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Boot Balancing by Bud Heishman of Snowind Sports

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I had my boots balanced by Bud Heishman during this year's ESA at Big Sky. Because the balancing helped me so much, I wanted to post a review.

Arcmeister detected that I was overedged on my left ski and he installed a strip cant under the left ski boot heel to simulate a canted boot sole. the difference amazed me and made me sign up to get Bud to balance my boots.

Bud has you wear your boots and asks you to have your legs bare up to the knees... I wore shorts to accomplish that, but some folks just peeled their pant legs upward to get the same.

You stand on a flat platform with a squared spacer to maintain even space between your boot soles. Bud marks your knees and your boot toe and then proceeds to check your alignment as you stand neutrally, roll outward, and roll inward on each foot. With a square, he monitors your deviation and then adjusts with shims beneath the boot sole.

Using this process, Bud determined the amount of shim to correct my overedging on each of my right and left legs. He also noted that when I was standing in my "ready" position, my right kneecap and left kneecap were not in the same plane, even though my hips were. With a 3mm flat (no cant) shim beneath the left boot, the kneecaps aligned. So, my eventual left boot work included a 3mm rise plate as well as the shim angle. All work is done in the boots, and nothing is done to the skis. This allows you to have "portable" balance.

The result of all this work was that my balance on skis is now more comfortable than I'd ever known. My turns have a new feeling of symmetry, and the discrepancy between left turn and right turn is slowly going away.

After custom footbeds, this is the most important gear-related purchase I've ever made. My skiing feels more natural and relaxed than ever, and I find that drills and exercises are more meaningful and helpful. I suspect that boot balancing will be responsible for a large leap forward in my skiing.

Well done, Bud! Thanks!
post #2 of 9
Gonz, did he plane the bottom of your boots and if so did he build the top of the lug (toe and heel) to retain binding compatability.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
no, Lucky, he does it differently now by installing plates on the boot sole, after making some accommodation/fit grinds I would imagine. I didn't watch him do it so I don't know the specifics. I'm sure he'd tell you if you sent him a PM.

toe and heel shelves are ground, yes, but he didn't "build them up" on the top surfaces -- at least he didn't on my boots.
post #4 of 9
You've got it right, Gonz. He planes the bottoms, fits the plates on the toe and/or heel that are also planed, then routes the lugs to DIN standards.
post #5 of 9
It's worth doing--the process makes a difference. What gonzo says about how the turns feel on some pitch is really true. It feels better immediately. On the catwalks and around lifts, you have to get used to a slightly different sensation, because you've been compensating for the misalignment, and not feeling it.

Maybe Bud or Arc are around to explain this more precisely?
post #6 of 9
Would your inability to carve RR track turns on cat tracks reveal that you are in need of alignment. I'm thinking the fact that if you are not aligned, makes it more dificult to ride a flat ski and roll your edges easily and equally in both directions without making compensations that result in a scarve turn.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
no fast answer to that one roundturns.

I could RR with my horrible overedged, 3mm too short on the left leg stance.
post #8 of 9
Bud did wonders for numerous people at the academy with some of the biggest improvements coming from people that have had extensive custom boot & alignment work done by others. The fact that Bud could see his work in action on the slopes and make adjustments made a huge difference.
post #9 of 9
Bud did a great job for me too - within 5 minutes he had diagnosed that I needed shims in my heals, which he put in, and the difference was immediate (not just to myself, but Nolo saw it as well)
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