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Rent/Purchase Boots for Teen

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello Boot Maestros.

I posted a similar thread in the general equipment forum, but thought that it might be better to post up here.

I have plans to ski with my son for 10 days in December, and another 7 days in February. Depending on circumstances, we may be able to swing another trip during his schools spring break for another 6 or 7 days in the mountains. All of The Kid’s days this season will be at Vail and Beaver Creek.

Facing a choice regarding continuing to rent gear for him or giving him my old skis, (170 cm Rossi B2 Bandits,) and buying him a pair of boots.

The Kid is 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 and spent lots of time on the mountain, but is harder to justify here in the tropics.

I see three avenues of approach:

1. Keep him on rented gear. Save a minor % by making early reservations, but still probably spend about as much over the season 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 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.) Major downside to this approach 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. I would ideally like to give our business to Vail Bear Greg Hoffman, but it’s my understanding that he excels in custom fitting discerning costumers with high performance boots who are usually willing to spend a good bit of money for a long-term investment. I sent him a PM several days ago, but assume that his services will be well out of our price range. Other shops in Vail may not have anything suitable in our price range, and we’ll have to revert to rentals, this time without reservation discount a week before Christmas.

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. The 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. His newest pair of running shoes are size 11. To compare/contrast, I’m 6’ 155 lbs. and wear size 10 shoes.

This will be his 8th season on skis, and he’s 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.

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. Although he’s never complained about the rentals before, I believe that he’d love the difference that he’d experience with a well-fit pair of boots. We’ve no brand loyalty, and will allow a fitter to practice their craft and follow their suggestion regarding make and model. If we do purchase boots for him, (most probably spring for a generic orthotic as well,) I can reconcile the cost of a moderate pair as opposed to paying for rental gear.

Any and all advice, direction, opinions, or blazing satirical comments are welcome.
Thanks all.
post #2 of 6
buy boots that fit in CO.

A boot bought from a goof store/boot fitter will not cost any more then in FL, but the odds of it fitting, flexing right are better. All stores sell for about the same price, and odds are will have some old stock avail too (on sale). If you truly want to save huge money just buy randomly off ebay, but you will end up with a full time job just re-selling boots that don't work. Too many shapes, sizes, and not enough skill?

that and stop feeding him. 1) he sill stop growing, and 2) you will save money on food.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi mntlion.

Thank you for your insight.

Not really looking for a steal. I'm more than willing to pay a fair price for goods and services as defined by my budget. Never considered Ebay.

Don’t agree entirely with the tactic of shopping locally and then purchasing over the interweb. Never had any dealings with Ebay, and have only purchased over the interweb from dealers that I know, (B&H Photo and the like.) If a fitter can present us with a good fitting and properly performing boot at a fair price, I’ve no qualms at all about paying a bit more for his time, expertise, and service. I’d feel like a bit of a heel to pick a pro’s brains, use his gear as a test bed, and then buy the same gear online hoping to save 10%. I figure the fitter has earned my business, and in return I get a bit of peace of mind and the fitter’s alliance. You can never have enough friends. Same generally holds true for jelly doughnuts, lobsters, (unless you're a poacher,) or cool-looking, cheap sunglasses.
post #4 of 6
great, so pick a holiday spot, and search for a bootfitter in that area.

this site has a list of some of the better ones
post #5 of 6
So you've answered the question. You've acknowledged that you could use a pros expertise and feel you should pay for it. Your son is not a little kid anymore, skis better than average, skis more days than average and gets to do it at big mountains. Also can feel the difference when he skis high level skis.

You are done man and stuck. Get him a performance boot that he can own and depend on. Pay the price and enjoy the fact that you have a son that can go skiing with you. Rent a good ski for him and the two of you can rip up the mountain this season and next and next.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks Lou and mntlion.

Looks like we've got the plan down. As you said Lou, I am done and stuck. A rather delightful quandary.

We'll bring along the B2's when we head west, visit a fitter, and be good to go for the season. I'll invest the $ that would have gone for rentals into The Kid's new boots. I'm sure that he'll like the B2's until he beats them to jelly.
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