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Buying new equipment: Getting the best bang for your buck
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Updated 6 days ago
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17 days ago

Hey all,

I got a bonus at work, so I’ll be using that to buy some new gear for the season. :)  As we’re coming up on Labor Day and the start of pre-season sales, I started thinking about my priorities and budget.  Given that it’s been ages since I bought ski equipment, I have some questions about getting the most bang for my buck.  I’ll save questions about WHAT exactly to buy for another thread.

The short version is I need to it all - skis, boots, poles, bindings.  The skis I have are all old straight skis, that may be relegated to rock skis. I’m looking at buying advanced, higher end gear.

Now for the questions:

  • Will I find a better deal buying skis online or from a shop?
  • Boots are a given for getting in a shop as I have to find a good fit.  Do most shops provide boot fitting services during purchase?
  • Do shops still do package deals with boots?  And if so, am I likely to get a better deal buying everything together?
  • Do any shops match online prices?
  • Are last year’s models usually a better deal?  And how can I know if there’s a major change in a line (i.e. Rossi redesigned the Experience for this coming year).
  • Are used or demo equipment worth considering?
  • I have a SnowTime season pass - well, I’m paying on my first pass. Can I use get the discounts at the mountain shops, and is it worth it to do so?
  • Do you recommend any shops? As I’m from Johnstown, PA, I’m looking at Ski Den up there (bought my first set there years ago). I’ll consider other PA/MD shops though.

And if there are any other suggestions, I’m open to them as well.

Thanks!

Super

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
17 days ago

superguy wrote:

The short version is I need to it all - skis, boots, poles, bindings.  The skis I have are all old straight skis, that may be relegated to rock skis. I’m looking at buying advanced, higher end gear.

Note that the bindings on your old straight skis are probably obsolete.  That means no shop tech can touch them to see if they still work.  Probably better to not even think about trying to use them after you get boots.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
17 days ago

superguy wrote:

 

Now for the questions:

  • Will I find a better deal buying skis online or from a shop?
  • Boots are a given for getting in a shop as I have to find a good fit.  Do most shops provide boot fitting services during purchase?
  • Do shops still do package deals with boots?  And if so, am I likely to get a better deal buying everything together?
  • Do any shops match online prices?
  • Are last year’s models usually a better deal?  And how can I know if there’s a major change in a line (i.e. Rossi redesigned the Experience for this coming year).

Here are comments about buying boots …

* no real reason to buy the latest model year for boots.  ”New old stock” that was fitted by an experienced boot fitter will be less expensive and work just as well as waiting for the latest and greatest.  Ski boot design doesn’t really change every year.

* Best to get a recommendation for a boot fitter.

* Best to call and make an appointment with a boot fitter.  Don’t have to wait until the fall in some cases.  Expect to spend 2-3 hours for the fitting.  That includes spending 20-30 minutes just hanging around in the best option.

*  Don’t spend time with a boot fitter and then look for a cheaper price online for the boots that fit.  A reputable boot fitter will continue to make adjustments as the boots break in for the life of the boots.

*  Buying everything from one ski shop could be good.  Never hurts to ask.  But finding used skis at a ski swap in the fall could be one way to start building up a quiver.

17 days ago

superguy wrote:

Hey all,

I got a bonus at work, so I’ll be using that to buy some new gear for the season. :)  As we’re coming up on Labor Day and the start of pre-season sales, I started thinking about my priorities and budget.  Given that it’s been ages since I bought ski equipment, I have some questions about getting the most bang for my buck.  I’ll save questions about WHAT exactly to buy for another thread.

The short version is I need to it all - skis, boots, poles, bindings.  The skis I have are all old straight skis, that may be relegated to rock skis. I’m looking at buying advanced, higher end gear.

Now for the questions:

  • Will I find a better deal buying skis online or from a shop?
  • Boots are a given for getting in a shop as I have to find a good fit.  Do most shops provide boot fitting services during purchase?
  • Do shops still do package deals with boots?  And if so, am I likely to get a better deal buying everything together?
  • Do any shops match online prices?
  • Are last year’s models usually a better deal?  And how can I know if there’s a major change in a line (i.e. Rossi redesigned the Experience for this coming year).
  • Are used or demo equipment worth considering?
  • I have a SnowTime season pass - well, I’m paying on my first pass. Can I use get the discounts at the mountain shops, and is it worth it to do so?
  • Do you recommend any shops? As I’m from Johnstown, PA, I’m looking at Ski Den up there (bought my first set there years ago). I’ll consider other PA/MD shops though.

And if there are any other suggestions, I’m open to them as well.

Thanks!

Super

Super-Agree with everything marzNC said about buying boots.  Getting the correct flex is very important.

Have you tried shaped skis?  There is a big difference between what your ski delivers and how a recent model all mountain ski performs.  What type of skiing you will be doing.  Do you ski on piste?  Blue cruiser are you more of a high energy black level run guy?  Know the level of your skiing ability.  If you plan on skiing more in the next few years a slightly more intermediate-advanced ski may work for you.  Expert level skis have a smaller sweet spot “like golf” you need to be in control at all times to make it work for you or risk going somewhere you don’t want to go.  New “old stock” is a great way to get a good deal.

Went to Leki Trigger S pole design a while back.  Can’t say enough good things about them.  Had a number of friends buy after I showed them how user friendly they are.  Get the aluminum still $$ than other brands but well worth it.

17 days ago

Good advice so far!

I was going to save the equipment type recommendations for different thread, but since you asked. :)

I have been on shaped skis, enough to know that the old school techniques don’t work that well.  I’ve skied at Winter Park and Homewood since shaped came out, though stayed mostly on the blues as I wasn’t in the best shape.  I could make it the day without falling, but felt like I was fighting a bit more. Lessons to help transition will be a part of my early season.

Back in my younger days, I was class III or a level 9, depending on which system used.  My body’s older and less fit, so I’d dial that back a bit now to a II.  I’m currently on the heavier side, but working on that.

Most of my skiing this year will be at SnowTime resorts, but may have some adventures up to LM, 7S, and Blue Knob and I plan on skiing the blacks. I grew up in that area, and learned to ski at 7S, so I’m very familiar with them. I’d venture off-piste when there was sufficient snow (particuarly at Brighton and Solitude when I lived in Utah).  I like to roam. I love bumps and plan on getting a set of mogul skis eventually, but my priority is a decent all around set, and maybe a cheap pair of rock skis for early/late season.  As my son just moved to Utah, I may head out there next season too.

My old skis were Rossi 7XK GS skis in a 188 and a set of K2 185s - don’t remember the model off hand.  Also had a pair of Dynastars until the airline broke them. Skis I’m considering are Elan Amphibios and Ripsticks, Rossi Experience 88s, K2 Pinnacle and Ikonic, and Blizzard Brahmas.

I’m undecided on boots - mainly because of the whole flex rating. I’ll need a wider boot though as I have a really wide foot.  That was one of my biggest gripes about skiing in the past - toes going numb all the time.

Thanks!

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
17 days ago

superguy wrote:

Good advice so far!

I was going to save the equipment type recommendations for different thread, but since you asked. :)

I’m undecided on boots - mainly because of the whole flex rating. I’ll need a wider boot though as I have a really wide foot.  That was one of my biggest gripes about skiing in the past - toes going numb all the time.

Thanks!

Actually easier to deal with all your questions in the same thread as you share your past experience.

My main ski buddy, Bill, wouldn’t get new boots as he started skiing more after 2008.  In 2012 his rear-entry boots that were 20+ years old cracked, so he had to buy boots at Big Sky.  Since he didn’t go back to Big Sky, he paid to have tweaks done by other bootfitters for a couple seasons.  Even so, he had to admit that boot design has improved since the days of straight skis.

Don’t get too hung up on flex rating.  It’s not consistent across brands.  Tell the boot fitter as much as you can about the type of skiing you expect to do in the next few years.  The first pair of 4-buckle boots I bought in 2006 after it was clear that my daughter liked skiing was a soft recreational model with Walk/Ski modes.  I was an intermediate sticking to groomers at that stage because I didn’t ski much at all as a working adult.  Bought the next pair of boots several years later, along with custom footbeds, after I started skiing more than 20 days a season.  By then I had discovered there is an experienced boot fitter 30 min from my house (not in Raleigh).

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
17 days ago

superguy wrote:

I have been on shaped skis, enough to know that the old school techniques don’t work that well.  I’ve skied at Winter Park and Homewood since shaped came out, though stayed mostly on the blues as I wasn’t in the best shape.  I could make it the day without falling, but felt like I was fighting a bit more. Lessons to help transition will be a part of my early season.

Back in my younger days, I was class III or a level 9, depending on which system used.  My body’s older and less fit, so I’d dial that back a bit now to a II.  I’m currently on the heavier side, but working on that.

Most of my skiing this year will be at SnowTime resorts, but may have some adventures up to LM, 7S, and Blue Knob and I plan on skiing the blacks. I grew up in that area, and learned to ski at 7S, so I’m very familiar with them. I’d venture off-piste when there was sufficient snow (particuarly at Brighton and Solitude when I lived in Utah).  I like to roam. I love bumps and plan on getting a set of mogul skis eventually, but my priority is a decent all around set, and maybe a cheap pair of rock skis for early/late season.  As my son just moved to Utah, I may head out there next season too.

Type I, II, III, III+ still exist.  But only used to decide the DIN setting for bindings.  I’ve become a solid advanced skier who likes to spend 60-70% of the time off-piste.  Meaning Level 8 on the 9-point scale.  But if I rent demo skis, I say Type II or III.  The skis I own have the DIN set for Type III+ for my height, weight, and age.  The DIN setting table changes at age 50, regardless of ability level.

For lessons, worth finding a way to have lessons with PSIA Level 3 instructors.  There are quite a few good instructors at the Snowtime ski areas.  I have friends who have done the multi-week clinics on weekends at Liberty, which is a pretty good deal.  Early season group lessons can end up solo lessons with very experience instructors because the new instructors haven’t completed instructor training yet.  A few years ago a friend had 2-3 lessons with a L3 instructor at Whitetail in mid-Dec.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
17 days ago

superguy wrote:

Good advice so far!

I was going to save the equipment type recommendations for different thread, but since you asked. :)

My old skis were Rossi 7XK GS skis in a 188 and a set of K2 185s - don’t remember the model off hand.  Also had a pair of Dynastars until the airline broke them. Skis I’m considering are Elan Amphibios and Ripsticks, Rossi Experience 88s, K2 Pinnacle and Ikonic, and Blizzard Brahmas.

Keep an eye out for the thread about Demo Days in the Mid-Atlantic.  Usually will get started by Thanksgiving.  Whitetail gets a good selection of demo tents.

Ski swaps start in the DC area in October.

16 days ago

marzNC wrote:

Type I, II, III, III+ still exist.  But only used to decide the DIN setting for bindings.  I’ve become a solid advanced skier who likes to spend 60-70% of the time off-piste.  Meaning Level 8 on the 9-point scale.  But if I rent demo skis, I say Type II or III.  The skis I own have the DIN set for Type III+ for my height, weight, and age.  The DIN setting table changes at age 50, regardless of ability level.

For lessons, worth finding a way to have lessons with PSIA Level 3 instructors.  There are quite a few good instructors at the Snowtime ski areas.  I have friends who have done the multi-week clinics on weekends at Liberty, which is a pretty good deal.  Early season group lessons can end up solo lessons with very experience instructors because the new instructors haven’t completed instructor training yet.  A few years ago a friend had 2-3 lessons with a L3 instructor at Whitetail in mid-Dec.

 

I bought a season pass to SnowTime, so I’m going to use the discounted lessons for sure.  I’ll take a look into the multiweek clinics.  One of my boys is going to do WT’s Own the Mountain Program, so that could work out well.  Only wrenches for me would my travel schedule for work and how my wife’s doing that weekend (she’s struggling with a hopefully temporary disability).

As for getting a Level 3 instructor - do I just ask for one, or to be put in an advanced class?

I’ll ask what tweaks a bootfitter can do when I hit the shops. I know Ski Den can tweak boots - not sure about any of the local shops here as I haven’t been in there.  I take it the mountain shops would have them?

Got a question on the quiver - do you switch skis throughout the day depending on what you do?  Say if I were to hit the bumps for at least a part of the day - should I bring both mogul and my all-mountains?  Or are the mogul skis fine for just a day?

Anything I should look for - or avoid - when picking rock skis?  And has any one here ever dealt with Baltimore Ski Warehouse in Glen Burnie? Saw they’re big on used gear - I guess they buy a lot of SnowTime’s rentals and stuff.

Oh, and one other question about boots - what do you recommend I do for my son?  He’s 16 going on 17, and will be a first timer when he starts WT’s program.  He’ll end up with skis on graduation, but I’m hesitant to buy boots considering he’s not done growing.  And I grew out of my boots at his age. :)  Would I be better off doing a season rental, or getting some used boots until he’s done growing and “graduates” to a better ability?

Thanks!

16 days ago

Season rental for son sounds good.   Used skis lose quite a bit of their value in about three years, so you should be able to get four to six year old rock skis with bindings attached for $100-150 or less.  Ski swaps at local ski areas or ski stores are a good place to look for used skis, poles, clothing, etc.  The internet can work for a lot of that too.  As others have said, good fitting boots are the centerpiece of your kit and acquiring those in-person is the best way.  I’m sure a ski shop could come up with a package deal representing a discount if you bought everything from them.   While not known for high end gear, some of the big sporting goods chains like Dick’s might over good deals on a ski and binding package for you and/or son.  But again, probably should go to a real ski store for boots and a good fitting.

 

About lessons - Snowtime has some good programs where you meet with a recurring instructor and group once a week for several weeks.  Alternatively, if you go for only one or two buy-as-you-go lessons you could ask for an advanced lesson.  Sometimes those end up being private lessons (esp. on weekdays) at no extra cost because no other advanced students are around and better odds that they’d be taught by an L-3.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
16 days ago

superguy wrote:

I bought a season pass to SnowTime, so I’m going to use the discounted lessons for sure.  I’ll take a look into the multiweek clinics.  One of my boys is going to do WT’s Own the Mountain Program, so that could work out well.  Only wrenches for me would my travel schedule for work and how my wife’s doing that weekend (she’s struggling with a hopefully temporary disability).

As for getting a Level 3 instructor - do I just ask for one, or to be put in an advanced class?

Definitely let the ski school desk know that you were an advanced skier and are making the transition from straight skis before the first lesson.  Ideally, better to work with an instructor old enough to have skied on straight skis who had to make the same transition.  If you get a good instructor, a lesson or two should be enough to get a feel for making turns with less effort by letting the design of the skis do their thing.  

The way PSIA certification works, a Level 1 instructor is qualified to teach beginners, L2 has had training for beginners and intermediates, while L3 can teach all levels.  I’ve found that L3 instructors generally have 15+ years of experience teaching.  A L2 with 10+ years of experience can be just as effective since most instructors are part-time and have many reasons that going for L3 is impractical.

What I’ve found is that if someone asks for a L3 instructor, even if one is not available then the ski school is more likely to match up the skier with an instructor with enough teaching experience for a good lesson.  Compare that to a situation where the skier says they are taking it easy and mostly skiing groomed runs.  While it’s not good to overstate ability, downplaying experience should be avoided too.  Also helps to mention your learning style if you know it.  For instance, I’m a visual learner and don’t want to listen to a lot of talk.  I have a friend who prefers to hear detailed explanations before she can process and learn a new skill.

A while back I learned that certification is not required for instructors at American ski schools.  Many instructors start with only the local Instructor Training Course (ITC) for a couple weekends during early season.  They are only qualified to teach never-evers or beginners.  Snowtime has strong ski schools with experienced trainers on staff and good support for PSIA.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
16 days ago

superguy wrote:

Got a question on the quiver - do you switch skis throughout the day depending on what you do?  Say if I were to hit the bumps for at least a part of the day - should I bring both mogul and my all-mountains?  Or are the mogul skis fine for just a day?

Anything I should look for - or avoid - when picking rock skis?  And has any one here ever dealt with Baltimore Ski Warehouse in Glen Burnie? Saw they’re big on used gear - I guess they buy a lot of SnowTime’s rentals and stuff.

With solid technique, there is rarely a reason to switch out skis midday.  Perhaps on a day that starts out icy and then gets very soft as temps get into the 40s, but with a season pass can make more sense to just ski a few hours during decent conditions.

What width would you consider for “mogul skis”?  For all-mountain?  Lengths are likely to be different too.  In the mid-Atlantic I don’t use my all-mountain skis often.  The skis I use at Massanutten are 10cm shorter and 10mm narrower than my all-mountain skis that I take out west.

I bought a pair of former rental skis from Baltimore Ski Warehouse from eBay back in 2006.  No issues.  Worked out well for a couple seasons when I was mainly skiing in at Massanutten or the southeast with my daughter (ages 6-8) who was adv. beginner/intermediate.  Did a season lease for her until it was clear we would be skiing more regularly.

16 days ago

superguy wrote:

marzNC wrote:

Type I, II, III, III+ still exist.  But only used to decide the DIN setting for bindings.  I’ve become a solid advanced skier who likes to spend 60-70% of the time off-piste.  Meaning Level 8 on the 9-point scale.  But if I rent demo skis, I say Type II or III.  The skis I own have the DIN set for Type III+ for my height, weight, and age.  The DIN setting table changes at age 50, regardless of ability level.

For lessons, worth finding a way to have lessons with PSIA Level 3 instructors.  There are quite a few good instructors at the Snowtime ski areas.  I have friends who have done the multi-week clinics on weekends at Liberty, which is a pretty good deal.  Early season group lessons can end up solo lessons with very experience instructors because the new instructors haven’t completed instructor training yet.  A few years ago a friend had 2-3 lessons with a L3 instructor at Whitetail in mid-Dec.

 

I bought a season pass to SnowTime, so I’m going to use the discounted lessons for sure.  I’ll take a look into the multiweek clinics.  One of my boys is going to do WT’s Own the Mountain Program, so that could work out well.  Only wrenches for me would my travel schedule for work and how my wife’s doing that weekend (she’s struggling with a hopefully temporary disability).

As for getting a Level 3 instructor - do I just ask for one, or to be put in an advanced class?

I’ll ask what tweaks a bootfitter can do when I hit the shops. I know Ski Den can tweak boots - not sure about any of the local shops here as I haven’t been in there.  I take it the mountain shops would have them?

>Not sure where your home base is but Brian @ ProFit in Leesburg, VA is a master bootfitter.  He has been in the industry for more than 30 years.  You could call ahead give him some info on your foot size and make an appointment.  I have read where serious skiers have taken a plane trip into IAD to have Brian work his magic.  He is partial to Lange Boots which I still believe are an excellent choice but he does have a number of brands.

Got a question on the quiver - do you switch skis throughout the day depending on what you do?  Say if I were to hit the bumps for at least a part of the day - should I bring both mogul and my all-mountains?  Or are the mogul skis fine for just a day?

>I do as my old knees cannot ski moguls all day.  The most versatile ski I have which I’m on most of the time in various conditions is 178cm/70mm waist/15.5 radius.  This ski is considered a front side detuned race ski but can do most things well except deep powder/off piste.  The sidecut allows you to turn them in like a SL ski in the bumps or extend the shape of your turn like a GS ski.  Many of the higher level instructors I know use skis with similar numbers maybe a bit wider and longer in the radius.  

>Not sure how big you are but you can get shorter in length reducing your radius and make it more SL like for the bumps.  I remember the days with straight skis where we use to ski the bumps with 200-210cm skis.

>Have 4 pair of skies in my quiver which is like a total of 4 irons in your golf bag (PW/8/6/4).  Radius 12.7/15.5/19/23 covers 90%+ of the type of conditions I like to ski on.

Anything I should look for - or avoid - when picking rock skis?  And has any one here ever dealt with Baltimore Ski Warehouse in Glen Burnie? Saw they’re big on used gear - I guess they buy a lot of SnowTime’s rentals and stuff.

>Only used ski I have ever bought is the ski I mention above.  It was used 1 or 2 days from a guy off craigslist for about a third of what it cost new.  Don’t know your budget but if you are planning on 2 pair I wouldn’t get older used “rock skis” get new old stock or a close out deal.  Years ago bought a new in wrap expert front side ski & binding for my daughter at Start Haus in Tahoe for $199 shipped & she still uses it for teaching.  There are great deals out there you just need to put in the time & search.  My other 3 pair were all bought off the web.  I can get pro dealer pricing but best deals can be found elsewhere.

Oh, and one other question about boots - what do you recommend I do for my son?  He’s 16 going on 17, and will be a first timer when he starts WT’s program.  He’ll end up with skis on graduation, but I’m hesitant to buy boots considering he’s not done growing.  And I grew out of my boots at his age. :)  Would I be better off doing a season rental, or getting some used boots until he’s done growing and “graduates” to a better ability?

>Don’t buy just rent then trade in next year for another rental until his foot size remains the same.  You also might get lucky and find something at a swap.

Thanks!

 

16 days ago

The dilly in Chantilly that sun and ski puts on at the end of September has a lot of previous years equipment on sale. It will generally be busy so you may not get the attention you’d get from other shops, but the prices tend to be good and if you have an idea what you want going in you can do really well

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
15 days ago

Shotmaker wrote:

>Not sure where your home base is but Brian @ ProFit in Leesburg, VA is a master bootfitter.  He has been in the industry for more than 30 years.  You could call ahead give him some info on your foot size and make an appointment.  I have read where serious skiers have taken a plane trip into IAD to have Brian work his magic.  He is partial to Lange Boots which I still believe are an excellent choice but he does have a number of brands.

I’ve heard lots of recommendations for Brian @ ProFit in Leesburg, VA in recent years.  There are a couple other boot fitters, also named Brian, in the DC/Baltimore area but ProFit is closer to PA.

If you have the time, could also consider booking a lesson on the indoor rolling carpet at ProFit.  Can only make turns on the carpet if your technique is correct.  Possible to get the basics figured out with an instructor after an hour.  I did a lesson for fun for a discounted price from the fundraiser done to help with installation costs.  A friend is doing a series of lessons with the same L3 instructor from a multiweek session last winter.

Cannot think of any current recommendations for boot fitters in the Pittsburgh area.

15 days ago

marzNC wrote:

Shotmaker wrote:

>Not sure where your home base is but Brian @ ProFit in Leesburg, VA is a master bootfitter.  He has been in the industry for more than 30 years.  You could call ahead give him some info on your foot size and make an appointment.  I have read where serious skiers have taken a plane trip into IAD to have Brian work his magic.  He is partial to Lange Boots which I still believe are an excellent choice but he does have a number of brands.

I’ve heard lots of recommendations for Brian @ ProFit in Leesburg, VA in recent years. 

I had Brian @ ProFit make me custom footbeds 2 seasons ago. Excellent work, very knowledged in all aspects. I’m sure he’d help you with a package deal.  He carries a nice selection of skis, more than the usual entry level only stuff you find at shops his size.

Denis - DCSki Supporter
15 days ago

Lots of good advice so far.  Let me offer a different slant in case you are cheap and pragmatic, like me. 😁.  Get the boots from a good shop and good bootfitter, make an appointment for when they are not too busy, take your time, etc.  you must not skimp on the most important part, the boots.  All that has been said.  Now for a different approach.  Get rock skis first and spend a season on them, take lessons.  Then, find out schedules for all the free demo vans appearances at local mountains.  Go to all of them and demo, demo, demo.  After a season, you’ll know what you want.  

As to the rock skis, get something at a preseason sale.  Make sure it has shape and some rocker.  Shape has been around long enough that there should be plenty of good offerings.  I’m guessing that in affluent DC suburbs, rocker probably has too.  I’d suggest perhaps 80 +/- 5 mm waist, 175 +/- 5 cm length.  Make sure the bindings are still indemnified.  Get an edge file and learn how to use it.  Then go work on your skiing.  A couple of nuggets of wisdom from friends who are far better skiers than me;

’All skis are rock skis as soon as they take their first run.’

‘Don’t think too much, JFS (just freaking ski).’

 

 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
15 days ago

For more than the OP needs to know about boot fitting and current boot technology:

https://theskimonster.com/blog/posts/ski-boot-fitting-how-are-boots-supposed-to-fit/

https://theskimonster.com/blog/posts/ski-boot-fitting-flex-width-liners-hike-modes-and-shell-design/

14 days ago

Aw crap! I typed out a post last night and apparently it didn’t stick.  So I’ll have to start over :D

I’ve checked out some of the shops mentioned here (ProFit and Sun and Ski). I emailed ProFit and they were very nice. I couldn’t get a ballpark figure on what a boot fitting costs - at least their fees not including the boots. I understand there’s a lot of options that could affect the final price - but I figured there would at least be a minimum and an average (i.e. $100 gets you the basic options, and can range up to X depending on the options chosen). My concern is that a highly customized job is going to blow my budget.  Anyone have a range on what the fitting would cost?

Good news for anyone interested in shopping there - they’re having a preseason sale the weekend of the August 10. They’re starting to get stock in, and aren’t sure how much they’ll have.

I checked out Ski and Sun as well and they look like they have good options.  Has anyone been to either the Gaithersburg or Falls Church stores?  Both of those are much closer than the Chantilly store.  I also saw they have a “love your gear guarantee.”  Has anyone used it for skis?  I find the concept attractive.

The topics of length and waist width were brought up.  Here’s my rather basic understanding from what I’ve read (and feel free to correct/challenge/verify :)). I’ve heard that a good range for eastern all-around type skis is 80-90mm.  For pure moguls skis, like the Dynastar Twisters, waists are under 70mm. And of course, with other widths for different types of skiing as well. On length, the going wisdom seems to be somewhere between the chin and the top of the head.

Now I have some questions. :)

I typically skied 185-195cm on straight skis.  My main Rossis were 188cm, and my K2s were 185cm. Based on my height (5’10), that seems to put me in a range of 170-180cm. On some ski sites, in particular Elan’s, there were varying length recommendations.  Some recommend up to +/- 10cm depending on the type of ski. That could possibly put me on something as short at a 160 or as long as 185.  What are your thoughts?

My weight’s going to be changing quite a bit over the next year or so. I’m currently overweight, and working on it. I’m naturally a big guy, so I carry it relatively well.  I’m planning on having bariatric surgery after the ski season. Hoped to get it done before the season, but the process takes a long time to get approved. I’m hoping to lose 100-120 lbs when all’s said and done. How should I factor this in?

For waist width, I’m having a harder time deciding. I noticed that a line can have several different widths - and that also affects construction (with of course, narrowest being the cheapest). Most seem to have intervals of 4mm.  My question here is how much of a difference does 2 or 4 mm actually make?  Is it noticeable?  Price doesn’t seem to change much, if at all, between 84mm and 88mm for example, so is it just preference?  What are your thoughts?

Thanks!

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
14 days ago

superguy wrote:

 

  • Do you recommend any shops? As I’m from Johnstown, PA, I’m looking at Ski Den up there (bought my first set there years ago). I’ll consider other PA/MD shops though.

 

Not sure, but I think this is a shop that was recommended on DCSki several years ago.  The comments about boot fitting on the Peak Ski & Board website makes it sound like they know what they are doing.  Richard Bennett was the name of the boot fitter recommended by LaurelHillCrazy when he opened Three Rivers a while back.  My notes on another ski forum is that Richard was working in the Gibsonia location.

http://www.peakskiandboard.com/boot-fitting/

http://www.dcski.com/forum/61631

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
14 days ago

superguy wrote:

Aw crap! I typed out a post last night and apparently it didn’t stick.  So I’ll have to start over :D

I’ve checked out some of the shops mentioned here (ProFit and Sun and Ski). I emailed ProFit and they were very nice. I couldn’t get a ballpark figure on what a boot fitting costs - at least their fees not including the boots. I understand there’s a lot of options that could affect the final price - but I figured there would at least be a minimum and an average (i.e. $100 gets you the basic options, and can range up to X depending on the options chosen). My concern is that a highly customized job is going to blow my budget.  Anyone have a range on what the fitting would cost?

When you buy boots from a boot fitter who also sells stock, there is no extra charge for the fitting or tweaks.  Usually tweaks can be done for the life of the boot.  Out west I’ve heard of tweaks only being included for a year, but that’s rare.

When you meet with a boot fitter, be up front about your budget and plans for the next few years.  Hard to spend less than $400-500 but no reason to spend over $1000 for the first pair of good boots when just getting back on the slopes.  A good boot fitter is a good listener.

If tweaks are done by a boot fitter who didn’t sell the boot, can be $25 to punch out one spot or $200 per hour.  My ski buddy who had to buy boots at Big Sky had work done by a couple places out west in the next year or two.  I had a hot spot at an ankle bone that needed to be punched out during a trip to Alta about 10 years ago.  Took just a few minutes and cost $25 at a slopeside shop.

Note that a custom footbed is worthwhile but can be added later.  When I bought the first pair of 4-buckle boots, a generic footbed was recommended that cost about $25.  There is more than one option for heat-moldable footbeds that range from $40 to $250.  The more expensive versions can be moved from boot to boot and last 10+ years.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
14 days ago

superguy wrote:

The topics of length and waist width were brought up.  Here’s my rather basic understanding from what I’ve read (and feel free to correct/challenge/verify :)). I’ve heard that a good range for eastern all-around type skis is 80-90mm.  For pure moguls skis, like the Dynastar Twisters, waists are under 70mm. And of course, with other widths for different types of skiing as well. On length, the going wisdom seems to be somewhere between the chin and the top of the head.

Now I have some questions. :)

I typically skied 185-195cm on straight skis.  My main Rossis were 188cm, and my K2s were 185cm. Based on my height (5’10), that seems to put me in a range of 170-180cm. On some ski sites, in particular Elan’s, there were varying length recommendations.  Some recommend up to +/- 10cm depending on the type of ski. That could possibly put me on something as short at a 160 or as long as 185.  What are your thoughts?

My weight’s going to be changing quite a bit over the next year or so. I’m currently overweight, and working on it. I’m naturally a big guy, so I carry it relatively well.  I’m planning on having bariatric surgery after the ski season. Hoped to get it done before the season, but the process takes a long time to get approved. I’m hoping to lose 100-120 lbs when all’s said and done. How should I factor this in?

For waist width, I’m having a harder time deciding. I noticed that a line can have several different widths - and that also affects construction (with of course, narrowest being the cheapest). Most seem to have intervals of 4mm.  My question here is how much of a difference does 2 or 4 mm actually make?  Is it noticeable?  Price doesn’t seem to change much, if at all, between 84mm and 88mm for example, so is it just preference?  What are your thoughts?

Thanks!

Narrower skis are easier to turn regardless of design.  That’s a fact of physics.  For lessons, better to have narrower skis while working on improving technique.

Skis with the same length and width can feel quite different.  That’s why the recommendation is to demo, demo, demo before buying good skis.  In your case, having a lesson or two first would make the demo experience more useful.  Checking out the same model in different lengths will be instructive, even if the width is not the most appropriate for the snow conditions.

What I learned after a couple of free demo days is that some brands tend to work much better for me than others.

If you buy a pair of skis at a ski swap that come up to your nose, they will work and be easier to learn with than skis that come up to your forehead.  A bigger man (height and/or weight) needs enough width underfoot so the skis aren’t too soft so you may well need a wider ski than most people at Snowtime ski areas.  For a smaller woman like me, a wide stiff ski is no fun at all.  But my friend who is a tall woman who isn’t a beanpole finds that unisex or men’s skis are more appropriate than most women’s models.

My all-mountain skis are 10cm longer than my carvers I use mostly in the Mid-Atlantic.  They are 15cm shorter than the straight skis I bought in the 1980s as an intermediate barely skiing 5 days a season.  I can ski powder skis that are 10cm longer than my all-mountain skis after taking enough lessons and getting in a lot of days on snow in recent years.  At the same time, I can have fun on my all-mountain skis in pretty much any conditions short of >15 inches of fresh powder.

Good that you are asking lots of questions.  But try not to get too hung up on numbers.

14 days ago

superguy wrote:

Aw crap! I typed out a post last night and apparently it didn’t stick.  So I’ll have to start over :D

I’ve checked out some of the shops mentioned here (ProFit and Sun and Ski). I emailed ProFit and they were very nice. I couldn’t get a ballpark figure on what a boot fitting costs - at least their fees not including the boots. I understand there’s a lot of options that could affect the final price - but I figured there would at least be a minimum and an average (i.e. $100 gets you the basic options, and can range up to X depending on the options chosen). My concern is that a highly customized job is going to blow my budget.  Anyone have a range on what the fitting would cost?

Good news for anyone interested in shopping there - they’re having a preseason sale the weekend of the August 10. They’re starting to get stock in, and aren’t sure how much they’ll have.

I checked out Ski and Sun as well and they look like they have good options.  Has anyone been to either the Gaithersburg or Falls Church stores?  Both of those are much closer than the Chantilly store.  I also saw they have a “love your gear guarantee.”  Has anyone used it for skis?  I find the concept attractive.

The topics of length and waist width were brought up.  Here’s my rather basic understanding from what I’ve read (and feel free to correct/challenge/verify :)). I’ve heard that a good range for eastern all-around type skis is 80-90mm.  For pure moguls skis, like the Dynastar Twisters, waists are under 70mm. And of course, with other widths for different types of skiing as well. On length, the going wisdom seems to be somewhere between the chin and the top of the head.

Now I have some questions. :)

I typically skied 185-195cm on straight skis.  My main Rossis were 188cm, and my K2s were 185cm. Based on my height (5’10), that seems to put me in a range of 170-180cm. On some ski sites, in particular Elan’s, there were varying length recommendations.  Some recommend up to +/- 10cm depending on the type of ski. That could possibly put me on something as short at a 160 or as long as 185.  What are your thoughts?

My weight’s going to be changing quite a bit over the next year or so. I’m currently overweight, and working on it. I’m naturally a big guy, so I carry it relatively well.  I’m planning on having bariatric surgery after the ski season. Hoped to get it done before the season, but the process takes a long time to get approved. I’m hoping to lose 100-120 lbs when all’s said and done. How should I factor this in?

For waist width, I’m having a harder time deciding. I noticed that a line can have several different widths - and that also affects construction (with of course, narrowest being the cheapest). Most seem to have intervals of 4mm.  My question here is how much of a difference does 2 or 4 mm actually make?  Is it noticeable?  Price doesn’t seem to change much, if at all, between 84mm and 88mm for example, so is it just preference?  What are your thoughts?

Thanks!

Super your kinda between a rock & a hard place with your weight.  I’m sorry to hear this has become a problem.  On a good note my neighbor has lost significant weight with Weight Watchers & exercise.  She had the same body size for at least 12 years so I have hope for anyone trying to change things for the better.  I typically loose 20-30 lbs by the end of each season.  Last few years out 40-60 days on the slopes which gets me in shape.  Hate this pattern but I enjoy good food too much & don’t have a consistent spring/summer/fall sport or exercise program which keeps the weight off.

SPEND $ ON GETTING YOUR BOOTS SETUP FOR YOUR FEET.

As Denis said it is the most important part in your budget towards equipment.  Custom footbed will run you ~ $200.  There are lesser options you can discuss.  If you need to have the boots remolded to keep the pressure off a bunion or 6th toe your looking around $30.

Sun & Ski Chantilly large place with more selection.  Bought jackets ski & boot bags mostly.  They do have decent pricing.

65-85mm waist is where all my skis fall.  My 65’s are dedicated SL & GS race skis.  They are very stiff giving me quick/fast movements.  These skis allow me to get Roll Over or move from edge to edge faster.  This is the type of skiing I love to do.  If your looking at a narrow waisted ski it might be a beginner-intermediate ski.  Looked up the Twister it is discontinued and is a women’s ski so rule that out.  You mentioned a Blizzard ski earlier as an option I think you on the right track there.  

Taking everything you have said to this point a ski that at least goes to your chin with a 80-90mm waist should give you stability on hardpack or when there is a powder day.  That open up many all-mountain choices.  Keep your skis tuned don’t cut a steak with a butter knife:).   

 

14 days ago

On second thought you might be best served to buy used as was mentioned & I second the “demo demo demo” to find the right ski.  Finding a good used boot could be like finding a needle in the haystack but might make some sence now.  If you have a significant weight loss after buying new boots things can change in your ankles and feet and some swimming or heal lifting may result.  Don’t compensate by putting on a second pair of socks.

You sound like a big guy who is a good enough skier to look in the 110-120 flex range for your boots.  Go much lower and your getting into the “intermediate” range and you will be dissapointed on warm days when your skis don’t respond like they should.

14 days ago

I read your thoughts about going used and I think you guys are on to something.  I started looking at used demo skis online and I found that there are some good deals where I can save some money - while still having the models I’ve been interested in.

In particular, I was looking at Powder7’s website and they had a lot of good deals on demos - complete with bindings as they’re having a sale. Everything seemed to be around $550 or less. One thing in particular I liked is that they had the actual pairs they were selling, with pics of tops and bottoms that you can zoom in on.  Also a detailed description on the condition and how many days they were used.

If I go that route, it’ll give me a bit more to put into boots.  Would around $500 be a good estimate for getting a decent boot?

Has anyone skied the Elan Amphibios and RipSticks?  I’ve heard some good things about them, and they’re probably the ones I keep coming back to the most. The K2 Ikonics and Pinnacles have caught my attention, as well as the Rossi Experience.

Super

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
13 days ago

superguy wrote:

I read your thoughts about going used and I think you guys are on to something.  I started looking at used demo skis online and I found that there are some good deals where I can save some money - while still having the models I’ve been interested in.

In particular, I was looking at Powder7’s website and they had a lot of good deals on demos - complete with bindings as they’re having a sale. Everything seemed to be around $550 or less. One thing in particular I liked is that they had the actual pairs they were selling, with pics of tops and bottoms that you can zoom in on.  Also a detailed description on the condition and how many days they were used.

If I go that route, it’ll give me a bit more to put into boots.  Would around $500 be a good estimate for getting a decent boot?

Has anyone skied the Elan Amphibios and RipSticks?  I’ve heard some good things about them, and they’re probably the ones I keep coming back to the most. The K2 Ikonics and Pinnacles have caught my attention, as well as the Rossi Experience.

Super

For skis, buying demos or lightly used makes perfect sense.  But can also find deals on new skis from past model years.  Anything within the last 2-3 years would be fine.  Have you ever heard of Ski Essentials?  A shop in VT that has good deals on gear during the summer.  Might be worth actually giving them a call to chat and see what suggestions they have.

I’ve bought new skis off eBay when I knew exactly what I wanted.  There are shops that off-load inventory using eBay.  Turned out that a shop I bought my first pair of all-mountain skis from was where my brother-in-law went to buy all his gear.  He lives in the Chicago area.

Have you ever been to a ski swap?  Have to go early and get lucky, but prices can be very good.  I bought my daughter’s first boots, skis, and poles at the swap in Annapolis.  Total cost was under $150 since she was still using kid’s gear.  We’d rented or did a season lease for the first few seasons.

I’ve demo’d RipSticks.  The type of skis that it’s far better to demo first before spending money.  Some people really like them but there are also people who don’t think they are fun at all.  In contrast, you don’t hear many people say they don’t like the Experience.

12 days ago

for what it is worth - i find going and renting from a good rental shop and/or buying rental beaters near the end of the season at a big ski resort works; like MarzNC i have a very good idea of what I like; i favor a very specific feel and first read a lot about what might please me. i then either look to see if i can rent a pair for a day or check out a demo day somewhere - or - as i said if i pretty much am conviced i know what i want and look for a busted up rental pair the resort ski rental is selling for cheap.

example: i was sure i’d like Bizzard Bonafides and found a slight shorter pair (173 cm) than I wanted for $200 at the Canyons Resort ski rental for $200 - they were a mess but it proved to me i liked them. The start of next season, as MarzNC suggested i bought a lightly used pair with Marker Griffon binding from eBay for $425 and that is what i use for All Mountain now (not groomed, not short radius, not carving-laying out). Oh yeah and i sold the beaters for $100 to reduce the TCO on that.

10 days ago

I found a few good sales on demo skis over the weekend.  I ended up getting a pair of lightly used Elan Amphibio XTI 88s in a 170 for a little over $500 shipped.  They have the Fusion system bindings installed. Bought them from Powder7. I liked that they had the exact skis on their website and pics with zooming to inspect them for yourself.  I called and talked to one of the techs there and he was really helpful in making my final decision.  They should be here by the end of the week.

I’ve been thinking about what you all have said about boots - especially with losing weight.  I’m debating whether to look for a decent used pair of boots for this year, and getting a good fit next year after the weight’s off, or to get new boots this year, and then get them tweaked the next year after the weight’s off.  Any thoughts?

I’ll also hit some ski swaps this year to get a feel for those as I’ve never been to one.  Maybe pick up a pair of rock skis.  I figure I’ll have a better idea what I’m liking/not liking by next season.  And with buying demos, if decide to sell them, I won’t lose as much as I would buying new skis.

I used to tune my own skis.  My ski club advisor back in high school showed me how to do it and while I couldn’t get a great beveled edge like a machine could, I enjoyed doing it.  I was able to ptex the bottoms as needed and get a good wax.  Any suggestions on where to get the files and such?  I remember he gave me an edge stone that was pretty soft that was to remove burrs on the edges - never could find those in the shops.

Any advice using specific temperature wax (I remember red, blue, and green) vs an all around temp wax (I believe it was white)?

Thanks!

Super

6 days ago

superguy wrote:

I found a few good sales on demo skis over the weekend.  I ended up getting a pair of lightly used Elan Amphibio XTI 88s in a 170 for a little over $500 shipped.  They have the Fusion system bindings installed. Bought them from Powder7. I liked that they had the exact skis on their website and pics with zooming to inspect them for yourself.  I called and talked to one of the techs there and he was really helpful in making my final decision.  They should be here by the end of the week.

I’ve been thinking about what you all have said about boots - especially with losing weight.  I’m debating whether to look for a decent used pair of boots for this year, and getting a good fit next year after the weight’s off, or to get new boots this year, and then get them tweaked the next year after the weight’s off.  Any thoughts?

I’ll also hit some ski swaps this year to get a feel for those as I’ve never been to one.  Maybe pick up a pair of rock skis.  I figure I’ll have a better idea what I’m liking/not liking by next season.  And with buying demos, if decide to sell them, I won’t lose as much as I would buying new skis.

I used to tune my own skis.  My ski club advisor back in high school showed me how to do it and while I couldn’t get a great beveled edge like a machine could, I enjoyed doing it.  I was able to ptex the bottoms as needed and get a good wax.  Any suggestions on where to get the files and such?  I remember he gave me an edge stone that was pretty soft that was to remove burrs on the edges - never could find those in the shops.

Any advice using specific temperature wax (I remember red, blue, and green) vs an all around temp wax (I believe it was white)?

Thanks!

Super

It is not possible to make a boot that is too big fit. Too small, maybe, too big, not going to happen. I would go with a used pair only if they fit right. It does make sense to wait for new boots if you are losing weight. 

6 days ago

jimmy wrote:

It is not possible to make a boot that is too big fit. Too small, maybe, too big, not going to happen. I would go with a used pair only if they fit right. It does make sense to wait for new boots if you are losing weight.

I’m finding myself in a bit of a quandry with boots.  The local shops I’ve been talking to have used boots, but many of them are a softer flex - capping out at around 90.  So used from the shops may not be a good option, but I’m going to need something by the time the season rolls around.

If my old boots fit, I’d consider using those until I could sort those out.  They’re too small though.  And I’m not terribly keen on buying boots online without being able to try them on - despite there being some good deals out there.

Hmmm.

6 days ago

Maybe a season rental on boots? idk if anyone would only do boots but worth checking out.

6 days ago

jimmy wrote:

Maybe a season rental on boots? idk if anyone would only do boots but worth checking out.

I thought of this.  Only shop I know of that does season rentals on boots is Ski Den in Johnstown. They’re the cheaper/softer ones though. Didn’t do advanced boots unfortunately.

Gonna do a season rental for one of my boys who’s going to try it this season though. His feet are still growing so I’m not plunking down on anything for him yet.

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