Rossignol’s 21st Century Ski Boots, Short on Style…

6 05 2010

I’ve been skiing all my life. One of the golden rules of the sport is get boots that are right for you – boots that have good performance, fit and comfort. Once you’ve got ’em dialed in, you can use them for years, well past skis that wear out.

Such is the case with my past two pairs – Lange Tii and Tecnica Explosion8. Each I loved, each delivered and each I owned for years. The Explosion 8 was still going strong this season. But I’ve learned the newer boots are designed with a new flex pattern specific to the latest generation of shaped skis.

That flex pattern is softer forward but just as stiff as before laterally (side to side). Older straight skis and earlier generation shaped skis were thinner and longer. The skier used forward pressure over the front of the skis to initiate turns. But today’s skis have deeper sidecuts and are all shorter and wider. This requires a different skiing style and therefore different boots have been developed.

Today’s boots are designed for a more upright stance with softer forward flex. Turns are initiated by “rolling” the skis on their edges.

With that knowledge I figured I’d try to take my chances and see what kind of after-season deals I could find at Hillcrest Ski and Sport in Gresham, Oregon. Greg Coulter, who’s been there for years, is a master boot fitter so he’s the man.

Rossi sans style

I tried three boots, one,  Nordica, was too big, and another, a Dalbello, had a strange three-buckle/cable system. The last was a Rossignol, which thanks-a-lot was all white. It’s the SAS Pro 120. This boot’s a freeskier boot. I remember my friend Ed was all embarrassed this spring when the “right” boot was an all-white Salomon! They didn’t have any others in my size. The Dalbello and Rossignol fit pretty much the same. Regardless of part of me trying to say “it’s OK to try new things,” the wise part said, “don’t buy those Dalbellos. You have been preaching for years about sticking with a 4-buckle boot!” So I wound up picking the all-white boots!

Now, the question is, what to do with the blank slate?