What’s the secret to conquering the ski hills like a champ? It all comes down to the fit of your ski boots.
The functioning of your feet, ankles, knees, and hips when navigating the slopes on your skis and snowboard are all affected by the kind of boots you have on your feet. If it feels like your heel is loose, your toes are cold, or your feet are sore, you’re wearing a poorly-fitted boot.
To try and fix this on the hill, many skiers and snowboarders will over-tighten the buckles or laces. This simply ends up causing more pain and often freezes the feet.
For any skier or snowboarder experiencing foot pain — whether you are a novice or a seasoned veteran — there is a solution that eliminates those discomforts and frustrations.
Much like tailoring for a brand new suit, a custom-boot fitting helps skiers, snowboarders, and mountain enthusiasts achieve maximum comfort and peak performance. For three decades, The Destination Slope & Surf Outfitters in North Vancouver has made custom boot-fittings — a service which was once thought as something only Whistler locals, aggressive skiers and snowboarders, or the pros needed — accessible to all those in Vancouver who ski and snowboard, no matter what their skill level is.
"The most prominent benefit of a custom boot-fit is improved control of your skis or snowboard, because the customized boot is going to provide a more precise fit in key areas of your feet and legs. Then the boots are tailored to give you comfort,” says Paul Zirk, founder and owner of The Destination Slope & Surf Outfitters. “Plus, when we alter a boot, we can focus on adding space to increase blood circulation. That leads to warmer feet.”
Photo: The Destination Slope & Surf Outfitters.
A custom boot-fitting eliminates the uncomfortable break-in period that most skiers and snowboarders accept as the price to pay when they buy a new pair of boots, because comfort comes from the custom alterations bootfitters make to the shell and liners of your boot. Customization also prolongs product durability, as the length of time your custom-fit boots will last is significantly increased.
What The Destination’s custom boot-fitting service entails is an analysis and interpretation of your foot and your particular ski or snowboard style and needs. You can trust in the depth of expertise from The Destination’s in-house professional bootfitters, with years of experience ranging from 16 years to more than 35 years.
The bootfitter will start by evaluating the shape and structure of your feet and measuring closely to ensure a proper fit that meets your exact specification. That will be followed with a discussion of the boot problems you may have experienced, your ski ability, your physical fitness level, and your level of aggression with which you address the slopes, to determine the kind of boot fit you need.
"You need an interpreter, and that's the art part,” says Zirk. “An experienced fitter looks at your legs, your feet, and your calves, and takes your height, your weight, and your athletic background into account in their assessment,” says Zirk. “They might ask you about your health conditions, how aggressively you ski, and where you like to ski."
From there, the bootfit specialist will match your goals on the ski hills with a selection of boots — of which there is a large selection of various types from backcountry boots to ski boots — that represent your best starting point for a fit.
“Our bootfitters know the details behind each brand and model” explains Zirk. “We have one of the biggest boot selections in B.C., with as many as 90 to 100 models of boots in-store, and the amount of alteration we can provide to a boot is more than anyone else in the city.”
Vancouver skiers and snowboarders on the slopes find that custom fitted boots make their confidence go up. In particular, edge control is improved, so you can maneuver with ease, focus less on your feet and more on the ski trail, and have a much more enjoyable experience on the ski mountain all season long!
To book a custom fitting, visit thedestination.ca/custom-boot-fitting. Early bookings are recommended as appointment demand increases closer to the winter season.