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Why I hate bootfitters - Page 3

post #61 of 80
I guess what I'm trying to say is if you seperate the 'buying process' from the 'fitting process' you might get some 'questions/ comments' as to "why did they do that?".

The customer is an integral part of the scenario, it's not just shop guys bickering.
post #62 of 80

I'm Having a Fit!

Spent yesterday having my new Kryptons fitted at the Boot Doctors in Telluride. I bought them from another shop that did not have a full on fitting facility. Everybody at Boot Docs is a certified "Master Boot Fitter" and the owner flies around the country doing classes and certifying other boot fitters in that program. I took close to two hours for them to pad the liners and punch the shells, and during that time I saw several other people in the shop getting boot work done. It was amazing to witness real pros at work and realize that probably 80% of skiers never get their boots fitted right.

There are certianly unqualified jerks out there doing boot fitting, but there are also many who take great pride in their work and delight in being able to enhance your skiing experience. A good boot fitter is not interested in critizing the last person that worked on your boots, or selling you stuff you don't need, just taking what you've got and making it work for you.

I had to drive a little over a hundred miles each way and the whole deal took the better part of a day, but I consider it a small price to pay to optimize the comfort and performance of my boots. The last pair they dialed in for me felt so good that I never unbuckled them if I went in for lunch. There is no reason for you to settle for boots that hurt. Find a real pro and go. It will be the best money you ever spent on skiing.
post #63 of 80
The Boot Doctor in either Taos or Telluride are great. I think one problem people have is it isn't convenient for them to see the same fitter seveal times over the course of a season.

I bought new boots at the B D in Taos last year. Frankly, I paid a premium for the boots when I prurchased them there, but in the long run it was worth it. For a year after purchase they make adjustments for no charge.

I bought the boots in the morning. Since the shop is right on the mountain I went and skied the for half a day and retured to the shop. My feedback resulted in a little lift added in the heel.

After skiing in the boots about 10 days and being pretty darned pleased, I returned to the shop and had the shells stretched in a couple of places where I was having some minor discomfort. The liners had had the chance to pack out and it was time for a little fine tunning. Because I have easy access to the shop, we were very conservative. I ended the season with the boots and was VERY pleased.

I will probably make one more visit now that I have around thirty days in the boots for a couple of tweaks.

The same tech has worked on the boots each time. He calls me by name when he sees me. It's been great. Though I paid a premium when I purchased the boots, I'm convinced that going through the process of having the same reputable person initially fit the boots and fine tune them over the course of a season was a great bargain.

Even though I'll make one more trip to the shop this season for some tweaking, the boots are extrememly comfortable. They are very snug, but I can wear 'em all day for days on snow in a row without ever unbuckling them. They have improved my skiing.

There is a BIG difference between going through a quality fitting process and turning up at a random fitter expecting a magic bullet to fix problems.
post #64 of 80
MisterK just nailed it. He paid a 'premium' up front, and got topnotch service for an entire season. He doesn't have to listen to or explain why a previous 'fix' happened. The fitter knows what was done and why, he can concentrate on what to try next. He SAVED time and MONEY by investing more and got quick results every time he had something tweaked. He got to enjoy his time skiing. One day on the hill is expensive, stopping because you're having foot pain is a cost of the purchase price.

If more people took a longer term look at expenses they would see that paying 'half price' and then paying an hourly rate for fitting, time and oportunity costs, etc. didn't save anything and the end result is an inferior product AND experience.

I understand that 'bargain shopping' is fun, but it's not always a bargain if you look at the final costs.
post #65 of 80
Much of the confusion surrounding boot fitting is that there is usually more than one acceptable method to fix a specific boot fit problem. After seeing dozens of fitters, I do most of my own fit work. Quite often I have had to undo work, or go back to the baseline, when one set of mods did not achieve the desired result.

Likewise I can understand how one fitter might react when he examines and critics another fitter's work. If their various choice of preferred techniques is different, the second person into the boot will want to undo the first set of mods in order to start with a clean baseline for his work. It doesn't mean the first fitter's work was wrong. But rather that the fitter wants to lay the proper foundation for their own particular technique.
post #66 of 80
I land in SLC on Tuesday (must start packing - the removal men arrive to clear the flat tomorrow at 8.30am) and will walk in to see Steve Bagley at Superior Ski at Snowbird mid-morning on Wednesday; he was recommended by one WTFH of this parish.

I won't be taking my current boots with me; they're too stiff for teaching, particularly beginners. A real pain to sidestep up hill all day in! It's a start-fresh, all-or-nothing deal.

The key point for me is the recommendation, plus the fact that he's close enough for me to get down from Park City on my days off if there is a problem.

Bootfitting often comes down to the customer, but can also be down to the staff. The best boots I've had in terms of fit came from Footworks in Chamonix; superb. The worst came from ProFeet in London - completely wrong for my foot, gave me immense problems and after three weeks had to be binned and the current pair bought. Yet I'm an experienced skier ... I let the fitter blind me with science and paid the price.
post #67 of 80
Oh my God!! Fatmouthing bootfitters and footbeds?!? Ain't that blasphemy?? I thought that they were the fix for EVERYTHING! Lack of control?...you need foot beds. Pain?...footbeds. Too far back?...footbeds. Too far forward?...foot beds. Erectile dysfunction?...foot beds. Stale beer?...foot beds.

Overrated, overrecommended and oversold.

That's just my opinion...I could be wrong.
post #68 of 80
Originally Posted by h2osnowfan View Post

Overrated, overrecommended and oversold.

That's just my opinion...I could be wrong.
Not if you need em. Some people have tough feet to fit, "bad feet" so to speak. My foot beds make a huge difference.

Show some graditude that you don't need em and some understanding for the poor bastards that do.
post #69 of 80

Why I think GMOL sets the standard; possible jerky comments aside

I wanted to reply to this because I think that my pitifully too vast experiece with bootfitters could be of some benefit to to other east coast bears. I certainly can not comment on the unsolicited comments made by the GMOL tech; it actually sounds pretty obnoxious to me too.

But I can tell you this, when it comes to balance mechanics, GMOL in Stratton and Jeff Rich in NYC are in a league of their own.

I have always found the guys at GMOL to be good guys, but they can be over booked and stressed. They are limited by their stock at hand. But they take the bootfitting process staright through to balance. Almost no one else, that I know, does that routinely.

Do your self a favor, if you're buying boots in the east, get to Stratton. If you live in tri-state area (NY,NJ, CT) and need balace, orthotics, or fit work see Jeff Rich. He's pricey but he wrote the book; he's a genius in fact.
post #70 of 80

Clearing things up!

I would like to clear up a couple of things that I have seen here in the last couple of days. The first and most important is that the person who "bad mouthed" SoCalSki"s boot decision was NOT an employee of GMOL!! He was an employee of First Run Ski Shop which is NOT the same company. All GMOL employees have strict orders to never "bad Mouth" any work done by any other shops. If a customer comes in with a footbed or any other work done by another shop we will certainly try to work with what is there.
Secondly, there are alot of great bootfitters out there, there are also a lot of hacks. Please judge each one by his/her merits. Bootfitters are here to make peoples lives better, some are better than others. I don't believe any bootfitter makes people miserable intentionally.
SoCalSki, Before you condemn GMOL, at least stop in and meet us. I think that giving us a bad rap when you haven't even had any contact with us is unfair. If you would like to meet, stop in, I would be happy to meet with you. Bill- GMOL
post #71 of 80
Wow. What the heck!! My name is Greg Hoffmann and I started GMOL years ago. This summer I sold that business to Bill Haight , a stand up,huge hearted,well meaning man. I started GMOL due to a passion for helping people ski more comfortably. I know that concept lives on.Sure we have had some winners and losers but who doesn't. The irony about this thread and the related blasomy(sp) is that the person in the shop that instigated this problem is not even a GMOL employee. Seems the old adage of count to five before you verbally react needs to become part of socal's personna. P.S. Why is it such a crime to actually charge for services rendered and try to make a living. It is comments and threads such as this that have made me step aside from these forums. Too much negative vibe ussually based on nothing tangible. Skiing is good in Vail now!!!!
post #72 of 80
My hat is off to The guys at GMOL ,for posting thier comments here. I hope that SoCalSki takes up the offer to return to the shop.
post #73 of 80
Greg remember there are a lot of good people and a lot not so good people and a lot of misinformed people everywhere you look.

Staying involved, if only moderately, is better than allowing stupidity to prevail.

I too have had only great experiences at GMOL and as you point out this whole thing was caused by someone who wasn't even a GMOL employee.

Have a great time on the hill - I'm jealous!

post #74 of 80
I have tried GMOL and unfortunately the results were not positive. That was just my experience though and I suspect it had more to do with the fact that they seemed extremely busy and stressed when I had my fit appointment. I would reccomend trying them early or late in the season when things are not busy.

In February when I made an appointment in advance I ended up sitting next to 6 other skiers waiting to get worked on by 2 or 3 techs. There were also people coming in and out of the shop and all the employees looked totally burned out and were not the friendliest. My opinion is they are understaffed during the main season and really don't have the resources to devote one-on-one quality time to each customer.

Being rushed through a boot fitting session is the last thing you need.
post #75 of 80

pretty funny

its pretty funny how a guy can go on a rant about dissing a store and finds out that its the wrong store. what is even more funny is that the guy cant even stand up and admit that he was wrong. who knows if the boot is right or wrong, but buddy, stand up and let everyone know that you were wrong. the other funny thing is that he dissed a company owned store that has threatened to fire him about this issue.
i think that if we want to go on record dissing the stores that are there to help instructors and their clients, better get your facts right.
post #76 of 80
Went up to GMOL this past Friday afternoon for a fitting. I'm waiting to actually try the boots out before posting a full review (#*!@!!#@$$ work schedule!), but I had the full undivided attention of a real pro for 3 solid hours.

I was exceptionally pleased with the shop and Matt (my bootfitter). I never felt rushed and feel I got right fit & boot.

Being right on the slopes would seem to be both a blessing and a curse. You can take your newly fitted boots out for a test run and get them tweaked right away, but at the same time the shop's going to get all the yahoos & gapers popping in and expecting instant gratification. I can imagine the shop can be a madhouse during the xmas break!

No matter, I would heartily endorse GMOL ... but pick your times carefully
post #77 of 80
Originally Posted by windowman View Post
its pretty funny how a guy can go on a rant about dissing a store and finds out that its the wrong store. what is even more funny is that the guy cant even stand up and admit that he was wrong.
I don't have a dog in this race, but I believe that GMOL is located inside a ski shop. Gregfit's comment about the person who instigated this problem isn't a GMOL employee does not mean that the OP is confused about where he went.

Lots of bootfitters work out of ski shops as independent contractors. Steve Bagley at Superior Ski in Snowbird is in a shop at the Snowbird base, Gordon Hay at Solesystems used to be inside Wilderness House in Boston, Jeff Bergeron is inside Norway Haus in Breck.

They obviously work at least somewhat closely with the sales staff employed by the surrounding shop, and vice-versa.

That doesn't mean that everyone in the shop who talks to a customer about bootfitting works for the bootfitter.

But it doesn't mean that this independent relationship is obvious to the paying customer. It's obvious to the bootfitter. It may be obvious to the shop employees too. But it's reasonable for a customer to think it's all one business.

Think of it like the airline checkin counters in most European airports, where the ticket/checkin agents don't actually work for the airlines, they work for Swissport or one of the other major providers. How would you like to check in for your hard-paid flight on United coming back from Switzerland and be told by the "United" check-in agent, "Why did you choose this lousy airline? You should have flown XYZ?"

From the customer's perspective, the GMOL employees and the shop employees all appear to work for the same provider. They're all customer facing. They should all represent the same values of customer service, whether they work for the bootfitter or they work for the shop hosting the bootfitter's independent operation. It's a partnership and they should treat the customer of either establishment as a customer of both.

For the record, that's exactly the good way in which I was treated by Gordon and by the Wildnerness House employees back in Boston, and by Steve Bagley and the Snowbird ski shop employees there. I haven't had the chance to have bootwork with Jeff yet (though I need to as part of picking new boots) but I have purchased from Norway Haus and seen a positive attitude there too.

Maybe the employee where GMOL is located had a bad day. Maybe we should cut him/her some slack. We should cut the Original Poster some slack also, for not knowing the business arrangements and contractual agreements between GMOL and the shop.

I'm not saying whether any of the bootwork at any of the places was good or bad. Just that the typical bootfitter/shop arrangement is not necessarily obvious to the end consumer.
post #78 of 80

Boot fit

Of course I tried on smaller boots! I tried the Technica Magnesium in a size smaller than what I bought and my toes were jammed against the front of the shell. I can tell you that had I bought the smaller boots my feet would have been in pain and they'd also be ice cold. I also tried the Diablo Race boot, but I didn't like the way that boot felt on my foot. When I did the shall fit on my Magnesium boots, I can fit just over 1 finger width behind my heel in the shell. Not too big. And now I am skiing in them for the second year with no problems.

Read the posts here, you will learn that not all bootfitters know what they're doing and people are often driven by money and product, not what's best for your foot. Personally, I went around to multiple ski shops and I tried Nordica, Lange, Technica and Dalbello boots. I ignore what the sales people say and decide for myself how the boots fit on my feet.

Originally Posted by torfinn View Post
You didn't try on some smaller boots? Did you consider the guy could actually be right, this being his profession and all?

Or were you just offended that he thought you'd bought the wrong size?
post #79 of 80
Originally Posted by dantelman View Post
I ignore what the sales people say and decide for myself how the boots fit on my feet.

Try on plenty of different models and boots and don't decide on a pair because it was highly reccomended by the fitter or sales rep. Nothing can replace actual feel.
post #80 of 80
This thread was updated at the request of the original poster:


This story actually has a somewhat happy ending. The managers at First Run and Green Mountain Orthotic Lab discovered this thread and took time out of their busy schedules to contact me. After going in and talking to them, I have a much better feel for their operation. The first thing I learned was that the employee I spoke to was actually not an employee of GMOL but was rather an employee of First Run (the two operations share one retail space). Since I didn't have any interaction with GMOL (although I didn't realize it at the time), it really isn't fair for me to criticize them. The manager of First Run apologized for what had happened and told me that they have discussed this with their employees, and it shouldn't happen again. I also spoke with the manager of GMOL and discovered that he didn't fit my stereotype of the arrogant bootfitter. He seemed really down to earth and actually explained that the reason they don't do foam liners is not that the foam liners them
selves are bad, but instead that they have discovered that they are extremely challenging to do well in the typical shop environment (in other words GMOL feels that it take a ton of time in a very relaxed environment to do a foam liner right, and the typical consumer really doesn't have that much time).

In summary, I guess I was having a bad day, and the shop employee I ran into was having a bad day, and things just kind of got out of hand. Obviously from the comments on this thread most people have had overwhelmingly positive interactions with GMOL, and I actually expect that in the future I will also have positive interactions with them (they even invited me to bring in my boots if I had any fit issues).

I would also like to apologize to GMOL and in fact posted a seperate apology thread in the General Ski Discussion forum (link here).
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