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Boot modding the DIY way - Flex adjusting?

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Poster: A snowHead
mesk1, subtle motions of large groups, rather, less fatigue that way.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Boot flex actually controls how much force the skier can transfer from their shin to the base of the ski, the stiffer the flex the more force that can be transfered, now this is where it gets complicated, people legs like to be able to flex naturally so the stiffer the boot the more uncomfortable it tends to be especially as to work properly it needs to be a very close fit arround the foot, now if you have legs and ankles as strong as mine and weigh as much as I do you don't need such a high stiffness in the boot but you still need a close fit to the foot
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Thanks guys/ladies for the info. I'm a bit overwhelmed with it all though. Too many variables and contrasting opinions Puzzled

I notice a mention of strength being needed to generate ankle flex.
One of my instructors FWIW said that the flex should come from hanging my bodyweight on the front cuffs. To flex the boot forward I should only need to drop my knees down and forward by flexing my ankles and letting my bodyweight shift proportionally forward without forcing it at all. Dropped thighs while doing this was frowned upon Laughing If I was having to force it the boots were too stiff for me. Certainly no need for strength.

A good test for me to see how i'm doing is to pop a metal spoon between my shin and upper front cuff on each boot. Then I have to ski down the slope putting in turns of varying sizes and if at the bottom one of those spoons has moved i've not had my stance correct.

I'll have another read through all the posts later when I can muster up some "attention span" Laughing There must be some concensus here somewhere.
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rockyrobin, this is where the stifness comes in, if the boots are the correct stiffness as you drop down your shin will press against the cuff of the boot and depending on how stiff the boot is some of this force will be transfered to the ski, if your boots are not stiff enough you need to rely on ankle strength to get the job done
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D G Orf, Are there any exercises that you can do for this ankle strength? I ride a mountain bike regularly and do my Sartorius muscle exercises everyday.
Would be nice to add another exercise to help with this ankle strength being a willowy built person.

You mention dropping down and pressing against the cuff of your boot?
I try to ski with my shin pressing against the cuff ALL THE TIME with next to no bobbing whatsoever, only drawing my legs into myself to absorb energy away from my edges to control my speed. Is this wrong?
When I ski with my shins away from the cuff I don't feel like i'm ontop of my skis no more, and if I bob up and down to initiate/exit turns I get speed acceleration problems Sad
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rockyrobin, the mountain bike is probably the best exercise for stamina and flexibility, a little leg press work will help though, it will also help with knee strength, try to set the leg press for double your weight and do lots of reps which will simulate the increased G you will be under whilst skiing at speed
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D G Orf, I had a look at the leg press kit but don't reckon we have room for it and i'm not a fitness centre fan sadly.
Is there an alternative that would be cheaper and take up less room?
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rockyrobin, not that I can think of off the top of my head but maybe another snowhead can suggest something ?
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rockyrobin, Where are you having your boots fitted? After two duff fittings (EB's & S&R) I took the advice that Warren Smith gave me on one of his courses & went to Profeet in London (do a search on Profeet for loads of testimonials). Hamish & his team at Profeet are not only great skiers but are also fully qualified bio-mechanically wise & being able to flex the boot fully was part of the fitting process. I also had to be able to flex the boot whilst on their Skiers Edge machine. Better still if you take a CD of you skiing for them to get an even better idea of you ability/technique etc.

mesk1, My understanding is that ankle flex is required to ensure that your weight stays over the middle of the ski (ball of your foot) when the ski is pressured/unpressured. This means that your ankle flex need to be equal or greater than the flex in your knee as if it isn't your weight will shift rearward. When stationary & with skis in a hip width parallel stance you should be able to fully 'crunch' your boots by keeping your 'thighs high' (as Warren calls it, meaning vertical) & driving your knees forward over your toe bindings. Yes, your knees do flex but only as a consequence of the ankle flex.
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spyderjon, I've just started going to "Anything Technical" in Kendal. They appear to really know their stuff so i'll percivere with them and see how things go over the next few weeks.
I really wanted to go to Profeet, but living in Yorkshire its just too far to justify at the moment Sad
If my season in Verbier this coming season gets finalised soon i'll see how things go and maybe go see Profeet on my way to Switzerland in November.

I like your description of ankle flex as per Warrens description. A lot better put than me. Hehe, I couldn't even remember half of it.
It still amazes me the difference it has made to my skiing that ankle flex.
I did the course with a few people from up north here and the conclusion from them all is unanimous on this ankle flex mullarky so there must be something in it for everybody I reckon.

D G Orf, Perhaps a set of weights and doing a spot of weight lifting would have a similar effect to leg presses but also work out my upper body too at the same time? Might help to strengthen my spineless back also Laughing
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David Murdoch wrote:
kuwait_ian, my apologies for any offence, I know lots of people like the rear entry idea.
None taken. The only problem with my old SX94s is the looks you get in French ski hire depts when you offer them up for binding adjustment. wink If you've hired better than average skis you can see the amazement on the fitter's face when he handles 11 year old boots onto new carvers.
But I like them, they fit well and suit my style of skiing. One of these days rear-entries will return to fashion. wink
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
rockyrobin, not sure it might work but I'm very far from an expert in weight training, maybe use them doing some wall squats where you slide your back up and down against a wall, means that both knees and ankles flex and is the right sort of motion but as I say I'm far from an expert in this area.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
rockyrobin, D G wrote, "I'm very far from an expert in weight training" - me too, however, in the past I've consulted folks who know what they're talking about to try and train harder for a rather silly race I do once a year, inconveniently timed for not long after christmas and new year.

A few ski specific things were suggested: (be aware that the bloke in question trains the Melbourne aussie rules football team)

As DG suggests, squats with your back against a wall or (perhaps better) against a "swiss" ball (http://www.bodytrends.com/products/ball/index.htm) also holding yourself statically with upper and lower legs at right angles. One you can sit like this for more than a few minutes you should feel quite prepared!

Deep lunges with weights in hand

If you can find a suitable platform (e.g. a bench) then one legged step ups onto it followed by one legged jump at the top of the step up (hope you can see what I mean). Try doing 25 each side, then 20, then 15 without stopping in between. Once that's easy, add weights in hand.

Uphill running (you're in Yorkshire so that should be easy!)

And, not wanting to be boring, I once watched a friend of mine ski the Chavanette Wall 8 times, non-stop, hard and fast, no breaks. Given it's a kilometre long I asked how she got herself fit enough to ski. Her answer? Walking the dog 2 hours a day at dog pace.

Hope those help with ideas...
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You know it makes sense.
spyderjon, Thanks, I'm starting to get a better understanding but every answer seems to raise two questions.
My feeling so far is that I need to initially try to work out a balanced stance position with regard to forward lean ( including Ramp and Delta angles ). From there look for a progressive flex which is soft enough to allow for minor fore aft balancing but stiffens up enough to not bottom out instantly on larger movements generated by moguls etc.
I've thought about trying Profeet but unfortunately they haven't a few of the boots I'd earmarked to try ( I know, I shouldn't be looking at the colour but the fit Smile).
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mesk1 wrote:
My feeling so far is that I need to initially try to work out a balanced stance position with regard to forward lean.


mesk1, Here's a good test that I learnt from Warren to see if you have a balanced stance:

Stand on a relatively smooth area of level snow with feet together & skis parallel. Adopt your best 'dynamic skiing stance'. If your weight is correctly centred over the balls of your feet you should be able to 'pole' yourself around a full 360 degrees, centred on the balls of your feet.

Unless your thighs are 'high', your hips forward, upper torso slightly forward with rounded shoulders & you have some ankle flex then the above is nigh on impossible - I know as it took me ages to get it right.

One of my faults after I got the above right was to be locked rigid in this 'ideal' posture when skiing as opposed to being in a dynamic but relaxed posture to instantly adapt to terrain changes etc.
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spyderjon, Good test I'll certainly give it a go, not sure it'll work on dendix but may just about on Snowflex otherwise I guess it's a trip to MK.
Think I'm going to take the Dremel to a pair of X-Waves to determine the difference in flex, at the moment I can't see that there is more than about 5 degrees movement (not measured just approximated ) before the shell starts distorting or the middle buckles clash.
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kuwait_ian, Thanks for the idea on the rear entry boots. Funny thing is a friend I ski with showed me his the other day he keeps for prosperity Laughing I'll see if I can get a loan of them to play. Cheers Smile

D G Orf, I used to do an exercise of holding my back against the wall, arms crossed, with thighs at right angles to wall and lower legs vertical. Sounds very similar to what you describe. Shall give it a try again and see if it helps. Looks like my lazy nature is going to get a thorough workout! Laughing

David Murdoch, Hehe, ball, weights, bench, pet dog. I don't know if I could manage all that. Running uphills no problem though, and very attractive on a cost basis. Thanks for the workout inventory, i'll give them a try, and fingers crossed will be ready for the season this time.
Last year I really felt handicapped not being fit enough so won't be making the same mistake this time round.

mesk1, Go steady with that dremel. I had hell of a job. I think the XWave's are the same shell as my 1080's but harder plastic. If so there should be a "V" dotted out inside. This I have been told can be cut out with a pair of tin snips. May be worth asking your bootfitter to do the job for you to save your warranty. My bootfitter said he can remove the rivets on the pivots, tidily cutout the "V" and then re-rivet them again and keep my boots warranty intact.
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rockyrobin, Unfortunately they're long past the point of warranty hence the interest in fit before buying their replacement. I liked the look of the 1080's and there seemed to be some good deals around but I think they're a narrower fit which is heading in the wrong direction for me.
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mesk1, I used to have XWave 8's and they were too narrow in the footbox for me. The 1080's feel as though they are wider and I am now wearing a size smaller than the XWave 8's were. XWave 8's were 26.5. The 1080's are 26.
I think the difference must be in the liners.
I'm puzzled with the 1080's though as they should be slightly stiffer than the XWave's, yet they feel a lot softer.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
mesk1, Which X-Waves do you have & how heavy are you? We had a real light weight lady on my last Warren Smith course who couldn't flex her X-Wave 8W's at all.

She got about only half of the flex movement by Warren internally modding as per rockyrobin's Nordica's but you could see the improvement the next day.

The following night Warren cut through the exposed bit of the carbon link in the thin gap between the upper & lower shells at the rear of the boot. This finally did the trick & her skiing was transformed the next day.

The cutting didn't do much for the bread knife out of the chalet kitchen though.
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spyderjon, X-Wave 9's and about 175lb.
Funny you should mention the carbon link I've been tempted to cut it but was concerned it might lead to a complete boot failure. I'll take care not to use the bread knife Smile.
Sounds like some scope for experimentation. If I drill the extra rivet holes behind the canting I think the shell can be rivetted upto X-wave 10 spec. Then progressive softening by rivet removal, shell cutting and carbon link removal.

rockyrobin The only numbers I've seen ( second hand ) put the 1080 at a flex of 85 the same as the x-wave 8 with possibly a different length cuff.
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spyderjon, Did removing the carbon link soften the back some more or does it just allow the pivot of the rivets to free up?
I'm going to get the back "V"s cutout tomorrow and wondered if it be worth getting the carbon link removed also.

mesk1, SOunds like Salomon are having trouble with their flex designation. I do remember though that my current bootfitter said that the 2003/04 model were more forgiving than the current ones, and sold me a pair of these on this basis. Mine are the snot green ones if that is anything to go by.
Do let us know how your boots turn out as I have a friend with XWave's who could do with some sorting of her boots.
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mesk1, I had 03/04 X-wave 9's from EB's which turned out to be wrong for me - too narrow around the fore foot. However, I'm 5'9"/185lbs & high int/adv level & I could only just flex them properly on my 5 stars. I'm now in Tecnica Diablo Fire's which are softer than the 9's, being similar to my old X-Wave 8's which I could flex well. I'm now also on Metron B5 skis which are a lot stiffer than my old 5 stars.

I certainly would have found my new skis too much for me in my old X-Wave 9's as I'd struggle to get out of the back seat due to lack of ankle flex.

Most, & I stress most importantly, my boots & skis are now perfectly colour matched Toofy Grin

rockyrobin, I don't know technically exactly how cutting the carbon link affected the boot other than softening it - or in fact whether it's really a good idea at all. For the lady on her first/second day of our 5 day course it was really a no brainer as she'd then be struggling all week. Apart from the stiffness her boot fit was good so she went for the butchery option rather than having to spring for new boots with all the potential problems & delay that would cause etc.

I think if I had X-Wave's I'd draw the line after shell cuts etc (ie leave the carbon link alone) as if they didn't do it then I think I'm certainly in the wrong boot.

Incidentally, Warren's about 6'2"/190lbs & wears the Tecnica Diablo Mags which are slightly stiffer than my model (Tecnica's flex 100 v my 90). However his have been cut quite a bit so they're certainly no stiffer than mine. Warren's sponsored by Tecnica, gets them free & they obviously want him to wear their top model boot but it just goes to show that what the pros wear on the outside is not necessarily the same as what's on the inside.
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spyderjon, , what the pros wear on the outside is not necessarily the same as what's on the inside

Very true. I skied with a Nordica rep for a week and his take on almost all sponsored skiers was that what they were wearing bore little or no relation to what they looked like - at least from the point of view of mere mortals buying the same in the shop.
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rockyrobin, How are the 1080's coming along ? From experimenting a little with my 9's they seem to do much the same as WTFH's Technica and bottom out underneath the second cuff buckle, any flex after this is just from the bottom of the boot deforming. However there appears to be very little plastic beneath the buckle that I can remove.
Did your bootfitter make any comments about cutting the carbon strap ?
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spyderjon, Thanks for the warning on the carbon link ("kick ass" one on the 1080's Laughing )
I do wonder if that lady you mention was left with a boot that just flopped forward at the first opportunity? Surely this would be a disadvantage when things get a bit rough and you need a progressive flex to prevent you getting jarred at the ankle?
This is the way my bootfitter described it FWIW.

mesk1, I got my 1080's sorted and have had a good ski on them. Much better thanks.
The bootfitter removed the rivets from my boot and removed the top shells, drilled at the base of the "V" a round hole and then cut upwards out of it to prevent the plastic from tearing in the future. Re-riveted the cuffs back on and they feel spot on now.
I'll pop a photo up of the work if anyone badgers me for one.
I've popped a couple of those "conformable" branded heel lifting wedges in and I feel the boots are now spot on, but still stiff enough for me to have progressively stiffer flex the more I load up the front.
The guy doing the work said I could also cut off some of the top front cuff to give me more flex as there are a series of dotted lines here to show where to cut. Thankfully I don't think this is required.
I asked about the carbon link and he told me "first attack the shell". If you then need to do the carbon link its really a last resort and will make the boot too floppy in his opinion, and really should be looking at other boots if that is felt to be required.

Funny you should mention the bottoming out of bottom cuffs onto the top of the foot area of the shell and the deforming.
All the boots I have had do this, and my 1080's do this too now.
I'm in two minds whether to attack this bit myself. Maybe later in the year before I go over to the Alps i'll have a chat with my bootfitter and see what he says.
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rockyrobin, It would be interesting to know the range of movement that Salomon expects from the boot but I've never seen this quoted.
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mesk1, I guess its subjective to each individual perhaps?
The amount of people I see skiing at the snowdome in boots that are really stiff for them, and they're getting very little ankle flex, they're pumping they're thighs up and down because of no ankle flex, see-sawing in and out of the back seat. Lol, they all seem happy because they don't want to know any more so the manufacturers maybe can sell them what they think they need and they're happy :/

I've just been looking at my cuffs and there's a distinct gouge where cuff meets main boot in the bottoming out. Luckily the buckles are not getting close but do wonder how comfortable the boots would be for a long day with the top of the foot getting crushed by the action of the cuff bottoming out and deforming the lower boot.
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You know it makes sense.
rockyrobin wrote:

The amount of people I see skiing at the snowdome in boots that are really stiff for them, and they're getting very little ankle flex, they're pumping they're thighs up and down because of no ankle flex, see-sawing in and out of the back seat. Lol, they all seem happy because they don't want to know any more so the manufacturers maybe can sell them what they think they need and they're happy.


Ditto.

rockyrobin, are you going to the snowHead meet next Wed evening as Castleford? We could have a 'flex' competition Smile
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[quote]We could have a 'flex' competition[/quote]

I think I must have been talking to [b]B00thy[/b] when I suggested the flex-forward-with-one-foot-on-a-step test.
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spyderjon, I didn't realise snowheads were having a meet next wednesday. I'll have a sniff round and see if I can find the thread relating to this.
Would be nice to meet some fellow snowheads and see how you guys and ladys are flexing your boots Smile
What time are you guys meeting up there?
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rockyrobin, 6.45 - 7.00pm, but I see that you've found the thread. Look forward to seeing you there.
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spyderjon, Thanks. Likewise, look forward to meeting you guys also.
If you see a pair of bright green boots attached to a pair of Metron M9's you'll know its me.
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