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Tahoe boot buying question

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Was having dinner with a friend last night and got caught in the "you ski alot .. you must know what your doing" type discussion. However, I have a pretty generic foot which never really needs much of anything for boot fitting other than a sales guy who has a clue... But, that's not the case here.

The general problem is that my friend lives in the San Jose area of CA and Skis in Tahoe (like most of us in this neck of the woods). Now he has a problem with numbness in his foot after skiing for a while. He claim to have a high instep -- which leads me to belive he's got too much pressure on the top of his foot. So, far so "easy"...

The crux of the question is that he's a little "frustrated" with his current boots and looking to buy new ones, but given the past history not sure what to do. The easy purchase possibilities are:
  • Bay Area -- Is there a good boot fitter in the area? Is it meaningful to go up for a weekend, ski note the problems, return for fitting, rinse and repeat?
  • Sacramento (Sierra ski & snowboard) -- typically good guy there who will work with a solid selection of boots and a bit of knowlege.
  • Truckee -- (porters / granite) -- Concern is their selection feels a bit more limited, but has the advantage that you can do one day turn around for boot fitting. Any experience here, or other thoughts?
  • Boutique bootfitters (northstar / squaw) -- No experience, but from the claims they might be the best bet... Plus they're at the base of the hill for more "rapid" turnaround and adjustments.
So, does anybody have any direct experience with "hard to fit" feed and/or some additional help on some recommendations that I can pass along?
post #2 of 26
Bud Heishman at Snow wind sports, Reno. Epicksi/ESA boot guy extraordinaire

http://www.snowind.com/
post #3 of 26
I've had great success working with Gunnar at Granite Chief, and I have a high arch/instep. My wife had some good work done for her at Porter's at Incline about 2 years ago (sorry, I forget the name).

Or, I'm sure a lot of Bears have worked with other fitters, like Bud H. and SierraJim, who post here a lot.
post #4 of 26
Well you mentioned Sierra Ski and Snowboard, so geez, make an appointment with SierraJim (Jim Fowler) before you go. Jim does a great job of fitting and tweaking boots, and I'm riding in a pair I bought from him. In Tahoe, Bud would not only sell, tweak and adjust, but could actually work on alignment. If that's not enough, go ski with him. He's a level III instructor and only good can come of it.
post #5 of 26
COSMO.
That's the name to remember when you are in Tahoe the next time. He is located next to the Blue Coyote bar and restaurant a couple of blocks out of Truckee on the road to Northstar. (Hwy 265) He used to be in Tahoe City for years but moved this year to Truckee. He's been fitting boots for years and years, has a bunch of local former and future olympic skiers as clients, as well as everybody I know locally. He's great at what he does and is a fun guy besides. I'm on my third pair of boots from him. Also, a friend of mine from the bay area who has really tough feet to fit (ugly knobs everywhere) and has been unhappy with his boots for 20 years , finally had Cosmo fit him last year and couldn't be happier with his boots, plus his skiing stepped up a notch. And maybe the best part is Cosmo next door to the Blue Coyote now so when you're done being fitted, you can go next door and get a beer.:
post #6 of 26
Make that 267, not 265. You'll never get there on 265.
post #7 of 26
I really like the guys at California Ski Company, but I have yet to get fitted there (I mostly swing by and jaw the owner's ear off talking about gear...they're nice folks). They just have a great vibe at the shop (no pressure, mellow, like to talk shop).

I got my boots at Village Ski Loft in Incline Village. They did a nice job taking the time and bringing out a lot of boots for me to try on, even humoring my suggestions based on what I'd read or been recommended. I think I have a pretty normal, albeit somewhat narrow foot.

Another shop that I got a great vibe from was Tahoe Boot and Bike Works in Heavenly Village (at the Gondola across from the Ice Rink). I actually went here first and they were great. Sadly they didn't have the right size boot, but they fitted me and even did some minor tweaks (heel lift) on the boots I bought at Village Ski Loft (I needed a tweak while riding at Heavenly and they remembered me from before so did the work pro bono).

To me, one thing to really look for is the range of boots the shop carries. When I got fitted 2 seasons ago I hadn't had new boots in over 15 years, so I wanted a nice selection to choose from, focusing on narrower boots.
post #8 of 26
I'll second Gunnar at Granite Chief. He did great work for me and my son last winter.
post #9 of 26
I used Gunnar at Granite Chief before, he was good. I would not give Granite 10 cents anymore. Cosmo is the go to guy still, I hear. I used Squaw surefoot (at the old location) last time and they will have my business from now on. Not only did they do a great job, but I had problems they could not resolve for 2 years afterward, so they bought my boots back and started over (long story, I had a Technica and tried to stay in an ICON, but it wasn't nearly the same boot). I actually ended up getting money back. Additionally, where ever I go, they seem to have a surefoot who can deal with any little problem that comes up. I think using a bootfitter in Tahoe is the best way to go, that way you can fine tune everything while you are skiing, not after your weekend or week is ruined from pain.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfjakey View Post
I used Gunnar at Granite Chief before, he was good. I would not give Granite 10 cents anymore.
Did you have a bad experience with Granite Chief, or do you just feel that Cosmo and/or Surefoot are better and should get the business instead? I have no grounds to disagree, I'm just trying to see if there's more info here. Sometimes things change, different people have different experiences, etc....
post #11 of 26
^Dino, no personal experience here, so take this with a grain of salt, but I have heard over the past few seasons that a number of the established techs from GC had moved on to other shops.

Don't know how this would effect boot fitting, but I recall last season when inquiring here and on TGR about solid shops to take skis in for mounts and tunes a number of folks remarked that the techs they trusted at GC had moved over to other shops and that the new guys weren't up to par.

Again, no personal experience here, that's just what I've heard.

There are plenty of threads on this subject in the Boot Fitting section, where this really should be posted.

Bud and Cosmo tend to come up a lot and then random miscellaneous shops and individuals. Everyone seems to have different experiences and I think it all depends on what kind of work you need done. I got Hot Rods out the box and they've been decent. Markedly improved recently after being shown the proper way to "lace" them up by Bong (I'd been buckling them one way and the way he showed me improved my heel lockdown and made them snugger without cutting circulation). I personally haven't felt the need to super tweaking yet. Gimme another season and I think my liners will be done, though.

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
^Dino, no personal experience here, so take this with a grain of salt, but I have heard over the past few seasons that a number of the established techs from GC had moved on to other shops.

Don't know how this would effect boot fitting, but I recall last season when inquiring here and on TGR about solid shops to take skis in for mounts and tunes a number of folks remarked that the techs they trusted at GC had moved over to other shops and that the new guys weren't up to par.

Again, no personal experience here, that's just what I've heard.
Ahh, OK; nothing's certain but change. Thanks a lot, I'll keep it in mind.
post #13 of 26

bootfitter

Quote:
Originally Posted by thokirk View Post
COSMO.
That's the name to remember when you are in Tahoe the next time. He is located next to the Blue Coyote bar and restaurant a couple of blocks out of Truckee on the road to Northstar. (Hwy 265) He used to be in Tahoe City for years but moved this year to Truckee. He's been fitting boots for years and years, has a bunch of local former and future olympic skiers as clients, as well as everybody I know locally. He's great at what he does and is a fun guy besides. I'm on my third pair of boots from him. Also, a friend of mine from the bay area who has really tough feet to fit (ugly knobs everywhere) and has been unhappy with his boots for 20 years , finally had Cosmo fit him last year and couldn't be happier with his boots, plus his skiing stepped up a notch. And maybe the best part is Cosmo next door to the Blue Coyote now so when you're done being fitted, you can go next door and get a beer.:

DITTO ON COSMO, I don't know about the other guys mentioned they may be very good but I do know Cosmo and he is excellent b ootfitter. Tell your friend if he goes to Cosmo to call and make an appointment now that its almost ski time. Used to call his business: The Footwerks not sure if he is still using that name and yes thats how he spelled it.
post #14 of 26
I live on the peninsula and made a day trip up to South Lake yesterday to work with Jeff at the Powder House. I was really impressed with all of his feedback and thoroughness in evaluating my foot and boot needs. I strongly recommend you have your friend take a trip up to Tahoe and meet with any of the known fitters mentioned here. Tell him DO NOT waste his time with local shops. I went to a couple to preliminary try some boots and nobody tried to do a shell fit. One person even suggested I stuff the liners to make a 26.5 boot fit (Jeff had me very comfortably in a 25.5).
post #15 of 26
Bud is great to work with. I would recommend seeing him. It looks like you Tahoe skiers are spoiled. Good bootfitters in the PNW are few and far between.
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
DITTO ON COSMO, I don't know about the other guys mentioned they may be very good but I do know Cosmo and he is excellent b ootfitter. Tell your friend if he goes to Cosmo to call and make an appointment now that its almost ski time. Used to call his business: The Footwerks not sure if he is still using that name and yes thats how he spelled it.
ditto ditto on Cosmo. 3 boots for me and 2 for my wife. Another important note on Cosmo is boot fitting is included in the price and is free for the life of the boot. I have gone in after 2 years and had tweaks done to my boots for free.

web addy: http://cosmosfootwerks.com/



Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
I really like the guys at California Ski Company, but I have yet to get fitted there (I mostly swing by and jaw the owner's ear off talking about gear...they're nice folks). They just have a great vibe at the shop (no pressure, mellow, like to talk shop).
Greg seems to know was he is doing. He helped me out w/ a temporary fix until I get to Cosmo one time.
post #17 of 26
Getting OT, but my experience wih Granite Chief revolves around tuning issues. They used to be the go to shop in Squaw, but no longer. The Truckee store is even worse in my opinion. I've had good luck with Squaw Valley Sport Shop lately, but they aren't all that convenient, unless you are coming off the hill on the ski you want tuned.
post #18 of 26
Brent and Jeff at the Pioneer Trail Powderhouse in SLT are great. They carry a selection of boots to fit different feet and flex preferences, etc... They'll do footbeds, alignment, and work w/ you and your boot after purchase. They used to be Tahoe Boot 'n Ski. I too live in the Bay Area and have found employees at local shops to be clueless. It's nice to speak w/ a professional who'll attempt to gauge your skiing wants/needs before even pulling a boot off the shelf and when he does fit it w/ care...
post #19 of 26
On the peninsula, Gary at the nonsensically-named Helm of Sun Valley in San Mateo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfjakey View Post
Getting OT, but my experience wih Granite Chief revolves around tuning issues. They used to be the go to shop in Squaw, but no longer. The Truckee store is even worse in my opinion. I've had good luck with Squaw Valley Sport Shop lately, but they aren't all that convenient, unless you are coming off the hill on the ski you want tuned.
Seriously. I stopped going to GC after they massacred the tails of my Bros in the base grinder and mounted someone else's bindings on my daughter's new skis. These days, I get my tunes done at Alpine. Their prices are competitive generally, and much more so when you buy a Silver Pass (each $100 paid at the beginning of the season gets you $200 of service, carried over to next season if unused). And unlike many or most hostage shops, they actually have staff who know what they're doing. (Or did -- I'm assuming they're back this year.)
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
On the peninsula, Gary at the nonsensically-named Helm of Sun Valley in San Mateo.
95% of of good boot fitting is accurate boot selling. You don't have to go to Tahoe for that.

Gary Hohl is quite good.

SJ
post #21 of 26
i was at Helm today after lunching with Sinecure.

if you go there make sure you get Gary, then, as per AD and SJ's recommendations.

i went over to just peruse the boot section and noticed the Nordica Blower. when i asked the guy who was manning the upstairs if he knew if this had replaced the Hot Rod he shrugged and said that he was a snowboarder.

he was going to refer me to somebody else in the shop (can't remember the name, so not sure if it was Gary or not), but they were on the phone.

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
Gary Hohl is quite good.
Good to get the additional data points. I went to him because they're an Intuition dealer, and I needed to get the liners I bought in the TGR group buy formed. He checked my posture, made a good determination on footbed vs. not, and really worked with me on the fit, all at what I considered a ridiculously reasonable price of $35. I was very impressed.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
Good to get the additional data points. I went to him because they're an Intuition dealer, and I needed to get the liners I bought in the TGR group buy formed. He checked my posture, made a good determination on footbed vs. not, and really worked with me on the fit, all at what I considered a ridiculously reasonable price of $35. I was very impressed.
:......................Well, I didn't say he was smart...............

Seriously, these Intuitions are the best yet. I just did an Alpine Power Wrap for Tyrone and the mold was excellent. The prep work on the foot takes some time though.

SJ
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
Seriously, these Intuitions are the best yet. I just did an Alpine Power Wrap for Tyrone and the mold was excellent. The prep work on the foot takes some time though.

SJ
you trying to say I have funny feet?

thanks again Jim. Since getting them molded by you, I've slipped them back on a few times and they feel great. Totally different boot. Can't wait to get them on the snow.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
:......................Well, I didn't say he was smart...............
I'll tell alpinemom to tell him you said so when she goes in to get her liners cooked.
post #26 of 26
I got some work done at the Starthaus. They're very good, and not just for racers. Limited selection of boots in a non-race model, though.
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