If the boot fits you’ll wear it
The foot is the closest appendage of our anatomy to the snow and the farthest away from your brain. Any negative reaction triggered by an improperly fitting boot and a poorly tuned ski will be a multiplied by the distance between the foot and brain. Understanding this mathematical equation is evidence of the importance of having a properly fitting ski boot or well-tuned ski.This fall, start the season off on the right foot and make sure that both the feet are happy.The tendency to think equipment is ready directly from the showroom floor or after sitting in the closet for the summer is a mistake. Most of the skis in the display rack need some work done to them before leaving the shop, while equipment that has been stored away for the summer may have acquired rust, mold or made a home for a mouse.How skis arrive from the factory can vary tremendously. In the past, skis might have arrived either edge high, base high or without wax.A majority of these issues have been eliminated thanks to the development of laser technology and competition amongst manufacturers. However, this does not eliminate the fact the skis will arrive with edges possibly too sharp at the tip or tail.The factory tends to put the cheapest wax on as well. It might not apply to the snow conditions in your immediate environment.Working closely with a competent ski tech, preferably from a small privately owned ski shop, is key for personalized service. Get to know the shop personnel and owner. Let them get to know who you are as a person and a skier. Before you know it, they’ll have you and your equipment dialed in.More important is boot fit. I suggest utilizing a boot specialist with a network of long-term employees and good grassroots reputation. Go off the word-of-mouth, it rarely misleads you. I usually make a daily stop at Sure Foot when dialing in a new pair of boots.A good shop will fit a boot to your personality and anatomical shape rather than sell you a name-brand product just because they have it in stock. They do this by offering a large selection of inventory, representing every foot shape and skiing ability.They follow this up by prototyping the bio-mechanics of each individual’s foot by utilizing the latest technology of computer graphing techniques to determine foot shape. From here they can customize an insole or whole liner to increase comfort as well as performance. They’ll eliminate pressure spots and cant the boot if needed.Identifying this type of service-oriented outlet is the hardest part of the deal. Start by asking a local ski coach or longtime instructor. The best bet might just be a local ski bum.Follow this up by scouting the place out and determine how you are treated from the moment you walk through the door. Most important, look around to see if the shop is designed around its service and not just decorated to sell equipment; this will give you a feel of what type of personality they have.Chris Anthony, a longtime Vail-area resident, is the 1996 Alaskan Extreme Skiing Champion and a veteran of 14 Warren Miller films. Contact him at email@example.com.
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