Aspen Weekend – Boot Fitting, Backcountry Skiing and More

Post by blogger | December 5, 2005      

Improve the fit of your ski boots with a better insole. Get a pair here.

Along with skiing Aspen’s massive dumpage, this weekend’s agenda was to fit and begin testing the Dynafit Aero Freeride boots that have caused such a buzz. previous blog “firstlook”

With plenty of volume and a fairly flat footboard, the Freeride’s were relatively easy to fit. Yet the shell still has a small amount of built-in arch like most other AT boots, thus building custom footbeds involves compensating for this, mostly by trial-and-error. Every year I mention to boot fitter Bill Thistle of Sportfeet that we need to develop a way to measure the shell’s arch and allow for it in the custom beds, but an easy solution eludes us. One idea is to pour some kind of molding material in to the shell, let it level and cure, then either remove for a template or leave it in to eliminate the arch. As for why AT boots have this, it’s necessary as it allows a boot sole with an incut in front of the heel and less volume of plastic, thus eliminating quite a bit of weight.

Along with custom footbed for the Freerides, we baked and molded the liner, added a cuff alignment rivet to the right boot (amazingly, they don’t come with alignment rivets), moved the buckles over for my chicken legs, and reduced forward lean by mounting the cuff latch anchor slightly lower. Swapping in a cuff alignment rivet took me about an hour. I robbed one from a trashed pair of Scarpa Lasers, enlarged the hole in the cuff, then melted the T-nut into the inside of the cuff for a “factory” style install.

How did they ski? Nice! I’m using this style of boot more for lift served backcountry and in-bounds skiing, so I gave them a good preliminary test on Aspen Mountain yesterday, trying to follow my son down some of the steeper runs (thankfully more powder than bumps).

My situation for testing skis and boots is nearly ideal and I’ll be making this a major part of my blogging, as well as continuing in-depth binding reviews for this website and for Couloir Magazine. Sportfeet is located in Kaelin Sports at the base of Aspen Mountain, with the gondola about a five minute walk away. I can tweak a boot or ski, ride the gondy for 12 minutes, then ski a nice 3,000 vertical foot drop back down to the shop for another tweak. Ideal!

In other boot news, this week my size in the Garmont Megaride should be arriving, and we’ll be giving those the once-over as well.

If you’re wondering what central Colorado is like right now, in terms of snow conditions, just know that we’ve got an early season pack that’s easily approaching record status. More, it’s skiing as classic deep powder. Avalanche danger is high, however. On Saturday, ski patrol control work triggered numerous slides, and a ski patroller was even buried in one (he’s okay).

Improve the fit of your ski boots with a better insole. Get a pair here.


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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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