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Boot Flex: How much do I want?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I've been skiing for about 8 years in a pair of Rossignol Course boots. I'm about to replace them because they don't seem to be tight enough anymore. I guess the liners are "packed out". (I thought the model was Course XK, but the boots just say Course and I can't find the papers that came with them. The shells are flat black with blue inserts and a blue power strap.)

As it turns out, they were (apparently) much stiffer than what I should have had. I signed up for one of the Taos Super Ski Weeks, and the instructor was after me to flex the boots more, but it just wasn't possible for me. (At that time I was skiing on K2 Velocities, my last straight skis.) I went to the Taos boot shop and they made several cuts in the inner pieces of the shells, but I still can barely get any flex. These puppies are STIFF!

I have several questions:

1. Why is flex important?
2. Is flex as important now as it was when straight skis were the norm?
3. How do I determine how much flex I should have when shopping for new boots? (I'm fairly certain too much flex leads to lack of control, which I definitely want to avoid!!)

FWIW, I'm an upper-intermediate skier, and I ski 15-20 days per season in the rockies. I was considering the Technica Diablo Flame, but found it too loose in the heel. I'm now considering the Dalbello Z-Tech Supersport. I don't want to buy the wrong boots, as I will probably keep them for at least 5 years. My current skis are Volkl 5-Stars which I used for the first time in Utah last month and I am very happy with them.

post #2 of 3
Well in the olden days the problem with too stiff a boot was that if you couldn't flex the boot you couldn't bend or decamber the ski. Turns were initiated by flexing into the shaft of the boot and transfering weight to the shovel of the ski. With the advent of shaped skis this isn't so much the case anymore with the skiers ideal position to be a little less forward on the skis, and lateral boot stiffness being the necessary boot characteristic to deliver high performance on shaped skis.
If your boots are too stiff and you are not able to flex them even with modern skis I believe your skiing is compromised because it's more likely you will be in the backseat more so than being able to maintain a more neutral position on your skis.
Having said that there are skiers that prefer a stiff boot provided it puts them in a dynamic position over their skis eliminating their need to flex the boot aggressively to achieve this same position.
The Rossi Course boot was a pretty stiff boot and contingent on your skill level and weight , probably not the best match for you. A high performance boot , a level below a race boot may meet your needs better contingent that it fits your foot.
post #3 of 3
Flex is important because if you cannot flex at the ankle your ability to balance will be compromised. eg. It is not possible to maintain hips over feet in boots that are too stiff.

Lateral stability is a must however, as you need to have positive edge control.

Find a good bootfitter in your area, and be quite honest about your ability and goals for the year. eg. Do you do moguls? Ever raced? A soft boot is much more forgiving of pilot error, and therefore, more fun in general.
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