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Gear purchase/rental advice for Teen.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi Bears.

Could use some advice regarding renting gear or purchasing it for a teen.

Got most of our ski planning done for the upcoming season. Fortunate enough to be able to have arranged a pair of trips with my son, (usually referred to on this forum as The Kid.) Got plans for 10 days of skiing in December, and another 7 days in February. Depending on finances, his lacrosse team commitment, and accumulated snowfall this season, we may be able to swing another trip during his schools spring break, 2nd week of April, for another 6 or 7 days in the mountains.

Facing a choice regarding continuing to rent gear for him or giving him my old skis, (170 cm Rossi B2 Bandits,) and finally buying him a pair of boots. Most of our days will be spent at Vail, with a few days, probably weekends, up the road at Beaver Creek.

The Kid is now 15, just a shade over 6’ tall, and weighs 141 lbs. However, he’s been running cross-country for his high school. Their season has just one more meet to go, so he’ll stop running 6 to 8 miles per day/ 6 days a week. Following a week of well earned lethargy he’ll start hitting the gym and will put on some more muscle mass, not too much though, like his daddy, The Kid has a slender build and works mightily to put on a few pounds

This will be approximately his 8th season on skis, and is a fair but very determined athlete. Even though he only gets a few chances to ski each year, he’s fairly accomplished for a skinny Florida kid. He can ski MOST of the marked terrain at Vail with speed and confidence, and can safely get down almost anything there. He loves trees, bumps, and moderate steeps, but has never shown any interest in riding in the park. It’s been understood since the inception of our ANNUAL FATHER AND SON NINJA SKI MISSIONS FROM GOD, that The Kid takes at least one lesson per trip, so I’ve not confused him too badly. I think that he ought to be just fine with the B2s for this season.

He’s big enough and a strong enough skier to warrant renting the “upper tier” or demo skis during our forays, and the prices for these packages are getting pretty expensive. During our last few trips he’s been given Apache Recons, and liked them just fine. Rental boots though have not been nearly as satisfying. The Kid is more than ready to appreciate what a properly fit boot can do for his skiing.
We’ll assume that The Kid will keep on growing. (Unless we stop feeding him, this seems to be a safe bet.) So I’m looking at the very real possibility that a new pair of boots will serve him for only one season. That would be a pretty easy decision to make if we lived in ski country, but is harder to justify here in the tropics.

I see three avenues of approach:

1. Keep him on rented gear. Save a substantial % by making early reservations, but still probably spend about as much as I would for a pair of boots. Deal with squishy boots until The Kid stops growing. Save a bit on airline baggage usury.

2. Get him a pair of last seasons’ remainders at one of our local shops. I’m not going to spend oodles of $ on boots that will get only 17-24 days of use, and The Kid certainly does not need a pair of ultra high performance boots. The newest and snazziest means nothing. Just need a GOOD FIT, moderate flex, and minimal bells and whistles. (Yes, there are local shops in Florida. They have some good prices on older models, and I know a pair of skilled boot-fitters here. I do like to support our local merchants, and give them what business I can. Most of our clothing is purchased close to home.) Downside to this is that I’d prefer to get his boots at the mountain, where adjustments can be made when issues arise.

3. Visit a boot fitter and get The Kid a pair when we arrive in Colorado. If we had unlimited funds, then this of course would be my course of action. For that matter, I’d also spring for a cool pair of fattie twin-tips for The Kid. Alas, such is not the case.

We expect to pull into town in the early afternoon on a Saturday, and catch 1st lift the following day. I don’t know a boot fitter in Vail, near where we’ll be staying, but I can’t help but notice that Greg Hoffman, a much-celebrated Bear operates out of a shop in Lionshead. Getting fit at the mountain by a seasoned pro is of course just the ticket. However, I don’t know Greg’s shop. We’ll be arriving just before the Christmas holiday madness and would be surprised to find any reasonable deals on boots at the resort at that time. I’d hate to show up, not find anything suitable/and/or affordable, and have to spend a ski-day shopping for boots and arranging to get The Kid’s bindings re-mounted, or hunting up some rentals sans reservations.

To summarize, I’d love to put The Kid in a suitable pair of boots, but can’t reconcile investing a ton of $ into a pair that will likely see only one short season of use. The Kid would most certainly appreciate the difference between the rentals he’s been on and a well-fit pair, but he’s never complained about the rentals before.

Only option that I won’t consider is purchasing boots over the interweb. All other advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all.
post #2 of 5
Get the kid fitted and properly aligned into some boots. You could get lucky and find a pair of left-overs that come close and only require a little stretching/tweaking here and there. Like anybody, he may have to return to the shop for tweaking of the boot fit. Consider this fact and how far you will need to travel when you decide where to buy the boots.

His own skis would certainly be more convenient, but economically it's a toss up. Perhaps buy something second hand, recommended by people who ski where he will be skiing, not me.
post #3 of 5
rent.

He's been happy enough, he's growing, give it two years and then get him fitted to a nice boot. I'm not going to say what Greg would do, but most pro's (he CERTAINLY qualifies) want to do the correct thing when fitting boots and that means starting with a proper foundation (footbed: $150+) then putting him into the best fitting shell. Sure a leftover can be great... top pro's know that a left over model might fit BETTER than a new model, so why heavily discount? Pro's sell top performance and comfort. He's growing so 'top performance' will be a short-lived experience... so will comfort. from reading your post it sounds like you want to do what's best for your son... but you are price sensative. I feel that will probably eliminate Pro fittng at Vail (please PM or Email Greg, don't take my word for it), buying boots and renting skis might not save you anything. that more or less leaves RENT.

Quick question: What size are his feet, what size are your feet and how tall are you, how tall is he?

His feet might not grow a whole lot more... that would change everything.
post #4 of 5
I also have a 15-year old son often referred to , by me, as "the kid". Last season I bought him a pair of used,demo Rossi Bandit B2's. A good all around ski; he really likes them. He will be on them again this season. Sounds like a similar style to your son, likes trees/woods, can get down pretty much anything, no real interest in park skiing.

In fact, I also follow the 1 lesson per trip rule. Actually, we go for day trips and weekends a lot so it's the 1-lesson per yearly week-long trip.

But gear-wise... the demo ski with bindings were in great shape and cost $500.

Last year I rented "performance" boots for him for $150 for the season and they didn't really fit that great and were not all that much of a performance boot. This year we got some Salomon XWave boots that are new, but last year's model for $300. The fit him really well. In fact, they fit me really well, so if he grows out of them next season I may give them a try. I would say rent the boots, but, in my experience the shops only have 1 brand and 1 or 2 models to offer. In our case it was Nordicas and with a shell size a full 2 sizes past what he should have, there was not enough room in the toe box for his high-volume feet.

So at his level and the fairly significant number of days you plan to ski this year I think the Bandits and buy him some decent boots.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey Bears. Thanks for the feedback.

From Ghost;
You could get lucky and find a pair of left-overs that come close and only require a little stretching/tweaking here and there. Like anybody, he may have to return to the shop for tweaking of the boot fit. Consider this fact and how far you will need to travel when you decide where to buy the boots.

His own skis would certainly be more convenient, but economically it's a toss up. Perhaps buy something second hand, recommended by people who ski where he will be skiing, not me.

Bazzer:
If we buy The Kid a pair of boots, then he’ll ski on my 170 cm Rossi B2s. Purchased a pair of Mythic Riders last spring so he’ll get the hand-me-downs. It’s very convenient for us to shop for boots here at home. There are two good fitters nearby, and I know that we can get a good price on a wide selection of boots. However, as we live in Florida, The Kid will be out in the cold when we get out west, and have to find a shop to make any needed adjustments as situations arise.

From Whiteroom:
I feel that will probably eliminate Pro fittng at Vail (please PM or Email Greg, don't take my word for it), buying boots and renting skis might not save you anything. that more or less leaves RENT.

Quick question: What size are his feet, what size are your feet and how tall are you, how tall is he?

His feet might not grow a whole lot more... that would change everything.

Bazzer:
I’ve already sent a PM to Greg, but assume that his services will be out of our price range for now. However, if we get The Kid set up with some boots, then he’ll inherit the aforementioned Rossis, so I wouldn’t’ feel too bad investing a fair amount into a pair of boots, rather than spend a similar sum for the cost of rentals for his 17 – 24 day season.

I’m 6’ 155 lbs., size 10 shoe, Technica Icon sole length is 312mm.
The Kid is just a few hairs taller than me, weighs 141 today, but will hit the gym after cross country season ends, so will probably put on 5 or so lbs. by the time we get out west. Newest pair of running shoes is size 11.

His feet may indeed stop growing, but every time we stop feeding him he puts up some squawk.

From crank:
So at his level and the fairly significant number of days you plan to ski this year I think the Bandits and buy him some decent boots

Bazzer:
I’m leaning in that direction. Should Greg’s services prove unattainable for our budget, then I’ve either got to find a suitable dealer in Vail, or give our local boot-fitters a go, then find a pro in Colorado to make any needed adjustments.

Would love to give a Bear first crack at the business. Our local guys have a pretty good reputation, but I’ve never considered buying boots so far from the mountains before, and would never do so for myself. I know of many shops in Vail, and have spent a fair amount of change in some of them, (actually picked up my skis there last spring for what I thought was a fair price,) but have never shopped there for boots. My worst case scenario is not being able to find anything affordable upon our arrival, or not finding an experienced fitter, rather a salesman who doesn’t know from shell fit and etc., then having to scurry and try to line up rentals without a reservation and without early booking discount.
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