You mention "the two pair that are usually available". This sounds like you are always going to the same place to rent. Have you called other places (including on-mountain rental operations, Baltimore stores like Princeton Sports, etc.) to see what they have available? If one of these has a better fitting pair, perhaps you can make do with those till the end of this season, then buy in the summer when the prices are lowest and you have plenty of time to shop around, get fitted, etc.
Additionally, if you happen to find a rental pair tht you like, see if they will do a season lease on them, or even sell them outright to you as used boots.
Tom / PM
Why rent skis when you have boots? Because someone else does the hauling, sharpening, waxing, and binding maintenance.
(BTW, I absolutely love the term seasoned beginner!)
[This message has been edited by comprex (edited 01-17-2004).]
P.S. The term "seasoned beginner" applies to us in two ways -- we are not so young anymore and we are now beginning our 4th year still on the green slopes! Many of our friends thought we were crazy to try to learn how to ski in our 30s, but we've enjoyed it and haven't broken anything yet!
I agree with the advice given and I think you have good insight into what you need. If you are getting to the slopes roughly every other weekend, it definitely makes sense to buy your own pair of boots (not necessarily skis). The cost savings alone would probably justify the boot purchase, but the better fit of your own boots will make a huge difference in your skiing experience. Plus you can spend less time getting fitted each time you go skiing. (If the rental place is competent, matching rental skis to your boots should go very quickly.)
I'm guessing most rental outfits carry only a brand or two of ski boots. Different brands have different foot profiles (narrow vs wide, high arch vs low arch, etc.), and a competent boot fitter will have you try on a variety of different brands to get the best fit. Plus they can do some customization of the fit. If you go to any of the boot fitters you've mentioned, you'll do well. Proper fit is the most important factor in choosing your boots (within a boot category.) Also look into getting after-market ski orthotics at the place you buy your boot.
>> I really think I won't be able to stop wedging my turns until I have properly fitting boots.
I've had several beginner friends whose skiing upgraded immensely when they got properly fittted boots. Their instructors detected the equipment problem based on their skiing.
Have fun with skiing! As to your "seasoning", you two are a lot less "seasoned" than me, and I probably rip up the trails as well as I did growing up. Modern equipment really helps a lot.
I rented many years and endured too many pairs of iron maidens clamping down on my feet. When I finally bought a pair of boots I improved drastically, was able to ski longer and generally had a much better life.
I kept renting skis until reaching a lightly salted intermediate level. That way I got some K2 Axis Xs that ought to suit me as I advance further.
Boots first then skis worked great for me.