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Skis or boots?

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
The question arises: I am on a tight budget and only have $500 to spend on equipment, what should I buy, boots or skis?

I already have skis and boots, but they're intermediate models that I have outgrown.

What's your advice and why?
post #2 of 57
If the steering wheel isn't pointed in the right direction, it doesn't matter what you drive.

I vote for the boots.
post #3 of 57
Boots, no doubt.

I think I could make turns on lotsa skis - but not if my feet were sore, or cold.

BTW, I don't notice performance, as much as boot manufacturers talk about. But then again, I ski just one boot - Dalbello, so I don't really have anything to compare against.

post #4 of 57
Boots. Gotta have happy feet to be a happy skier.
Boots is what connects you to your skis. Properly fitted boots allow you FEEL what’s going on with the skis. I’ve read some racers claim to be able to feel the edge of the ski as it slices through the snow.
post #5 of 57
Gotta have those shoooz...

Some people are lucky, and have an easier time
finding a boot. It is sometimes possible to find
a decent boot at a close out for $200, or sometimes less...

But it's gotta fit, and be functional for that particular skier's ability and biomechanics...

Don't forget the footbed!
post #6 of 57
I'm not sure this is such a straight forward situation. IF your intermediate boots fit well, have some reasonable degree of lateral stiffness, and in them you are properly aligned it is conceivable that new skis would give you the biggest bang for the buck. Now that's a lot of if's and if they fall short in any of these areas then boots (and/or alignment!) may be the way to go.

Of course new skis or boots may not necessarily do you much good if you don't have the key to unlock their potential. However, I am also a believer in the utility of wider skis in terms of the stability, recoverability, and confidence they can provide. Now, with the advent of more shape in wider skis I think this is more frequently a good choice for the intermediate skier, especially for those interested in skiing a variety of terrain.
post #7 of 57
Originally posted by nolo:
I am on a tight budget and only have $500 to spend on equipment, what should I buy, boots or skis? I already have skis and boots, but they're intermediate models that I have outgrown.
Jeeze it sure must have been one hellofa bad season - I come back after a few months to check out Epic and find Nolo, this high muckety-muck in PSIA, skiing on ancient, intermediate equipment, and even worse, she can't scrape together enough cash to outfit herself properly.

Folks, we just can't let this happen. I think its time we pass the hat. This is a disgrace.

BobBarnes, Ott, anybody else in the same fix? You can tell us. We know ya'll ain't doin' it for the money.

[img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img]

post #8 of 57
Don't pay retail. Go on eBay now and I'd bet you could find new, '01 vintage, expert-level skis for under $300. Shorty slaloms are hard to find and run a bit more, but the common carving/all mountains are out there.

Boots are there too, but I'd be wary of buying boots online unless you were absolutely sure they'd fit.

However, if it comes down to it and your boots just don't cut it, lay out the cash on boots/footbeds/fitting.
post #9 of 57

When I first read the type of boots Nolo was using, I thought the same thing.

However, we don't know the style of skiing, or the strength of the skier.

I think I ski pretty well (not 97%), but I don't use "top of the line" race boots. The boot that fits my foot and style is a high end intermediate.

Also, while snowboarding, this year bought "top of the line" Burton (ego), and went back to a softer board after killing myself for 2 days.

Don't be fooled by "title". If it isn't diong what you want it to do, you have to change.
post #10 of 57
I agree with Si. But here's a question. On Proform shouldn't you be able to get good skis and boots for $500?
post #11 of 57
Your Highness is speaking in third person.

I'm pretty sure she ain't hurtin for equipment.
post #12 of 57
There's been a SnoKarver sighting.
post #13 of 57
Put new sneakers on your dogs.

A properly fitting boot will do more for your skiing than any ski. Go to a professional boot fitter, tell them what your willing to spend, and take the time to have them do it right. Don't let some zit faced newby work on your feet either, find somebody with some experience. A good boot fitter will recomend custom insoles, get them. While they are making them, they will have you try on countless boots, AFTER THEY ASK YOU A SERIES OF QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SKIING. Your skiing will dictate what type of boot you need, your foot will dictate the boot, your price range will dictate the perfect boot. I was up at Surefoot in Park City for about 3 hours before I walked out the door. Two weeks later, I was back for minor adjustments, they were free, and will always be free. A good bootfitter will stand behind their work. I noticed immediate improvement in my skiing. At the end of a hard day on the slopes, I am the only person in my group that is not in a hurry to take off their boots.

EDIT: Almost forgot, I will not buy anything for my feet that I have not tried on and AT LEAST walked around in. Its your comfort. Is saving a few hunderd bucks worth being miserable? Also, if a sales person spends 3 hours with you and you like the boots, buy them from them, they worked hard, these shops are necessary to skiing, support them.

[ July 18, 2002, 07:46 AM: Message edited by: AltaSkier ]
post #14 of 57

"Uh, that'd be in da boots, Bob"

I was dubious about the effect the fitting I got last December would have on my skiing. I noticed the (positive) difference right away.
post #15 of 57
Thread Starter 
I was speaking hypothetically. I rep K2 and Dolomite.

Where'd my anonymity go? FMS--you need the word "formerly" in there.

[ July 18, 2002, 09:29 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #16 of 57
Boots nolo...a no_brainer.....but try asking
a few bootfitters questions about particular models that you're lookin' at, as to their differences in performance...
You can demo/rent the skis for a while....there are always demo deals going around somewhere closeby... [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ July 18, 2002, 09:45 AM: Message edited by: HaveSkisWillClimb ]
post #17 of 57
Would have to go with Ebay crowd $250 - $300 for new boots (should not be more than that) + $200 for a used pair of skis.
post #18 of 57
Thread Starter 
Okey-dokey. Change the question:

Which do you think most intermediates would go for, given the skis/boots choice?

I think they'd go for the skis. BicycleKick, who truly is beyond intermediate and has outgrown his equipment, would go for the skis.
post #19 of 57
he WOULD or he SHOULD?
post #20 of 57
Thread Starter 
I'm gonna go for the skies, and I'll MAYBE look at boots, but we'll see...
This comment from BK spurred this thread. (Hope that's okay, BK.)
post #21 of 57
post #22 of 57
Originally posted by nolo:
I was speaking hypothetically. I rep K2 and Dolomite. Where'd my anonymity go? FMS--you need the word "formerly" in there.
I knew it was a hypothetical question & I hope that from all the RAZZ smilies I put at the end of my message, you knew I was just joshin' with you a bit. Hope it wasn't too off-topic.

The way you phrased your question, when I first read it, it conjured up this cartoon-like image of a down at the heels PSIA executive carrying a "Will ski for spare change" sign - grin.

I didn't know that you repped k2 and Dolomite or that your relationship with PSIA had changed.



[ July 18, 2002, 12:12 PM: Message edited by: FamilyManSkier ]
post #23 of 57
Hypothetically speaking, I vote for new boots. Not on E-Bay, not at Sniagrab (Gart's Labor Day sale) but fitted in person by a real boot fitter, properly aligned, with custom foot beds if appropriate. There are lots of good used skis with bindings around. For example last spring I bought some barely used Machettes with bindings for $250. If you must have new skis there is always a lot of last year's (or older) leftover inventory available at the fall sales at good prices. Gart's had (and probably still has) a lot of brand new straight stuff from several years ago, some of it top of the line models, for $25 or $30.

Most "intermediates" however will not do this. They will probably go for the skis instead unless the boots are really uncomfortable. I know guys who have new boards and are in 20 year old boots.
post #24 of 57
"IF" the present boots don't cause pain and spoil the fun.

Spend the money on increasing the amount of skiing you do.

There is nothing better than MILES to get you over that intermediate hump.

How many people spend over a grand on new equipment and get out to ski 6-7 times.

"Nodda good way"

post #25 of 57
Hypothetically speaking I still say if the boots work keep 'em.
post #26 of 57
I'm with Epic.

I'm of the (lonely) opinion that if your boots fit, don't hurt, and allow you to ski all day, why stress about nano-fitting?

I've skied on a lot of boots over the years and I'm not at all convinced that *performance* only comes from precisely dialed-in top-line boots. I now spend about half my ski time in Technica Icons and half in Scarpa Lazers. As a "performance" ski boot, the Lazer would probably rank somewhere in the middle-intermediate range because of its relatively soft shell. Maybe I'm just too lazy a skier to appreciate the subtle differences, but I just don't feel that the Icons give *that* much better performance.

Personally, I find a much greater difference in how various skis perform than I feel from what the boots are doing.

If I were asked Nolo's question, I'd ask if the current boots hurt or were cold or uncomfortable. If there were no issues with the current boots, I'd send that person to the ski counter.

post #27 of 57
In response to your second question nolo, I think that most intermediate skiers would go for the skiis, you are right. If that intermediate skier were a client though, I would advise them to choose well fitted ski boots. I would suggest that they go to a reputable shop who either has a good bootfitter on site or is affiliated with a good boot fitter who can make the boots both comfortable and high performance. Yes a good boot fitter can do that.

I would suggest this for two reasons. 1. There is nothing worse than skiing with cramped and tired feet because your boots fit poorly. New boots will result more quickly in improved performance, especially if the skier is moving from a intermediate to advanced model. 2. A skier can then experience new skiis by renting them. Most resorts have high end demos available where a skier can try out all the newest skiis they want to, and then once their budget allows, purchase the ski they really want. It is much more difficult to get a good feeling demoing boots. Most shops do not rent high end boots and if they do, it is very difficult to get them to fit. Once a bootfitter does their magic, a boot can feel much different than it originally did.

I hope this helps.
post #28 of 57
Have a qualified bootfitter evaluate the boots to determine whether the boots fit and whether they provide sufficient lateral and torsional support. If they do, buy skis. If they don't and fitting is all that is needed, discuss this with the bootfitter and see if he/she can help fit the boots and upgrade the skis for the $500. The bootfitter must be trusted; someone like Claude Swonger would work.

Secondly, it seems to me that many Intermediate skiers are over booted. This happens frequently to light skiers like BK. They end up in the top of the line race boot and cannot flex the boot enough to make it work. An Intermediate boot for these skiers may not be all that bad, unless they really can overpower and washout the boot.

So, which is better? Neither, al least in general terms. A seasoned professional who can be trusted to place the skier in the appropriate gear must evaluate the ski boot issue.

If BK has the $500 and wants skis and boots, I suggest he contact Claude Swonger out in L.A. (just where does BK live anyway?) and discuss the issue with him. Then sit down with an EpicSki qualified bootfitter and see what is best for him. In the end, he may be able to have both for $500, if he is willing to buy gear from the last year, or so.

post #29 of 57
Thread Starter 
Claude Swonger? Is he something like Palmer Glacier? :

And what's an EpicSki-qualified bootfitter? Claude Swonger?

We're getting some great input here from both sides. I don't know if BK needs new boots, but I'm pretty sure he needs a footbed and boot balancing. He said he needed new boots and skis, but being on a budget, he was going to only go for the skis. It seemed like a good topic to spin off, and I hope BK doesn't mind getting all this advice.

Certainly it depends on the person, the fit/performance of the current boots, etc. But all things being equal, I am hearing that boots get higher priority than skis.

Of course, boots are very personal, where skis are more in the public domain. Want to try out my skis? Sure, no problem. Want to try my boots--no, I don't think so.

I don't hack away at the side of the skis to improve the geometry, but I'll take a Dremel tool to my shell to make room for my big toe in order to get the closest fit I can.

Bottom line with me on the boot question, if in your natural stance on a flat surface you are on your edge(s), then you need to get that fixed or it's going to screw up your technique.
post #30 of 57
Originally posted by nolo:
Okey-dokey. Change the question:

Which do you think most intermediates would go for, given the skis/boots choice?
It depends upon the students exposure to good instruction. Astute ski pros can usually determine if your boots are not letting you progress. The really good ones can tell you exactly how the boots are effecting your technique.

The problem is that sometimes the boots feel all good and cushy, so initially you don't part with them. But bedroom slipper boots can really effect your ability to edge properly.
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