Give Fashion the Boot!
Boots are the closest thing the ski industry has to women's hemlines - fashions come and go, but you can pretty much count on the fact that your "wardrobe" from just a few years ago will be declared passe by this year's fashion arbiters. West Virginia Ski thinks that this approach is a little short-sighted. The most important consideration is whether your boots are comfortable and secure. Ill-fitting boots can turn play-time into pain-time. Cold feet can give you, well, cold feet when it comes to making that last, glorious run of the day. And poor ankle support can put you in front of the fire instead of on the slopes.
That said, you'll find nary a kind word in current ski literature about those rear-entry boots that were all the rage just a few years ago. Hard-core skiers ignored the advance and declared rear-entries the province of beginners, preferring instead to flaunt their frozen feet in old-fashioned racing boots.
To be fair, rear-entry boots used a one-clamp-fits-all approach and left little room for high-tech innovation. Manufacturers today claim that the latest front-buckle models provide better fit, flex and feel than anything on the market before. Here's a look at a few of the most talked-about models. Maybe you'll want to slip into something a little more comfortable!
Salomon 9.0 Axe: Modeled after Solomon's famous line of racing boots, the manufacturer says these nonetheless feature a softer flex plus an adjustable cuff to fit your lower leg. A cruiser.
List price: $625.
Head World Cup CF2: "World Cup" may be a bit of a misnomer, because this boot places a premium on comfort and ease of use. In short, the name may be the only thing that doesn't fit perfectly.
List price: $560.
Nordica Grand Prix ST: A "performance" boot for anyone who likes to rip on the mountain but doesn't want to pay the consequences at the end of the day. Praised repeatedly in reviews as responsive and built for speed.
List price: $545.
Dolomite FX Team/Team L: Designed to give you a "lift" on the slopes, this boot features an extra thick sole that will get you headed downhill in a hurry. Don't even think of leaning back in these guys - the correction is built-in.
List price: $435.
Rossignol Bandit: This addition to Rossi's "Bandit" product line matches up with the skis of the same name, offering quick response and plenty of control. The shorter cuff lets you make the most of your ankle strength without sacrificing support.
List price: $510.
Lange Frame 8: Another concession to comfort in a boot that's nonetheless geared for performance, the Frame 8 is roomier than Lange's hard-core racing models. Versatile with lots of control in less-than-ideal conditions.
List price: $495.
Remember that this is just a sampling of the new boots on the market this year. The best place to find the right boots is at your favorite outfitter's, and the best way to find them there is to try them out. See our "Gear" page for a list of ski equipment shops near your favorite West Virginia resort.
Don't forget to read about our reviews on skis and bindings too!