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Very first things I need to know about buying boots and skis

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I've started a very similar thread to this a few years ago. But this time I am serious in making a purchase. I'm away for college in the north country and in a week Whiteface/Gore is coming to my school and selling season passes for $280. I am planning on buying that, but along with that I am seriously interested in buying a pair of boots and skis now. I don't have a strict budget at the moment, but as a college student I hope to be getting the best out of my money. I originally plan on spending somewhere around $700 for the set of boots and skis. But will gladly go lower, or higher if I must. I also expect them to last me for the years to come. I am a beginner, been skiing a few times. The last mountain I've been on is Windham and I skied semi-comfortably on the greens. I don't know if Whiteface or Gore will be a good mountain for me to learn on, but the season passes seem like quite a deal. So if anyone could give me recommendations on what I should look into, what I should know, where i should look, whether online or in-stores, exceptional deals, anything related would be great.


EDIT:

I finally bought a pair of boots today -

 

http://www.atomicsnow.com/en-US/ProductFinder.aspx?modus=alpine

 

Asked about the skis as well but were a bit too expensive for my budget and was hoping to catch a steal online. Can someone give me more information on buying skis online? I am again a beginner and planning to cruise around on the mountain. Expecting the skis to last me some years, so keep into consideration my improvement. 


Edited by perpdartNY - 11/27/10 at 7:42pm
post #2 of 19

Like most people will say here, you should spend most of the money on getting boots that fit correctly. You can find good skis for cheap at lots of places online.I would concentrate on boots. A good shop to visit is Green Mountain Orthotics Lab at Stratton.  I have been there before and they do good work. It's not too far from NY. Make an appointment, get fit properly with a good set of boots, and then go have fun. Rent skis this year then buy new skis next fall at discount prices online.

 

That's my 2 cents.

post #3 of 19

+1.  Get boots that are appropriate for your skill and intentions (you are young and you are going to get better quickly).  Make sure that boots fit properly.  This requires a skilled bootfitter -- not an employee at a big mall-type ski/outdoor shop or online.  Period.  Money "saved" on boots that are not right is money wasted.  It make almost no difference what brand the boots are; the only important thing is that they fit very well and have the right flex characteristics. 

THEN, you can look at skis.  Rent.  Demo.  Borrow.  Buy something fairly cheap (and if you are really going to ski Whiteface, not too wide).   If you do a good job with the boots, you may have them for a couple of years.  And, they will provide the basis on which you could then evaluate skis.   

Personally, I would recommend a decent, 70-80mm waisted, mainstream, intermediate ski.  Ask at a ski shop and you will get some recommendations.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I understand the emphasizes put on the importance of boots. So buying boots online would be out of the question? I will have to visit a legit boot fitter.


Anyone have recommendations on who to visit here in the north country (Potsdam) or nearby places? Or somewhere in New York City or at least in proximity?

post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by perpdartNY View Post

Thanks. I understand the emphasizes put on the importance of boots. So buying boots online would be out of the question? I will have to visit a legit boot fitter.


Anyone have recommendations on who to visit here in the north country (Potsdam) or nearby places? Or somewhere in New York City or at least in proximity?


Buying boots on-line is a bad idea because boots are shell fit -- i.e., pull the liner out, stuff your sock-less foot in the plastic shell and find the smallest shell that can accomodate your foot.  That size is generally a lot smaller then your street shoe size.  For instance, I wear size 11 street shoes and (essentially) size 8.5 ski boots.  Not all feet are the same -- i.e., heel widths, toe widths, foot volume, ankle flexibility, etc. -- all get taken into consideration by a good boot-fitter in determining which boot you should be in.  There's only one boot problem that can not be easily solved, and that's the problem of being in the wrong shell to begin with.

 

As for recommendations...  the only place in New York I've ever heard of is the US Orthotics Lab, which I believe is in Manhattan somewhere.  I swear by the Green Mountain Orthotic Lab, but they're in Stratton, Vermont.  Fair warning:  no good boot-fitter comes cheap.  But I -- and many others -- firmly believe there's nothing more important that you can do then getting yourself into the right boots right from the start.

post #6 of 19

Both Gore and Whiteface are fine places to learn to ski.  Not sure where your school is (guessing Plattsburgh, which is closer to Whiteface).  Go to one of the local ski shops.  Cunningham's Ski Barn is near Gore, there are three ski shops in Glens Falls, near West Mtn. (Exit 18), Inside Edge, Sports Page and Fall Line.  If you go to school at Union, check out Goldstock's on Freemans Bridge Rd.  I've never shopped for skis/ski gear near Whiteface, so I can't give any suggestions there.   

 

Regardless of which shop you go to, ask about their left-overs from past years, and get recommendations from the staff.  I don't think you need anything wider than 78mm at the waist.  The ski I use the most at Gore is a narrow-waisted (66mm) carving ski.

 

Goldstocks keeps leftover skis in the basement, either Inside Edge or Sports Page (forget which) has a back room where they display stuff that isn't current.  Skis should be around 40% off, unless they're a very popular model.  Some of the ski shops also offer their older gear on their web site (I know Goldstock's does).  Let the staff help you find a pair of boots that are appropriate and fit. 

 

Also note that several of the stores I named offer seasonal rentals.  Renting a full set of gear (skis, boots, poles) should run you around $150/season.  If you buy boots, you can rent skis this season, and buy skis next year.

 

Good luck,

 

STE

post #7 of 19

If you are moderately well read, automatically assume you know more than your salesperson.  Even a rudimentary read of the popular ski mags will arm you with more info than the average ski shop employee retains in a thirty minute clinic.

 

I find that McWriteups in ski magazines provide pretty good information for stronger skiers who can decipher code.

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

BUMP. Purchased boots, need information on buying skis online now!

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by perpdartNY View Post

BUMP. Purchased boots, need information on buying skis online now!


Three easy steps.

1) Purchase subscription to expertskier.com reviews that lets you see ratings from current to a dozen years ago.

2) Make a long list of skis that meet your demands (ability level range, speed range, turn radius, carving ability) so you will recognize a good deal when you see it.

3) When you see a ski on sale for a small fraction of its original price, just because it's a couple of years old (or maybe more than a couple) check it out, and if it's a good ski that meets your demands buy it.

post #10 of 19

If you are on a budget then try to find some used skis. Some times ski shops sell last years demo skis for cheap. Stay away from buying standard rental skis because they are cheaply made and offer no performance. BTW good ski boots will out last several pairs of skis. When buying a ski boot, throw out the factory footbed and substitute either a aftermarket "cut and trim" footbed or a more expensive custom molded footbed.

post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiing-in-Jackson View Post

If you are moderately well read, automatically assume you know more than your salespersonEven a rudimentary read of the popular ski mags will arm you with more info than the average ski shop employee retains in a thirty minute clinic.

 

I find that McWriteups in ski magazines provide pretty good information for stronger skiers who can decipher code.

Dude, you wrote a manual for 'How to Put Your Ski Boots On' for EpicSki: the home of the most technically oriented/obsessed skiers on earth... you might want to re-consider this post. (or find a shop with better co-workers).
 

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

BUMP once more

post #13 of 19

Bump for what - more attention? the two replies that you got were spot on.

post #14 of 19

Bump ^ Bump ^ - but not like i used to when i was young and could ski them all day. i have to pick and choose now, and yes softer is better. sad, but true wink.gif

post #15 of 19


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
...(or find a shop with better co-workers)...

 


Easy Cowboy.  You don't know my co-workers.

 

 

post #16 of 19

a good shop will have sales persons who are very knowlegable. it's up to you to ask around, when does your main boot or ski guy get in today? who do you recommend I talk to about park skis? questions like that. if no one makes sense, try another store. if you live where no good shops are, you're probably better off doing your shopping at the mountain.

 

you have to make contact with the right person,  one who knows your type of skiing.

 

reading and browsing is no substitute for working it out with a qualified person, IMO.

post #17 of 19

Depends, I've been to highly recommended shops where the employees steadfastly insist my ideal ski length is to the bridge of my nose for any type of ski and my weight didn't matter. You'll probably get better info here than from most shop employees (in the east, in my experience anyway).

 

If you ski on groomed trails and not much in the park you'll probably want a carving ski that is 72mm width or less.

 

 

 

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm going to whiteface this weekend. Renting is $35 for skis only. I'm thinking about buying a pair of skis there. Would it be worth it or should I wait till I get back home and take the time to search for one?

post #19 of 19

If you're skiing greens now it might be best to wait for the end of the season and buy something leftover for cheap. If you still want one right now I'd advise waiting and not buying it there.

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