Boots: What You Need to Know

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Buy boots now › Boots are the conductors between your legs and your skis. A sloppy fit and— zap—the lights go out. (Frankly, we’re surprised newbies in rental “mush buckets” ever stick with the sport.) Boots are the single most important piece of ski gear, and getting the right pair will make you a better skier.

Now some tips. First, go to several shops you trust, preferably when you can get undivided attention. The salesperson should “shell fit” you, removing the liner and measuring heel space. (Experts should have a finger and a half between the heel and the back of the shell.)

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Try on as many brands and models as possible in your size and assess them when flexed—they’ll likely feel too tight when you’re upright. (Never buy too big for comfort’s sake.) When you get a good fit, find an appropriate flex within that line. You should be able to bend your knees without being knocked rearward.

Flex ratings › There’s no industry standard for measuring flex, but the number is still a good indicator. Pick a range and feel-test several boots within it.

140–150: Concrete blocks, built for elite male racers only.

120–130: Super-stiff. For pro women racers and heavy or aggressive high-expert men.

100–110: Solid, but skiable by mortals. For most expert men, heavyweight intermediate men and aggressive high-expert women.

80–90: Comfortable but structured. For intermediate men, expert women, lightweight or nonaggressive expert men, junior racers and expert teens.

60–70: Soft and extra-comfy. For novices, lightweight intermediate women and kids.


Skis: need to know thumb

Skis: What You Need to Know

It may seem like rocket science. But if you learn how to decode some basic information about gear, it goes a long way in helping you find your perfect setup. Here’s your key.

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Boots: How We Test

We returned to Mt. Bachelor, Ore., last spring and called in the pros from America's Best Bootfitters and Masterfit University—the guys who teach bootfitters how to fit boots—to help us evaluate the 2012 offerings.

We asked for your help coming up with questions to ask pro freeskier Roz Groenewoud. And you delivered. The person who asked the best question (according to Roz) won a pair of Kombi's Roz Kombi's Roz G gloves. See below and the next few slides for your questions and Roz's answers. Here's the winning question—congrats to username Diah.If a men’s magazine asked you to pose naked would you do it?This was my favourite question, because I’ve never been asked it but I’ve thought about it since I attended a conference in the fall of 2008 (sponsored by SheJumps and the Stone Clinic). One of the seminars was 'The Sexy Question: good or bad idea for female athletes?' The main speakers were Marla Streb (pro mountain biker)and Gretchen Bleiler's (pro snowboarder) agent. Marla spoke of her amazingly powerful nude photo on her bike that appeared on the cover of Outside magazine. She insisted that there be no photo corrections or airbrushing as she wanted it to be 100 percent her—she said she earned every scar and her powerful leg muscles. She has never looked back on her decision to appear naked.  Gretchen, on the other hand, has had nude photos appear in magazines that aren't indicative of her personality or her strength as an athlete and therefore, apparently, she’s regretted them. Both women agreed that nude photos, in the right situation and at the right point in your athletic career could be a beautiful thing. Following that advice, with the right photographer with the right magazine with the right concept,  I would do it.(Click to the next slide for the rest of your questions.)

Roz Groenewoud: What You Want To Know

Canadian freeskier Roz Groenewoud, 20, placed third in X Games superpipe last weekend in Aspen. We asked for your help coming up with questions to ask her in an interview (the best question won a pair of Kombi's Roz G gloves). The winning question: Will Roz pose naked for a men's magazine? Find out her answer here.