Gear tips to get you ready for winter
By Greg Whittaker
Mountain to Sound Outfitters
It is starting to feel like fall outside, and with the storm of the century narrowly missing us; we are greeted of views of the Olympic Mountains with a fresh topping of snow. Lots of Washington Ski and Snowboard Areas are busy getting the final stages of the season prep done as the snow looms and the Pray for Snow parties commence. As we continue our series on prepping for the season by our GM and lead tech Nate Bales, we want to hit on the most important part of your ensemble your ski and snowboard boots.
Gear Tip, by Nate Bales: Boots, The Intimate Connection
Hey Snow Sliders, whether you prefer two planks or one, the common bond we share is the desire for a comfortable and properly fitted pair of ski or snowboard boots. Just like the many shapes of the world, feet can also take on a shape of their own and over time, our feet change.
THE TEST: Put your boots on while around the house. Buckle them or snug them just hand tight, no need to put a vice on your feet. Make sure to mimic the action you would on the hill to move blood in your feet by flexing your boots. This works best in your front lawn where your neighbors will think you are hardcore or simply weird. If you can, ever so slightly snug your boots up. Snug is appropriate in a boot fit, but tight can mean painful.
I bet we can all name a friend or two, whose first bemoan of snow riding is that “the boots are so awfully uncomfortable.” Manufacturers of ski and snowboard boots, believe it or not, do listen. Today with the fine craftsmanship and fantastic textiles, ski and snowboard boots practically are broken in from the initial fitting process. Many of the boots liners of today are fabricated around EVA heat moldable foam and or fully heat molded boot linings and boot shells. No more do you have to live with the cardboard feeling for 12-15 days to initially break in the boot.
There are also a bunch of tricks to adapt the boot to your ever changing foot. Boot punches and stretches are very common and can help alleviate any pain points in the boot fit. Also, the foot takes on a different shape when it is fully weighted. Pronation or supponation can occur as well as lengthening of the foot. The proper support through a footbed which is designed off of the un-weighted foot can make a big difference in performance as well as all day comfort all the while stabilizing the foot. But that is all the secrets we can give out regarding our custom boot fitting program. If you need to have an evaluation, find someone who knows what they are doing and make an appointment.
We will continue this weekly discussion with suggestions on fitness, boot fitting, and other important subjects to help you get dialed in for the season.
Here are links to local ski areas so you can visit their sites for the most up to date info. If you want to contribute, come by Mountain to Sound Outfitters and let us know any of your tips, or add them in the comment section for the community.
Make sure you check the WSDOT Pass Reports for driving conditions.
Greg Whittaker is the owner of Mountain to Sound Outfitters your West Seattle ski, snowboard, kayak, and paddle board experts that can also rack out your car so you can carry all that gear that won’t fit in your trunk.