RealSkiers: Your Boots Aren't All That Need To Be Fit
Eventually, all skiers learn the importance of getting their boots properly fit. It may take more than a season in rental boots, hand-me-downs or Craig’s List re-treads, but in time, even the most plodding intermediates figure out that maybe it’s their boots that are holding back development and impinging on their enjoyment of the sport.
Other appurtenances that go directly on the human body also beg to be fit. Helmets must be accurately gauged or they defeat their purpose. Gloves that don’t fit make hands feel like feet. Even long underwear that fails to conform calls instant attention to its unsuitability.
We tend to worry a lot less about skis, perhaps because we imagine we can figure out the ski selection conundrum for ourselves. We know our boots need fixing because our feet scream at us to do something or they’re going to have a seizure. Same thing with the gloves and underwear: instant bio-feedback.
But skis are at one remove from our nerve endings. What if they were as mal-sized as skiers’ boot often are? Would the pilot be able to tell whether or not the ski was sub-optimal or head of its class?
Boots Too Large
Suppose the skier is -- as perhaps as many as half of all skiers are -- in boots that are too large; just where do you think he or she will end up standing on the ski, relative to his or her ideal location? (Take a moment to work it out.)
The answer, of course, is back; back far enough that the skier is not standing on the ski where he or she needs to be to guide it effectively. Never mind countless nuances about stance angle, lateral alignment, underfoot support and all that goes into dialing in a boot fit; if the ball of the foot is two centimeters from where it needs to be in order to make the sidecut and flex pattern function as the designer intended, the skier will never find the sweet spot.
Point being, it’s hard for the average skier to judge what’s best for him or her in a ski without outside counsel. Even Tiger Woods has a coach. You need someone who can examine you, not as a generic “advanced skier” who “can get down black runs,” but as the unique little snowflake you are, boots and all.
From the cautious consumer perspective, you might be apprehensive that your potential collaborator will have all the concern of a personal-injury lawyer and all the product knowledge of a lemming who just read the brochure. Actually, that’s not your biggest problem.
Assuming that you’re standing inside a specialty ski shop, the biggest wild card in the equation isn’t the competence of your sales counselor, nor even the size and suitability of the 10-year old boots you currently own.
To be accurately matched to a ski, you must accurately describe your skiing. It’s at this juncture that the ski matchmaking enterprise stumbles. Many Americans conflate their ability with the classification of runs they are able to survive. This is not the purpose of the trail classification system.
Customers know that if their tailor doesn’t get accurate measurements, the suit won’t fit. If they misrepresent themselves to the dating service, they may end up escorting an axe murderer. But skiers inflate their on-snow resume without the slightest regard for the truth or the consequences.
In the end, many skiers end up being over-served. They wind up on skis that are too burly, or wide or long for their own good. They get just the right ski – only it’s made for the expert they envision, not the avid intermediate they are.
The majority of skiers think you can’t find a comfortable ski boot. They are wrong. Just because getting misfit is easy, doesn’t mean that getting a great fit is hard.
Many people think skiing is difficult to learn. Not so. True, most people display limited talents, but it’s not because the equipment and instruction aren’t available to facilitate easy skills acquisition. It’s often the mismatch of ski and skier.
Many people think it’s so simple to select the ideal ski that they can do it alone. They have no idea how nuanced selecting the right ski in the right length with the right tune can be. They need a coach. Realskiers.com and the specialty dealers we extol, are ready for the job.