Proper Equipment Fitting

PROPER SKI EQUIPMENT FITTING WILL INSURE A MORE ENJOYABLE TIME ON THE SLOPES!

We all hear about how being "fit" will make for a more enjoyable time on the slopes. However, there’s more ways than one to take the word "fit". Yes, being athletically fit IS important, but having the boots and equipment that you are skiing or snowboarding wit FIT is just as important…maybe even more so!

In the ski and snowboard retail industry, you can’t blame consumers for entering a shop and making a bee-line straight for the skis or snowboards. That’s where the glamour of the industry is. There are so many innovations in the ski and snowboard business that you can’t help but pay close attention. In fact, that’s why the manufacturers spend so much money on marketing their products.

However buying skis or a new snowboard without first being FIT for boots that are relative to your skier ability is not a good idea. Purchasing a boot that is too large or small – or even buying boots that are not tuned to your skier level make your enjoyment level take a nosedive! Whether you are buying or renting equipment, proper boot fit is imperative if you want to enjoy your time on the slopes!

Believe it or not it is more common to hear that someone has purchased a boot that is too large, rather than too small…but EITHER scenario will make for some bad times on the trails.

HERE’S SOME TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN YOU ARE RENTING OR PURCHASING NEW BOOTS

GET PROFESSIONAL HELP! (Not what you’re thinking!) Work with a retailer who specializes and is professionally certified in boot fitting. These guys and gals know what they are doing. They will take a look at your feet and take a moment to discuss any foot problems that you might have – such as past injuries or boot issues.

SHOP WHEN THE SHOP ISN’T SO BUSY! Okay, this one’s intended for those of you who are PURCHASING new boots. When you’re renting, you can’t always avoid hitting the ski and snowboard shops during busy hours. However, if you have the opportunity – when you are BUYING new boots, attempt to do so during slower times. Getting fit for the proper boot is not an in-and-out experience. Boots that properly support 26 bones, 36 muscles, 56 ligaments and 10,000 nerve endings are not found in mere moments. Allot some time!

Finding the proper boot FIT and the one that is best for your skier level is an effort that can take an hour or so. If you’re going to need custom insoles or shell modifications it can take a couple of visits to the store JUST to get the exact fit you’re in need of. If you have the chance…the best time for this is during the off-season. However, of you’re like most people and you don’t get around to buying new boots until the weather turns cold…then try to hit the shops mid-week…or be prepared to take awhile.

IGNORE BEING TOTALLY INFLUENCED BY HYPE AND BRANDS! I was in a ski shop a couple of months ago and a young lady was in the process of purchasing new boots. It seemed that her sole prerequisite for her choice in boots was the COLOR that was available at the store and whether or not it matched her outfit! Don’t buy a boot just because it’s gotten all of the rave reviews in your favorite Ski Mag. Too often the reviewers of these products have a skill level that far exceeds yours and what works phenomenally for them might be the worst boot on the wall for you. By the same token, BOOT BRANDS fit differently. It’s a good idea to try on numerous brands and models to see one that works for you.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO GO TOO BIG! As mentioned previously, it is a much more common occurrence to find someone with a boot that is too large rather than too small. While getting a boot that pinches your feet IS painful…you need to know that boots, and particularly ski boots, fit pretty snug at first. Here is where trusting in a professional boot fitter is important. If your foot measures a 27 then you should be in a 27…not something slightly larger. While it WILL feel slightly uncomfortable at first, but as the liner breaks in, the boot will feel more comfortable and that good fit will give you the control of your skis that you need when you’re on the slopes. A boot that fits too large will allow your foot to slide up and down the footbed. This causes the toe of your foot to constantly hit the front of the boot. Many novices incorrectly think this is a boot that is too small because their toes hurt.

SOME ADDED IDEAS…

FIND YOUR SOLE-MATE – Put a different boot model on each foot and plan to spend at least 15 minutes in them. The ball of your foot should sit flat and snug. Same with your heel. As your foot warms up the boot, the liner will begin to mold to your foot. The boots should feel better after this time, not worse.

SNUG BUT NOT PAINFUL – New boots should feel snug—not painful or so restrictive as to cut off blood flow, but uniformly tight with no severe pressure points. Your toes will touch the end of the boot when you stand up straight. That’s OK. As soon as you flex the boots, your toes will pull back.

If you’re in the market for new boots or equipment – and if you are going to spend the money to do so – why not allow a professional boot fitter to get you into the proper bit and proper fitting for you. Your time on the slopes will be much more rewarding!

Be sure to check out our pages on proper tuning and ski tips!

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.