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An Opinion on getting stiffer more precise Boot...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

So it's probably premature to comment seeing as this is the first day on the new boots, but...
I was sking on a 90 flex boot(and may go back). I ski a lot of bumps and jumps, terrain park and natural jibs and cliffs etc...
I recently went to a more narrow boot at 110 flex. Not stiff at all for many of you I know.
Here are my thoughts...

First I never understood what it meant when people say the boot transfers power directly to the ski. Now I know! This however may not be exactly what You or I want. I'll explain later. Turns were way more precise with no room for error.

Second, These new stiffer boots launched me in the park. I was on the same skis as last week but with the new boots I was traveling a good 5-7 feet further down the ramp.

Third, Something needs to flex when you ski. Either the boot or the ski and preferably both. I was now aware of my skis limitations. Since they are so precise and more powerful the ski is now the weak link. I was able to over power my skis and not flex as much in my boots.
( I feel and have for a while that your ski flex should be matched to your boot flex for best results).

Back to the more precise the boot may not be better... For jumps and spins I prefer to have just a little room in my boot so I can Pronate and supinate my fore foot. I have better snow feel. For carving the stiffer, precise boot rocks!! They had me wanting for way longer way stiffer skis!!!!

Moguls sucked. I'm a pretty good mogul skier and I just sucked today. I'm hoping this improves as the boot breaks in or I'm going back to the 90 flex until spring or unless I'm on my Bigger boards where the stiffer flex will help me.

FYI.. The boot I am on is the Salomon Ghost. It is by far the most precise boot I've ever tried.( Full review coming at the end of the weekend, 4 days of skiing.) Two buckles is all I will ever need. This boot like I said is super precise and plenty powerful. It just sucks to get in to.
I'm 5'10" 200 lbs lean and powerful physique.

post #2 of 19
There are far better skier than I here, but I will chime in with my personal experience on the matter.  I have noticed a marked difference in my ability to ski rough terrain and moguls with my current boots which are 150.  Its not pleasant nor ideal.  Like you said no room for error and everything is trasmitted to me....no absorption   I dont know off hand what the hardness of HEADs (the brand I am most familiar with) park boots are, but I do know that they are not overly soft (110 I think?) and are based on the shell used for their race boots.  I think it just all boils down to what feel right for you.   Some prefer stiffer and some prefer softer boots.   I wanted the stiffest boots you can buy, but I have a need for speed.  If I was into the parks and moguls I am pretty suire I would not have chosen my present boots.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I appreciate your comment. I went stiffer and more precise for warmer days and rougher snow on my longer skis. I was getting tossed in the 90's when I needed power. But I feel I gave up finesse. I just wanted to get it out there that more precise may not always be better.
post #4 of 19
I just went from a #6 Flexon tongue to a #10 and did some other mods to further stiffen my boots.  I couldn't be happier and I ski a lot of moguls.  However, you may have something there about matching the boot flex to the ski flex to a degree.  I can definitely see where your coming from.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks Noodler! Everyone is different is what flex they are comfortable with for sure. I have just noticed the boot/ ski flex match thing in my own quiver. I appreciate your input.
post #6 of 19
Interestingly enough I can test your theory fairly easily (because I have a disease which causes me to have to acquire way more skis than anyone person should ever own).  I also own a boot quiver of Flexons setup for different stiffnesses.

Of course the results will only be valid for me , but everyone is welcome to come to their own conclusions and I will post my thoughts after running through some tests.

Anyhow, in the skinny realm I have an Elan S12 (way stiff, with huge camber), Elan SL Race WaveFlex (medium stiff), and Stockli Spirit Pro (medium).  In the mid-fats I have Elan 888 (stiff), Stockli VXL (medium stiff), andVolant Machete FB (medium).  I can flip my Flexon boots from ridiculously soft to pretty damn stiff in under a minute with a tongue swap.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Sweet dude! I'm anxious to see if your results fall in line with mine.
post #8 of 19
So I didn't do an exhaustive test yesterday by any means, but I did determine that a stiff boot with a soft ski is a pretty bad match for me.  It was way too easy to over-drive the front of the skis which in turn could make the tails lose grip at times.  About the only place it worked OK was in the moguls, but even then I'm fine with a stiffer boot and stiffer skis in moguls.

And I spent enough years on softer flexing boots with stiff skis to know that I now much prefer a stiffer boot setup for driving most of my skis (which lean toward the stiffer side of things).

So I'm with you ski=free, there's definitely something to matching your boots to your skis (and in turn to the conditions/mountains you mostly ski).  I have the feeling though that for most skiers this usually comes out fine since "expert" skiers tend to use higher end stiffer boots along with higher end stiffer skis.  Opposite would be true for the less skilled skier. 
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski=free View Post

Moguls sucked. I'm a pretty good mogul skier and I just sucked today. I'm hoping this improves as the boot breaks in or I'm going back to the 90 flex until spring or unless I'm on my Bigger boards where the stiffer flex will help me.
 


Skiing bumps in a stiff boot is actually a very good test of technique.  As you noted, "something has to flex", but that "something" is actually your knees and your ankles.  In order to ski bumps well, you have to be able to ski them without slamming into them.  This requires two things to happen.  First, you have to be able to get your turn completed well before you encounter the next bump.  You need to be releasing the turn on the backside of the bump so you are moving into the top of the next turn as you reach the frontside of the next bump (as opposed to slamming into it with the bottoms of a still-edged ski).  Speed control should come from round turns, not edge-sets.  Second, you must start flexing your knees *before* you reach the next bump.  If you wait until you are already on the bump before you start to absorb it, you are already too late.  You won't be able to flex quickly enough to fully absorb and you will get launched.  In soft bumps, you can get away with this, but in firm bumps you will end up with a rough ride and you will most likely end up eventually bailing.  The stiffer your boot, the more mandatory getting your flex timing right becomes. 

One of the reasons most people can't ski bumps is that their movements are backwards.  Many people ski with a stem move, which requires pressuring the ski at transition to create a platform to move from one set of edges to another.  The most accomplished stemmers ("advanced" and self described "expert" skiers) will use a hop (sometimes very subtle) to make this happen.  The problem with this approach is that the timing is backwards.  There is extension at transition and then flexion at the middle of the turn.  Extension interferes with your ability to tip your skis onto edge, while flexion is the weakest position to resist forces and it actually causes the turn to release.  If you think about bump skiing, you want to be flexing to absorb the bump and change edges (which happens at transition) and you want to be extending down the backside of the bump (which is the middle of the turn) to take the turn forces. 

Flexion at transition is one of the keys to high end skiing in any conditions.  Flexion allows you to harness the forces of the old turn to help pull you into the new turn.  It also allows you to eliminate the stem.  Simply flex the old outside leg to release, and you get an automatic balance transfer to what will become the new outside leg.  Since you are flexed, you can easily tip the foot belonging to the leg you just flexed onto its little toe edge, which will cause the foot you are now balancing on to follow.  Viola! you are on your new edges without any work being required. 

Don't give up on your stiff boots.  You will be a much better skier if you can bring your technique up to the level of your equipment.  My every day boot is a Head Raptor 130 RD.  This is a full-on FIS level plug boot with a 130 flex.  My bump skiing is as good as it has ever been in this boot because it forces me to ski with precision.  I know several very good bump skiers who ski in the Raptor 150 RD which is the Word Cup boot.  They also don't have any trouble with boot stiffness because they have excellent technique.
Edited by geoffda - 2/21/10 at 9:37am
post #10 of 19
I"m not familiar with your new Solomon boot, but I like the name!

I went from super-stiff boots (as stiff as I could find) to softer boots (CrossMax 10s, 100 or 110 Flex) last time around.   To me, both boot and ski stiffness should match the speed, and thus the forces your are transmitting.  With too stiff a boot for the speed your are going, you are not transmitting enough force for a lot of ankle movement, and you have to compensate with more movement elsewhere. 

As for snow feel, I think the best thing for that is a good footbed, regardless of bootflex.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffda View Post


Skiing bumps in a stiff boot is actually a very good test of technique.  As you noted, "something has to flex", but that "something" is actually your knees and your ankles.  In order to ski bumps well, you have to be able to ski them without slamming into them.  This requires two things to happen.  First, you have to be able to get your turn completed well before you encounter the next bump.  You need to be releasing the turn on the backside of the bump so you are moving into the top of the next turn as you reach the frontside of the next bump (as opposed to slamming into it with the bottoms of a still-edged ski).  Speed control should come from round turns, not edge-sets.  Second, you must start flexing your knees *before* you reach the next bump.  If you wait until you are already on the bump before you start to absorb it, you are already too late.  You won't be able to flex quickly enough to fully absorb and you will get launched.  In soft bumps, you can get away with this, but in firm bumps you will end up with a rough ride and you will most likely end up eventually bailing.  The stiffer your boot, the more mandatory getting your flex timing right becomes. 

One of the reasons most people can't ski bumps is that their movements are backwards.  Many people ski with a stem move, which requires pressuring the ski at transition to create a platform to move from one set of edges to another.  The most accomplished stemmers ("advanced" and self described "expert" skiers) will use a hop (sometimes very subtle) to make this happen.  The problem with this approach is that the timing is backwards.  There is extension at transition and then flexion at the middle of the turn.  Extension interferes with your ability to tip your skis onto edge, while flexion is the weakest position to resist forces and it actually causes the turn to release.  If you think about bump skiing, you want to be flexing to absorb the bump and change edges (which happens at transition) and you want to be extending down the backside of the bump (which is the middle of the turn) to take the turn forces. 

Flexion at transition is one of the keys to high end skiing in any conditions.  Flexion allows you to harness the forces of the old turn to help pull you into the new turn.  It also allows you to eliminate the stem.  Simply flex the old outside leg to release, and you get an automatic balance transfer to what will become the new outside leg.  Since you are flexed, you can easily tip the foot belonging to the leg you just flexed onto its little toe edge, which will cause the foot you are now balancing on to follow.  Viola! you are on your new edges without any work being required. 

Don't give up on your stiff boots.  You will be a much better skier if you can bring your technique up to the level of your equipment.  My every day boot is a Head Raptor 130 RD.  This is a full-on FIS level plug boot with a 130 flex.  My bump skiing is as good as it has ever been in this boot because it forces me to ski with precision.  I know several very good bump skiers who ski in the Raptor 150 RD which is the Word Cup boot.  They also don't have any trouble with boot stiffness because they have excellent technique.
I am probably a self decribed expert as you say. I will try to use your advice here and apply your technique. I'm a pretty good zipperliner but, maybe i'm guilty of stemming as you put it as the bumps become deeper and more steep.
I've read many a "how to ski bumps" threads and articles etc.. But I was able to visualize what you wrote more than any of the others. I really appreciate it!! I know I have a lot to learn everytime I ski.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski=free View Post
I am probably a self decribed expert as you say. I will try to use your advice here and apply your technique. I'm a pretty good zipperliner but, maybe i'm guilty of stemming as you put it as the bumps become deeper and more steep.
I've read many a "how to ski bumps" threads and articles etc.. But I was able to visualize what you wrote more than any of the others. I really appreciate it!! I know I have a lot to learn everytime I ski.
 

Agreed, Geoff 's posts are some of the most well thought out and articulate available on the skiing interweb.  If you'd like to find out where to read more from Geoff just Google his username (or PM me).
post #13 of 19
Geoff, it is without question that a lack of my ability is the root for my frustration in chop and bumps in my 150 boots---its not the boots ; a good driver is just as competent in a Yugo as in a Porsche, still one is clearly better for challenging driving.   I simply do not get the rhythm. I have not ventured to discover what the pro bump skiers wear, but I would be surprised if they use a 130 or 150 hardness boot to ski that stuff.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Geoffda, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to tell you.. when I first read you peice on moguls I thought he isn't talking about me, I'm a really good mogul skier. And, every time I read a "how to ski moguls" thread, article or whatever they just never made sense to me. So I almost didn't read it. Well I read it and read it and read it again, then a light went off.
I was out there today trying your tecnique. Guess what... It worked beautifully!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never had more control in moguls with no jarring!!! ( that is when I did it right) When I reverted back to old style I was in a washing machine. I am so thrilled and thankful for your input!! You have taught me exactly the piece of the puzzle I needed!!
Very sincere THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!
post #15 of 19
Interesting thread...I was actually just wondering aloud in another thread about this :
According to my bootfitter, a skier with relatively inflexible ankle and/or feet, should be skiing a stiffer boot.  Skiers with naturally flexible ankles/feet should be in a softer boot.  I'm not sure if this means stiffer laterally or forward or both?  I would have thought the opposite, because if you have a limited range of motion as a result of stiff ankles, wouldn't a stiffer boot keep you pushed back in terms of forward flex even more than you already are (and end up in the back seat too much)? 

Does anyone understand why it would be better to be in a stiff boot if your ankles and/or feet are naturally stiff and limited in range of motion?
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by monologuist View Post

Interesting thread...I was actually just wondering aloud in another thread about this :
According to my bootfitter, a skier with relatively inflexible ankle and/or feet, should be skiing a stiffer boot.  Skiers with naturally flexible ankles/feet should be in a softer boot.  I'm not sure if this means stiffer laterally or forward or both?  I would have thought the opposite, because if you have a limited range of motion as a result of stiff ankles, wouldn't a stiffer boot keep you pushed back in terms of forward flex even more than you already are (and end up in the back seat too much)? 

Does anyone understand why it would be better to be in a stiff boot if your ankles and/or feet are naturally stiff and limited in range of motion?
Look at it from a force transmitted point of view.  The more you bend the boot, the more force it transmits.  If you can only bend a little, but you bend a very stiff boot that little bit, you get the same force as if you bent a very soft boot a lot.
post #17 of 19
for multi-conditions skiing, a 150 may be just too stiff.

like standing on your ski and bending it by leaning your weight, you want to be able to move the boot to some degree by flexing your ankles. If equiptment feels rigid to the skier, it will not perform dynamically (in motion).
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
The question must be asked what is to be gained or risked by a boot too soft or  too stiff.
The benefit of a soft boot is being able to flex it and your ankles and thus your knees. You are able to get into an athletic stance and attack terrain At any speed.
The risk is over powering the boot and being unable to control the ski especially the tip.
The benefit of a stiff boot is control obviously, especially at speed and in rough snow. The risk is being unable to flex the boot especially at slower speeds or in free ride situations and being pushed into the back seat.
Personally the only time I want for a stiffer boot is in heavy rough chop and or spring crud. Perhaps on fast gs turns on groomers but I almost never ski groomers anymore.
post #19 of 19
It's not just pure stiffness, it's the boot design, too.  A few of the younger, stronger Masters racers on my team, all guys, use a 150 flex boot.  For most of us Old Guys, however, a 130 is plenty.  Some of the bigger women are using a 120 or 130, but some of the lighter, smaller women are using a 100 or 90...for racing as well as for all other skiing. 

The boot almost all of us are on this year is the Atomic RaceTec CS in whatever flex is appropriate for the driver (mine are 130s).  It feels to me that race boots are most stiff where the sides of the lower shell wrap around the foot rather than up in the cuff.  It's like you feel the bottom and sides of your foot doing the work...kind of like a high-tech tennis shoe.  The cuffs are laterally stiff, of course, but the forward flex is actually fairly easy and progressive, and almost all of us are using Booster Straps of whatever strength so that we don't have to wind down on the buckles...keeps the upper snug around the lower leg, makes for a really even, progressive flex. 

I also have a 3-year old pair of RaceTech CS 130s that are set up identically but ski slightly differently due to the differences in plastic and the fact that the liner isn't as beefy and has packed out.  I use those mostly for free skiing...when I know in advance that that's all I am going to do.  But ya know what?  The other day we were all cranked up for SL training, I had on my 2010 RaceTecs, and wouldn't you know it?  New powder, so we all invoked the Six Inches or More Rule (no gates, just ripping the soft stuff), pulled out our fat boards...and my boots were just fine.  And the other day, it looked like we were going to get aced out of training for the same reason...but the snow held off, so I got to do full-length SG training on a pair of my Atomic 201 SGs with my old boots...worked just dandy...your mileage may vary...

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