I bought a pair of Volants last year, but stuck to my old Salomon rear-entry boots, which are comfortable and easy to get into, but keep me back on my skis. I am a strong skier and recently celebrated my golden ski anniversary. Do I need new boots?
Sorry, Siegi. Fifty years of experience notwithstanding, when we get in the back seat, it's almost always operator error. Still, the boot/ski combination you describe is not ideal. It's like driving a 2000 Porsche with WWII vintage Jeep tires.
Boots are your connection to the snow. If your boots don't perform well, you won't either-no matter how good the skis are.
Salomon was the first to develop a rear-entry boot in the late Seventies. The idea was to eliminate fitting problems with a system of internal cables and straps that secured the foot at critical points. It worked very well, especially on Salomon skis. Many skiers loved it because it was easy to take on and off and didn't cause any painful pressure points. Other companies tried to capitalize on Salomon's rear-entry success with weak imitations-many of which encouraged a poor stance. Rear-entries quickly developed a bad rap.
Virtually all companies, including Salomon, have reverted to more traditional four-buckle, overlap designs. They generally improve balance, flex more like the human foot and ankle, and support the lower extremity better. They are simply superior.
Your old boots and new skis are at battle with one another. No shaped skis are designed to work with rear-entry boots. Reassign your boots to flower-planter duty, and get into a good overlap. Start by reading about the All-Mountain Cruiser models starting on page 146.
Have a question for The Professor? Write Stu Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org