Lesson 13: Tuning the boots
Started by Pavelski in Ski Tuning Course 23-Oct-2007
Pavelski posted Oct-2007
Well this class will make you realize what great tuners consider and do.
You must understand that in ski tuning it is not just the ski that must be tuned, rather you must consider all the equipment used and how each component "interfaces" to create an effective whole! The famous saying, "a chain is as strong as its weakest link" is so appropriate in this context! You must see the "big" picture! Understand how boots are so vital for effective skiing.
Top of the line, well tuned skis in with poor boots that are, "mis-aligned" results in poor ineffective skiing.
In my opinion ski boots, ski boots selection and ski boot tuning is far more important than skis. In most cases a skier will go through 3-4 pair of skis before he/she will change boots!Some skiers will rather change girl friends than change ski boots!I know in my case changing boot is a "stressful" event and even if a company gives me "free" boots I will not change!
I will spend at least three classes on this topic. Lesson 13 will be an introduction with some basic concepts. Lesson 14 will deal with basic tuning using all the options available on ski boot ( cant, flex, buckles and power strap).
Lesson 15 will address more "drastic" tuning or adaptation of ski boot in order to make the boot more effective for you.
Let us begin this class with a shocker!!!
90% of skier never take out liner when they buy boots! This is like buying a car and not looking under hood!
That is why for your homework, I have posted on Flickr (see Ellistine's message) some pictures. I want you to look at the picture of the three liners and try to identify which is low end and which is high end!
Can we agree that we are all unique. That our bodies are unique. As far as feet are concerned( for many skiers) even your right foot and left foot are different! In my case my left foot is larger, wider with a large big toe articulation! My right leg due to several injuries and "tune-ups" has a very "special" geometry! I have no choice to modify all my boots to accept these strange physical abnormalities!
I am sure you also have some "unique feet"!
Objectives of this class
1.Learn to identify "quality boots"
2.Learn to use all tuning options on boots
3.Learn to "adapt" boots to skier
If you want to be serious tuners, then you must buy the following book; "The Athletic Skier" by Warren Witherell and David Evrard.Many of my comments , suggestions and tuning techniques are based on this book!It is the tuner's bible! No it is more,,,it is the book that makes you understand what effective skiing is without using "technical skiing jargon".
You will not regret this purchase!
The modern ski boot has two major functions; act as "link" between you and the skis. It is the "communication medium" for messages from the ski and messages from your brain and muscles to the ski! So when I am talking about "ski feel" it is this two way information interaction which is so vital to effective skiing! You must learn to ski with your senses! Once I skied blind (that is my eyes were blindfolded) since I wanted to experience how blind skiers do it! You learn very quickly to "trust" your senses...and even then!!!
Now you can appreciate how important the boot is!
Its second function is to "hold you" comfortably while you ski!
In this class I will not deal with "plug" boots that are made for ski racers. I will just focus on the "on the shelf" boots you will buy!
I am asked many times, "what is the best boot?" There is no best boot for all skiers. All ski boot companies have great boots ( and poor boots)! You must learn to "identify" elements of a great boot for you and elements of a cheap boot!
That will be your second homework assingnent. To view the pictures I have placed on Flickr and identify the boots in terms of quality!
Remember my saying, "nothing is free"!!!!
Well it is so relevant for boot selection!
Please do not try to save pennies by getting a "cheaper" boot and thus lose dollars in pain and "tortured vacations"
I know,,,I know,,you are now asking yourself ( or muttering,,,get with it Pavel) how do I know what is a great boot for me!!!
Well first you must get that book and read section two "Boots and Balance / The Suspension System" since you will understand why I am so picky about my boots!
Let us look how to find that skiing mate for you!
First have an open mind. Do not consider this or that boot because some instructor or racer is using that boot!
Do not consider the "looks" of the boot ( color,graphics etc..)
Do not even look at the price! (yet)
You buy a boot for its functional properties! So if you think of 4-5 years, just divide the retail price by 5 and that is your cost for the year!
Note the class title,,,,TUNING BOOTS, that means you must buy a boot that allows you to tune the boot ( ie cant, flex, buckles).
It means you must consider also the boot liner and all the "adaptations" you can do!
Look at all the pictures of the boots posted. try to identify the "cheaper" models! Try to make a list of characteristics of a high quality boot!
Now for the selection boot procedures
1.Take liner out and place feet in boot liners. If no toe room or if too tight forget it. Look at quality of liner! Note ankle area foam! Note if foam heat sensitive!
Notice how we have not yet even placed feet in boot shell yet! 90% of stores will just open boot and let you place feet in boot!
If feet do not feel comfortable in liners outside boot shell,,then no point trying boots on with shell!
2.Place liner back in shell and put on boots,,,but do not buckle them up! If after 10-15 minutes pressure point appear! Change boots! Please do not accept suggestion, "wear them in or just let boot wear in"
3. Now buckle them up on lowest tension! Wait for pressure points! If none after 15 minutes,,,go to next tension level!
Modern ski boots that are well fitted are like slippers!!! Really!
I see that Mike is yawing,,,,and Ellistine is saying to himself,,,"I tied all those Atomic boots so I know what to look for" so let us conclude this class by asking you to; view pictures and send me comments about "cheaper" boots.
Then visit shops and see if you can pick boots that you could tune!
In next class we will take each tuning option on boots and discuss how to do so!
Also if you can look at some low end ski boots, or better still tell me why most ski boot companies have no more "rear entry boots" (forget the rental boots)!!