By the time Matt arrived in Whistler on November 5th last year, we had explored a number options for ski boots. Matt was skiing in Fischer. But we agreed it was better to start clean. The choice came down to either a Head Raptor 130 or an Atomic Redster 130. Matt elected to go with Head. I considered this a starting point because I normally go with the stiffest shell available. I will explain why in a future post.
My opening move was to try and achieve a neutral set up in terms of creating a functional environment for Matt’s foot. His foot could not function in his current boots. So he had to adapt his technique to the boot. The objective was to adapt the boot to Matt. The process started with a shell check to confirm whether the shell was sized correctly in terms of interior length for the foot. It was tight. But not so tight as to require going to a bigger shell.
Next I checked the ramp angle of the boot board or zeppa that sits in the bottom of the shell. I discussed this issue in my post, WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE? ( http://www.cleavebooks.co.uk/scol/calrtri.htm) and treat the boot board as a right angle triangle. The graphic below is a screen shot of the Cleave Books UK calculator. If you enter any 2 fields it will calculate the remaining fields. I use edge b and angle A to calculate the toe/heel height difference to give me the desired boot board ramp angle, usually 2.7 degrees. Then I mark the heel of the boot board and grind it down to the mark.). Although digital instruments are available to measure boot board angles, I prefer to calculate the angle using an online software such as the one on Cleave Books UK (
I measure the length of the base of boot board and insert the number in edge b field. In the example shown in the Cleave Books calculator, I used 280 mm. Then I plugged the desired boot board ramp angle into the angle A field and hit [ Calculate ]. The height difference between the toe end and heel end of the boot board needs to be 13.2 mm.
Here is what edge a and angle A look like superimposed on the photo below of a Lange a boot board. The ramp angle is 4 degrees, over a degree too much.
Before Matt even put his foot in the shell, I could easily see the areas where there would his foot would need clearance. I outlined the area in red in the left photo below. It was a given that there would be clearance issues with width of Matt’s forefoot and the alignment of his big toes. It is critical that the big toe is able to assume its natural alignment in the shell. To fine tune a shell fit, I like to use toothpaste or some sort of thick cream to coat the suspect area. The foot is carefully inserted in the shell and then weight applied by the skier. The right photo below shows the area where the toothpaste would be applied to Matt’s foot. A quick shell confirmed my suspicions. The marked area was hard against the inner wall of the boot shell. We were a long way from fine tuning.
The next step was to pay a visit to local boot-fitter George McConkey. George works at McCoo’s in Whistler Village.
George confirmed my assessment and got to work.
The photo below shows how much the shell had to be expanded for Matt’s big toe. Next George worked on the area around and below the inside ankle.
With Matt in good hands, I left him with George for what was going to a long day.
In my next post I will cover the liner modifications made to Matt’s boots.