The clock doesn't lie, and the winning margin can be down to a few hundredths of a second. Ski boot considerations, for hard snow, heavily angled, knife edge precision come down to generating energy while maintaining body position. Smooth is fast, efficiency generates speed, momentum down the fall line wins races. Balance and power are paramount. These are lower volume, stiffer flex rating, solid shell, more aggressive pitched boots. The whole boot can be torn down and built back up within millimeters of your exact foot shape. Each foot shape is carved into thick plastic with various methods... grinding, heat stretching, and cutting away parts of the internal mold. A low volume custom footbed is added that ensures lateral movements transfer directly to the ski. Angles of the upper cuff and inner boot board are carefully adjusted to match the range of motion in your lower leg joints, and support the entire joint chain. Liners are thin and firm, but enable direct transmission of power. Lateral balance is measured and adjusted through cuff alignment and boot sole canting techniques.
Big mountain, side country, backcountry... it really never mattered what the industry calls it. To you, it's a great way to experience the mountains in winter. Your gear choices are complex but simple. You must have comfort, warmth, ease, low weight and snow feel, for extended time frames. But, when it's time to reap the rewards, you need power and reliability. Boot considerations for this class involve pin pointing the trouble spots before they arise. Allowing the foot to move, breath and articulate, but never loosing the hold and connection to your ski. Footbeds need to support foot flex, have some cushioning aspects, but keep the natural shape and direct the lower leg drive of an active ankle. Liners usually have custom heat molding materials and must stay connected to you even while hiking and skinning. The stakes are higher that far out of area, and any small irritation or inefficiency is unacceptable.
Freeskiing, big mountain jib, park and pipe have kicked the next generation of ski lifers into full swing. Every day the sport evolves, every day you accomplish something personal. The ski/boot/binding package is meant for versatility... an extension of your brain. Mobility and reaction drive new technique. Spin, air, tap, redirect... all new functions for your gear. Boot design is more neutral, the stance flatter, flex patterns softer, angles more upright. This, combined with closer to symmetrical ski camber profiles and larger sweet spots allow multiple planes of complex movements. Adjustments are made for flex, upper cuff heights, lower leg and ankle contact for support and energy drive. Shock absorbing materials are crucial to surviving that off axis landing position. Boots for these athletes apply to a whole new set of fit and function rules. But, the pilot's feel on snow, is what matters!
Howdy! I have amassed extensive equipment service experience at the highest levels, working directly with manufactures, World Cup racers, PSIA Demo Team Instructors, X Games athletes, and Big Mountain movie icons, which has afforded me the skills and insight attained only through these fantastic people and performance partnerships. I have worked for three major Alpine hard goods brands in Racing and Promotions roles, and most recently at Atomic USA as the National Competition Director. I was Equipment Service Manager for the U.S. Ski Team Men's World Cup group through the Vancouver Olympics, and have worked at virtually every level of skiing including a lift operator, ski instructor, ski patroller, race coach, World Cup serviceman and manufacturer's rep. A current Masterfit University Instructor and Ski Magazine tester, combined with the passion and technical hand skills handed down from iconic mentors, affords me a wholistic perspective to skiing dynamics and performance and a thorough understanding of "how equipment works". Holding certifications as a PSIA Level III instructor, USSA National Coach, CSCA Level III Coach and EMT, the fundamental movement patterns and biomechanical basis that I use to fit each individual boot for each type of skier, ensures the goal of attaining a great skiing system.
− Michael Rogan, PSIA Alpine Team Captain, Director of Instruction SKI Magazine, Operations Manager Portillo Chile, USSA Fundamental Skills and Technique Coach
− Drew Duffy, USST Development Team, US National Super G Champion
− Shannon Bahrke Happe, 3 Time Olympian, 2 Time Olympic Medalist, Moguls
− Sierra Quitiquit, Pro Freeskier/Model
− Robin Barnes, PSIA National Alpine Team, Portillo Chile Ski School Director