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First some background. I've been skiing for over 40 years but I've never spent much time or money on tweaking boots. I spent some money in the past to get what were supposed to be good boots (raced in late 70's Nordica Grand Prix's and 1979 model Lange XL-1000's, went with the SX-91 Equipes in the rear entry era, and then went with Tecnica Icon Carbons in 2002). But I always skied them out of the box.

In addition to my skiing experience, I had some other factors that affected my ability to ski well. I had several injuries to my right ankle from football and then suffered too many parachute landings and too many miles of running in bad shoes during my 20-year Army career. As a result, my right foot had developed a severe pronation and this had affected my lower leg alignment. As I got older, it got worse.

I bought a pair of 02-03 Tecnica XT's at a ski swap in November and had tried to ski them out of the box. Because of the pronation, my medial ankle bones protrude pretty significantly and the pressure on them was too much. Yesterday, I finally made it over to Stratton and had Matt at GMOL work to get these boots right.

Matt started by asking why I bought the XT's (race performance, Tecnica's general trend toward a wider plug, and the great deal that I got), what I wanted done (full fitting and perfomance tweaks), and what my expectations were (being able to wear the boots all day and ski better with less effort). He also asked how much I skied and what type of skiing I did. To his credit, he did not even glance at the wall of new boots that was adjacent to the work area. He just went to work on what I brought. He started by taking some measurements and doing a visual analysis of my feet/legs. He confirmed what I already knew...that my right foot was almost a full size begger than my left, that the pronation was far worse on the right foot/ankle, and that I had tough feet to fit (fairly wide, very flat, but not high volume, moderate and severe pronation). He did note that the shell fit was OK for the right foot but that I could have gone down a size on the left. If anybody has a 27.5 02-03 left foot XT that they want to get rid of, let me know

He went over what he thought would be necessary (custom footbeds, possibly some grinding inside the right boot, some sole planing) and what all of this would cost - ball park $250. I was OK with this and off we went. The first step was to create some molds of my feet and adjusting those molds to get proper alignment of my lower leg. This process took about 1/2 hour to get right. It took another 15-20 minutes to make the footbeds from the molds and when he put my feet into the boots, I was amazed...the pressure on the ankle bones was gone without any grinding! I kept the boots on for about 15 minutes while he took some other observations and I noticed a slight hotspot forming on the outside of the right foot. A quick grind and that disappered as well. Some more observations confirmed that the right boot needed 1/2* of cant and Matt accomplished that by planing the boot sole. The final tweak was to add a shim to the outside of the right cuff because that knee was "cheating" a little bit on edge changes. Because my flexibility was poor (no stretching this year), he also added some heel lifts and removed the spoilers from the top of the cuff to ease the flexion on the ankle. Matt suggested that if I stretch a little bit, I should remove the heel lifts.

This whole process took about 90 minutes and the total cost was $252. Matt told me to go ski for a couple of hours and then report back. For the first hour or so, I had to tweak the buckles and my feet fell asleep because the boots were too tight. I had heard that the buckles on the XT were not adjustable and hadn't really checked, but I can report that they are threaded and adjust quite nicely. The thin liners did pack out slightly and after an hour, the only thing that I could feel that was slightly uncomfortable was my shins (I think because I was pressing too hard against them and don't have enough days under my belt this year - definitely not shin bang). I was amazed at the responsiveness of the boots and I definitely felt more balanced. My expectations were high because I had heard so much about GMOL and I can enthusiastically say they met every expectation. I got back to Matt after 4 hours and thanked him profusely. He gave me a card that described every modification he made to the boots in case I ever needed additional work done on them.

I can only say that my experience with bootfitters is limited, but the professionalism and results speak volumes for GMOL. It's possible that other places can match GMOL, but I don't see how they can surpass them!