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Boots and bindings

Fitmom

Certified Ski Diva
#1
Hey ladies!

I’m pretty new to skiing. My husband just introduced me this season and I’m already obsessed! I’m 100% positive that I want to invest in my own gear to grow into.

I’m almost positive I’m going to get the Black Pearl 88’s. They seem to be exactly what I’m looking for. My question is boots and bindings...do any of you have the BP 88’s? Do you guys recommend any favorite boots? TIA ladies!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
#3
100% go to a bootfitter. They need to be the correct shape for your foot which will vary greatly from others making it difficult to get any recommendations. However, people may be able to recommend good bootfitters based on your location!

The Black Pearls are a nice ski. If possible I'd say to start with getting your boots sorted and then if possible demo these skis and maybe some others as well to see what feels good to you.

Happy shopping!
 

SquidWeaselYay

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
+1 for going to a bootfitter. So many variables, it is half art, half science. My advice is to drop $$$ on getting the best boot for you, and demo a bunch of skis with your spiffy new boots. :smile: A pearl of wisdom I have seen on old threads rings true - "Date your skis, marry your boots."

Plus, with a dialed in boot, you will get a better idea of the "feel" of different skis and their performance. Not as exciting as getting a whole new setup right out of the gate, but demoing is really fun!

Bindings I have not found to be that big of a deal, performance wise. As long as they release when you need them to and hold you in when you don't, I have only noticed minimal differences. I think it becomes more important for experts and pros who can tell the difference.

Happy shopping! Be sure to update us with your picks!
 

Fitmom

Certified Ski Diva
#5
Welcome! Skiing is fun, isn't it? :smile:

What region will you ski in the most? Did you rent gear on mountain? Have you skied the BP88?

Here's a recent thread about Black Pearls:
https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/i...y-is-black-pearl-so-popular-polarizing.23134/

For buying boots, that's completely different process. Best if you learn what "boot fitting" means. It's not like buying a pair of street shoes.
https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/why-you-yes-you-need-a-boot-fitting.2075/
100% go to a bootfitter. They need to be the correct shape for your foot which will vary greatly from others making it difficult to get any recommendations. However, people may be able to recommend good bootfitters based on your location!

The Black Pearls are a nice ski. If possible I'd say to start with getting your boots sorted and then if possible demo these skis and maybe some others as well to see what feels good to you.

Happy shopping!

Thanks ladies! I’m in Iowa. I’ll try and call the small ski resort nearby to get recommendations on where to go. We don’t have a lot of options locally and as far as I know the ski resort here doesn’t do demos.
 

Fitmom

Certified Ski Diva
#6
+1 for going to a bootfitter. So many variables, it is half art, half science. My advice is to drop $$$ on getting the best boot for you, and demo a bunch of skis with your spiffy new boots. :smile: A pearl of wisdom I have seen on old threads rings true - "Date your skis, marry your boots."

Plus, with a dialed in boot, you will get a better idea of the "feel" of different skis and their performance. Not as exciting as getting a whole new setup right out of the gate, but demoing is really fun!

Bindings I have not found to be that big of a deal, performance wise. As long as they release when you need them to and hold you in when you don't, I have only noticed minimal differences. I think it becomes more important for experts and pros who can tell the difference.

Happy shopping! Be sure to update us with your picks!
Will do! The nearest ski shop is a few hours away so we’re going to plan a trip to check out some boots. We scoped our REI and Scheels since those places are in town but didn’t see a lot of variety in any gear. As far as demoing skis...how do you do that? The ski resort we go to doesn’t demo and the ski place they recommend going to is a few hours from it. I’m not sure how many opportunities I’ll get to demo. We go a few times a month to ski right now and are planning a trip next month to California to ski...I know I can use demo skis there...is it dumb to demo skis in terrain you won’t be in most the time?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#7
Thanks ladies! I’m in Iowa. I’ll try and call the small ski resort nearby to get recommendations on where to go. We don’t have a lot of options locally and as far as I know the ski resort here doesn’t do demos.
Ah, the flatlands of Iowa. That does make it a little more complicated to buy ski gear.

I remember meeting a retired couple from Iowa when I was flying to Big Sky in MT. They used to take their kids there for a ski vacation annually. But for that trip they were going to stay at the lodge for nordic (cross-country) skiing.

We go a few times a month to ski right now and are planning a trip next month to California to ski
For people who live in the flatlands hours away from an experience boot fitter, it can be worth buying boots at the beginning of a ski trip to ski country. Where in CA are you going? Quite a few boot fitters in that region.

As for demo'ing skis, take a look here:
https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/how-to-approach-a-personal-demo-day.22633/

Doesn't matter where you demo skis. What does matter is that you check out skis for the snow conditions that you are going to ski most. For instance, no point to buy "powder skis" if skiing in the midwest and on groomers on trips out west. Conversely, someone who lives in the Rockies doesn't need narrow skis that are good for skiing on icy conditions, which are common in the northeast.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#8
The nearest ski shop is a few hours away so we’re going to plan a trip to check out some boots.
Best to call ahead and make an appointment with the most experienced boot fitter in the shop. A good boot fitting should take at least an hour, perhaps two. Does your husband need gear too?
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
:welcome: I'll add my voice to the chorus of "get the boots sorted out first." Boots make or break a ski experience. Where in California are you planning to ski. I'm sure we could recommend some good boot fitters out here. Most of the big ski resorts in CA have on mountain demos where you pay a flat fee and can ski in and out to switch out skis. I think as long as you stick to the type of skis you would want for back home use, you can get a good enough feel for a few different skis to make an accurate comparison. The exception would be on a deep powder day - then just go rent some big, fat skis and have fun!
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Ski purchasing, most likely fun, boot purchasing, often a challenge. As for bindings, go to a DIN calculator, figure our your potential DIN range based on level (assume you will improve), age, weight, etc.... and don't buy a binding with a DIN range that goes too far beyond what you will need. I will probably never exceed an 8, yet, many go up to 14. That said, you do not want it maxed out either as that might reduce the functional life of the binding.

I have found that you can buy new/gently used boots through ebay or local ski swap store for a fraction of new. Many people buy then decide not keep a boot that does not fit in the hunt for the perfect boot. My local second hand sporting store has so many almost new boots to choose from for a great deal. Granted, your boot fitter might not like it, but it is a way to save money once you know which boot you need.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#11
My local second hand sporting store has so many almost new boots to choose from for a great deal. Granted, your boot fitter might not like it, but it is a way to save money once you know which boot you need.
One of the reasons I like to have access to a car when I take trips out west is to be able to check out local ski shops. When I fly to SLC, spending a little time at the local sports consignment shop (SLC, Ogden) is always of interest. In the flatlands, very unlikely to find good used gear locally for adults.

I'm lucky that I have a local boot fitter (central NC) who always has plenty of "new old stock" when it comes to boots. I've bought two pairs of boots during late season sales (in early March) from previous seasons that fit well and were a good deal. Since I do a late season trip to April, I could check them out in the spring instead of waiting until the next season. But since he's local, it's not a big deal to go back for tweaks.

For my first pair of 4-buckle boots, I paid $25 for a hot-spot to be punched out at Alta. My ski buddy had to buy boots at a destination resort when his ancient boots (25+ years) cracked. He paid for tweaks to be done elsewhere during other ski trips for a couple seasons to get them set up better.
 

Fitmom

Certified Ski Diva
#12
Hey ladies! So we found a boot fitter 2 hours away. After 3 pairs we settle on Lange SX 80 boots. I tried on a pair of Head’s but they rubbed me weird in the ankle. While we were there they had me look at skis.

Because it’s a two hour drive and they guarantee their skis I purchased some. The Elan Amphibio 80 ti. Anyone use these? I can’t really find any reviews online. Two guys at the store said their wives and daughters swear by them. I don’t think they were trying to steer me wrong because price wasn’t an issue but I just don’t know a lot about these skis. I can try them and bring them back if I’m not happy with them.
 

lisamamot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
@Fitmom congrats on your purchases. Having shops so far away does make it an additional challenge to shop for gear.

Did you learn anything about your foot during the fitting session? The Lange SX 80 is a well rated boot and should be a great boot for you as long as you have a medium+ width forefoot.
https://www.skis.com/Lange-SX-80-W-Womens-Ski-Boots/519980P,default,pd.html

I have not skied the Elan Amphibio 80 ti, but from what I have read it looks like a solid frontside carver. What length did you get and what is your height/weight? It does have metal in it and is a bit on the stiffer side - knowing your stats and the length you purchased would be helpful.
https://www.skis.com/Elan-Amphibio-80-Ti-Skis-with-ELX-11-GW-Bindings/528950P,default,pd.html
 

Fitmom

Certified Ski Diva
#14
They gave me a 152. I typed the wrong model. It was an xti. The yellow and black one. I’m 5’5 142lbs. I told them I like to make turns, go around trees but I don’t like to ski fast. The owner of the shop recommended this brand because he said it would be a good one for me to grow into. Idk. I’ve used Elan Exar’s at 150 and it felt pretty good.

I tried going in with an open mind. I REALLY wanted the black pearl 88s because of what I read...but they know more than I do and deterred me away from it even though it was more money for them. There’s so much to think about! Lol

We’re headed to Keystone in February so I’m excited to try them out.
 

lisamamot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
They gave me a 152. I typed the wrong model. It was an xti. The yellow and black one. I’m 5’5 142lbs. I told them I like to make turns, go around trees but I don’t like to ski fast. The owner of the shop recommended this brand because he said it would be a good one for me to grow into. Idk. I’ve used Elan Exar’s at 150 and it felt pretty good.

I tried going in with an open mind. I REALLY wanted the black pearl 88s because of what I read...but they know more than I do and deterred me away from it even though it was more money for them. There’s so much to think about! Lol

We’re headed to Keystone in February so I’m excited to try them out.
I believe you got the 2017 version - they just change names a tad and colors each year...makes it confusing:
https://www.skis.com/Elan-Amphibio-80-Xti-F-Skis-with-ELX-11.0-Bindings/499815P,default,pd.html

The Elan Exar is definitely a softer ski. Will be interested to hear what you think after your trip!
 

Fitmom

Certified Ski Diva
#16
I’ll keep you guys posted! I’m a bit nervous to try a stiffer ski. They were $299 new. We figured if I don’t like them then I’ll just take them back and get a softer ski. It’s a 2 hour drive which stinks but it’s not terrible. I went in there thinking I wanted a medium flex ski...but I don’t know a ton yet. Wish me luck lol
 

2ski2moro

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
I read this thread yesterday and came back today to see what the others have said. I realize that the selection in Iowa is not the greatest, but I would hate to see you get the wrong equipment just because the store only had a limited selection. It's only a feeling that I get from your posts and I could be 110% wrong.

Ten years ago, I went to a local ski shop with a great reputation. They even said that they had a boot fitter. Now that I know more, I can tell you that he was not a boot fitter, he was a man who sold boots. Now, I know a real boot fitter who I trust and recommend. Also, I have been back to the boot fitter 3 times for little tweaks, like making the toe box bigger or making some space for my ankle bone. I have a custom orthotic, too. Now, they fit like they were made for me. Unfortunately for you, he is in Vermont.

BTW, I ski on a stiffer Lange boot and like the brand a lot, but each foot and skier and ski style is different. Before that, I had Salomon boots. It's all about fitting your foot properly.

Another time, I went with a friend to a different ski shop near my home. The self-proclaimed boot fitter put my friend in a boot that was obviously too big and told her to wear thicker socks. (I told my friend to run, not walk, out of that store.)

We Ski Divas see so many women who get the wrong equipment and return to us for advice. Maybe this time, we can help you to get the right gear the first time.

Tell us about your boot fitting. What size street shoe and what size boot did you get? I wear a 7.5 in most street shoes and wear a 23.5 boot.

MarzNC posted a link to the boot fitting thread. Using that as the guide, did the boot fitter do everything correctly?

Most people start with a boot that is improperly fitted/too big. They are too wide or your heel can lift out of the pocket or your foot slides. It's easier to make a boot bigger to fit, but nearly impossible to make it smaller to fit.

I guess you can tell we are really emphatic about boot fitting here. We just don't want you to make a mistake.

SKIS

I also wonder about the wisdom of putting a woman with one year of ski experience on a man's ski that is recommended for intermediate/advanced. I have no experience with Elan skis, so I cannot speak to that particular ski, it's what I read.

I DO know that I have demo'd many skis. Some were fun, some were too much work, some tossed me around, and, just like the Baby Bear, some were just right.

My recommendation is to wait until you ski at the big resort and demo skis. Most places will let you apply the cost of the demo to the price of the ski. As a bonus, you can bring back a great souvenir of the trip.

The last pair of skis I bought were used/demos. I got a fantastic price. In fact, I haven't bought a pair of "new" skis in 10 years. I find something I like through demos and buy used. It's not all bad. If the skis were drilled for bindings once, the holes can most likely be plugged and the bindings remounted for your boot size. You might want to consider that, as well.


I hope I didn't offend you. There was just something in the tone of your posts that compelled me to keep this going.
:grouphug:
 

Fitmom

Certified Ski Diva
#18
Hi! You definitely didn’t offend.

I haven’t felt really great about the ski purchase since I got them. I’m fairly new to the sport and I even questioned him on putting me in men’s ski’s that were for more advanced skiers. I honestly think I might take them back unused.

My husband got a great set but I’m thinking I might wait until we get to Colorado and see if they’re more knowledgeable. They had a pair of Nordica Astral 84’s I was eyeing but they strongly discouraged me from them. Said I’d outgrow them too quickly. I just know I’m used to a softer ski and it just didn’t sit right. I asked all kinds of questions and the guy told me to “not get hung up on numbers” ‍♀️ The guy that fit us for the boots was pretty in-depth I thought. We were there for over 3 hours.

I wear a size 8-8.5 shoe and he gave me a 25.5 boot. The first few pairs I tried fit lengthwise but one was pinching me too tight on both shins and the other was putting a lot of pressure on my ankle bone the longer I wore it. It didn’t let up even with a forward ski position. The third pair felt tight but good through the boot but slightly pinched on my shins. He said that would break in and go away. ‍♀️

I’ve tried calling other ski shops in the state to see if someone is more knowledgeable but none of them are familiar with both the Elan’s and the BP 88.

I don’t want to assume anything but I wonder if he was just trying to clear old inventory out of his warehouse. ‍♀️
 

2ski2moro

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
Boot size? Let's ask the rest of the Divas. I'm a half size smaller than you in a street shoe, but TWO sizes smaller in my boot. Did the boot fitter take out the liner and measure your foot in the shell? And don't forget that the liners will pack out and make them feel bigger. Bigger is not good. The Lange 80s come in several widths. Be sure yours aren't too wide for your foot.

Shins...Was the tongue bent too much into your shins? Sometimes after my boots sit buckled too long, the tongue takes on a big curve and the edges press into my legs. I just heat it carefully with a hair dryer and straighten it so the boot can form it to my leg instead of forming my leg to the boot. None of this "break in" nonsense. He could have fixed it. Get them fitted right in the first place.

Ankles...Did he try a small shim under your heel? Some padding around your ankle bone area? There are many ways to fix a hot spot if the boot fits properly in all other aspects.

Did he check the canting on your boots? Are your knock kneed or bowlegged when you stand in the boots. Canting can be adjusted.

The good boot fitters are absolutely magicians!
 

lisamamot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
I wear a size 8-8.5 shoe and he gave me a 25.5 boot.
I don't want to rain on the boot you got - I know how frustrating this must be, but......

I wear a 9.5 shoe and my DD wears a 10 and we both wear a 25.5 in ski boots - I still have a bit of play in the length when buckled in properly; I am this size in just about every ski boot I try (my previous boots were Langes) and this is not an aggressive length fit. Mondo charts are about a size off when looking at the supposed street shoe size - on the chart they say a 9.5 is a 26.5 but I would absolutely swim in that length. Take this advice from someone who has gotten it wrong a couple of times - I have a bit of a narrow foot and started out in a 102mm boot (they lasted a season) and then my second were 100mm (4 seasons) and now I am in a 98mm (just got this season). I expect you should be in a 24.5 for a comfortable fit. The Lange SX 80 is designed to fit a medium+ width foot and is made for someone with a bit of a narrower calf and a medium height instep. I am not sure if the pinching on the shins is due to a calf misfit or not? Do you know the width of your foot and the height of your instep? Also, did they replace the stock insoles with at least a Superfeet insole? The stock insoles are sadly quite useless and a reputable fitter (or even just a boot seller) would encourage you to swap those out. It is a lot of information to absorb and is something most of us have had to learn to be savvy about.

I have never been on it, but on paper the Nordica Astral 84 in a 159 could be a great first ski for you:
https://www.skis.com/Nordica-Astral-84-Womens-Skis/519828P,default,pd.html

I second the vote to do your best get the boots squared away and then demo skis on your trip. With your specs you will find plenty of skis in the proper length to choose from. If push comes to shove and you are unable to square away a properly fitting boot in Iowa, I would vote to tackle that upon arrival in Keystone.
 
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