Some of the boot fitters I know rig up a boot fixation system on their bench so they can grinch on ski boots without them skittering all over the bench like a wounded rat. Such systems are usually just an easily adjustable alpine binding mounted on a board. I could have rigged the same thing and it would help part of the time. But when you heat mold tech fitting equipped boots, the toe and heel fittings can get thrown out of alignment enough to be noticeable when you snap into your binding heel unit. To prevent that, the boot needs to be aligned in a fixture that anchors the front tech fittings and centers the heel. Whipped this up yesterday, check it out.
I tried to do this project with zero hardware store runs, but alas, had to head over to the money pit for longer screws that would hold in the plywood. Two layers of 3/4 plywood, sunk with nice long #12 screws. I’ll clamp the whole rig to the bench. No more dancing rat.
Centering and lining up the heel unit with the toe was tough. Works well once that is done, though you have to be careful the boot heel is centered in the alpine binding heel cup.
Beyond keeping toe and heel aligned, when you punch AT boots for length you can end up pressing the sole rocker out. Freeriders might like that, but I don’t because I’m more of a freeclimber than a freerider. Solution is a rig that uses a press clamp to press the boot sole down into the fixture, thus preserving rocker as the boot heats and cools. I’ll post about that when I get around to actually blowing out some boots. Skian mentioned how enlightening it was to punch an old pair of boots to the point of failure. I think I’ll do that; destroying things always makes for great blogging. Soon, my dears.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain. For more about Lou, please see his personal website at https://www.loudawson.com/ (Blogger stats: 5 foot 10 inches (178 cm) tall, 160 lbs (72574.8 grams).