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This girl needs ski boots (but doesn't have a clue)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well, I skied from age 6 to 14, when I let myself be convinced that snowboarding was the way to go (I was in highschool and it was "cool"). My board has finally worn out and a recent trip to Blackcomb where I skied for the first time in many years was enough to convince me that a new set of ski gear might be a sounder investment. I've got a pair of Salomon Siam 55 (154) skis with Salomon C609 bindings... but no boots (and I don't want to drill my skis for rental boots).

I'm heading up to Mount Washington this week and would like to break in my new skis. Anyone know where I should go shopping for boots in Vancouver or recomendations on what boots to try? I can still do the blue runs no problem and hope to advance into black asap. Any suggestions would be appreciated as I've realized I don't even know what new boots are supposed to feel like! (When I was a kid all my stuff was from the 2nd hand store). I tried on some Salomon Rush 6s in Whistler, but I was concerned they were too tight (in retrespect they probably would have packed just fine) and was less than enthused about the $400+ price tag (student budget-- the skis were enough of a splurge).

I think I need to find a store where I can talk with someone who really knows the ins and outs of various ski boots.:
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmac

I'm heading up to Mount Washington this week and would like to break in my new skis. Anyone know where I should go shopping for boots in Vancouver or recomendations on what boots to try?
Kmac, I've heard from folks on this board that Snowcovers is the best place to go to in Vancouver for boots. I live in Seattle, and am actually going to make a trip there based on the recommendations.

They supposedly have some of the best boot fitters in North America, and also sell boots and gear. I might go check them out, talk with someone, and see what they suggest.
good luck,
david
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmac

I think I need to find a store where I can talk with someone who really knows the ins and outs of various ski boots.:
I think your absolutely right, find yourself a GOOD bootfitter who can look at your foot and make specific recommendations based on it. I understand the budget problems, but your boots are not the place to cut corners. I was in a ski shop yesterday in a rather well to do area and a somewhat inexperienced woman was being "helped" by a sales clerk that was well-intentioned but obviously not a bootfitter. Somehow I don't think she got the best fit (it was "sooo comfortable!" usually =s too big after a couple times skiing). The clerk based his recommendation on the fact that he heard good things about the boot - I know it's a brand and model that runs wide. Now it could be that she had a wide foot, I don't know, but I'd be willing to bet that the boot was too roomy. Find a shop that knows what they're doing and they'll be able help you narrow your choices.

P.S.- I tried a few different women's boots this year and my favorite for my foot is the Salomon Rush 8. They are pricey, I'm thinking post season sales . The 6s sound like they were a good fit on you.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetsuma
I've heard from folks on this board that Snowcovers is the best place to go to in Vancouver for boots.
Thanks for the recommendation-- I'll head over there tomorrow and see what they've got.
-K
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmac
Thanks for the recommendation-- I'll head over there tomorrow and see what they've got.
-K
K -

Let me know what you think of Snowcovers. I've never been there and likely to go this week or weekend, and curious about your impression. thanks
david
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetsuma
K -

Let me know what you think of Snowcovers. I've never been there and likely to go this week or weekend, and curious about your impression. thanks
david
Very knowledgeable, friendly, but ultimately unrealistic for me. I'm on a student budget and was thinking I could afford to spend maybe $400-650 on a good pair of boots that would hopefully last (I'm not a fantastic skier, I'm not going to be heli-skiing or hiking into the backcountry. I just need a good pair of boots that I can really improve in). Snowcovers estimate was $1200 to get boots that would work for me. Their plan was to have me buy a pair of (expensive) boots and then cut the plate in the back, grind part down so it was more upright, punch out the toe and sides, make some fancy insoles, and voila: $1200 worth of customized ski boot. They probably would have felt fanstic and worked great, but I just couldn't spend a lot on boots that required hundreds of dollars of work before I could use them. I did learn a lot about my feet, though, so the trip was worth it. If you're a very serious skier (and not on a budget) Snowcovers would probably be the place to go.

I had better luck at Comor-- the guy wasn't nearly as knowledgeable, but helped me identify which boot would work for me (Technicas-- about $500 on sale) phoned his other branches and ultimately pointed me towards North Shore Ski and Board when Comor didn't have anything approaching my size. North Shore Ski and Board was great. In the end they had sold out of my size boots as well, but drilled my skis while I waited (Snowcovers would have needed a few days as their shop is swamped right now) and suggested another store to try.

Of all the stores I visited (9 in total) North Shore Ski and Board and Destination Ski had the right balance of knowledgeable staff and affordable gear. In the end none of the stores in Vancouver or North Van. had the boots I wanted in my size, so I bought a pair of somewhat cheap-o Salomons instead and have happily spent the past few days tearing up Mount Washington without any pain. Maybe next season someone will have nice boots in my size (that don't need to be cut, ground, and punched).

Hope that helps.
-K
post #7 of 21
K -

You're a pretty rich student... $400-600 is still a lot

Congrats on your purchase. You shouldn't give up snowboarding just because you got new ski equipment though. Check out eBay for nice deals on some good boards. I met a guy who snowboards in the morning and then skis after the crowds get in... I'm currently trying to work my way towards that.
post #8 of 21

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This whole cost of boots is really getting out of hand. $1200.00 for Boots? Keep shopping around. If they had to do all that work to your boots then I would say they were not putting you in a proper fitting boot to begin with. If you do have some foot issues then check out Daleboot They are a custom boot maker and will have you in custom boot for about $600.00 with a life time fit guarantee. Check out DalebootUSA.com If you can wait until the end of the season many shops will be happy to sell boots at 1/2 off retail. The last time I bought boots I purchased a one season old Tecnica that retailed for $700.00 for $350.00. Got some custom footbeds for less then $100.00. I have talked to a number of skiers that now use a heat molded footbed that they claim is as good as or better then the custom beds that cost around $40.00.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
I have talked to a number of skiers that now use a heat molded footbed that they claim is as good as or better then the custom beds that cost around $40.00.
More info please. Name of said footbed?
post #10 of 21
Call me an idiot. I can't recall the name of the foot beds. I will say that if I needed new foot beds I sure would give them a try before I turned over $200.00 for new custom beds. I know mntlion should know the name of the company. He post here as well as sells some ski gear. He also post over on the TGR board. mntlion works for a heliskiing company I would imagine he spends a lot of time in ski boots. He has talked about the heat mold able foot beds. Send him a PM
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonpole
You're a pretty rich student... $400-600 is still a lot
That was my I-guess-I-can-break-my-bank-account-if-they're-going-to-be-sweet-boots-that-will-last-a-long-time budget. I'm much happier with having spent $200 on boots and still being able to go out with my friends... not to mention actually afford lift tickets:

Now I'll just get some decent footbeds and be good to go.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmac
Very knowledgeable, friendly, but ultimately unrealistic for me. I'm on a student budget and was thinking I could afford to spend maybe $400-650 on a good pair of boots that would hopefully last (I'm not a fantastic skier, I'm not going to be heli-skiing or hiking into the backcountry. I just need a good pair of boots that I can really improve in). Snowcovers estimate was $1200 to get boots that would work for me. Their plan was to have me buy a pair of (expensive) boots and then cut the plate in the back, grind part down so it was more upright, punch out the toe and sides, make some fancy insoles, and voila: $1200 worth of customized ski boot. They probably would have felt fanstic and worked great, but I just couldn't spend a lot on boots that required hundreds of dollars of work before I could use them. I did learn a lot about my feet, though, so the trip was worth it. If you're a very serious skier (and not on a budget) Snowcovers would probably be the place to go.

I had better luck at Comor-- the guy wasn't nearly as knowledgeable, but helped me identify which boot would work for me (Technicas-- about $500 on sale) phoned his other branches and ultimately pointed me towards North Shore Ski and Board when Comor didn't have anything approaching my size. North Shore Ski and Board was great. In the end they had sold out of my size boots as well, but drilled my skis while I waited (Snowcovers would have needed a few days as their shop is swamped right now) and suggested another store to try.

Of all the stores I visited (9 in total) North Shore Ski and Board and Destination Ski had the right balance of knowledgeable staff and affordable gear. In the end none of the stores in Vancouver or North Van. had the boots I wanted in my size, so I bought a pair of somewhat cheap-o Salomons instead and have happily spent the past few days tearing up Mount Washington without any pain. Maybe next season someone will have nice boots in my size (that don't need to be cut, ground, and punched).

Hope that helps.
-K
All I can say is holy cow. $1,200???? I just a few hours this week looking for boots in Seattle, and found zippo that fit right. I really appreciate your detailed description. $1,200 is a fortune... yeah, if you were buying foam liners I could see this, but for shells, liners, custom insoles + grinding. that seems like a lot to me.

Glad you found yourself some boots. Have fun K.
-David
post #13 of 21
Wow. If store #1's approach to a walk-in recreational skier is trying to do what's (and let's call a spade a spade her) a high end race fit...I'm shaking my head pretty hard here.

Footbeds are a must, irregardless of the level of performance.

This place obviously sounds like a big-time operation. So why in the world couldn't they find a shell that fit your foot without requiring grinding?!

Further...the fact that they were going to grind the sole of the boot to alter angles is giving me a sneaking suspicion that they were putting you into a plug boot. It would have been great for performance, and likely for comfort once the work was all done...but why put a recreational skier into a plug? Aside, of course, from the $$$$ that they would make on the plug, and the work it would 'require'.

And why plane a boot's sole at all? How 'bout putting a lift plate under the toe or heel instead?

If this is typical of them, then I'm absolutely dumbfounded.

What makes more sense? A boot that fits 50% of how it should, then putting a ton of time and money into making it fit? Or finding a 90% boot that requires only a little, if any, work.
post #14 of 21
$500 is about right, maybe more, maybe less

footbeds: try an off the rack one (superfeet, solethotic etc) and see if it works for you, not everyone needs them (most do) and see if the $50 option works

if you are in banff area, let me know and see if I have something in the store for you.

1-2cm shell fit is the KEY. no bigger
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntlion
$500 is about right, maybe more, maybe less

footbeds: try an off the rack one (superfeet, solethotic etc) and see if it works for you, not everyone needs them (most do) and see if the $50 option works

if you are in banff area, let me know and see if I have something in the store for you.

1-2cm shell fit is the KEY. no bigger
Thanks for the tips. I checked the shell fit myself on the boots I wound up buying to tide myself over so I know they're good (would have cost more to rent boots on mountain for the rest of the season than to buy these anyway). I'm unfortunately not in the Banff area so I'll have to go on the footbed quest myself, but when I tried on boots in Whistler the guy put in Superfeet so I think I know what I'm looking for.
-K
post #16 of 21
if you have a lower arch the superfeet work/feel good, if you have a medium or high arch try the solethotics both around $50ish
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntlion
if you have a lower arch the superfeet work/feel good, if you have a medium or high arch try the solethotics both around $50ish
Definitely in the medium to high range so I'll phone around about the solethotics. Thanks again for the help... you've probably spared me a fair bit of trial and error (and with the utter lack of knowledge in some ski shops I feel a lot betting going in asking for something specific).
-K
post #18 of 21
what boots, in what size did they put you in?
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntlion
what boots, in what size did they put you in?
The boots that will supposedly be great for me are either Technica Attiva 8 Ultrafit or Technica Vento 8 Ultrafit. No one in Vancouver had any left in my size (24.5-- but that's a guess based on how much too big the 25.5 was and how I fit other brand boots). Right now I've got a cheap pair of Salomon Irony x4 size 24.5 (the name isn't lost on the situation) which feel a bit too beginner rec for me (but it was that or back to my snowboard).
post #20 of 21
The best thing to do, IMO, is to figure out your size in a boot that will work for you, then find it on ebay or the like. This allows you to save money on the boot, which in turn frees up cash for bootfitting.

Case in point: I just bought new 2004-2005 Dobermann WC 150s on ebay for 150 bucks. My total cost, after fitting, will be about 500 bucks.


I have never paid more than 500 dollars for boots, and I use race boots (which are not known for affordability). You can always do better than retail prices, no matter what the item is.
post #21 of 21

also went to snowcovers

Spent about 3.5 hours at Snowcovers yesterday (did scoot out for 60 mins for food while they tried some modifications), trying on different boots and playing with a new boot I brought with me (Fischer MX-Pro) that they don't stock.

Just as K indicated, I found them very helpful and knowledgable. Plus, it was quiet so they gave me lots of time. The guy said it's not uncommon to have folks come in, drop C$ 700 on boots and then add another $500 - $600 in modifications (full foam liners cost C$ 500 there; foam tongues are C$ 200!)

I ended up going with the boots I walked in with (the MX-Pros) -- they had the right combination of very low instep, low volume, snug heal. They thought only one other boot would match it (Solomon Course), but they did not have it in stock. End results for 3.5 hours? C$ 40. I looked at the guy and said, "that's all?" He said, "yep."

Good guys, good shop.
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