|Originally posted by exnyerinmontreal:
OK, I'm feeling a bit slighted, as my question seems to be one of the few not answered (at least not directly)
I'll boil it down. You mention that you're not fond of Rossi SOFT boots (or was it Rossi in general) before this year. I picked up a pair last year, as part of what I thought was a proper bootfitting experience. I only skied on them about 5 times last year, demo'ing different skis each time, and found the difference from my old equipment to be tremendous, although the new footbeds probably contributed a good deal as well.
I'm 6', 175 lbs and an advanced intermediate who sticks mostly to groomed East coast runs, although will occassionally venture off-piste. From the bootfitting experience, I seem to have a relatively straightforward, problem free foot, although my previous boots (Nordica NR 981's) never fit right.
I tried on a variety of boots, found that the Rossi SOFT 1 had what seemed a good fit and gave the comfort I was looking for. I also liked the idea of the "new technology" geared towards shaped skis.
I'm getting ready for this season and have now paired these boots with the Rossi T-power Viper S and Power Axial 140 race bindings. Quite honestly given my limited, but seemingly good experience, I'm concerned I may have made a mistake....
Any thoughts or trouble signs to watch out for?
I am sorry to hear you are feeling slighted. My computer crashed last night before I had finished. As a note however, I have been getting many questions and I am not sure of how long I will be able to answer everyone's questions. Right now I am writing your response at work and I should probably be working. Oh well... You do bring up some good questions though, and I suspect many people are wondering about soft boots.
JEFF'S THOUGHTS ON SOFT BOOTS
Soft boots are a big question in the industry right now and mistakes are being made. On the plus side the industry deserves some credit for looking at recreational skiers needs. The vast majority of skiers do not need a boot that is based on a race design. There is no doubt that most skiers can benefit from boots that are warmer, more flexible and more conducive to walking. The soft boots are definitely better in these areas than are most traditional overlaps. There is a large price for the added comfort.
For most soft boots, the price you pay with for this extra comfort is as follows
1. A loose, sloppy fit. Ski boots are levers and as such they need to be fairly secure. This is especially true in the ankle and heel area. Most soft boots do not hold this area adequately. This is fine for walking but causes a lack of control when skiing. I am not saying this is dangerous, it just is not going to help you ski better. If you have no desire to improve your technique, then soft boots may be great for you. In my opinion, however, most soft boots lack enough control that it is a problem for even recreational skiers. The one exception for this is skiers with chunky ankles and heels. If you are thicker here you may not have a problem, because the boots may hold you. The other exceptions are for a coach who does a lot of standing around, an instructor who teaches mostly beginners, or a patroller who needs to stay warm.
2. Bad flex. While there is more flex with soft boots, most do not flex properly. There is no build up of resistance as you have with a normal boot. (Not that most conventional boots flex properly.) What you want is a progressive flex, not an unrestricted one. I consider your Rossignols to have an unrestricted flex.
3. Reliability. Soft materials tend to break down quickly. Skiers who ski a lot of days may have problems.
HOW MANUFACTURES CAN FIX SOFT BOOTS (IN MY OPINION)
1. Actually, one manufacture has done a pretty good job. The new Nordica soft boot does a decent job of holding the heel and has a progressive flex. (No, I am not paid by Nordica, nor do I sell their boots.) It skies like a good ski boot. The reason it works is because it is not based on the standard overlap, which are not designed to hold a heel in place. While overlaps can rely on a narrower fit to hold the heel, soft overlaps are too bulky and soft to do so. The boots that hold a heel in place best all do so by holding the skier where the foot and leg meet. The Nordica holds here. Other examples of this are the Raichle Flexon and the Dolomite Syntesi. (Unfortunately, the Syntesi is quite wide in the heel so it does not take full advantage of its 5th buckle.)
The only drawback to the Nordica design is that it is complicated. It has a number of cables that normal ski boots do not. I do not yet know whether these extra parts will be durable or not.
2. Make good rear entry boots for the recreational market. Back when rear entry boots were popular, no one bashed on them more than I did. However, the problem was different than today. Back then most ski companies tried to sell rear entries to all skiers. Salomon even had World Cup racers on theirs. Rear entries are not a high end product.
Good rear entries are, however, wonderful for the recreational market. Some of the old Salomon and Raichle rear entries skied quite well. While I do not want to see more skilled skiers to be forced to wear rear entries again, I would prefer to see recreational skiers in good rear entries than in current soft boots. Again, I am not talking about more serious skiers.
I think a great recreational line would be a medium fit and an extra wide fit rear entry boot. Add some kind of neoprene to the outside of the shell for warmth, and I think it would be fantastic. I could even see coaches using them and still be able to ski acceptably well.
Back to your situation. If you are just looking for a warm, comfortable boot that skis ok, I think you will probably be happy with the Rossi. If you are looking for a boot that is going to help you develop into a better skier, then these are probably not the best choice. This is especially true if you want to learn how to carve. While you can carve in a Rossi soft boot, it will not make learning to as easy as another boot will.
As far as the Rossi Viper skis go, I think you will really enjoy skiing on them. If at all possible, demo skis to determine what model and length you like. In my experience as a shop tech, Rossignol skis generally ski well but are not very durable. They come with thinner and softer edges and bases, and tend to go flat more quickly than other companies' skis. In my mind this makes Rossis a better choice for lighter weight skiers who do not ski that many days. <30. If you are planning to only ski 5 to 10 days a year you should have no problem with them.