Me: 40 years old, 195 lbs, 6ft, fit, athletic, male. Advanced skier. Live in NYC and generally ski VT, but get a couple of trips "out west" each year.
Boots: 2009/2010 Dalbello Surge 110. I had them fitted last year by Keith at The Pro Ski and Ride in Hunter, NY. It was an excellent experience. Keith really took his time, listened to me, and I wound up with Instaprint footbeds and boots that fitted very well. The only real issue out of the box was that I could feel pressure on the big toe on my left foot (some on my right foot also, but not nearly as much). Keith ground out some material, and it was better, but there was still some pressure. We decided I'd ski them for a while to see if they were better once the liners packed out a little (he wanted to avoid taking out too much material).
The problem: I did a 2 day steeps clinic in Whistler after I had around 5 days on the boots. They generally felt good, but there was still a little pressure on the big toe. More just a little discomfort than pain. Anyway, the clinic I attended pushed me beyond what I was comfortable with, and definitely improved my skiing, but by the end of the first day, my left big toe was bruised and battered, and the nail had a lot of blood under it. The instructor thought I maybe hadn't cut my toenail short enough, and was also letting myself get into the back seat on some or the terrain I was less comfortable in, and maybe that was pushing my toe forward. I sucked it up and made it through the rest of the trip, but it didn't take much to cause significant pain in the toe.
The toe nail fell off a week or so later, and I skied the rest of the season with some pain in that toe. I finally broke down and a bootfitter at Snowbird (Christies) take a look at it, and he made a small tweak to the footbed and took the carbon fiber spoilers off the back of the boot. It didn't seem to change much.
I just got back from a quick trip to Killington for my first couple of days this season. My toenail has grown back, I made sure my nails were cut short, and was looking forward to seeing how the boots felt. I still had some pain in both my big toes by the time things wrapped up.
The question: Is this likely something that can be fixed by just having someone make some more room where my big toes are (whether by removing more material or punching)? Or could it be / likely is more complicated than that? Could it be more about me and flaws in my technique than it is the boots? I'm happy to get some work done on the boots if it would help, but would also prefer to avoid the two hour drive to Hunter if I don't need to do it.