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I need help choosing ski gear…

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
What would you recommend for a beginner female skier, still in the learning phase (snow plowing for now, learning how to turn on Discovery Runs); 30 y/o, 5’8” and 120 lbs (slim figure)? I’m looking for a comfortable soft ski boot and a pair of skis with an integrated binding system. Should I buy new or used?

Any ideas/recommendations highly appreciated.
post #2 of 13
1.) Rent for another year.

2.) Buy the boots first from a certified bootfitter. This should take about 2 hours to do it right. Go during a weekday when the crowds are small and the fitter can give you their full attention.

3.) Go to a Demo Weekend and try several different brands, models, and sizes of ski's. Take notes while your are trying them, and buy the equipment you like the best.

4.) Ski and have fun.

[ February 05, 2004, 09:20 AM: Message edited by: Ullr ]
post #3 of 13
Hey Euclide, most beginners and even a lot of intermediates dont ski aggressively enough to need brand new high performance gear. I agree with what Ullr said about the bootfitter, but you can always get used boots and get the fitter to make them work for you. I would suggest getting used equipment for 2 years or so (if you ski often enough, if not, rentals would be fine) until you get to the level where the quality of gear that you have really effects your skiing. If you h
post #4 of 13
Hey Ben, I was just out your way yesterday at Wintergreen for a day of goofing off. I heard y'all got a real good fitter or two in C'Ville at a place called Freestyle. Do you know anything about the place and where it is located? I will be getting my wife a pair next year when she gets a little better.

: : :
post #5 of 13
I would check out women specific gear. I have the Volkl 20/20 skis and I demo'd the Atomic women's boots and they were absoultely fantastic! I am your height and weight. Don't buy used boots. . Go spend some time with a good boot fitter at a shop that will exchange or refund for boots that don't work. Many of the shops in Colorado will do that. If you like skiing and want to improve, good boots are extremely important. If you get good boots, you can demo different skis until you find some that you love.

post #6 of 13
This isn't a one answer question, has many possibilities, so I will throw my $.02 in.

First, As a beginner, I'm curious on why you wanted an integrated binding system? Drives cost and as a beginner you don't really need or want.

Unfortunately you didn't say how many ski days you expect to have, which leads to the amount of progress that you will achieve over time, which leads to the performance of the ski for your ability. i.e. if you improve rapidly you will want to upgrade more frequently, if you stay at the same level you may be able to keep the skis you have for a longer period of time.

Assuming 10-20 ski-days a year, I would buy a package at the end of the season. At the end of the season, which is after presidents day week, you can get a learners package for about $300 [Boots, Ski's and Bindings] This is a lot cheaper than renting for 2-3 years.

As you progress thru the learning experience you will be able to determine what kind of skier you are and can upgrade from there. You will also become more informed about the types of ski's that are for you as a result of all the Apres Ski conversations that you will have. You know it's amazing how a couple of beers raises my ability from a solid 6 to an 8.

I would like to relate a word of caution based on my own experience, never buy a set of ski's beyond your ability. You won't grow into them, they will most likely set you back.

Remember that Boots are the most important item. Never skimp on boots. A good boot makes all the difference between comfort and control. Find a good bootfitter, many have been listed on this site and spend the time getting fitted properly.

I hope you find equipment you like because peace of mind makes all the difference.
post #7 of 13
Freestyle is located on the west side US29N by the Asian Buffet and Nature Conservatory. I got my boots there and they did a great job of fitting - I got custom footbeds there as well and they put a shim in under my heel to get my leg geometry to better match the boot geometry. PM me if you have any other questions...
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
I should point out that the advice I sought wasn’t for me personally (I’m a solid upper intermediate-advance skier). My fiancée has been complaining that I should take her with me on ski trips. She only skied once years ago but this past weekend I took her with on the mountain. She did the “fist time thing” with an instructor and then “skied” mostly the very easy, discovery runs. I even took her with me on a green run where she plowed down the mountain with enough grace that made me think she has what it takes to learn and become a good skier. We had a great time! The boots however bothered her a bit. I’m definitely buying her new boots. For some reason her feet are a little funny; she always complains that she never finds shoes comfortable enough. I had nightmares the night before renting her ski boots for the first time…

So, that was the idea; I wanted to buy her equipment. I thought of getting a good pair of used skis. They’ll take a beating anyway… I’m definitely taking her to a boot fitter and get a good, comfortable (?) pair of boots. Wish me luck…

Thank you all for your input.
post #9 of 13
Since she's so lightweight she might really benefit from women's skis. I've only skied K2's upper level women's skis, but really like them and they have a full range of women's skis - tested and designed by women. So K2 women's beginner/intermediate skis (Skye, I think) would be at the top of my recommendation list. Volkl's women's skis might be worth checking into as well.
post #10 of 13
As a learner myself (this is my first season skiing), I can relate to her. My husband was reluctant at first to buy equipment for me, but I was having a lot of problems with rental boots and I realized I wouldn't progress very quickly if I continued to use boots that were either too loose or too tight (which are my options with rentals seeing as I have somewhat wider feet). While shopping for boots, he decided it might be a good idea to get skis at the same time as they would probably be cheaper as a package deal. Total for boots, skis, bindings, and poles was about $400, which isn't bad. Best decision we ever made... In the times I've been out since purchasing my own equipment, there has been a vast improvement in my skiing experience and I'm progressing quickly. I feel much more in control than I did in rental equipment.
I"m sharing my experience because I was originally given the same advice you were--to rent at first and buy in a year or two. Granted, it all depends on how many days a year she intends to ski. We've been going out at least once a week since January and intend to continue at that pace for the rest of the season, with a mini-ski vacation thrown in during early March. That greatly influenced the decision to buy. Had I intended only to ski a few times more this year, I wouldn't have forked over the money.
There are definite pros and cons whichever way you go. If you do decide to buy, as you already know, make sure to get boots first. It makes a HUGE difference if you have properly fitted boots. She will thank you for it. Other than that, discuss what her goals are. Again, if she's going to be a casual skier only going out a few times a season, it might not be worth it to invest in the skis too...at least, not right away.
Good luck!

Oh yeah, in case you're wondering, we went with Salomon Performa 4.0 boots and Rossignol Saphir Snow 2 skis with Salomon bindings... I'm very happy with both.

[ February 05, 2004, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: severine ]
post #11 of 13
As for boots, a comfortable boot makes all the difference since pain comes from pinching (usually) which also can restrict blood flow adn make her feet get cold faster. I have a very hi volume foot with big calfs so it's hard for me to get a good fit and painful boots usually end up freezing my feet faster. Not that I am an advocate of soft boots but I have heard generaally good things from those who don't expect to win any races in them, including the Rossignol soft, kniessl rail (still make it?) and a few others. A friend has the salomon soft bnoot (it is just a cushy liner with softer plastic with laces below the top buckle instead of lower buckles) and he likes it a lot for warmth and fit. If she progresses rapidly then in a season or two she may be out skiing them but if comfort and reducing foot pain is a must, then don't over look them I would say.

My $0.02...
post #12 of 13
I strongly recommend Atomic E:5 women's skis. They really helped me gain confidence and progress as a new skier. Used or new, you can probably find them pretty cheap on ebay. I just sold mine there and the buyer wrote me that she loves them, and went down a black without using a snowplow. They are very stable and easy to turn.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Guys, thanks so much! Great ideas... thank you! I too like the Atomic E5's and almost hammered a deal on EBAY the other night… They’re good skis and also a good choice for beginners.

I’m definitely opting for a soft boot. Comfort is paramount if I want to see her progress… Sore feet are something she cannot put up with. She might put up with my caprices but that’s where she draws the line

Thanks again for your help!
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