Lesson 15 : Tuning the Boot (flex 2)


Lesson 15 : Tuning the Boot (flex 2)

Started by Pavelski in Ski Tuning Course - 1 Reply

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Pavelski posted Oct-2007

Welcome back to this class.

I suspect you are wondering if Pavel is "getting too old" since we just did the flex index last class! "He must have forgotten" you think!

Look up again at the class title! See that flex 2 term! It means we are going to talk about boot flex,,,but a very specific tuning option many skiers are not aware of!

I did not want to confuse you with the first issue which is the "built-in" flex of the boot shell,,ie flex index and now this other flex!
(Am I now confusing you????)

The topic in class 14 dealt with the published flex index by all boot companies in order to inform smart skiers on the "over-all" flex index of the boot shell! What that means in very basic terms is that all ski boot shells have an "over-all" flex level based on; type of plastic used,thickness of plastic, other material used, type of sections within the boot shell, etc... I call this the designed flex or internal flex!

For example if you refer to the Flickr images http://www.flickr.com/photos/skitune07 you will see one boot image that has a plastic piece between the upper cuff and the lower boot shell. That is a built in flex mechanism.

You consider this internal flex index when you buy a boot! Once you have the boot, you can not change this flex!
(Well most skiers can not! If you know what you are doing ,,you can do some cutting to render some boots more flexible).

In this class we are no longer going to refer to this overall , internal flex!

Some bright skiers in this class,,know that there is a magic screw or button in the back of some boots! This magic screw does wonders! This class is about this screw and why you must buy a boot with this screw!

This screw is the equivalent to having bindings that can be moved fore or back on a ski! It gives you great performance range!

I tried in some images posted on Flickr to show you the mechanism of this magic screw with a red pointer!

I did a poor job,,since you can not see the internal mechanisms in the rear of the boot cuff. I will try with a more powerful lamp to focus on this area!

Most good ski boots have at the rear of the boot cuff a screw which you can turn with an Allen key or just a Phillips screwdriver.
It is the boot option least understood and least used!Yet it is the easiest for fine tuning your skiing!

If you understood the principles of boot flex and its relationship to ski performance then you will quickly conclude that having the possibility to "change" your boot flex ON THE FLY has great advantages!

Most boots have two positions; HARD and SOFT! What does that mean to you?

Consider this.
You are an intermediate skier who skis all sorts of snow conditions and all sorts of slopes!

You were smart to have bought a ski boot with a internal flex index of 90!

What that magic screw at the rear does is increase your boot flexibility range to +90 and -90! It means in concrete terms that your boot now has a flexibility range of;
100 to 80!

So what you say?????
Remember how I like to tweek my ski equipment to get maximum performance,,,well the ski boot companies have given me an option to make my ski boots "better"!

Again it is my choice! Again I must choose knowing what the results of this fine tuning will do to my skiing performance!

Varied ski conditions demand varied ski techniques! This is so evident when you see ski racers at the national level who are fast smooth and amazing on hard prepared racing courses! Then when they ski in powder ( I mean serious chest high powder) many have a period of "adjustment"! They will ski this powder well only after some adjustment! The smart ones do not wear their race boots. The smart ones take softer wider skis! etc.....

You and I can not have several boots,,,so we pick boots that offer us a performance range in which we will require 90% of the time! This magic screw at rear allows me this greater performance range!

I love to ski steep hard tight runs and I know that in those type of runs,,the error margin is narrow! I want my skis and boots to be tight! I just want to think,,"turn" and they will! A twitch of my muscles or change of my body position must "activate" my skis instantaneously !! To do so,I place this magic screw at HARD! Or if you which on Porsche 911 S option!

But I am getting mellow! I do like to just cruise, soar like a seagull on wide open slopes so the magic screw goes on SOFT mode! Or if you which on Z3 option!

Trust me,,this is not a marketing gimmick! The boots will feel differently!

If you are doubtful, try this test! Have a friend move the screw for you and tell him/her not to tell you what position it is on.

Then during diner break change position again! (or if he/she is sneaky remain in same position)

You will feel the difference! You will become a better skier since you will learn to allow the boots and skis do the work for you.

Try it!

I hope that in this class you learned the difference between shell flex index and micro flex adjustment via magic screw!It will make you a more versatile skier!

Now for the "advanced" skier imagine this!
Place bindings forward 2-4mm AND set magic screw at Porsche 911 S option! Find a icy run and enjoy!
( of course you have to have some serious SL skis like the Atomic 12's or the Fischers WC)

reply to 'Lesson 15 : Tuning the Boot (flex 2)'
posted Oct-2007


My girlfriend has very limited dorsiflexion in her ankle joint - it runs in her family, her sister is the same.

If she bends her knees forward she ends up on the balls of her feet with her heels in the air.

She has atomic boots with the Hard/Soft adjusters on the rear but I couldn't work out which setting would work best with here limited ankle flex. Part of me thinks it should be soft to make it easier to flex the boot and part of me thinks it should be hard so that she can maintain pressure on the shin of the boot with the limited ankle flex that she has (part of me also thinks she probably wouldn't tell the difference either way but that's besides the point).

What would you recommend?

Topic last updated on 25-October-2007 at 16:41

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