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Thread Starter 
A newbie, so please be kind!

I'm trying new ski boots for the first time in about 15 years. I'm a former high school/college racer (with the emphasis on former), currently skiing on Volant Ti Supers in 193cm (that was down from a Dynastar MV5 Geant in 203cm). I've been skiing in a Tecnica TNS for that time - I find the boots becoming more uncomfortable and cold as time goes on - perhaps time for new boots. Before those, I skied the Salomon SX90. Horribly uncomfortable, but had an internal wire system that could lock down my instep into the hell pocket like nothing else.

I'm 43 years old now, 5'11" and 170-175 lbs. I ski primarily in the East (Waterville Valley, NH is my home area), but make the occasional trip out West - I've had some great times at Snowbird and Snowmass, but have only once skied off-piste. I have young children who are learning to ski. I'm hoping to enjoy skiing with the family while continuing to challenge myself. And I'd like my feet to be a little warmer.

The feet: my street shoe size is a 10.5C or 11B depending upon the last. I have "flat feet" - a low arch, and low instep.

In starting my search, I've read the magazine reviews and have usually looked for something one step down from a racing boot. Boots I tried: several Nordicas, Lange (felt hard and lumpy), Head (tall instep), Salomon. Best fit seemed to be the Salomon, so that seemed a reasonable place to start. Shell size 27.5 seemed correct according to several fitters.

Got Instaprint footbeds made by a bootfitter (first time using a custom footbed), had the alignment checked, and then went out to ski.

Impressions: the boot was a bit big once I got into extreme forward lean (as if they packed out immediately - toes just barely touching the end when standing, and coming immediately off when beginning to lean forward), and soft. If I cranked the boot tight enough to give me the control I wanted, I would cut off my circulation and make the boot too narrow. There was too much space above my forefoot, and much too much above my instep. If not that tight, then the boot would be sloppy. Particularly making turns to the right, I noticed that a bump could cause the ski to move quite a bit without a lot of feedback coming through the boot to my feet - a definite loss of control. Would be in the backseat before I knew it.

I've also noticed I'm having trouble getting tight turns in either direction on my Volants. I'm used to laying the ski on edge and applying pressure to control the radius of the carve - now I find myself having to skid my turns to make them tighter - is it possible that the boot is not stiff enough to transmit necessary power to the skis? (Or do I need new skis at this point - I will likely move to a 175 all-mountain ski within the next year or two).

Returned those, and moved to a 27 (just for more thickness in the liner - same shell length), added a foam inner sole under the footbeds, and put a tongue pad in to take up the slack in my instep. Improvement, to be sure (now little or no gap between the liner and the top of the boot, but I'm concerned that I'm adding a lot of padding to a boot instead of getting one a bit too snug and punching it out, and they still seem, well, soft (and I'm skiing in 8 degree weather today).

The boots are returnable, so I'm wondering if I should continue to work with the Salomon Falcon 10s - the thought being that yes, I need new skis as well as the technology has completely changed, or should I be trying different boots altogether. And if different boots, which ones? And if anyone knows of terrific bootfitters in the Boston, MA or central New Hampshire areas, let me know!

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Steve