EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Better Boot fit= more ski days for resorts
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Better Boot fit= more ski days for resorts

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
following my recent boot fitting experience (which was excellent) it occured to me that if more people had boots that fit properly and are alligned correctly, more people would enjoy the sport and become better at it. I know that the resorts can't spend two hours fitting every person coming to ski but is there a way they can help get those interested fit better? You never see on the snow allignment or fitting clinics. These could be end up being a big momney maker for the resort; folks who need addtional work or need equipment would be more likely to buy there. I would think these would be very successful?
post #2 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
following my recent boot fitting experience (which was excellent) it occured to me that if more people had boots that fit properly and are alligned correctly, more people would enjoy the sport and become better at it. I know that the resorts can't spend two hours fitting every person coming to ski but is there a way they can help get those interested fit better? You never see on the snow allignment or fitting clinics. These could be end up being a big momney maker for the resort; folks who need addtional work or need equipment would be more likely to buy there. I would think these would be very successful?
The world is a different place once you've had your boots fitted, isn't it?

What a dramatic change.

(Oops - more later, I have to drive my wife to work...)
post #3 of 26
I recently read about padding in speed suits that was a liquid or gel that hardened, or ar least stiffened, when pressured or struck, as in hitting a gate.
Could this be addapted to boot liners so you got a perfect custom fit that stiffened when pressured once the foot was in the boot. It might not deal with alignment, but it certainly would deal with fit/comfort issues.
post #4 of 26
KaZoo - you mean it was a non-newtonian liquid - a bit like custard?
post #5 of 26
(OK, I drove her to work and I'm back...)

Since getting my boots fitted I've often thought that all you'd have to do to have the World's Best Ski School would be to make sure the students all had their boots fitted professionally.
Then, they'd have the same lessons they'd always had but their progress would be amazing. They'd be thrilled. They'd be return customers, the word of mouth would be incredible, etc.
Suddenly so much frustration would vanish and they'd be able to do all those things that they've been told to do, that they've been trying to do, but couldn't do because the boots weren't letting them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KAZOOSKI View Post
I recently read about padding in speed suits that was a liquid or gel that hardened, or ar least stiffened, when pressured or struck, as in hitting a gate.
Could this be addapted to boot liners so you got a perfect custom fit that stiffened when pressured once the foot was in the boot. It might not deal with alignment, but it certainly would deal with fit/comfort issues.
Why go halfway?
I doubt there's a quickfix to real bootifitting.
Get it done right or not at all.
Properly fitted boots are both comfortable and resolve all of the aligment/structural issues.
post #6 of 26
The concept is very sound, just hard to implicate. The real problem being convincing people to spend MORE $$$ with the 'resort'. It would be kind of like the photographer at the top of the lift...easily ignored.

This is where Ski Instructors come in. It would benafit them to educate themselves to recognize alignment issues, allowing students to progress, making them a hero, increasing their tip potential and private requests. That is where the ability to influence skiers to have their equipment dialed in will start (and end). IMO.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
This is where Ski Instructors come in. It would benafit them to educate themselves to recognize alignment issues, allowing students to progress, making them a hero, increasing their tip potential and private requests. That is where the ability to influence skiers to have their equipment dialed in will start (and end). IMO.
Good point. I replaced my 10 year old Langes when a ski instructor friend pointed that they had too much forward lean. He said that they were counter-productive to skiing on the skis of today. He said that I needed something with less forward lean that made me stand up more. I ended up with Salomon Pro Models. The instructor was right and I wouldn't have thought about it if he hadn't pointed it out.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Whiteroom & ol' School, yes, you are correct. I have taken A LOT of lessons and I can't remember once where it was suggested that a person have their fits checked or even do a simple one footed ski allignment test. As far as costs go, the resort could cover the cost for a few guys for a half day to help with some basic testing and evaluation. I understand that Billy Kaplan may be doing this kind of thing at one of the PA (Montage?) slopes. I have to believe this is a big win for the reports. On another note, there are jsut not enough demo days either. I would combine the fit clinics with the demo days. That would allow better fitting boots with modern skis. Look how many are still on old boards!
post #9 of 26
WTFH,
I know nothing about newtonian liquids, will drinking them provide more staying power?

I wasn't really paying attention at the time, but as I remember it the material had the ability to flow at a slow rate. When struck or pressured abruptly the material resisted moving so well that it was effectively solid. The flow state allowed it to conform to body shape and slow movements. The resistant to flow charecteristic made it work like a rigid shin guard on impact. I think Spyder is useing it in speed suits.

My thought is that useing this material in a boot liner would customize fit to the point that the beginner with rental boots (and maybe everyone)would be comfortable. No worries about pressure points from bunions, bone spurs, odd heel bones, wrinkeled socks, etc. The material could flow to provide very good fit at all points on the foot. The resistance to flow charecteristic would provide for effective transfer of forces while skiing.

While the material wouldn't correct alignment issues it would address comfort issues. I know I always have both issues when I buy new boots.

Addressing comfort would address those one time skiers that tried the sport but didn't come back because the boots were uncomfortable and hurt their feet.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
The folks whose feet hurt are usually as a result of poorly fitting boots and cotton socks!
post #11 of 26
KAZOOSKI Lange used a material, like you are describing, for a few years starting in 1969 I believe they called it Lange Flo. (I think it was also the inspiration for the first "Soft Inside" poster but that's a different story). It was very thick grease that over time would "flow" to mold around the foot. It worked well in the boots I had but they did have trouble with liners cracking and the stuff coming out. They ended up replacing a lot of liners. It also had no foam so there was no give. It was eventually replaced by shop injected foam, which gave me the best fitting boot I ever had. The new factory liners have come a long way and there are much better boot fitters around. I now have a pair of boots that fit almost as well as my injected foam ones form that era. I just hope they don't pack out for a long time; it took a lot of work to get the fit I have now.
post #12 of 26
It is my wholehearted belief that skiing in general would become more popular and a "participated" sport than it is now. I can't imagine skiing with boots that don't fit and are not aligned. Finndog, Whiteroom and Ol' School are all very correct. When you ask a participatory non skier if they would consider skiing again, what's their response.... "I don't want to break a leg", "I don't like the cold weather", "I'm scared of heights", "I don't like the feeling of being out of control", "I can't afford it". Some of these complaints are out of the control of a ski "Professional", but some are addressable and truely "treatable". We can always use more consumer dollers in the "ski business", plus people and advertising campaigns that reinforce skiing"s "good side".
post #13 of 26
Oh! I'm not a fan of making this too easy! ;-)

That said. If everyone started skiing in Tele/ AT boots (boots that would be just fine at the required beginners level locked down alpine bindings. Or better, just do Alpine technique in Nordic / AT gear!) There would be a lot more folks having fun!

I'll not be going back after switching to Denali's

Two cents

Cal
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
following my recent boot fitting experience (which was excellent) it occured to me that if more people had boots that fit properly and are alligned correctly, more people would enjoy the sport and become better at it. I know that the resorts can't spend two hours fitting every person coming to ski but is there a way they can help get those interested fit better? You never see on the snow allignment or fitting clinics. These could be end up being a big momney maker for the resort; folks who need additional work or need equipment would be more likely to buy there. I would think these would be very successful?
I strongly agree. I was disappointed to see the soft boot introductions of several seasons ago fade away. Sure they couldn't compete with performance boots. However, I suspect they would have been a lot more user friendly for beginners who rent their equipment.

Most people who live within commuting distance of a ski hill have the requisite clothes to keep themselves warm, if not fashionable. IMHO boots that are painful or have so much slop that there is no effective linkage between the skier and the ski are among the biggest factors in keeping people of ordinary means away from the mountain after their first try.

Close behind ill-fitting boots, perhaps, is that the sport doesn't allow for one to become an elegant, expert skier in one day. That can be a challenge in today's instant gratification environment. However, I still believe that for many, painful or ill-fitting boots is a major cause of dropping out from pursuing skiing as a winter sports activity.
post #15 of 26
Reading this thread, I keep having flashbacks to a scene I arrived upon last winter. It was as you leave the base area and head down to the bunny chair.

Mr Man and son were looking in stupefaction at Mrs Wife and Daughter, who looked like a bomb had hit them. Their equipment was strewn about them, their trousers were hoiked up, and they were reeling about in disarray. I stopped to find out what was happening.

The women were in agony and didn' t know what to do about it. The Men suspected they were being stupid.

Didn't take long to work out the problem. The rental shop, as usual, had given the women the rental Technicas. these boots had too long shafts for the standard female leg, and so we had heaps of women with really agonised calf muscles.

The pain would start softly, but would quickly elevate. if anyone's ever felt nerve pain, it is like electric shocks, getting more intense, and that's what this was. Makes you want to throw up.

So I undid these boots and sent them back to get boots with lower cuffs.

I think a lot of women who had this experience basically had a dose of skiing aversion therapy. Intense pain = don't like skiing.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Good point. I have a thin lower leg with a high calf muscle, one of the reasons why Billy recomended the Atomics was the slightly lower cuff, I have a better fit and no bite on the muscle now
post #17 of 26
Comfortable boots would help skiing, but I think you've got to be kidding yourself if you think the typical infrequent skier is going to be willing to spend hundreds of dollars on ski gear. Custom boot fitting is REALLY expensive, and most people just aren't willing to spend that type of money. Easier access to bootfitters is not the solution, instead we need cheaper equipment that is more comfortable (I have no clue how to do this).

I do know that in places like Norway (at least this was true 15 years ago), when you walk into a sports store there is a lot more low-end equipment. While it may not be the best gear out there, I think a lot of people would be more likely to buy ski gear if a set of skis, bindings and boots could be purchased for $200. This is something that is totally possible except that the manufacturers don't want to do this since it would cut into their profit morgins dramatically. Maybe some new company could start marketing budget skis?
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalSki View Post
Comfortable boots would help skiing, but I think you've got to be kidding yourself if you think the typical infrequent skier is going to be willing to spend hundreds of dollars on ski gear. Custom boot fitting is REALLY expensive, and most people just aren't willing to spend that type of money. Easier access to bootfitters is not the solution, instead we need cheaper equipment that is more comfortable (I have no clue how to do this).
Even if it is expensive, if properly promoted some upper $$$ clientele would probably buy boot fitting, footbed and alignment services IF it is convenient and done well. As in having it done right at the base area with a large selection of boot shapes and sizes, and on snow analysis. Given the dismal return rate, even getting an increase in a small part of the skier population might be worthwhile. And those are exactly the kind of skiers that they want to retain.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostboy View Post
....

Close behind ill-fitting boots, perhaps, is that

1) the sport doesn't allow for one to become an elegant, expert skier in one day.

2) That can be a challenge in today's instant gratification environment.

3) However, I still believe that for many, painful or ill-fitting boots is a major cause of dropping out from pursuing skiing as a winter sports activity.
1) Or one year!

2) Good. Screw those people. Let 'em watch TV. :

3) Painful is one thing (I agree) but if those people had the control that people with fitted boots do, they'd likely be thrilled enough about the sport to seek out more comfortable boots - and continue skiing
post #20 of 26
You dont' have to have horrible boots. I taught at an oz resort which, in their wisdom, had put admin and ski school at the top of a chairlift onto the mountain (and yes, beginners often arrived in tears of terror).
When the wind was bad, we couldn't get up there, and our locker room with skis and boots was there (ok, concrete shed with boots on the floor and skis propped up against the walls). So we'd stay down in the basin area, and rent stuff. After all the agony and expense of getting boots blown out/packed and foam inners done, I was disgusted to find that some Dalbello boots with my orthotics in were damn near good enough. Squishy foam padded inners and off we went. Luckily, the rental skis were Atomics (I hate Atomic skis) so I could curse something. but the boots were OK.
so if a rental shop had 2 shells: narrow and wide, plus some nice squishy inners, many ills could be prevented right from day one.
post #21 of 26
Its sad, but most people don't want boots that fit right, and its impractical.

Ok, if you are buying boots, yes they should fit right. If you are renting though, it is just not possible for shops to carry enough boots in enough sizes to always have something in the appropriatte size, flex, and shape. Instead they maybe have a couple options, and there ya go.

I've worked in rental shops, and have been stuck on boot duty before. It sucks. It is awful. Especially during the holidays, people complain that any boot you give them is too small, even if it is three sizes larger than thier street shoe. Then you give em a boot four sizes smaller, tell em its way bigger, and they say it fits great. Then the next person in line bitches at you for taking so long with the person in front of em, then proceedes to take forever, just to make sure the person behind em is plenty frustrated by the time you talk to em.

With these people, I am not interested in being an ambasador for the sport, all I care about is when the awful lines will be over, and I can enjoy the free ski pass sking on my lunch breaks, and time to tune my skis on the job between customers, which are the perks of such a job. Wow, that was a long sentence, but I think you get my point.
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
maggot, you are correct that some folks just want to get out the door and spend their one day in relative agony. That's not really the skier resorts should be targeting. They should promote this "service" to skiers as an optional service. Those who are interested in improving or learning will take the service, those who are just out for a day with kids are not and that's fine. They are not going to spend $ on gear nor ski more than 3-4 days.
post #23 of 26
I hear this!

I spent the better part of the past 15 years on boots that were at least 2 sizes too big. But I never knew they were too big as I was only going perhaps 2 weeks (14 days tops) every year, missing some years altogether. It wasn't actually until 2 seasons ago that my ancient San Marcos cracked in half in the parking lot that I was exposed to the whole bootfitting world.

I dropped at least 2 sizes and still think I may need a proper adjusting/alignment second fitting to insure the proper set-up. But the difference in my current boots is pretty drastic/amazing compared to what i was skiing in previously.

Of course, it might have helped had I taken a few lessons and had the opportunity for an instructor to see whether or not I was in proper boots.

All of that said, I can see the earlier point made about spending more dough at the resorts. After rentals, food, locker, parking, lessons, it can be a bit of an expenditure (somewhat analogous to going to the movies where after tickets, drinks, and food you've spent a grip and probably wouldn't be in the mood to spend more money for a proper chiropractic alignment to improve your movie watching experience).

post #24 of 26
We are not talking high performance rental boots here. Just boots that are not painful and at the same time don't have so much slop that they provide no linkage between the skier and the ski.

Since the skier retention rate is estimated to be only about 15%, it seems that more effort in the boot end of the rental shop operation might make sense, including hiring more boot shop staff to keep the lines moving, if neccesary.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostboy View Post
We are not talking high performance rental boots here. Just boots that are not painful and at the same time don't have so much slop that they provide no linkage between the skier and the ski.

Since the skier retention rate is estimated to be only about 15%, it seems that more effort in the boot end of the rental shop operation might make sense, including hiring more boot shop staff to keep the lines moving, if neccesary.
But that was my point. I wasn't saying anything about high performance boots either. I was just saying that people have so many different shapes of feet, it is impossible for a rental shop to have enough different kinds of boots to fit all the different foot shapes. They will maybe have four different boot models, a narrow, wide, and maybe a narrow and wide women's boot. You really can't do to much with that, and its really impractical financialy to have any more than that.
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGGOT View Post
But that was my point. I wasn't saying anything about high performance boots either. I was just saying that people have so many different shapes of feet, it is impossible for a rental shop to have enough different kinds of boots to fit all the different foot shapes. They will maybe have four different boot models, a narrow, wide, and maybe a narrow and wide women's boot. You really can't do to much with that, and its really impractical financialy to have any more than that.
Thanks. Earlier in this thread I was expressing disappointment that the "soft" boots of a few seasons ago have disappeared. I thought they may have found a niche in the rental market. Even so, rentals are a profit maker for ski area as I understand it, although I could be wrong on this point. So, if nothing else, maybe just hiring more staff to spend a little more time trying to get things right may be of some help.

I'll confess that I don't pretend to know the economics of ski areas very well. It's just t that it seems that the industry should be able to do better than a 15% retention rate-especially as the baby boomer generation increasing elects to vacation in the Bahamas or just stay at home in front of the TV or with a good book.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Better Boot fit= more ski days for resorts