Ski Boots

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Ski boots are the single most important piece of equipment for an Alpine skier, after the skis. If they do not fit and have the right flex for the skier’s size, weight, and ability, nothing else will work. Trying to save a few dollars by getting two seasons out of a pair of boots, or having the wrong flex, or using boots with the soles so worn out they do not allow the binding to work properly—all these will keep the athlete from developing. The skier might make the proper movements, but the ski will not respond. The racer will have no way of knowing when they are doing it right, and the coach may not recognize proper technique because it will not translate into their skiing but be lost in the interface.

Whether you are paying for coaching directly through a club ski program, in private coaching, or with your tax dollars in a school or community program, it is a waste of money if your boots are not right. A qualified racing coach makes $50 to $200 a hour and up. You may not see that cost directly, but that is the value to you if your coach is volunteering (remember to thank them—most are grossly underpaid). My point is that the valuable training will be ineffective. At best, the athlete will begin to wonder why they are not progressing even though they are putting forth the effort. I have seen athletes begin to doubt their abilities and think that they are uncoordinated, when it is a only boot fit issue, skiing for two years with little progression.

A local shop is the best place to start. Be very carful at the swaps, and take the time to be fitted by a qualified person who understands your abilities and needs. That inexpensive pair of flashy boots is only a good buy if they meet your needs. Also, do not expect to get two years out of a boot. The rule I go by is as long as you are buying your kid bigger shoes every year you will need to get them new ski boots every year. Even when their feet stop growing, you may still need to get new boots as their abilities increase. If you have problem feet, orthotics may be worth the investment and may be covered by your insurance. Ski boot fitting is an ongoing process, and it may take several trips to the fitter to get them just right.

Links to sites with info on buying boots

A great site with lots of information on skiing—good resource for coaching as well as buying ski boots:

Comprehensive resource with articles on topics from finding the right boots to how to buckle them: