EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Tahoe first time boot fitting: Cosmo vs EliteFeet vs Surefoot???
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Tahoe first time boot fitting: Cosmo vs EliteFeet vs Surefoot???

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

My fiancee and I are driving over to Tahoe for Christmas this year. After renting boots and skis for years, we are taking the plunge to purchase our first set of boots.

After browsing this forum, I've come to the conclusion that the most often recommended bootfitters in Tahoe are:
1) Cosmo at Footwerks
2) Christian or Bob at EliteFeet.
3) I am also intrigued by the Surefoot system and they have a store at Squaw. Mixed reviews in these forums.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to ski and get boots at the same resort. Our plan was to get fitted, and then spend the next 4 days getting them tweaked after on-mountain testing. With Cosmo it would be Northstar, and with EliteFeet or Surefoot it would be Squaw Valley.

My questions are:
1) Would you agree with the short list of fitters I have come up with?
2) Any experiences (good or bad) with these fitters that would be helpful to me?
3) Anyone else you would recommend?
post #2 of 27
all i know is that surefoot will surely rape your wallet
post #3 of 27
It's not that bad getting to to Cosmo from Squaw or Alpine.

Note: I would not want to trying to do this doing the holidays. Everyone will be very busy and it hard to get time for the follow up tweaks.

Also, make an appt for the first fitting.
post #4 of 27
You might also Ask the Boot Guys. Bud Heishman of Snowind Sports is a level 3 instructor and former demo team; and starthaus aka Jim Shaffner has one of the most respected raceing backgrounds for boot fitting in the area. Not to mention, Jim Fowler of Sierra Ski and Snowboard offers great fitting services with very competitive prices and a wide choice of boots and ski gear. I'm not a big fan of the SureFoot franchise, because its not a boot fitter, its a system. Cosmo has an excellent reputation if you can find him.


bud heishman
Bud Heishman
Snowind Sports
Grand Sierra Resort
2500 E. 2nd Street
Reno, NV 89595
(775) 323-9463
www.snowind.com


starthaus
The Start Haus
Jim Schaffner
10990 Donner Pass Rd
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 582-5781

SierraJim
Jim Fowler
Gen. Mgr/Buyer
Sierra Ski and Snowboard
5400 Date Ave
Sacramento, CA 95841
916-344-1800
1-800-401-1751
http://www.sierrasnowboard.com/
post #5 of 27
IMO, Jim Schaffner at Start Haus in Truckee is the best boot fitter in the Tahoe area and the rest oif his staff is top notch as well. Again IMO, he is vastly superior to what you will get at any of the shops you have mentioned. If you stay at Squaw or Northstar, you will have to drive 10-15 miutes to get the work done, but it is well worth it.

They are also capable of doing reeasonably good quality alignment/canting work (which can be just as important as a good fitting boot especially if you more than a degree off in alignment) even though they don't do on snow alignment work.

Just my $.02
post #6 of 27
Bud Heishman #1
Jim #2
Cosmo #3

I have experience with all three, but none of the others.
post #7 of 27
We have a split family regarding Tahoe bootfitters:

Jim Schaffner at the Start Haus(Truckee): 11 year old daughter (first year J4 racer, needs an integrated equipment solution due to her small size but good skills) and me (51 year old with short wide feet and alignment issues).

Christian Denis at Elite Feet(Resort at Squaw Creek): 14 year old son(freestyle/freeride/bump competitor skier with wide feet, Christian is a former championship bump skier) and wife (good recreational skier coming off injuries).

Both shops are fabulous in my opinion--Christian has a bit more of a freeride clientele, Jim has more of a race client base but does many good freeride skiers as well. The most important thing is to establish a continuing relationship with one individual, where problems can be discussed and fixed, rather than a one time in and out(which is why I am not a Surefoot fan where some guys are good, but you at the mercy of who you get). It is truly a custom job to fit each individual's foot and skill levels.

Good luck!
post #8 of 27
I'll weigh in with my experiences.

The guys at Start Haus know their stuff, especially if you are race-oriented. They are not on-hill (in Truckee across the street from the hospital). Mid-day tweeks are not an option. I have not bought nor had boots fitted here. Only purchased and shopped for ski and tuning stuff.

Cosmo. He's been around for a long time and the people who go to him seem to really like him. Also not on-mountain (he's no closer to Northstar than he is to Squaw/Alpine - unless he's moved since I last checked - which is possible). I tried to get some footbeds and other work done by him a couple of times a few years ago, but could never manage to schedule an appointment that worked. Frankly, having to schedule an appointment weeks in advance turns me off. What about when I need a little tweak or repair done?

Surefoot - its a chain of stores so if you ever need work done on your boots you can get it done at any Surefoot. I really like their one-piece, foam footbeds. I take my footbeds in and out every day to let my liners dry and that beats up two-piece cork footbeds. The Surefoot ones I've had for 4+ years are still perfect (they've replaced the fabric on top a couple of times). Prices at Surefoot are not their strong point. Plus they will make every attempt to sell you shells, foam-injected liners and custom footbeds. I'm not real sure that everyone who buys foam-injected liners really needs them. You will not get out of Surefoot cheap. The one great bargain that Surefoot does have is their kids footbed deal. Buy your kid custom footbeds at full price once and they'll remake them every year until the kids feet stop growing. I've also been pleased with their trade-in program on kids boots. Surefoot is in the village at squaw and so you can visit repeatedly throughout your time skiing.

Elite Feet: Christian Denis and his crew are awesome. I've bought two pair of boots from them myself and sent countless people there. I've only ever heard positive feedback from people. They sell boots at full list price, but don't push you to spend money on tons of extra stuff like Surefoot seems to want to do. They do a great job on custom footbeds if you want, but won't force them on you. They have a location at Northstar now too, in case you want to spend a day or two there and stop in for something (they have a nice espresso machine in addition to skis/boots/helmets/etc.). I can't say enough good things about this shop. They will probably get things near perfect the first time around, and they'll do whatever is necessary to make it work perfectly. And you can ski practically to their door (Squaw Creek Resort lift at Squaw).

You can make an appointment at Elite Feet if you want, but it isn't necessary. And they will always find time to make any adjustments or fixes any time they are open. I've worked with Jeremy, Christian and Bob (northstar store guy), plus the short kid with the facial hair (can't recall name?) and the now-departed Velvet (aka Bryan). All are good. I generally agree with Mayhem's advice about having a relationship with one individual, but at Elite Feet I feel I'm in good hands regardless of who is messing with my boots. And if the past five years is any indication, the same guy who fits your boots this season at Elite Feet will be right there next season when you come back to visit and need some minor adjustments. Feel free to tell them Randy sent you. I don't think it will make any difference in the service you get, but they do take good care people I send there.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure View Post

Cosmo. He's been around for a long time and the people who go to him seem to really like him. Also not on-mountain (he's no closer to Northstar than he is to Squaw/Alpine - unless he's moved since I last checked - which is possible)
...

What about when I need a little tweak or repair done?
Cosmo moved into the same plaza as the original Blue Coyote's last year.

On follow ups, He just manages to handle people who come in for tweaks unless he is swamped. I went in and got a boot tweaked after 2 years - no charge (and no appt).

On a general note with all the places mentioned, I think you will get better service if you can go mid-week when things are slow and you will get plenty of attention.



If you go to Start Haus for boots, I recommend bringing in some skis for tuning. Start Haus is my favorite shop for tunes and repairs in Tahoe.
post #10 of 27
I used to work with Jim Fowler. I have seen some of the surgery boot fits that he had to do. I highly recommend him.

Many of my racer friends had work done by Jim Schaffner of Start Haus. I would trust him to work on my boots.

Dennis
post #11 of 27

Boots

Cosmo treated me great for years in Tahoe. If you decide on him you will have to make an appointment for sure. Especially if youre there during the season. He likes to talk, does a very thorough job and wil do followup tweaking no problems.
post #12 of 27
I had in the past Strolz (Austrian company located in Arlberg - great service, great boot, used them for ~220 days of skiing). After I moved to the US I needed new boots and bought last year some Surefoot. I skied last season ~60 days. The boot is not bad (I have a Tecnica with Surefoot liner and footbed) but the service I got isn't that great (in Copper Mountain and in KeyStone). Therefore (and for quality vs. price vs. service) I can not recommend Surefoot at all.
I believe it's best to go with a good boot fitter. Based on my experience I can't say that they are great at Surefoot. One boot is still not fitting in the way I want to have. Unfortunately I have two different sizes (one foot is 8, the other is 8.5 - 9). That's one of the reason that I'm using foamed boots.
My 2 cents about Surefoot.
post #13 of 27
I second the recommendation for Jim Fowler (AKA Sierra Jim at Sierra Ski in Sacramento). He is not in Tahoe, but on the way for most of us. You cannot beat his combination of custom fitting and prices. Also, Gunner or Gary at Granite Chief at Squaw are good.

P.S. I found that there is no good bootfitting place in SF Bay Area, so if you live there, you would need to drive at least as far as Sacramento. Helm of Sun Valley is not bad, they try to do the right thing, but driving gets you to better options.
post #14 of 27

North Lake Tahoe Bootfitters

Number one rule: Buy at the mountain... they know what they're doing! Each store carries somewhat different brands or styles, so you might need to shop around to find the boot that best fits your foot. Be honest about your skiing ability and the terrain you enjoy most. Error on the side of a softer flex, but tight fit (remember they will pack out).

Elite Feet is great. Christian is located in Squaw Valley at Squaw Creek Sports within the Resort at Squaw Creek. Bob runs the store in the Northstar-at-Tahoe Village. They carry Head, Nordica, Dalbello, and Salomon. Christian tends to carry more advanced/expert equipment. I saw that Bob ordered a few Atomic boots this year. Stay away during that 4:00 "witching hour" when they are very, very busy. It's best to make a midday appointment.

The Starthaus' focus is in race/expert. They primarily stock racing boots for adults and juniors... Lange, Rossignol, Atomic, Nordica, Fischer, Technica, and Salomon. Jim has many years of US Ski Team experience. His partner Fritz Vallant coached the U.S. women's team in the late '80s and early '90s as well as the Austrian men's tech team. This year he is Julia Mancuso's private coach. The Tahoe area has many talanted junior racers, so it is very hard to get an appointment... plan to spend a few hours even for a quick fix. (Great place to have your skis tuned, but pricey. You'll often see a U.S. Ski Team member hand-tuning your skis. They have a "hot box" as well.)

Gunner at Granite Chief in the Village at Squaw Valley is a great bootfitter. He developed a "laser platform" to make sure you are alined properly and skiing on a "flat" ski. Granite Chief has a store in Truckee with a larger boot selection, but they can easily transfer items between stores. You'll need to make an appointment with Gunner. They carry Lange, Rossignol, Tecnica, and a few others.

Cosmos has a good reputation, but I have not delt with him. Some of my racer friends have been going to him for years. He has two stores "Cosmos Custom Footwerks"... one in Truckee and the other in Tahoe City. That's maybe why you absolutely need an appointment. Cosmos carries Garmont, Atomic, Dalbello, Dolomite, Tecnica, and Fischer.

Other stores to consider are Squaw Valley Sport Shop and Porters. Each area has great bootfitters... Village Ski Loft at Incline, Bootwerks at South Lake Tahoe, etc. Just give yourself time and build a relationship with the store and bootfitter you feel most comfortable with.

Like others have written, stay away from SureFoot.

One more note, spend the money and purchase custom footbeds... they make a huge difference.

Good luck,

Full-time Squaw Valley Alpine Pro
post #15 of 27

Hello from a newbie that has been skiing for 42 years! Raised in Reno on Buba Sheahan equipment, moved the south and married a beach girl, who knew nothing of the mountains and snow. well that was 35 years ago and yes she is now my snow bunny.

 

Heres my problem. For the past 30 years we have only gotten to ski 2-3 times a year. Family work and such take the rest of the time. But this last year in the canyons took the toll on her feet. she is just fed up with pain when she skis and i am fed up with not having a mountain friend because of the pain. so i ran into the boot doctors in telluride last year (business, not a fun trip) and they told me about their ability to make boots not hurt. the Doctors use the fisher system to fit boots.

 

heres my question. the wife is a hard blue reco skier and not interested in black diamonds. But i do not want to spend 800-900$ on boots for someone with her ability. This thread talked about Cosmo-elitefeet and surefoot....anyone out there willing to compare the boot doctors use of fisher with the other mentioned boot fitters?? dont send me on a wild goose chase because i tried 3 shops in the canyons and park city last winter on our christmas trip and went through 4 boot sets and every one of them hurt her feet, so much for profesional fitters. She needs a custom boot. the question.......WHO?

 

the moderator of this thread, I miss my tahoe outings.....glad to hear someone from the meadows is on this web site!!

post #16 of 27

Jim Fowler no longer works for Sierra Snow Board and Ski because they went out of business nearly two years ago. He now works at Start Haus where he also worked last season. He does it all there, boot fitting, selling skis, etc. They also have the Fisher Vacuum fitting system. If you have not been there recently stop by things have changed (grown). Start Haus has more boot fitting and ski tuning equipment/machines than I have seen in any three shops I have been in.

post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcahow View Post

Hello from a newbie that has been skiing for 42 years! Raised in Reno on Buba Sheahan equipment, moved the south and married a beach girl, who knew nothing of the mountains and snow. well that was 35 years ago and yes she is now my snow bunny.

 

Heres my problem. For the past 30 years we have only gotten to ski 2-3 times a year. Family work and such take the rest of the time. But this last year in the canyons took the toll on her feet. she is just fed up with pain when she skis and i am fed up with not having a mountain friend because of the pain. so i ran into the boot doctors in telluride last year (business, not a fun trip) and they told me about their ability to make boots not hurt. the Doctors use the fisher system to fit boots.

 

heres my question. the wife is a hard blue reco skier and not interested in black diamonds. But i do not want to spend 800-900$ on boots for someone with her ability. This thread talked about Cosmo-elitefeet and surefoot....anyone out there willing to compare the boot doctors use of fisher with the other mentioned boot fitters?? dont send me on a wild goose chase because i tried 3 shops in the canyons and park city last winter on our christmas trip and went through 4 boot sets and every one of them hurt her feet, so much for profesional fitters. She needs a custom boot. the question.......WHO?

 

the moderator of this thread, I miss my tahoe outings.....glad to hear someone from the meadows is on this web site!!


You have a couple of Epicski related local options. StartHaus in Truckee, you can see some Epicski "locals such as Jim Schaffner, Jim Fowler or myself or you can stay in Reno and see (at Snowind) Bud Heishman or Trekchick. Either place we can keep you to less than 2/3's of that $8-900 boot process. 

 

post #18 of 27

Holy thread revival batman!

 

I still stand by most of what I wrote above. However, I'd have to substantially update the StartHaus section. When I wrote that, SH was still pretty new. They were focused on the racer niche (mostly) and doing a great job of it.

 

SH has expanded dramatically since then. Just in terms of physical space, I think they have at least three times the square footage they had in '08. They continue to offer World Cup caliber service for racers, but they also cater to clients most of the way down the ability spectrum. They even have started carrying some BC gear (more please Phil/Jim/Jim), plus a lot more soft goods to go with the great selection of skis, bindings and boots. They have also expanded their team of expert bootfitters.

 

SH and Cosmo are both dealers for the Fischer Vacuum custom fit boot system, if that's what you're after.

 

My two favorite places to send clients at this point are StartHaus and Elite Feet. In both cases, I'd try to go mid-day on a weekday so it isn't overly busy and you get their undivided attention.

post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcahow View Post

Hello from a newbie that has been skiing for 42 years! Raised in Reno on Buba Sheahan equipment, moved the south and married a beach girl, who knew nothing of the mountains and snow. well that was 35 years ago and yes she is now my snow bunny.

 

Heres my problem. For the past 30 years we have only gotten to ski 2-3 times a year. Family work and such take the rest of the time. But this last year in the canyons took the toll on her feet. she is just fed up with pain when she skis and i am fed up with not having a mountain friend because of the pain. so i ran into the boot doctors in telluride last year (business, not a fun trip) and they told me about their ability to make boots not hurt. the Doctors use the fisher system to fit boots.

 

heres my question. the wife is a hard blue reco skier and not interested in black diamonds. But i do not want to spend 800-900$ on boots for someone with her ability. This thread talked about Cosmo-elitefeet and surefoot....anyone out there willing to compare the boot doctors use of fisher with the other mentioned boot fitters?? dont send me on a wild goose chase because i tried 3 shops in the canyons and park city last winter on our christmas trip and went through 4 boot sets and every one of them hurt her feet, so much for profesional fitters. She needs a custom boot. the question.......WHO?

 

the moderator of this thread, I miss my tahoe outings.....glad to hear someone from the meadows is on this web site!!



 


 

I was going to post that you have two great options for boot fitting for your wife, both of whom can keep you within budget.  Start Haus(Truckee) or Snowind Sports (Reno)

But Philpug has beaten me to the punch. 

If you're interested in seeing Bud Heishman at Snowind Sports,(Reno)  you can schedule an apt on his web site, or shoot him(or me) a PM and we'll be happy to help you out. 

http://www.snowind.com/
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post


You have a couple of Epicski related local options. StartHaus in Truckee, you can see some Epicski "locals such as Jim Schaffner, Jim Fowler or myself or you can stay in Reno and see (at Snowind) Bud Heishman or Trekchick. Either place we can keep you to less than 2/3's of that $8-900 boot process. 

 

 

 

post #20 of 27

Thanks to all who replied to my request! It looks like i will be visiting my old haunt this january with the wife! i will take your recomendations on the reno and squaw outfits and make it personal with a phone call. Thanks again. Think Powder!

post #21 of 27

Just to update this thread again if you are in South Lake Tahoe you can check out Tom Wohrman Sports for your boot fitting. He moved his shop from Mammoth this year and brought over 40 years of experience in custom boot fitting to the area. Check him out at www.tomwohrmansports.com

post #22 of 27

Another option that hasn't been mentioned, at Squaw (outside the parking lot on the entry road) is Olympic Bootworks. I had Intuitions fitted there last year. A couple of techs--you might not need an appointment--I didn't but we all know what last season was like. They close from 10-noon I believe (to ski). 

post #23 of 27

Curious if anyone has any personal knowledge of this guy Tom Wohrman? In particular if anyone has used his boot fitting services?

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by smdstudios View Post
 

Just to update this thread again if you are in South Lake Tahoe you can check out Tom Wohrman Sports for your boot fitting. He moved his shop from Mammoth this year and brought over 40 years of experience in custom boot fitting to the area. Check him out at www.tomwohrmansports.com

post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Another option that hasn't been mentioned, at Squaw (outside the parking lot on the entry road) is Olympic Bootworks. I had Intuitions fitted there last year. A couple of techs--you might not need an appointment--I didn't but we all know what last season was like. They close from 10-noon I believe (to ski). 

*

Ask for Buck. They have a few ex and current Olympians as clients. Also there are great bootfitters in Truckee at Start Haus frequented by the likes of Daron Rahlves and seriously good skiers. 

*

post #25 of 27

I too would be interested in Tom Wohrman reviews.  I met with him the other day and he seemed very knowledgeable, but was the first guy I spoke with.  I am in South Lake, so would prefer to have someone there fit my boots.  Let me know if you hear anything?

post #26 of 27

Does anyone have any experience working with Tom Wohrman at (Custom Boot Fitter) in South Lake Tahoe?

post #27 of 27

Have you received any replies re: Tom Wohrman custom ski boot fitting?  If so, can you forward them to me?  Thanks!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Tahoe first time boot fitting: Cosmo vs EliteFeet vs Surefoot???