Last winter I accidentally melted my ski boots a bit. Not to the point that they were unusable but definitely damaged them. In addition, in a fairly typical move I'd bought them about a size too big so as they packed out I had far too much room to move about in them. My final straw was skiing powder in Vail a couple of weeks ago. I was moving all over in the boots causing so little control over my turns that I was hurting, big time both physically and in my skiing. So, at that time I decided I needed new boots.
Step in a wonderful employer who was extremely generous in a year end bonus and a professional discount and I decided I couldn't pass up a chance to have custom ski boots made. Surefoot has experience boot fitters, custom liners and custom orthotics with computerized footbed scans and they have locations at the base of most of the mountains that I ski where they'll do lifetime adjustments as needed. A week ago today I walked in for quite an experience.
I wish I'd had my camera with me to photograph the experience but unfortunately did not. They first do a computerized scan of your foot bed and mill a custom orthotic for you. Next up, based on that scan they pick out a boot that will fit your foot best. I ended up with a Tecnica Diablo boot. Once the orthotic is ready it is inserted in a liner that is yet to be padded and then insert it in the boot shell (minus the stock liner) with all sorts of plastic tubing coming out of the liner. The boot is manhandled with your foot inside and you're thinking "This hurts. Big time!" Then you are asked to head over to a specially designed platform. They prepare a special chemical foam that will be inserted into the boot sections via the plastic tubing and instruct you on how to press your foot into the liner to provide the most accurate mold. And they start filling. And you are ready to scream in pain until finally you just loose feeling in your feet. After they are filled you stand there for 5 minutes waiting for the foam to cure.
Once cured they tell you to head back over to the stool where they can work on the boot some more. Only you can barely walk and they laugh as they say that most people crawl there way up to the stool. Great. At this point I'm thinking "I'm paying how much for you to torture my poor feet and you say this is going to feel good to ski in?"
They remove the boot and disappear into the back room to "clean it up" and reappear to put the boot back on your feet. At that very moment I was thinking "This is gonna hurt, I don't think I can do this right now" as they slide it back on. And, all of the sudden you feel like your foot is being hugged like a perfectly fit glove on your hand.
Although I've only skied a couple of runs in my new custom boots I am beyond excited to put them to work tomorrow. Take a look at the top view and notice how unsymmetrical the tongues of the liners are, just to demonstrate how custom they are! And if you need new boots, head over to Surefoot at Copper Mountain and ask for Winnie, she'll torture you with a smile but in the end it will all be worth it!