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Does this scenario sound familiar? It's a snowy day, and you are carrying your skis to the ski lift. You put your skis on the snow, and bang your boot against the binding to get rid of the snow that accumulated as you walked from the parking lot the lifts. You are sure that you've scraped off every bit of snow, until you try to get into your bindings. Nothing happens. You try this three more times. Your friends are getting impatient. When you pick up your foot to look at your boot, you discover that a huge piece of ice has made your boot sole its home. This calls for the ski boot scraper!
The ski boot scraper is a small, inexpensive plastic device that can fit in the pocket of your ski jacket. Not only is it convenient prior to riding the lifts, it comes in pretty handy when you snap out of your bindings after a fall, especially when you wipe out in deep powder. This device is also extremely useful for parents and children's ski school instructors. Many children are not aware of how much pressure needs to be exerted in order to remove a stubborn piece of ice from the bottom of the boot. Quite often, when the children can't snap into their bindings, they get frustrated and decide they don't want to ski. The ski boot scraper solves that problem.
Anyone that has ever traveled to a ski area knows that a pair of ski boots can make your luggage heavy. Also, if you tend to travel by air, you might be hesitant to pack your boots into your checked luggage for fear of loss or late arrival. The ski boot backpack can solve some of these problems. However, there are a few factors that should be taken into consideration before purchasing a backpack that is designed to carry your ski boots.
Make sure that your boot bag is water resistant. It should be made of materials that have a minimum denier count of 600. Some experts suggest that your ski boot bag should have a rubberized bottom. This will make it much easier to clean. Also, if you happen to put the ski boot bag down on wet ground, the water will not seep through to the rest of the bag.
While it may be possible to stuff your ski boots into a regular large backpack, certain manufacturers design backpacks that offer a more ergonomic approach to carrying your ski boots. For example, Transpack has designed a ski boot bag with a unique Isosceles Storage System. It features two vented side pockets for your boots, as well as a central storage unit for your helmet and gear. The central compartment is coated with PVC, so you need not be concerned with moisture from the ski boot compartments seeping in and wetting your ski socks!
True or false? If you spend a lot of money on a top-quality ski boot, custom insoles are a waste of money. If you answered “true," you were kidding, right? Off-the-shelf ski boots are actually hardened outer shells with soft cushion liners. Since this cushioning let's your feet move about the shell, it actually feels relatively comfortable. Unfortunately, this comfort comes with a hefty price tag: imprecision. So why is this a problem? Imprecise foot movements basically “confuse” your skis. It's sort of like those cell phone commercials that featured someone saying one thing and the recipient of the call hearing something completely different.
By stabilizing your feet within your skis, custom insoles add clarity to the messages you are trying to send to your skis, via your boots. It's like upgrading to a higher quality cell phone service. Prices for custom insoles can be as low as $45 to as high as $250. However, the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” applies. If you do decide to purchase custom insoles, you will need to find a professional boot fitter. You should also have a realistic assessment of your ski skills, which is sometimes easier said than done. If possible, take a ski lesson before you get insoles. Your instructor can tell you what type of adjustments will enhance your ski skills.
The message forum at epicski.com is the cyber-home of some of the most dedicated skiers, ski instructors and ski boot fitters. Given the forum's reputation as a primary source of ski-related information, some of the boot fitters have put together an informative glossary of some of the most common terms in ski boot terminology. Next time you buy ski boots, you might want to print this page and bring it along.
The Bootboard refers to the platform located inside the boot shell. Your boot liner rests on this platform. If you want to sound sexy, use the Italian term, zeppa.
The Campbell Balancer is used to determine a skier's best fore/aft alignment.
A Durometer is used to measure the hardness of the ski boot's outer shell.
Cant refers to the angle of the boot when observed by standing in front of the skier.
Last refers to the internal shape of your ski boot.
Lifters are pieces of plastic that are inserted at the heel to add height.
The Shell of the ski boot refers to exterior plastic component.
A Tekscan is used to determine the pressure exerted under the boot. This helps the boot fitter determine the skier's appropriate cant alignment.
The ski boot buckler and carrier solve two significant problems: It helps you clamp down on your ski boot buckles, and it helps you carry two ski boots in one hand. The ski boot buckler can be used at the start of the day, when you are getting ready to ski. However, it has an even better use. Suppose you are about to start a bump run. As you know, that will require a stiffer boot. In many cases, it might be too cold to take off your gloves so that you can tighten your ski boot buckles. The ski boot buckle solves this problem. It is also a great device for children, whose hands are sometimes too weak to buckle their own ski boots. When used as a ski boot carrier, the ergonomically designed ski boot buckler, also known as the Ski Tool will fit comfortable into your hand.
If you would rather not carry your ski boots in your hand, there are other types of ski boot carriers available. Some manufacturers design a strap that can be attached to your boots, and swung over your shoulder. Of course, you can always stick the Velcro straps together to accomplish the same purpose. However, sometimes the Velcro wears off, and your boots fall off your shoulder!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|