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Boots as you head into your 50s

Moonrocket

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So I’m thinking of getting new boots this year and I’m 46. I have watched almost all of my female friends stop skiing hard stuff somewhere between 45 and 50.
I’m wondering if I should go to a less stiff boot or make other adjustments as I realize that I really am not 20 anymore.

I still ski double blacks and trees but have noticed I’m just a tad more cautious than I was two years ago.

So- I’m curious what other hard charging women have found as they approached 50 and what helped you.

Thank you!
 

Moonrocket

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So I have Dalbellos Kyra 95s and they are feeling a little stiff for me. I used my less stiff AT boots last season as my kid has decided she loves my Dalbellos (she’s 11 and has the same size feet and is basically my height - so has been shopping all my clothes and shoes). So I’m thinking of letting her have them this season and get something a bit less stiff- is that wussing out? She does rock the boots and her feet size seems to have stabilized for one year.
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I went from the Head Dream (not sure of flex) to the Kyra 85 then to the Tecnica Mach1 85 for better fit. I was convinced that because of my small size and an injury I needed an 85 flex. As my injury healed and I rebuilt my strength I began noticing that while the softer flex was OK on more technical terrain it seemed like I had no support on cruisers or hard pack. I felt like I was holding myself up.

Two years ago I got the Tecnica Mach 1 95 and it made a huge difference in my skiing. Bumping up to the next level meant better materials used in the boot so better fit. Also, I had better control over the skis. Due to Covid I didn't ski last year so it will be interesting to see if I still feel the same about the boots.

BTW, I'm 70+ so I don't believe age has much to do with how stiff your boot is.
 

AJM

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I went from the Head Dream (not sure of flex) to the Kyra 85 then to the Tecnica Mach1 85 for better fit. I was convinced that because of my small size and an injury I needed an 85 flex. As my injury healed and I rebuilt my strength I began noticing that while the softer flex was OK on more technical terrain it seemed like I had no support on cruisers or hard pack. I felt like I was holding myself up.

Two years ago I got the Tecnica Mach 1 95 and it made a huge difference in my skiing. Bumping up to the next level meant better materials used in the boot so better fit. Also, I had better control over the skis. Due to Covid I didn't ski last year so it will be interesting to see if I still feel the same about the boots.

BTW, I'm 70+ so I don't believe age has much to do with how stiff your boot is.
I ski the Tecnica Mach 1 95's as well and totally agree with you, my skiing and confidence both soared once I was in them, I couldnt even imagine going down to a softer flex. I'm 57 now and have absolutely no interest in backing off ..... age is just a number x
 

AJM

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So I’m thinking of getting new boots this year and I’m 46. I have watched almost all of my female friends stop skiing hard stuff somewhere between 45 and 50.
I’m wondering if I should go to a less stiff boot or make other adjustments as I realize that I really am not 20 anymore.

I still ski double blacks and trees but have noticed I’m just a tad more cautious than I was two years ago.

So- I’m curious what other hard charging women have found as they approached 50 and what helped you.

Thank you!
I ended up going to a stiffer flex (Tecnica Mach 1 95) a few years ago and a massive game changer in both my skiing and confidence, I'd go even stiffer but due to my height and weight (165cm and 57kg) would probably struggle to flex them. I think its natural for us to become a little more cautious as we get older but please try and push through, you've got sooooo many years of great skiing ahead x
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So I have Dalbellos Kyra 95s and they are feeling a little stiff for me. I used my less stiff AT boots last season as my kid has decided she loves my Dalbellos (she’s 11 and has the same size feet and is basically my height - so has been shopping all my clothes and shoes). So I’m thinking of letting her have them this season and get something a bit less stiff- is that wussing out? She does rock the boots and her feet size seems to have stabilized for one year.
So I'm wondering if there is something else that you like about your AT boots besides being "less stiff"?
Maybe they are more "laterally" stiff than the Kyra's? I also have an AT boot that does not have as stiff of a tongue as my Alpine boot, but is laterally stiff - just a trade off of for the ease of skinning.

I think everyone here is agreeing a stiffer boot gives you more control. I don't think that skiing easier runs equates to giving up control -- perhaps its the opposite. Maybe you ski the less demanding runs with better technique in which you probably want a better boot. You know you can always make a stiff boot soft, but you can't go the other way.... as others have also mentioned, a stiffer flexing boot would usually have premium material and features.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
So I’m thinking of getting new boots this year and I’m 46. I have watched almost all of my female friends stop skiing hard stuff somewhere between 45 and 50.
I’m wondering if I should go to a less stiff boot or make other adjustments as I realize that I really am not 20 anymore.

I still ski double blacks and trees but have noticed I’m just a tad more cautious than I was two years ago.

So- I’m curious what other hard charging women have found as they approached 50 and what helped you.

Thank you!
46? Have you ever read through this thread?


I didn't start improving technique enough to ski off-piste more than once or twice a day until after age 55. My primary ski buddy is about to get new boots . . . at age 69. He just bought new skis too after a few years of fussing about not finding anything suitable. Goal is to ski his age in 2021-22. Meaning all at big mountains. That includes double blacks at Taos.

My boots are a few years old. Replaced the stock liners with Intuition liners a couple seasons ago. Will certainly end up with another pair of boots in the next few years. Turned 65 in 2021.

As a petite older skier, all my boots have been relatively soft. After doing a fair number of advanced lessons in recent years, including Taos Ski Weeks, I don't feel any need to get stiffer boots. While I'm skiing fairly challenging terrain these days, I don't really think of myself as a "hard charger." The goal for ungroomed terrain, bumps, and trees is to "flow like water" as my first instructor at Massanutten said during a bump lesson that included a few instructors working towards taking the PSIA Level 2 exams.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Consider the purpose of boot flex when choosing a new boot.

--When the lower leg tilts forward inside the boot cuff, the cuff may flex a lot, a little, or not much at all.
--When the cuff does not flex, all that pressure against the front of the cuff is delivered to the front of the ski (shovel).
--When the cuff does flex, that flexion lessens the amount of downward leverage the boot can deliver to the shovel.
--The softer the flex in the cuff, the less downward pressure on the ski's shovel. The stiffer the flex, the more potential downward pressure exerted. Leverage is what's going on.
--Delivering pressure to the shovel of the ski through leverage is what "getting forward" is all about.
--The skier can control the amount of leverage the boot delivers to the shovel but only if the boot flex is somewhat stiff. The skier chooses how far forward to hover the upper body - over the front of the boot or beyond. A stiffer flex gives the skier more options for how much downward pressure the shovel gets.
--A softer boot flex means that when the skier moves forward, some of that resulting shin-tongue pressure is absorbed by the cuff. Pressure will not be delivered as effectively to the ski.
--If you want strong control the forward pressure onto your ski's shovel, and to have the option of increasing that pressure or lessening it, choose a stiffer flex.
--Being able to control how much forward pressure you deliver to the shovel gives you more control over turn shape, and controlling downhill travel speed with turn shape is a part of strong skiing. If you use turn shape to control your downhill travel, choose a stiffer flex.
--The boot's cuff supports the skier's weight. A soft flex will not offer as much support. So if the skier skis fast, or skis in heavy snow, or skis in any way that delivers consistent and predictable high pressure against the shovel, a stiffer flex is called for.
--A skier who skis slowly on low pitch terrain with low edge angles, where this pressure will stay low, will not need the stiffer flex.
--Softer flex boots are cheaper. Stiffer boots tend to be more expensive for multiple reasons.
--A skier who is slow to react to unpredictable snow pressure changes will appreciate the softer flex. That soft cuff will absorb mis-timed body movements so as not to deliver erratic pressures to the shovel.
--A softer flex cannot be stiffened, neither temporarily nor permanently.
--A stiffer flex can be softened temporarily when needed. Install an elastic Booster Strap to replace the Velcro power strap, wear the Booster around the top of the liner inside of the plastic cuff, then loosen the cuff buckles a bit. The Booster will protect against shin-bang as the cuff is softened this way. Tighten the buckles to get the stiffness back.
--The purpose of soft boot flex is not comfort. If a stiffer flex hurts, then the boot does not fit. The boot's shell may be too wide, too high in volume, or too long for the foot. When any of these three parts of fit are too big, the foot and the shin can move around inside the boot and bang against the shell. It doesn't take much movement to cause pain. Changing the flex is not the solution. Changing the fit is.
--Paying for a stiffer boot includes free punching and grinding by the bootfitter. This is something the fitter does to the shell in order to create pockets in the shell that make room for bony protrusions on the foot.
 

sorcamc

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I just bought a new pair of boots and was really torn on what flex to get. I have skinny feet that are low volume, and I have been skiing in boots that are a full mondo size too small to accommodate my low volume foot despite my big toe poking through the liner (got that resolved by a boot fitter). But, today, I broke down and got a new pair (online) of Salomon Smax 110 (they are supposedly low volume and had really great reviews across multiple platforms), I was torn on whether to get 110 or 120, but I am approaching 50. 5'8 (maybe a little less these days) and 140. Hoping 110 should be good. I couldn't get a hold of anyone at the store, so just went with my gut and got the 110. I still have time to change my mind maybe- In my head, I am a charging aggressive skier, but in my last boots, I sometimes felt I couldn't flex the boot as I'd like and likened it to my legs not being as strong as they once were. I hope the 110 feels stiff enough. Does anyone here have these boots? https://www.skiessentials.com/salomon-x-max-110-women-s-2020.html#520=
 

sorcamc

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Consider the purpose of boot flex when choosing a new boot.

--When the lower leg tilts forward inside the boot cuff, the cuff may flex a lot, a little, or not much at all.
--When the cuff does not flex, all that pressure against the front of the cuff is delivered to the front of the ski (shovel).
--When the cuff does flex, that flexion lessens the amount of downward leverage the boot can deliver to the shovel.
--The softer the flex in the cuff, the less downward pressure on the ski's shovel. The stiffer the flex, the more potential downward pressure exerted. Leverage is what's going on.
--Delivering pressure to the shovel of the ski through leverage is what "getting forward" is all about.
--The skier can control the amount of leverage the boot delivers to the shovel but only if the boot flex is somewhat stiff. The skier chooses how far forward to hover the upper body - over the front of the boot or beyond. A stiffer flex gives the skier more options for how much downward pressure the shovel gets.
--A softer boot flex means that when the skier moves forward, some of that resulting shin-tongue pressure is absorbed by the cuff. Pressure will not be delivered as effectively to the ski.
--If you want strong control the forward pressure onto your ski's shovel, and to have the option of increasing that pressure or lessening it, choose a stiffer flex.
--Being able to control how much forward pressure you deliver to the shovel gives you more control over turn shape, and controlling downhill travel speed with turn shape is a part of strong skiing. If you use turn shape to control your downhill travel, choose a stiffer flex.
--The boot's cuff supports the skier's weight. A soft flex will not offer as much support. So if the skier skis fast, or skis in heavy snow, or skis in any way that delivers consistent and predictable high pressure against the shovel, a stiffer flex is called for.
--A skier who skis slowly on low pitch terrain with low edge angles, where this pressure will stay low, will not need the stiffer flex.
--Softer flex boots are cheaper. Stiffer boots tend to be more expensive for multiple reasons.
--A skier who is slow to react to unpredictable snow pressure changes will appreciate the softer flex. That soft cuff will absorb mis-timed body movements so as not to deliver erratic pressures to the shovel.
--A softer flex cannot be stiffened, neither temporarily nor permanently.
--A stiffer flex can be softened temporarily when needed. Install an elastic Booster Strap to replace the Velcro power strap, wear the Booster around the top of the liner inside of the plastic cuff, then loosen the cuff buckles a bit. The Booster will protect against shin-bang as the cuff is softened this way. Tighten the buckles to get the stiffness back.
--The purpose of soft boot flex is not comfort. If a stiffer flex hurts, then the boot does not fit. The boot's shell may be too wide, too high in volume, or too long for the foot. When any of these three parts of fit are too big, the foot and the shin can move around inside the boot and bang against the shell. It doesn't take much movement to cause pain. Changing the flex is not the solution. Changing the fit is.
--Paying for a stiffer boot includes free punching and grinding by the bootfitter. This is something the fitter does to the shell in order to create pockets in the shell that make room for bony protrusions on the foot.
AMAZINGLY HELPFUL!
 

newboots

Angel Diva
While discussing the flex of the performance boot my colleague had me try on, I worried that I wouldn't be able to flex it. He insisted that all we have to do is put pressure on the tongue, not actually flex it. He tried to explain (but not as well as @liquidfeet ) that all flexing will do is use up some of the foot's movement.

I thought he was being radical. But her explanation above seems like good common sense. But of course, I've only had one pair of boots so far, so what do I know?
 
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MissySki

Angel Diva
I also really like @liquidfeet ’s write up, it makes me feel better about being in a boot where I’m a little nervous about the high flex. I mean, I can get them softened if necessary, but also I have to get down the mountain on day 1! Lol

Interestingly, last season I was quite frustrated and tried all sorts of things with my old boots feeling like they might be too stiff. The reason I felt like they were too stiff, even though I did feel like I could physically flex them enough, was because no matter what I did I didn’t feel like I was getting enough tip engagement. So I thought, well I must NOT be flexing enough then.

When my bootfitter examined my old boots and my description of what I was feeling, he actually thinks that the plastic lacked any sort of rebound and is worn out. So the theory is I couldn’t feel the tips of my skis even after softening my boots by removing cuff screws etc., because they were too soft NOT too stiff. I was having a hard time really wrapping my head around it (though I definitely trust my fitter and went with it) but @liquidfeet ’s post seems to corroborate that this is actually a reasonable hypothesis and exactly why. I’m still nervous to try it out in real life lol, but we’ll see how it goes. I sure do hope I can finally get back to feeling I can engage the tips of my skis and feel them push back at me too! I’ve missed that energy skiing fast groomers and just have not been able to figure out where it had gone and why it didn’t feel right.
 

sorcamc

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I think it depends on the performance and feel you want.

I am 56, 5”8 and 148. I ski in RS130’s.
I love the response and performance of a stiff boot.
Gahhhhhh, this is my worry. Well, one pair arrives today/ The Salomon also have a. 120, so I can thy those..or try the Technica mach is whatever flex those are in. The Langes felt big in my heel actually.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Gahhhhhh, this is my worry. Well, one pair arrives today/ The Salomon also have a. 120, so I can thy those..or try the Technica mach is whatever flex those are in. The Langes felt big in my heel actually.

The Mach 1 comes in a bunch of flexes and volumes, so just be mindful of that depending what you are looking for. I know there is at least a 95, 105, and the Pro I have is a 120. I have LV and lucky for me I think they are about the lowest volume boot I've been in in terms of instep height (my problem spot with a too low in step..). I know there is MV too and assume maybe HV.
 

sorcamc

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Missy, our feet sound very similar, so the timing of you buying boots is really benefiting me. I found some Mach Pro lv for a steal, One thing I can not see any video of is the "booster strap" on those pros. How does it work? looks like a cam buckle. Wanna make a quick video of how that buckle works for me? :smile:
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
One can easily flex the front of the cuff in a soft boot while skiing in the back seat. Flexing the front of the cuff is not a sign of engaging the tips of the skis.

The front of the cuff is a lever attached to the front of the ski. The more it moves, the less leverage it gives to the front of the ski.

A skier's body weight needs to hover over the front of the ski with the shin in contact with the front of the cuff. Body weight forward with shin-tongue contact should give the skier the option of levering the tips downward. If the cuff flexes a LOT, then not much leverage is delivered, as the cuff is absorbing the body's weight. If the cuff doesn't flex at all, that's what very good skiers and racers need. If it flexes a little, that functions as suspension should the snow deliver unexpected upward pressure on the tips. A little is good, but only if the skier's body is hovering over the fronts of the skis, with belly button over or in front of the toes.

A little flex with knees bent and butt back is not a sign of tip leverage. It means the boots are soft while in the back seat. The tips may actually be hovering above the snow.
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
The visual analogy I like is something I saw here, where I believe there was a pic of Mikaela standing in a lift line, resting forward, letting the boot support her. My basic understanding from that was, if your boot is “supportive” (higher flex) enough, your naturally forward stance will feel comfortable. Is that a fair way to think about it?
 

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