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Equipment Extravaganza Story!!!

jaywbigred

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This is a long story but worth a read if you a) have boot pain or b) have ever purchased anything from a non-ski town ski shop.

Chapter 1: Puss in Boots

Since I started skiing, I have had pain from ski boots. I always thought this came with the territory. My most recent ski boot purchase was at the end of the 2005-06 season, when I bought a pair of Technica Vento10s (from a shop here in NJ) on the advice that they were the best high-volume boot for expert skiers (I have a wide foot). I was happy with them in terms of performance, but they certainly caused as much, if not more, pain than other boots I had owned prior.

This weekend at Sugarbush they continued to hurt quite a bit. I decided on a whim to pop my head into the Surefoot store at the base of Lincoln Peak. They said they could prob make some adjustments that would improve my fit. Some similarly situated friends and I all decided to see what they suggested after skiing Sunday.

They first began by testing whether our boots where "fitted appropriately." They took the liners out of our boots and had us put our foot in the empty shell. They said when you brush your toes against the front of the boot, you should have about a finger's worth of space behind your heal. Friend A, who was fitted at Deer Valley, had the correct amount (but, they said, probably the wrong shaped boot model based on the height of his arch--the did $10 worth of shell plastic grinding for him and it made a huge diff.). Friend B, who was fitted in Ithaca, NY, had about a half size of extra room. They put in some pads and an orthotic and this helped him tremendously. Friend C, who was fitted in NJ, had over 1 extra size of extra room, also got quite a few pads put in, and this too helped him, he said.

Then they came to me. I had more than 3 fingers worth of extra space behind my heal. My boots were over 2 sizes too big. They said there was nothing they could really do other than suggest I buy a correctly sized boot.

Eventually I consented. They put me in a Lange Fluid 120 Pininfarina. They made modifications during 3 or 4 seperate trips in that eventually alleviated all my pain. However, once the pain was gone, numbness came in. They made 6-7 mods and still my foot would start to go numb after 5 mins in the boot (all mods were made over the course of Sun afternoon and Mon all day). If I skied a run or 2, it would go completely numb. They were getting to the point where they didn't know what to do, when, mostly by accident (my foot was cold while they were modifying the shell, so I put the liners on by themselves) we discovered that the LINERS themselves, from Lange, were pinching the outside of my wide feet enough that I was slowly losing feeling on the sides of my feet. The great tech at the store, Jacob, who worked his butt off trying to make my feet feel good, went in the back and found a pair of Nordica Doberman liners (discarded by another skier who purchased Surefoot's custom, $350 injectable gel moldingliners) that perfectly fit my boot. He put them in the Lange shell (which had now been heated and punched out and grinded, etc.. a bunch) and instantly it was all better. I had a mostly snug, pain free, numb free fit.

Chapter 2: The Tie that Binds

However, in the meantime, I had to have my bindings adjusted to fit the new boots. I have 2 pairs of skis: all-mountain Nordica SUV14s, and a pair of K2 Cabrawlers for the bumps that I picked up on sale this summer and skied on once this year. The Surefoot guys were able to adjust the (Look P12) bindings on the Cabrawlers but not the proprietary Marker rail bindings on the Nordicas. As we were looking at both sets, I noticed that I could see some light between the heal binding and the ski on one of the Cabrawlers. The techs at Surefoot agreed with me that this was not comforting. They suggested I spend the $20 to have the techs at Alpine Options Ski Shop take a look at it, esp. since I had to go anyway to get the Nordica's bindings adjusted. The AO guys agreed the Cabs looked fishy and said they would take a look.

In the morning when I went in to pick them up, they took me back into the shop to look at the Cabs. They had the bindings off. What I saw was, to me, horrifying. Each binding piece requires 4 screws into the ski. Thus there are 8 screws on each ski and 16 total for the pair. According to the tech at AO, of the 16 holes in my Cabs, SEVEN were completely stripped, and might as well have been empty of a screw at all. On top of this, the tech at the NJ shop that mounted them had, apparently, initially missed my directions to mount the bindings 1.5 cms forward of the normal mount spot (desirable for the bumps), because one of the heal bindings had had 4 holes drilled for it, filled in with some substance (epoxy of some sort?) and then had 4 more holes drilled in the correct spot, 1.5 cms away. The tech at AO said this itself is dangerous, and asked if the NJ shop had let me know of this error. I said relayed that they had not.

The AO guy said his advice was to take the Cabs back to the NJ store and ask them what they were going to do to remedy the situation. He said at AO, no question, if they did that, they would replace the skis. He said even a crappy shop would refund the work paid for, and, for free do everything they could to fix the skis as they are (something to do with "brass healies" though I do not know what that is).

My thoughts are just to go right to the shop and tell them to get in touch w/ their K2 rep and get me a new pair. What does everyone else think?

The worst part is, I have always liked this shop bc they are family owned by the family of a kid I was somewhat friendly with in HS. They are a local shop and always good about store credit and exchanges and all that sort of stuff. Anybody have input on what I should do w my mangled skis? I will post pics later this week.
 

wa-loaf

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Boots, nuff said. You need a pro. Sounds like you are all set now.

Binding mounting, usually can be performed by monkeys if they have been trained by the manufacturer. So it's something you should feel comfortable about in a city shop. A few extra holes aren't that big a deal, but could be a problem if you wanted to mount different bindings later on. They are easily filled with a wood or plastic plug: http://tognar.com/binding_tools_boot_canting_glue_ski_snowboard.html#TOG-WHP to no ill effect. Stripping one hole is not too bad (and cam be fixed with a helicoil), seven is outright negligence and probably most of the skis done by that tech are like that. He's over tightening the screws.You should most definitely head back to the shop and speak directly with the shop manager and demand replacements.
 

jaywbigred

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Stripping one hole is not too bad (and cam be fixed with a helicoil), seven is outright negligence and probably most of the skis done by that tech are like that. He's over tightening the screws.You should most definitely head back to the shop and speak directly with the shop manager and demand replacements.

Thanks for the input. That is almost verbatim what the AO tech had to say.
 

Greg

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My thoughts are just to go right to the shop and tell them to get in touch w/ their K2 rep and get me a new pair. What does everyone else think?

This is exactly what I had to do when my Cabs were mismounted. They didn't offer, but conceded after I asked. Keep us posted on how you make out.

Moving to Gear.
 

Hawkshot99

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This is exactly what I had to do when my Cabs were mismounted. They didn't offer, but conceded after I asked. Keep us posted on how you make out.

Moving to Gear.

I am a ski tech. I have made one mistake like that in mounting skis. Mounted the wifes boots on husbands, Husbands on wifes. Wife had a system binding, so no big deal easy fix. The husband had screw mounted bindings. They didn't ask to have them replaced, just fixed, but we went and pulled a new pair off the wall and replaced them.

When you spend that much, it should be correct.

1 stripped hole isnt really a problem. Easy fix with a Heli-coil, but 7 is entirely unacceptable. The worst I have ever seen was a binding that had 7 screws per binding, so 14 total. 4 screws in 1 ski had coils, and the other ski had 2 coils.
 

kbroderick

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1 stripped hole isnt really a problem. Easy fix with a Heli-coil, but 7 is entirely unacceptable. The worst I have ever seen was a binding that had 7 screws per binding, so 14 total. 4 screws in 1 ski had coils, and the other ski had 2 coils.

I had a pair of GS skis with EPBs on them (so 6 screws into each ski) and at least six helicoils. Those were big screws, too, so the helicoils took up a lot of space on the ski.
 

DEVO

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Now for my boot story....

Walked into Dick's Sporting goods. Found a stack of about 6 Lange boxes marked CRL 70, 80, etc all priced $24.95, all too soft a boot for me and none my size anyway. But I figure what the hell, I'll look inside a box anyway. Pull out the bottom most box and inside is a pair of my size, brand new Comp 120 Freeride's. Take them down to the counter, get charged $26.20 after tax. Take them to a small shop close to home who heated the thermofit liners up for me for $5, went home put in my superfeet beds that I had bought for another pair a Langes and now they fit like a glove. Last time out, I buckled them at the beginning of the day and didn't touch the buckles once until it was time to go home. :)
 

wa-loaf

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Now for my boot story....

Walked into Dick's Sporting goods. Found a stack of about 6 Lange boxes marked CRL 70, 80, etc all priced $24.95, all too soft a boot for me and none my size anyway. But I figure what the hell, I'll look inside a box anyway. Pull out the bottom most box and inside is a pair of my size, brand new Comp 120 Freeride's. Take them down to the counter, get charged $26.20 after tax. Take them to a small shop close to home who heated the thermofit liners up for me for $5, went home put in my superfeet beds that I had bought for another pair a Langes and now they fit like a glove. Last time out, I buckled them at the beginning of the day and didn't touch the buckles once until it was time to go home. :)

Wow:
1. Didn't know Dicks sold ski gear.
2. I'm going to have to start checking them out.
 
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