Bethel Citizen 3/2/17

Prime Time Ski Club Column for Bethel Citizen 3/2/17 

By Terri Messer

For further information contact: 

Terri Messer at tmesser@aol.com or 207-671-0715

Spring skiing arrived early at Sunday River last week. The nearly six feet of snow that fell during February was turned into corn snow by unseasonably warm temperatures and sunny skies. Since last week was school vacation for many, a lot of Prime Time Ski Club members stayed away from the mountain which was more crowded than the typical weekday skiing that most club members are used to. Those members who did continue to ski during vacation week, some with grandkids, friends and family, found enjoyable spring-like weather and conditions. Although March and spring skiing usually makes some of us think about the end of the ski season, others are already thinking about next year, at least as far as new ski equipment is concerned since March is when most ski clothes and gear go on sale.

This might be a good time to get a bargain on new ski boots. Ski experts agree that boots are the most important piece of ski equipment so it’s worth spending extra time and energy to find a boot that is comfortable and allows for proper performance. Your boots are your only way of translating your body’s intentions to your skis so a precise fit is important for control and performance. Boots should be fitted by a qualified technician who can advise on the correct equipment with consideration of a skier’s unique needs such as high arches, wide or narrow feet, knee issues and skiing ability.  Custom footbeds, available through most ski shops, offer support for the entire foot, take up extra volume in the boot and can help hold the foot in a neutral position for better side-to-side weight distribution. A well-made pair of footbeds can last a long time and be transferred from one pair of boots to the next.

Rarely can anyone ski well or comfortably in a boot directly off the shelf. Boots usually need to be tweaked for both comfort and performance by the boot fitter after you ski on them for a few days. Many skiers tend to buy boots that are too big. Remember that the foam used for padding inside the boot will compress with use, so what seems like a very snug fit in a new boot will become more relaxed after each day of skiing. After about 100 days of use, boots will pack down enough so they no longer fit snugly and can’t be buckled tight enough for good performance, signaling time for new boots. One of our members skied with boots for two seasons before she found out that the boot did not allow her to flex her ankles, a necessity for today’s skiing technique. After a visit to a boot fitter, two heel lifts in each boot changed the position of her feet in the boot, allowing her to flex her ankles to keep her weight forward more easily while skiing. Other members have had their boots canted, an adjustment that is made to ski boots to bring about a neutral stance that allows a skier to stand flat on both skis. The boot sole is canted, either shimmed up on shaved down, to bring the foot to a neutral position to help with alignment and effective edging.

We are lucky to have so many ski shops to choose from in the Sunday River area so stop by one of them for a boot check and to check out new boots. Your feet and your technique will thank you. Whether you have new boots or not, why not join Prime Time Ski Club members every weekday at North Peak Lodge at 10 a.m. (lower level, to the left of staircase headed downstairs). After a brief time for announcements, members usually break into small groups of from four to eight skiers, based primarily on skiing ability and terrain preference. Check out our website at www.primetimeskiclub.com or just show up at Peak Lodge and ski a few runs with us and make some new friends.

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Posted in Press