RealSkiers: Carpe Skiem
Now is the time. Not to go skiing, but to prepare for frolics to come. Most skiers wait until the last possible moment to rediscover that the boots that caused so much distress last season are still lurking in the back of the hall closet. No time like the present to pull them out, slap them on and wonder, “Is this the best I can do?”
Until skiers reach elite ability, we at RealSkiers.com know they don’t fully appreciate how even boots that feel hunky-dory may be a significant impediment to their progress, security and self-preservation.
To make an analogy to a contra-seasonal sport: if skiing were golf, you'd be the ball. Your boots determine where you will land.
The biggest difference between golf and skiing is that the consequences of in-flight error are a lot higher in the latter. So if you have the slightest doubt about the relationship between you and your boots, you should seek out the nearest boot-fitting guru and listen to his or her counsel.
As with any visit to a sage counselor, be frank about the situation. Whatever you feel is missing from your skiing life – comfort, control, warmth, precision, all of the above – bare your soul. And your sole, for if your consigliore isn’t looking at your bare feet, beware.
The bare foot tells tales the socked foot can’t reveal. The veteran boot fitter knows this and is unlikely to settle for less than full revelation. The demand to see your bare tootsies is one of the first hints that you’re sitting on the right boot bench.
Don’t be surprised if the boot fitter lays his hands upon your pedal extremities as if he were feeling for signs of life. He’s actually feeling for bones and possible other hardware that may influence the choice of model or shell modification.
If you’re in the right place, at some point in the dialogue between skier and fitter the subject of underfoot support will arise. Resistance, while maybe not futile, is inadvisable. Few feet reap no benefit from properly built insoles.
All of this examination, analysis and subsequent treatment takes time. Which brings us back to our launch point: boot fitters, even really, really good boot fitters, have time on their hands at this time of year. To be more precise, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in your North American time zone, some of the most talented practitioners of the boot-fitting arts sit idle.
This is not an opportunity to be missed. Even if, at peak season, you actually get The Guy to fit your boots, how much extra care can enter into the equation when other customers are stacked up behind you like 737’s circling O’Hare?
The conclusion should by now be obvious: if there’s the slightest doubt, the teensiest hint of reservation, that your boots might be beyond resuscitation, head to your nearest specialty ski retailer. At this time of year, not only is he most likely idle, but prices, whether on 2015 models or prior years’ “treasures,” are unlikely to migrate further south anytime soon.
So if you want to strike while the iron is not only hot, but otherwise unoccupied, this is your moment.
Photo: A talented boot fitter is a terrible thing to waste (RealSkiers)