With fall in the air and ski publications’ gear guides on the shelves, we find ourselves combing through the latest and greatest, fantasizing about our ski quiver, new threads and how to update our kits. But, there are few things you won’t learn in the magazines gear guides or might not be told in a ski shop.
Therefore, welcome to….
GEAR CONFESSIONS: A series of blogs written by Kim to bring you solid advice on ski equipment, making the most of your budget and getting your kit dialed so you are ready to hit the slopes when the snow starts to fly.
Part l : Alpine Ski Boots
Your ski boots are by far the most important piece of equipment you own. Whether you want to be a better skier, or simply feel good all day, it is critical for your boots to be comfortably tight, provide smooth forward flex, the plastic needs to be appropriately stiff, the soles not too warn, and no gaps in the shin/calf area. Customizing your boots will not only make your ski days more enjoyable, they will also reduce your chance of injury.
How to get one more season out of your old boots:
- Bontex board. These shims come in .5 to 3mm in thickness. Placed in-between your liner and your shell, this shim will tuck your foot back up into the pocket and make your boots fit like new again. After 60 days in my boots this is my “go to” fix to get me through every season.
- Heal lifts: If it’s only your heal pocket that is loose you can cut the board off mid-way or add a heal lift to take up space.
- Booster strap: Used by the best ski racers in the world, a booster strap replaces the Velcro strap around your shin, making your boots stiffer and tighter for higher performance.
- Custom footbed: Simply put, footbeds make your boots fit better, keep your feet warmer and add control, leading to better performance. By supporting your foot in it’s natural shape and then tightening the boot around it, custom footbeds will reduce movement inside your boot, promote better circulation and give you better edge contact.
- Insole: If you find yourself with loose boots and no shop close by, you can take the insoles out of your workout shoes and put them inside your liner. If you have custom foodbeds, put this insole under your custom foot-bed.
- New liners: If your shells are in good shape and you like your boots you can replace your liner, (the inner boot). I use INTUITION® liners and love them. They make my boots warmer, more comfortable and fit better.
- Shims for your shins: If you have long thin legs the opening at the top of your boots may be too large. Make sure your buckles are moved over to the tightest setting. Add shims behind the calf or in front of your shin to take up space. If your calf is lower in your boot you might need to do the opposite to create space.
Check for wear and tear:
- Buckles: Replace any compromised buckles now before you hit the slopes. Sometime they are hard to find, so get on it now.
- Plastic breaks down: Plastic gets soft over time, even if your boots have been in the closet for years. If you want to ski well, you need boots that will support you. If you are not sure, try on a new pair of boots and check for yourself.
- Soles: Over time our boot soles wear down. If they get too thin our bindings cannot work properly. Take a look and ask a professional to prevent injury.
Keep your feet warm
- Socks: One pair of tight thin ski socks is all that goes in your boots. If you want warm feet, always wear clean socks. 7 day trip = 7 pair of socks.
- Save your socks: Put your clean dry ski socks on right before you put your boots on not first thing in the morning.
- Reduce moisture: Powder or antiperspirant on your feet will help keep your feet from sweating.
- Invest in a boot dryer: A small portable boot dryer will dry out your boots every night. Dry boots = warm feet. You can dry your gloves too. Dry gloves = warm hands.
It’s time for new Boots:
- Where: When purchasing new boots go to a specialty shop in a ski town at the beginning of your trip. All boots need small adjustments to be perfect. Plan on spending time getting it right, it’s worth it.
- Don’t be in a rush: Good things take time. Maybe have a beer or a glass of wine before you go boot shopping. But only one!
- Flex it: Make sure you can flex the boot. If you want to be fluid yet strong and graceful yet powerful, your boots must flex. Put one boot on one foot and the other brand on the other. Stand sideways in a mirror and see which flexes better. If you can flex your ankles you will be a better skier.
- It must be tight: If the boot feels perfect when you buy it, most likely it will be too big after 10 days of skiing. Liners pack out so expect some uncomfortable tightness. Not painful pressure points, just tight like a glove.
- Walk Mode makes boots soft: Really? How much are you walking? You are getting boots for skiing not walking. Man up!
For questions about gear, feel free to hit up Kim directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the 2017 Schedule, HERE!