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Updating 12-year old equipment, need help!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey all,
Looking to update some equipment but want to do it intelligently.

I'm 25 years old, athletic (cycle/climb/etc), live in Michigan and most skiing is done around here. 5'10", 160 lbs.

Background:
I started skiing late in the teens and never received proper instruction. My parents bought me gear thinking I'd grow but I had already hit my spurt and therefore my skis have always been long and felt as much. I currently have Olin Radius K's in I believe 185, Nordica boots that say 90 flex on the side, not sure of the model (they are all red if that helps).

I've done alright with this equipment as far as getting down the hill and surviving but I've never been able to make solid carving turns, gracefully execute bumps or hard lines, and steeper hills usually having me stopping a time or two to regain control, sadly.

I joined NSP this year as I have a medical background and wanted something to make myself engage skiing and get better and it's been going great, love the classes and hill training.
I'd like to update my gear as I'm sure a lot has happened in the last decade+ that could aid me in developing my skills. I demo'd Volkl AC30's and K2 Interceptors in my boots up at Boyne Highlands in December 09 and found them both worlds better than my skis but didn't feel quite perfect either. The Volkl felt better overall to me, the K2 was nicer going fast but didn't seem as responsive slow (at least to me).

I try not to have too much pride so feel free to suggest beginner gear if that's what my description makes me out to be, I don't really know what "level" I would say I'm at. Looking to update both skis and boots.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
e

Edit: I do head out west but always rent gear or borrow my friends who live out there....this stuff is intended for around Michigan mostly.
post #2 of 10
If there's one bit of advice nearly everyone here will give you it's this ...
Quote:

GET THEE TO A BOOTFITTER!
The best pair of skis in the world won't work for you if you don't have a proper fitting pair of boots.  Search this forum for bootfitter advice and seek out the best bootfitter you can find in your area.  Pay him whatever he asks, agree to give him all your worldly possessions and be willing to sacrifice your first-born if he will agree to fit you with the perfect pair of boots.

I would bet that the 12-yo boots you've got probably don't fit you well, are mostly packed out by now and are quite likely holding you back from reaching your full potential on skis.

Do not mistake the sales guy at the local ski shop for a bootfitter!  If he measures your foot and hands you a boot to try on, he is a sales guy not a bootfitter.  Ask the other patrollers for bootfitter recommendations and they can probably steer you in the right direction.

Once you've got the boots sorted out, come back and we'll talk skis ...

(although I might recommend the Fischer Progressor 8+ or RX-8 as a good place to start ... great edgehold and strong performance on the icier slopes in MI and have a pretty wide sweet-spot that will forgive less than perfect technique)
Edited by OldEasternSkier - 1/14/10 at 12:10pm
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
 Thanks for the insight OldEasternSkier

I posted in another forum about a solid ski shop (which I assume is also the same place to find a good boot fitter) in or near Grand Rapids. I'm watching that thread and hoping someone replies with a good place, the only one I know of I'm not a fan of.

I did walk in there and have them measure the foot and suggest a boot (Nordica Hot Rod 85). They took the liner out and had me put my foot in and check the distances from my foot to the shell walls, then replaced the liner and added a Superfeet insole instead of stock and put them on for a few minutes.
We chatted while they were on for a few and he had me stand up and flex forward to make sure my toes pulled away from the tips a bit (I could feel slight pressure when standing upright) and also that when forward I had roughly 2 fingers gap between my calf and boot-back.

Does this sound like a "fitting" or just a sales guy?
I truly don't know and there aren't too many options around here sadly :(
post #4 of 10
Hi efoto.

I would suggest 2 things.

A boot fitter will greatly help find a perfect boot. However,
I would go with a 100 flex boot to start. As soon as you hit diamond runs,
lower than 100 will limit your progression.

Also, I would suggest a ski with aroung 70-74 underfoot.
Like last years Xenon 10 from Head. The reason is that once
a powder day comes, the extra underfoot width will help float you
and allow you to experience it!

Good luck and have a great winter!
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by efoto View Post

I did walk in there and have them measure the foot and suggest a boot (Nordica Hot Rod 85). They took the liner out and had me put my foot in and check the distances from my foot to the shell walls, then replaced the liner and added a Superfeet insole instead of stock and put them on for a few minutes.
We chatted while they were on for a few and he had me stand up and flex forward to make sure my toes pulled away from the tips a bit (I could feel slight pressure when standing upright) and also that when forward I had roughly 2 fingers gap between my calf and boot-back.

Does this sound like a "fitting" or just a sales guy?

That's slightly more than the worst big-box shoe dept. salesperson, and much less than a real bootfitting.

At my first bootfitting (Skinet in Los Angeles), I was made to stand on top of a Campbell balancer where my stance was evaluated and got my knees marked up by a sharpie.  It was also determined that no major biomechanical problem existed except for varus and one leg was about 1/8 of an inch shorter than the other.  There was a lot of fondling and measuring of my feet (forefoot width, instep height, heel width) to determine volume and dimensions.  There was examination of my arch.

Based on that I was recommended a few boots to try.  After lots of coaching as to what to feel, we found one that seemed like the best candidate, and we proceeded to make a custom footbed.  This took awhile and involved my participation in semi-weighting the form to get the footbed in a position where I was told it would matter most: when my foot was unweighted in the midst of a transition.  After molding the footbed the fitter took some time to add backing, grind, and trim it to shape.

We then fitted the footbed to the boot, where we found that the added depth of the more-supportive custom footbed created a pressure point over my instep.  He took the liners out and made modifications to the area over the tongue (specifically, trimming off the elastic that normally holds the boot sides together), which solved that issue.

Then I was given a lesson (and practice) on how to properly close a boot to ensure that the heel is placed deep in the heel pocket.

I was placed on an apparatus which consisted of bindings fastened to a board (for stability).  I was told to make ski motions and assess the overall fit of the boots.  It seemed fine and that was the first session.

I went skiing, and found that my foot cramped.

I went back and communicated the problem.  The bootfitter took a re-examination of the foot-footbed interface, and made adjustments (ground out certain areas of the footbed).

I went skiing again, and things were much better.

I went back and communicated the progress, and from there on a bit more fine-tuning of the footbed was done.
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by efoto View Post

 Thanks for the insight OldEasternSkier

I posted in another forum about a solid ski shop (which I assume is also the same place to find a good boot fitter) in or near Grand Rapids. I'm watching that thread and hoping someone replies with a good place, the only one I know of I'm not a fan of.

 
You had a very basic fit job, but not a real boot fitting.

I replied to your other thread, but I'll add it here, too....
Spend some time in a car! 3 Suggestions for boot fitters: 1) the Bahnhof in Petoskey (you can ski at Nub's Nob or Boyne Highlands and demo skis, too), 2) see Rob at Sun and Snow in Ann Arbor (recommended to me by U.P. Racer), or 3) come up to Crystal Mountain after making an appointment with Jim Riley, our extraordinary fitter/pedorthist.

In your other thread I suggested the shop at Cannonsburg, but you hadn't specified boot fitting in that thread. My guess is they'll have a very limited selection.
post #7 of 10
 There is one thing every one here forgot to mention. 

Boot Fitter (Very important)

Then Demo, demo lots of skis and find the ones that you like. 

It is going to take a little while to get use to the new style of skiing, and as you pick this up, your opinion of skis will change very rapidaly. 

You may demo a ski and hate it, come back a couple of times later after you learned to lay a ski down on its edge rather than sliding the tail, and you may love it.

DEMO DEMO DEMO 
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the great replies, awesome info!

Quote:
Originally Posted by volklgirl View Post
Spend some time in a car! 3 Suggestions for boot fitters: 1) the Bahnhof in Petoskey (you can ski at Nub's Nob or Boyne Highlands and demo skis, too), 2) see Rob at Sun and Snow in Ann Arbor (recommended to me by U.P. Racer), or 3) come up to Crystal Mountain after making an appointment with Jim Riley, our extraordinary fitter/pedorthist.

I think I have an upcoming group outing to Crystal in a month or so, I'll verify that and call ahead to make that appointment if indeed Crystal is the location, thanks for the recommendations volklgirl.

Thanks to some advice of some skilled patrollers I've been able to get a solid edge-carve going as well as improve my general balance and posture. Those of course all dive into increased speed WITH control :), and general confidence.
With all of your advice I'm looking into getting new boots and maybe limping this season on my existing skis yet. I'm hoping new boots will both fit better than mine and also be warmer!

Do I go purely based on what feels good or are there brand/model recommendations people can make based on proficiency and/or skiing style?

Thanks again, this site is awesome!
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Net lag or something, double-post...sorry.
post #10 of 10
The best boot for you is whatever fits your foot best. Since no one here can see or touch your feet, we can't make any informed guesses.

Trust a great boot fitter!

90% of people out there buy their boots too big. Get a shell fit so you're not in this statistic. Have fun!

If you do come up to Crystal, let me know.
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