rentals I was on a couple seasons ago. I think I might actually get into this shaped ski deal after all.

The Level III instructor I happened onto was the best ski instructor I've ever worked with. He claimed he was thrilled to find someone who understood balance and kinesthetics, and that I was a quick learner, but then these guys make their bread and butter off of being nice to the client, too. I definitely made HUGE huge breakthroughs working with him, and felt like a completely different skier at the end of 2 hours. Much more confidence and control. Here's what I learned:

My old bad habits from skiing stiff straight skis on ice (the Midwest) seem to be biting me on the butt, as I'd suspected. I tend to want to throw my body into the rotation to get the skis to turn, then flail around with my trailing (uphill) arm. I also have the typical boring habit of getting back on my heels. He says he sometimes sees this pattern with adults who learned on long, stiff straight skis, where they want to use their quad strength (and believe me, I have that for days) to turn the skis, not their ankles / weight shift. I apparently am aggressively / impatiently trying to muscle the skis into the turn, rather than finessing them onto edge and allowing the turn to evolve. When the sidecut bites in, then it makes the ski feel squirrelly to me and I start to overcorrect / sit back.

His opinion is that the 150cm skis I was using are too short (although nearly everyone I've talked to including past instructors thought 150 was appropriate) and a bit too wide in the waist. It seems I need a good carving ski (>70mm waist) in the 155-160cm range. He thinks the longer skis will turn more predictably and stop me from getting into the overcorrection cascade.

If I can ever find boots that fit properly, it will definitely help. It's very hard for me not to sit back, when every time I lean into the front of the boot like I'm supposed to, my shins complain.
post #29 of 33
I would agree with the advice on the boots. Find a good fitter, and get something fairly high performance.

On the skis, you should be able to push around just about anything eventually, 150 to 170 cm length, depending on how heavy they are. So go out and demo. Or buy something cheap and decent in the 160 cm range for now that you will plan on upgrading next year.
post #30 of 33
lonefrontranger, take Rusty up on his offer. He's a generous guy and will definitely help you understand some of your options.

Also, I would like to recommend Jim Lindsay at BOOTech in Aspen (http://www.bootech.net/) given his participation here in addition to Jeff (who did my boots last year). Larry has moved into his own boot fitting shop on 28th from Ski Deals, so you may want to look him up, too.
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