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Master bootfitters in LA?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've got a buddy in LA looking to pick up some new ski boots after a couple years away from the sport.
He's in Happy Valley ('bout halfway btwn. downtown LA and Pasadena), and is looking for a skilled and experienced bootfitter who can get him dialed in.
I've advised him to start with a good fitter and worry about boot brands later, but I'd imagine he'll be looking for a versatile, yet performance-oriented all-mountain boot along the lines of the Lange Banshees or Nordica Hot Rods.

Any of Epic's Angelinos want to nominate their favorite boot guru?
post #2 of 27
Tell him to wait until he is slope side or at least on a ski town- then use the list of Who's Who here so he cam get dialed in. Adjustments can be made immediately or for the next day on the spot. Nothing beats that.
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Checked the "Who's Who" on "Ask the Bootfitters" but no hits for Mammoth, CA.
Is there another shop / fitter's directory I missed?
If not, it doesn't sound like this approach is going to work for my friend.
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veloscente View Post

Checked the "Who's Who" on "Ask the Bootfitters" but no hits for Mammoth, CA.
Is there another shop / fitter's directory I missed?
If not, it doesn't sound like this approach is going to work for my friend.
 
Ok, have your friend go to Mammoth and all he has to do is ask maybe 5 locals where they got their ski boots fitted and away you go. This isn't rocket science. I know in North Lake Tahoe there are maybe 3 guys that most of the locals trust and have been using for a long time. Most guys I know will gladly tell you where/who fitted their boots. BTW; Cosmo fitted mine and has for many years.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ske-Bum View Post
Ok, have your friend go to Mammoth and all he has to do is ask maybe 5 locals where they got their ski boots fitted and away you go.
Not a bad suggestion, I'll pass it on.

What my buddy is ultimately after is a local LA shop where he can get fitted as part of his day-to-day routine, and then have 100% of his on-the-mountain time be ski time.
I know it's no big deal for a mountain-time local to spend a full ski day (or two) getting fitted & coming back in between runs for tweaks, but if you're a "ski commuter" with 4-8 hours of travel time to the mountain, who will likely spend less than 20 days a year on the snow, you're loathe to invest potential ski time on bootfitting if there's the option to have the job done by someone good back home.

Question remains: anyone out there had a good bootfit done in LA?
post #6 of 27
My recommendation?  Try these, in order of preference:

1) Drive to Tahoe (or fly to Reno and drive, your choice ;) and go to the Start Haus (http://www.starthaus.com).  You can't go wrong:  In my opinion, Jim Schaffner and his guys are among the best in California.  

2) Ask around about bootfitters in California and you'll find that two names keep coming up over and over:  Start Haus in Truckee and Footloose Sports in Mammoth.  The word of mouth on both of these guys is great.  Why do I recommend Start Haus first?  Simply because I have personal experience with them, and they're great.  Bonus: go spend a week at Squaw.

3) Try these guys:

http://www.skinetsports.com/

I have no personal experience with them, but they're ABB (http://www.bootfitters.com) certified and their website makes it clear that at the very least they know what they're talking about.
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Bingo!
Thanks Spach!
I'm a NorCal expat, who used to spend 40+ days a year skiing North Lake, so you're preaching to the choir on this one.
Realistically, I see my buddy going more for options 2 or 3, since I've already talked him into committing his ski-travel dollars towards flying out to meet me in Snowbird in Feb

Spach has opened up the scoring with a hat-trick of strong recs -- if anyone else who has LA recs based on personal experience wants to take a shot on goal, game on!
post #8 of 27
I asked this very same question in the bootfitters forum. I am in the same sitch as your friend. But with me, I get to add in having to bring a 2 year old along and paying for child care. So using a bootfitter slope side is also not ideal for me. I'll let you know if I run across any good ones in the LA basin. I am considering trying the folks at Ski Net sports and also was hoping for some feedback on them. I am not in a great position to drop a ton of $$ at the moment, unfortunately. Not sure how much Ski Net charges--I'll be calling them hopefully next week and will let you know.
post #9 of 27
Spach is right the Start haus has great boot fitters as does Granite Chief at Squaw, along with Cosmo. The problem I think you or your friend are going to run into is this. The words LA and Master boot fitter are rarely, if ever used in the same sentence. There is a reason the guys in the mountain towns are the best. They fit the most boots. They fix all this issues that people have coming out of the Bay area when they are sold boot that don't work.

While I agree your friend may see it as a waste of time sitting and getting fitted properly for 2 or so hours, isn't time on the mountain in a pair of boots that hurt/don't work/suck a bigger waste of time.  Good luck to your friend, boots are tricky sometimes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veloscente View Post

Quote:

Not a bad suggestion, I'll pass it on.

What my buddy is ultimately after is a local LA shop where he can get fitted as part of his day-to-day routine, and then have 100% of his on-the-mountain time be ski time.
I know it's no big deal for a mountain-time local to spend a full ski day (or two) getting fitted & coming back in between runs for tweaks, but if you're a "ski commuter" with 4-8 hours of travel time to the mountain, who will likely spend less than 20 days a year on the snow, you're loathe to invest potential ski time on bootfitting if there's the option to have the job done by someone good back home.

Question remains: anyone out there had a good bootfit done in LA?
 
post #10 of 27
I would second SkiNetSports.com.

They are on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, I believe.

It will keep your friend from driving all over. And if a problem or hot spot develops. He can easily go back and get an adjustment.

Just a thought!
post #11 of 27
 Claude Swonger at SkiNetSports fit my boots when I was living in LA, and did an EXCELLENT job.  I'm not sure if he's still there, but he did great work for me.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sashae View Post

 Claude Swonger at SkiNetSports fit my boots when I was living in LA, and did an EXCELLENT job.  I'm not sure if he's still there, but he did great work for me.

 Same guy still there. He uses a Campbell Balancer. (explained on their site) From my understanding few Boot fitters do today.
Edited by skimalibu - 1/5/10 at 7:13pm
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for the feedback on SkiNetSports: I've passed it on.
As a former bootfitter, I'm not inclined to argue with Spach or Ske-Bum on the wisdom of seeking out a mountain-town fitting guru. 
The truth of the matter, however, is that unless you're a "textbook" fit, bootfitting is an involved, incremental process that involves more than just plunking your rear in a fitter's chair for a single session.
My own recent fit involved me literally trying on every sub-98mm boot last on the market, and then having full custom orthotics made followed by a bootsole grind.  My anatomy is admittedly a fitter's nightmare, but if I had tried to do all this after flying out on my next ski trip, I would have have spent the entire week in boot shops -- that is assuming a best-case scenario in which the fitter could squeeze in a jig & grind job in time for me to make my return flight!
We'll see how my buddy fares, and if he does get fit by SkiNetSports, I'll try and get back and post on the outcome.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veloscente View Post

Thanks to all for the feedback on SkiNetSports: I've passed it on.
As a former boot fitter, I'm not inclined to argue with Spach or Ske-Bum on the wisdom of seeking out a mountain-town fitting guru. 
The truth of the matter, however, is that unless you're a "textbook" fit, boot fitting is an involved, incremental process that involves more than just plunking your rear in a fitter's chair for a single session.
My own recent fit involved me literally trying on every sub-98mm boot last on the market, and then having full custom orthotics made followed by a boot sole grind.  My anatomy is admittedly a fitter's nightmare, but if I had tried to do all this after flying out on my next ski trip, I would have have spent the entire week in boot shops -- that is assuming a best-case scenario in which the fitter could squeeze in a jig & grind job in time for me to make my return flight!
We'll see how my buddy fares, and if he does get fit by SkiNetSports, I'll try and get back and post on the outcome.
 

Hey I should thank you!

I recommended Claude without really knowing his work first hand. (I don't really recommend anyone for anything these days)

Well I do now, as of Friday (1/15). We took my Surefoot footbeds and tossed them. I had a good laugh at them before we did. Understand I was in the process of getting something done for my boots anyway. I just wasn't sure though. Your question helped speed up the program. Oh Mammoth Lakes about to get a real good dump of snow all this week also helped.

Now I can tell you first hand.

Tell him to GO get it done!

Best money I've spent in a long time.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimalibu View Post




Hey I should thank you!

I recommended Claude without really knowing his work first hand. (I don't really recommend anyone for anything these days)

Well I do now, as of Friday (1/15). We took my Surefoot footbeds and tossed them. I had a good laugh at them before we did. Understand I was in the process of getting something done for my boots anyway. I just wasn't sure though. Your question helped speed up the program. Oh Mammoth Lakes about to get a real good dump of snow all this week also helped.

Now I can tell you first hand.

Tell him to GO get it done!

Best money I've spent in a long time.

How much did it cost you to get your boots custom fitted?
post #16 of 27
I went to Claude at SkiNet a couple years ago.  Ended up with the most painful boots I ever owned.  There was no way to check the work because he is so far away from the slopes.  Now that I have new boots (fit at Footloose) I can tell the ones Claude sold me were to wide, to tight over the arch, and way to stiff.  Not to mention I felt like he was pawning off an old model on me.  The whole process was rushed and after he started modifying the boot (grinding) to open up the painful spots he seemed just frustrated when I told him it still hurt.  Paid a lot of money for a boot I ended up giving away.  I did keep the footbed though--he seemed to do that well (but so could Footloose, etc.).
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reep View Post

I went to Claude at SkiNet a couple years ago.  Ended up with the most painful boots I ever owned.  There was no way to check the work because he is so far away from the slopes.  Now that I have new boots (fit at Footloose) I can tell the ones Claude sold me were to wide, to tight over the arch, and way to stiff.  Not to mention I felt like he was pawning off an old model on me.  The whole process was rushed and after he started modifying the boot (grinding) to open up the painful spots he seemed just frustrated when I told him it still hurt.  Paid a lot of money for a boot I ended up giving away.  I did keep the footbed though--he seemed to do that well (but so could Footloose, etc.).
 

 Got to hear the other side of this one!
post #18 of 27
Me--went to Claude for custom footbed for boots bought elsewhere; I had an appointment, they were ready for me, Claude did his business professionally and with all needed explanation, footbeds are perfect, I would definitely go back there for my next boot purchase.  Like Skimalibu, I'd want to hear the other side of Reep's story.
post #19 of 27
I'm really conflicted about this post, but I guess I'll say that although I'm very glad there is a reputable bootfitter in LA, I for one would not be that quick to discount Reep's story.

Even consummate professionals cannot be expected to succeed at every project they're involved in.
post #20 of 27
  Well OK then!  LOL

Discounting starts here:
 
I've lived long enough, and all around this country, to realize that LA is (Hold on for Really Big Shock Here) FULL of disfunctional people. The coasts of this country have a magnetic quality for those wonderful types. (If I didn't need to be here for work. I would NEVER EVER be in LA) I also realize that in that group, some strive to be unhappy and bitch about everything, from the time they get up. I'm just glad that Claude decided to open a store here in this madness servicing those of us that really like skiing and like to get his advise on all things skiing. Maybe part of that is because I started skiing early on in life. I can NOW just imagine the parade of...................Why.... wonderful people he has had to deal with over the years. From the minute I enter his shop I feel like I'm in an Oasis from the stupidity here. 

Skiing isn't easy for some and never will be!   It requires some effort and intelligence. Doesn't it?

When I was fitted we were doing prep work and waiting for my footbeads to heat up fully when a customer dropped in with a few hotspot. Claude asked me  "Would you mind if I helped him?" I said "No go ahead"  Seeing how he approached and solved the problem with that customer further confirmed what I already had concluded. He solved the problems quickly and came back to my fitting. No back stabbing once the customer had left. Really professional in a way I haven't seen in a long time. I think the only thing that may have bothered him was the fact that the customer had to make the trek back to his shop to get fixed up. He told the customer "Any problems develop let me know". I think anyone in ski bootfitting will tell you it is NOT an exact science. There are many variables and many question to be answered to reduce those variables. Some of those variables only show up when your on the hill using them.  If you don't give truthful, precise answers or don't realize that person is trying to help you........... Well you get what you get......And if you don't go back like an adult to resolve the problem.  Guess what?

Reading such a ridiculous description of treatment and then even more ridiculous actions.  Equivalent to: "And then I threw my boots away pulled my hair, ripped my dress and cried myself to sleep."........... LOL......... Poor poor Footloose if the story is real at all. To wide of boot that was tight in the arch. Aaaaa...... Yeah! 

With the direct polar opposite description of the experience I have been receiving. Yeah I'm a rational enough to know something else greater is at play. And it isn't on Claude's side.     LOL      Poor Claude...... WOW!
Edited by skimalibu - 2/15/10 at 6:34pm
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimalibu View Post

Reading such a ridiculous description of treatment and then even more ridiculous actions.  Equivalent to: "And then I threw my boots away pulled my hair, ripped my dress and cried myself to sleep."........... LOL......... Poor poor Footloose if the story is real at all. To wide of boot that was tight in the arch. Aaaaa...... Yeah! 

With the direct polar opposite description of the experience I have been receiving. Yeah I'm a rational enough to know something else greater is at play.
 
You have my "wow" at your total acceptance of one side of the story.  I sincerely hope your bootfitting goes well and you'll never have to be disappointed with your (seemingly deified) professional.

In case you're wondering, yes, I too have a pair of bootfitted (yet mothballed) boots.  If you can't envision why anybody would give up on a bootfitting project, then you've either spent too little time/effort/money or have not delved deeply enough into technical pursuits to know.
Edited by DtEW - 2/13/10 at 2:51pm
post #22 of 27
And if you don't go back like an adult to resolve the problem.  Guess what?
 
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimalibu View Post

And if you don't go back like an adult to resolve the problem.  Guess what?

Why would you assume that people didn't go back, or even return multiple times?
Edited by DtEW - 2/14/10 at 2:31am
post #24 of 27

This is an old thread.  But, I wish I had seen it earlier.  I bought boots from Claude - full fitting, his recommended boots, custom footbeds - top to bottom his recommendation in March 2013.  From day one, I said that I thought they were too big.  He assured me they weren't.  The first time I went back (after about 8 days) he added heel pads.  The second time I went back (Feb 2014) he added material under the footbeds.  In fairness to him, he offers a 12 month guarantee and due to a death in my family my season ended in the beginning of March.  In December 2014, I still had the same problem - popping out of the heel cup.  I went back in January.  In his words - "this is the last thing we will be doing."  He also said that my foot was the problem - overly mobile, which he had never mentioned previously.  He insisted the boot was the right fit.  He added yet more padding - heels and instep.  I just returned from the most interesting week in Utah.  I learned to ski my boot really loose because any buckle tightening put me into "through the roof" crying in the lodge type of pain.  I also learned that by skiing really aggressively, I could ski myself back into the heel cup. However, I didn't risk skiing  any serious stuff.

 

Oh ... I forgot the motto posted on the wall of Skinet Sports   ... "If you don't love it, you don't own it."  I went back 3 times because I didn't love it, but apparently ... I own it anyway.  Everytime, I had the same complaint - heel and ankle was too loose.

 

$1000.00 wasted.  I could have fit myself better online.  Luckily, Kevin from Footloose just relocated to Encinitas,Ca.  I trusted Claude, though, so now I'm skeptical of boot fitters period.

post #25 of 27

Just had a pair of K2 boots fitted out by Footloose in Santa Monica. They were just terrific to deal with, and very affordable. 

 

Had been fitted and canted 7 years ago by the "best boot fitter in LA" (hint: in the SF Valley) and by contrast these people were friendly and WAY less $. 

 

Easy parking (rare there).   Rave. 

post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carving Lance View Post
 

Just had a pair of K2 boots fitted out by Footloose in Santa Monica.

?????

 

Footloose is in Mammoth. Doc's is the ski shop in Santa Monica.

 

There are not many specialty ski shops in SoCal due to the local market being something like 75% snowboarders.  My son worked briefly at Ranchcraft, the last ski shop in San Diego before it closed in 2009.

 

I recommend having bootfitting done at Mammoth by Footloose or Kittredge.  Not only is the competence there, but you can get out and take a few runs, get immediate feedback and go back to the shop for tweaks.

 

I have heard there is a good bootfitter in Big Bear also. That's not the same variety of skiing as Mammoth, but the same principle applies in terms of getting out on the snow for testing. 

post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veloscente View Post
 

Quote:

Not a bad suggestion, I'll pass it on.

What my buddy is ultimately after is a local LA shop where he can get fitted as part of his day-to-day routine, and then have 100% of his on-the-mountain time be ski time.
I know it's no big deal for a mountain-time local to spend a full ski day (or two) getting fitted & coming back in between runs for tweaks, but if you're a "ski commuter" with 4-8 hours of travel time to the mountain, who will likely spend less than 20 days a year on the snow, you're loathe to invest potential ski time on bootfitting if there's the option to have the job done by someone good back home.

Question remains: anyone out there had a good bootfit done in LA?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

?????

 

Footloose is in Mammoth. Doc's is the ski shop in Santa Monica.

 

There are not many specialty ski shops in SoCal due to the local market being something like 75% snowboarders.  My son worked briefly at Ranchcraft, the last ski shop in San Diego before it closed in 2009.

 

I recommend having bootfitting done at Mammoth by Footloose or Kittredge.  Not only is the competence there, but you can get out and take a few runs, get immediate feedback and go back to the shop for tweaks.

 

I have heard there is a good bootfitter in Big Bear also. That's not the same variety of skiing as Mammoth, but the same principle applies in terms of getting out on the snow for testing. 


I can't speak about Kittredge, but as far as "take a few runs" and then return to Footloose for a tweaking and get back out on the snow?   Good luck with that!  If you are able to go weekdays, or have an appointment, you will be fine.  If you have an appointment on a Saturday (only Corty takes appointments) and then go back for a tweaking on a Sunday, be prepared for whoever is available.  To see Corty again, you will need another appointment.  As for Big Bear, both Dallas and Danielle Goldsmith are "master boot fit" certified.  They are also both very nice people.  My experience was much like it was with Claude at Skinet sports (also master boot fit certified).  I mentioned to Dallas too much room around the heel and he instantly started to talk shims and heel lifts.  So I walked away.  That may have been a mistake but I had a terrible experience with heel lifts and shims.  What I like about Footloose is that they make adjustment outside the liner and not underfoot. 

 

Footloose is still problematic because I am on vacation and want to ski - not hit the boot fitter every day.  On the other hand, I learned the hard way that a bunch of crap under my footbed is not a decent adjustment.

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