Last spring I bought some Rossignol SAS Pro 120 boots on sale…they seemed to fit Okay at the time but were a bit quirky to me. For one thing they were all white. Turned out these were freeride boots – it seems Lange and Technica also have white freeride boots! They seemed to fit fine, though the flex seemed soft. Still, I just couldn’t get over the all-white look. Like a blank canvas for painting.
My main objective was to finally get boots designed for shaped skis. I’d heard the flex was softer forward but the same torsionally as before. I was anxious to see how they worked with shaped skis. I made a lot of fun of the white blank boots.
Little did I know Lindsay Vonn, the downhill gold medalist had done a photo shoot in these very same boots. I just dunno.
Anyway not knowing what to expect, I just figured the new “feel” of the boot was a “freestyle” feel. Come November I finally put the Rossis to the test. And things got off to a bad start. I just could not get the same level of power and precision I had grown to look for in my old racing boots. I tried bigger socks – something I knew was a no-no. Still, I was moving forward/backward in the boot. I went to Hillcrest Ski Shop to talk to Greg Coulter, their master boot fitter. He suggested closing the power strap behind the buckles instead of in front – that would snug up the fit. So, I went out and tried that on the hill. Better, no doubt. But I never got the power and fit I knew I ought to have.
So I returned to the shop and Greg pulled out the liners and said, “step into the boot shell for me.” I did that and then he reached behind my heel and said, “two plus fingers back there. This shell’s too big! Who fit you?” I had a receipt. So then began my career in the Head Raptor, which is the race boot Lindsay Vonn and Bode Miller use today…
Greg pulled out a box with these gray Head boots. I’d never used Head boots before. But his choice was right. I think he heard my talk about race boot experience. I pulled them on, and right away I felt more at home.
Not only did they fit more snugly but they had the familiar race boot feel.
I was like, “now this is MORE like it!” I even had the soles shaved/planed to compensate for the natural off-angle of my shins/feet. All serious racers have this done. And only a master bootfitter like Greg Coulter can do it. Your feet do not naturally perfectly sit on the ground flat with the ground, there is always a degree of off centeredness. But it’s best to have your skis flat to the slope. So you can have your boot soles shaved off so that they lie flat on the ground.
I went out on the slopes with these boots and knew within four turns I had a winning pair of boots! When you just ski with stock boot soles, when you turn, your body compensates for the differences in foot angle. But when you have had the soles planed, both right and left turns are more equal. Amazing!
But now I have no excuses…now I’d better get out there and ski like these gold medalists…! I have no more excuses. I got the fit just like they have!
I intend to make the most out of my new boots this winter! Lindsay just won the Val d’Isere downhill this past weekend.
Should I get a helmet? Hmmmm….