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Buying new boots, been to fitter, still unsure

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm a 5'3, 115-120lb intermediate (blues/some blacks) female skier, and I'm replacing my boots because they are way too wide for me now. I have the Nordica sportmachine 65 w which have a 102mm last I think. I have foam taped to the liner to narrow up the ankle which improved them but it's still not great. I have been to two ski shops recently and been measured at both to have a narrow/98mm last foot (I went to two because the first didn't have any narrow/LV stock at all...). The shop that I went to had 4 different models of LV boots in my size, and of those 3 fit without pain. I don't know what is best for me though. The two I liked the best were the Lange RX80 LV and the Atomic Hawx Ultra 95. The Lange were more comfy and even after having one on for a long time, I only started having a little bit of aching in my arches, and that was without any aftermarket insoles. I have some sidas off-the-shelf ones i will bring in next time. However the Atomic felt much firmer around the heel and ankle, and had a lower instep which seemed to stop my foot lifting up as well. I had pretty bad arch aching/pain after 5 minutes in these though. This was wearing the stock insole though.

The fitter/shop person warned me that the Atomic were the most expensive of the lot when I commented that they had the best heel/ankle fit. Sad The shop offers lifetime free boot customisation / "fit guarantee" if you buy from them. The fitter reckoned he would be able to expand the Atomic a bit where needed (he showed me that the inside-foot part of the shell is very straight in the atomic, but is more curved in the lange, which suits my feet better - i have bunions and wider toes compared to my skinny heels/ankles, but he said the atomics can be moulded a bit) but would also be able to make the lange fit tighter at the heel/ankle if i wanted. The shop is fairly handy to me and my local mountain is close enough for day trips.

They are also getting in the Tecnica Mach1 LV in a sub-100 flex which I can try next week. I tried on the Mach1 LV 105 which felt similar to the Lange, I slightly preferred the Lange.

ETA: my actual question. Which boots should I get?? They fit pretty differently and the fitter didn't have any strong opinions one way or the other. The Langes were very comfy but I don't know if this means they might feel a bit looser after a few days skiing... the Atomics were firm and tight at the heel/ankle but a bit narrow along the midfoot/forefoot, but what if this just means I'm in misery on the snow forever Shocked

EDIT2: aside from the fit difference, is there any actual advantage in the atomic boot? It's nz$150 more expensive and I know it's lighter but does that actually make any impact? I feel like the price difference makes this even more difficult.

BTW I am in New Zealand so our season is starting soon hence buying boots now...! Quickly, before the shops run out of stock of boots that actually fit my small skinny feet NehNeh


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 9-05-19 1:05; edited 2 times in total
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Welcome to SH's.

Not sure what your question is?
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Layne wrote:
Welcome to SH's.

Not sure what your question is?


Good call. I edited the post. Basically I need to make a decision on which boot to get and I'm totally unsure. Comfy vs less comfy (in the shop) basically!
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Were it me, I would buy the tighter boot and make it fit. Make sure the fitter is confident they can do the follow up work and you will be covered by their guarantee. From your description, it sounds like you have done this. For me, custom footbeds are a requirement rather than an optional extra. Have a think about what your foot needs.
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@aquila, when I got my last boots I went with the Langes this was done to fit though. They felt comfortable but very tight fit. I don’t know if my opinion is the correct one but I felt that it was better to go for a boot that felt a good fit WITHOUT any modifications, and then be able to modify if any pressure points were found after skiing in them for a significant length of time. Also feel the same about custom footbeds. BUT I am just a couple a weeks a year skier plus odd sessions on a dry slope or in a dome and don’t ski to a high level. The fitter asked me about the type of use I was going to give them and understood at the start of the session if I was after a more comfort recreational fit versus a performance fit. I have had mine 4yrs or so now and been very happy. I do have a pressure point on the bone on top of my foot and keep wondering about getting that adjusted but it hasn’t bothered me enough to actually get it done Happy

None of us can tell you what is right, only you can know what you feel, but bear in mind the padding will compress with use and my first set of boots ended up too big (though only after having had them for 9yrs or so... I them persisted for a number nor years until I really felt my foot moving around inside my boot too much was causing me issuess).
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I'd find a different boot fitter. I wouldn't expect a good one to be expecting you to answer questions like this for yourself.
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sugarmoma666 wrote:
I'd find a different boot fitter. I wouldn't expect a good one to be expecting you to answer questions like this for yourself.


^This.
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aquila wrote:
Layne wrote:
Welcome to SH's.

Not sure what your question is?


Good call. I edited the post. Basically I need to make a decision on which boot to get and I'm totally unsure. Comfy vs less comfy (in the shop) basically!

As sugarmoma666 says it doesn't sound like the boot fitter has done a good job in advising you.

Not sure why you think there is a comfy v less comfy decision to be made. Unless you are doing serious skiing i.e., seriously gnarly stuff, racing, competition..., then I would expect the boot to be comfortable to wear for a days standard skiing. I got new boots this winter for example and have barely had a twinge, don't need to unbuckle during the day and generally happy to wear them for 7-8 hours. It helped that I have had a couple of pairs before, know my feet and ankles, well, etc.. but the point stands you can have a good fit/perforamance and comfortable boots.

Wearing in the shop won't give you much idea.

Other thing to mention is flex. Dependent on your ability, type of skiing you do, this is a factor. But the boot fitter should ask this and provide accordingly.

I agree custom footbeds are a must rather than a luxury.
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@Layne, +1 in every detail
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Thanks guys for all the advice! I'm worried about the boots being too comfy in the shop specifically because my last boots were comfy in the shop and they rather quickly became too sloppy for my liking once I'd skied a few times (they're just too wide haha but i thought they fit great in the shop... facepalm). I heard elsewhere that tight boots in the shop = comfy boots once you've worn them a couple times and the liners have compressed slightly, so i don't know what's correct. Sounds like i may need to visit a different fitter! :/ unfortunately the other couple places i know of locally don't have any narrow fit boots at all in my size. I may be able to go to a place 1.5 hours away but it would be harder to get there to get any modifications done... worth it? (I'll have to call them and see if they stock narrow boots in my size)

So far I've been happy with my off the shelf aftermarket sidas insoles, but I'm open to looking at custom insoles. I'm always kinda worried that they'll just mould to my feet in a bad position haha. My feet over pronate a lot. Would they help more with my aching arches? Interesting that so many people see them as a must, i always assumed they were kinda... not worth it haha. Poor wallet Neh Neh

WRT flex I was told that anything from about 80-95 should be good for my build/skiing preferences/ability. I'm small and can handle up to straightforward black runs but I'm not an aggressive skier and don't want an extra stiff boot... I'm still learning and improving and don't have precise turns Smile so hopefully this is correct!
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The arch aching is most likely due to a lack of support from the insole, and how tightly the lower buckles were done up, so perhaps not related to the boot itself. If it's something you experience I'd make sure you have your insoles/footbeds with you when trying on boots and be careful about tightening those buckles, but as other have said I'm surprised this isn't something your boot fitter is insisting on.

I wouldn't buy boots that were causing me any pain when standing in them in the shop for a few minutes, I'd want the fitter to fix that first (e.g. with footbeds).
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aquila wrote:
Thanks guys for all the advice! I'm worried about the boots being too comfy in the shop specifically because my last boots were comfy in the shop and they rather quickly became too sloppy for my liking once I'd skied a few times (they're just too wide haha but i thought they fit great in the shop... facepalm). I heard elsewhere that tight boots in the shop = comfy boots once you've worn them a couple times and the liners have compressed slightly, so i don't know what's correct.

OK, let's take this one step at a time.... the bootfitters first job is to find you a boot that fits your physical profile and your skiing profile. That "out of the box" selection is the first part of the process. It's critical because what comes next could be mostly pointless if that initial selection is wrong. When I did my fitting the first boot the fitter selected was just patently too tight. It wasn't a problem of sizing merely that the last, shape didn't work for me feet. So they moved onto the next option which was far more acceptable. So then there was a bit of double checking on the sizing/volume. And then we moved onto the various modifications... custom insoles, heat moulding, blowing out the shell at the known pressure points (I have bony ankles and some bone growth/bunion on one foot). You should be wearing your normal ski socks (which should not be thick) and you need to know or be shown the correct way to buckle up. It's a fair old process but you will end up with a pair of boots that should be good from day 1 through to day 100 or however long they last.

aquila wrote:
Sounds like i may need to visit a different fitter! :/ unfortunately the other couple places i know of locally don't have any narrow fit boots at all in my size. I may be able to go to a place 1.5 hours away but it would be harder to get there to get any modifications done... worth it? (I'll have to call them and see if they stock narrow boots in my size)

Definitely worth it. You shouldn't expect to have to go back for modifications on a regular basis. And hopefully never.

aquila wrote:
So far I've been happy with my off the shelf aftermarket sidas insoles, but I'm open to looking at custom insoles. I'm always kinda worried that they'll just mould to my feet in a bad position haha. My feet over pronate a lot. Would they help more with my aching arches? Interesting that so many people see them as a must, i always assumed they were kinda... not worth it haha. Poor wallet Neh Neh

The bootfitter should make sure you are in the correct stance when doing the moulding.

aquila wrote:
WRT flex I was told that anything from about 80-95 should be good for my build/skiing preferences/ability. I'm small and can handle up to straightforward black runs but I'm not an aggressive skier and don't want an extra stiff boot... I'm still learning and improving and don't have precise turns Smile so hopefully this is correct!

Should be fine. Just be aware that the flex ratings are a guide only. You need to try and gauge how they feel but if it's in the right ballpark it should be OK.
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aquila wrote:
Layne wrote:
Welcome to SH's.

Not sure what your question is?


Good call. I edited the post. Basically I need to make a decision on which boot to get and I'm totally unsure. Comfy vs less comfy (in the shop) basically!


Where do you ski usually? When I got my cyrrent Atomic Hawks from a reputable fitter in Tignes it was not very comfortable first but I was assured it will settle in and that it was the right boot for me.... 6 years later still a happy bunny. When a good fitter speaks - listen! Smile
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You know it makes sense.
Yep, stiffness ratings work for the same maker’s line - one model in relation to another model. But when you take Lange, Atomic, Salomon in 95 they may all have different stiffness. Salomon 100 might be Head’s 80, etc
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Quote:
i have bunions and wider toes compared to my skinny heels/ankles, but he said the atomics can be moulded a bit) but would also be able to make the lange fit tighter at the heel/ankle if i wanted

So just on this... the former makes sense - that essentially what they did with my boots... the latter I', not so sure about. It's much harder as I understand it, and logically, to narrow or reduce the volume of a shell
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 Poster: A snowHead
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mooney058 wrote:

Where do you ski usually?

She said New Zealand hence why she is buying now (start of season - the best time) and hence why we can't really give recommendations for boot fitters.
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Weight wise I think the two boots you are looking at her something like 1500g v 1900g. No idea what difference that makes. My 13yo sons boots are much heavier than mine.

Makes a difference if walking/touring but not sure it's so significant skiing. Similar for skis themselves.
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Yep, I'm in New Zealand (Christchurch), looking to spend the winter skiing at Mt Hutt. snowHead free

I've looked into the only other nearby-ish fitter/seller I know of, which is way out of the city. In retrospect I thought there was a bus there but it's only a commuter bus on weekdays so I have no idea how I'll actually get there (not a car owner and that won't change for a few months due to circumstances). It's too far to bike. They have a guaranteed fit policy *only* if you also buy and use custom insoles from them Shocked so I suppose they also view custom insoles as a necessity. I called them and they said they have some of the Tecnica and Lange LV boots, they don't have the Atomic Hawx Ultra (at least not in my size) but said they occasionally order it in and can get it in if it looked like it would be a better fit. The guy on the phone isn't a huge fan of the super light plastic in the Atomics but conceded sometimes it's just the best fit.

This ski boot buying experience is turning out more difficult by the day somehow haha. I didn't expect it to be *easy* as I know I have slightly problematic feet, but I thought it would be easier to find good fitters though given I probably live in the best city in New Zealand for skiing (big city by NZ standards and the closest to many mountains, aside from smaller towns) Confused

Now i have to work out if it's actually possible for me to get there, and if it's going to be any better. I'd be forced to buy custom insoles if I went that route too, which would be annoyingly expensive *if* it turned out that my current insoles would be fine Puzzled

Edit: removed shop name


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Fri 10-05-19 8:01; edited 1 time in total
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Update: I called the other fitting place again (the one which is ages away). The guy I spoke to on the phone was REALLY useful when I told him that I'd been elsewhere and tried on boots and was now thoroughly confused. I might try to get out there in one week, if I can bribe a friend to drive me to the middle of nowhere and sit around for a few hours!

He reckoned that out of the boots I tried (which included the Tecnica Mach 1 LV - but I considered it to feel extremely similar to the langes and slightly preferred the langes) the langes actually have the highest volume shell, and the atomic and tecnica actually have a similar volume when it comes to the shell. He said they feel very different initially because of the different liners. He emphasised doing shell fits to see how the boot is likely to fit once the liners have compressed down a bit (apparently they can compress quite a lot, after as soon as 3 days on the slopes), as well as looking at the characteristics of the foot, how it sits and pronation etc. Overall he sounded like he really knew his stuff and he said there's a couple other fitters at the shop and they're switched on and knowledgeable too.

It also turns out they only require you to buy custom footbeds for like... their complete boot comfort guarantee thing. Which means they'll buy the boots back if you truly hate them. For regular customisation/fitting work, punching out etc after a few days skiing, they're not required. I still might look at custom footbeds as it sounds like they come pretty highly recommended by folk here, but it gives my wallet some breathing room while I think about it haha. (I don't know how much they are in USA etc but I'm looking at about NZD$220 here for custom footbeds!)

https://gnomes.co.nz/pages/boot-fitting

This is the place, in case any fellow kiwis swing by and have any opinions to offer.
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@aquila, some good information in this thread, (and like many on the subject a few red herrings) gnomes is a well respected fitting shop in NZ, if you want to pm me the other place then i can give you an opinion if i know them, i am not about to go recommending or naming and shaming a business on here (unlike many like to do) without knowing more about the situation

suffice to say, a custom footbed is the foundation of the fit, take the fitters recommendation to get one of these.... shell check is critical for establishing length width and overall volume, you want the back end of the foot heel and ankle to be solid, it is very simple to make a boot bigger in all directions (don't let anyone tell you you cannot make a boot longer, the only time you can't is if you don't have the tools or the skills) it is however very difficult to make a boot smaller when it has packed out, this means a bit of pressure is normal on some places, these pressure points can be easily removed in most c
cases.

when it comes to flex as has been said before, there is no standard, 80 flex in all brands is similar but not the same, how the boot wraps around your leg, how it is clipped, the forward lean of the shell and the range of motion of your ankle joint will all determine how a boot will flex, you should be able to bend the boot comfortably in store, when it is cold on the mountain then the boot will stiffen, however you have skis on and are generating force by the speed of your movement so the boot will bend easier again, too stiff can normally be made softer, too soft and your body will have to do a lot of extra work to remain balanced

If you are skiing all season then it is worth considering a custom liner, this should give you a closer more even fit (if the shell is a good starting point) and will give the boot a longer life.

modifications to a ski boot, are something that people need to accept may need to be done, your feet did not come out of a box, there are limited numbers of ski boot lasts on the market so the key is to find the closest and make it a little bigger in the specific point that needs to be made a little bigger, the plastics of ski boots are for the most part easy to work with, the manufacturers work features into the products to help the boot fitter make adjustments, some people get lucky, about 50% of the boots we fit need nothing much other than the footbed and a heat molding, around 30% need minor adjustments, around 18% need something more major and the final 2% are what i term science projects.... people who are lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) to still have a foot after a major accident or injury , and want to go skiing

good luck in the quest, have a great season down there
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@CEM, interesting percentages
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@aquila, listen to CEM, he really knows what he's talking about. Were you living in England, many here would be recommending his services.
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Leith Kerr bootfitter from Gnomes nz notes

Flexibility is a crucial factor ....in comfort
Office desks and sofas are not part of a yoga routine .

Looks like around a 100km round trip .


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Fri 10-05-19 10:20; edited 1 time in total
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Gosh boots are still expensive in NZ. Seems like the improved exchange rate hasn't really helped. I wouldn't wait too long to buy if you are going to as given the size of the market there wouldnt be lots of choice anyway, then much less once everyone else buys for the upcoming season.

I would expect you will get a bit bored if you were skiing Mt Hutt for a whole season, its not big. Also I can only think car is the best /only way to get there after our shortish trip a few years ago. Buy a cheapie AWD Subaru or hitchhike.

You seem to be discounting Queenstown as the best city for NZ skiing but maybe you dont consider it a city. And here's me thinking SI/NI rivalry was bad!
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Again thanks so much for all the great advice! It looks like I'll be heading to Gnomes next weekend. I've learned a ton about boot fitting and i feel much better equipped to make some good boot choices.

(out of town this weekend otherwise I'd go sooner. I'm keen to get boots ASAP before i run out of choices)

ETA: also, thinking more and more that i will budget for the custom footbeds. It sounds like it will make it more worthwhile and give me a better chance of getting a great fitting boot that will see me through many years. I guess I'll bring my existing after market footbed along and see what they say.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Fri 10-05-19 11:51; edited 2 times in total
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ster wrote:
I would expect you will get a bit bored if you were skiing Mt Hutt for a whole season, its not big. Also I can only think car is the best /only way to get there after our shortish trip a few years ago. Buy a cheapie AWD Subaru or hitchhike.


Oh it definitely is the best way to get there! I actually don't have a licence which is the #1 thing preventing me driving anywhere for the next month or two. Currently remedying that. I moved here recently from a city where it's unnecessary and expensive to own a car so i didn't get around to it rolling eyes I've got workmates I'll be going skiing with though/carpooling. Hoping to check out Porters etc and other ski fields! I've really only skiied Ruapehu.

ster wrote:

You seem to be discounting Queenstown as the best city for NZ skiing but maybe you dont consider it a city. And here's me thinking SI/NI rivalry was bad!


Haha no Queenstown is grand! (and wanaka, I'm told) But at 15k pop I'm counting it as a resort town rather than a city, you're right Neh Neh I'm actually from the North Island, recent transplant to the SI. Makes it hard to pick a side...
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UPDATE: went to the new fitter (Gnomes) and came home with boots (after like... 3-4 hours!!). I'd always been put in 23.5 before, they measured me up and said i should actually be in a 22.5. Uncommon size but lucky me, they still had some boots i could try. I went home with 22.5 Atomic Hawx Ultra, custom footbeds, and some heat moulding which removed a couple of painful pressure points. The boots feel fantastic and really close fitting, and i can't wait to ski on them in a month or so when the season kicks in!
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@aquila, Comment on your update.

I have a box full of boots, and have been able over the many years I have been out on the hill been able to compare boot fit without fretting about 'the perfect single boot'. I am 26, dead cert, measured every which way, I am a 26. Most 25s cut off blood supply to my foot by being too pressured over the arch, and that of course is the dimension which is very difficult to relieve in any boot shell. So I live with boost which are slightly too big, mostly, since 26s in most manufacturers' lasts pack out after 10 weeks or so, leaving me with a boot which is fine over the arch but rubbish everywhere else.

The key thing for you is this. I have some Hawks in 26 which are great boots - really great boots. I wish oh wish I could find a 25 in the same model but no one stocks male Hawks in 25. The 26s pack out like crazy in Spring temps, and I have to hoik up all the buckles or live in slop city. In other words, if you are usually in a 23.5, or have been in the past, and have been fitted with 22.5 Hawk, they should be really, really great boots....
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You know it makes sense.
@valais2, then you clearly haven’t seen a good fitter.

1. Iirc the arch is the easiest thing to fix as boots and liners are flat until the insole goes in.

2. Liners these days don’t pack out all that much.

3. If you want, race foamed liners really don't pack out at all...
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aquila wrote:
UPDATE: went to the new fitter (Gnomes) and came home with boots (after like... 3-4 hours!!). I'd always been put in 23.5 before, they measured me up and said i should actually be in a 22.5. Uncommon size but lucky me, they still had some boots i could try. I went home with 22.5 Atomic Hawx Ultra, custom footbeds, and some heat moulding which removed a couple of painful pressure points. The boots feel fantastic and really close fitting, and i can't wait to ski on them in a month or so when the season kicks in!

Good job. I have a similar male version. I did two weeks on them this season and they were great. Wore them all day with no issues and they performed really well. Did they show you how to put them on correctly. If not check out some youtube video's on the subject. Main thing is that the second buckle down is the critical one - that holds the heel back in the boot - make sure the heel is properly seated and that this buckle is reasonably tight. Lower two should not be too tight. Should be able to close with a one finger push.
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@valais2, we carry Mens (unisex) hawx down to a 24/24.5 you want to start asking your fitter why they don't stock it or vote with your feet
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aquila wrote:
ster wrote:
I would expect you will get a bit bored if you were skiing Mt Hutt for a whole season, its not big. Also I can only think car is the best /only way to get there after our shortish trip a few years ago. Buy a cheapie AWD Subaru or hitchhike.


Oh it definitely is the best way to get there! I actually don't have a licence which is the #1 thing preventing me driving anywhere for the next month or two. Currently remedying that. I moved here recently from a city where it's unnecessary and expensive to own a car so i didn't get around to it rolling eyes I've got workmates I'll be going skiing with though/carpooling. Hoping to check out Porters etc and other ski fields! I've really only skiied Ruapehu.
..


You may have already come across this but I have only just found it

http://snowpool.org/countries/new-zealand

It may be of some use if you are still sans car.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
ster wrote:

You may have already come across this but I have only just found it

http://snowpool.org/countries/new-zealand

It may be of some use if you are still sans car.


Ended up using it just a few days ago, to hitch a lift to the local mountain so I could ski the opening weekend Very Happy cheers!
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How were your new boot?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
They were great, actually! Really hard to get on due to the narrow ankle but good once they're on, no pressure points and I'm happy i ended up springing for the custom footbeds. My feet were very comfortable all day. Only small issue I encountered was one of my toes going numb (but it's related to an old foot injury, one of my nerves gets easily compressed now) after that i just unbuckled that boot between runs and it was fine. No pain anywhere! I feel that they flex as much on the mountain as they did in the shop.

My skiing technique was definitely pretty rusty after a couple years off though! Shocked snowHead can't wait to get properly back up to speed.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@aquila, excellent
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@aquila, sounds like you went the right direction, that numbness could possibly settle after a few days of skiing when the liner packs in a bit
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