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Body and Soul

Staying safe, healthy and comfortably dressed from head to toe all ski season long.

(page 4 of 7)


Making ski boots your friend, not your foe

Brent Hansen (second from left) and the Ski Tek team. Courtesy Sue Hansen

Brent Hansen of Ski Tek’s Hansen Orthotics Lab in Ketchum is a Boot Fitting Master. He’s been fitting ski boots for 30 years and his impressive résumé includes not only serving as a technician on the World Cup Tour but fitting countless locals, from weekend warriors to the Valley’s finest pros—signed posters from legendary skiers like Reggie Crist, Dick Dorworth and Langely McNeal line his shop.


Brent uses old school techniques on new school boots, incorporating things like taking a mold of your foot in beeswax and sand (to get that perfect cast), and using intuition liners and the newest, state-of-the-art boots from companies like Atomic, Head, Nordica and Dalbello. If getting a perfect fit in your ski boots seems like a daunting task, fear not, Hansen has a few tips before you head out to any boot-fitting shop. “Be patient,” he says, “the boot-fitting process can be tedious, but the more custom a fit is, the more fun skiing will be.”

1. A good pair of boots should last 5 to 10 years. To help extend the life of your boots after your original liners wear out you can put in an aftermarket liner. This will get you another two to three years out of your boots.

2. Shells often wear out on the toe and heel— but don’t throw them away just yet! “Most bottoms can be replaced with original or custom plates or lifters, giving your boots new life,” Hansen says.

3. Buckle up—all the way! “When you are fitting a new boot, buckle them up like you would while skiing so that your heel moves back into the heel pocket,” he says. “Otherwise the right size boot will always feel too small.” And always make sure that your boot-fitter puts your naked foot in the shell. It is important that the shell looks like your foot.

4. There is nothing wrong with a little stiffness. If your boots aren’t firm enough to hold your lower legs in place and make the skis work, you start cheating and taxing your quads. Brent says he sees too many people with loose boots who end up destroying their quads after only a few runs. Don’t make the same mistake.

5. Outfit your foot—get the right sock! Bad socks can ruin the feel of a good fit, so make sure you wear the proper sock for trying on new boots and when skiing. Brent recommends wool alpaca compression socks that are tight and thin for both comfort and function.

6. There is definitely a difference between men’s and women’s feet. Women have smaller heels and wider forefeet. So girls, while you shouldn’t be afraid to try those women-specific boots, make sure they fit you correctly. Brent often sees women with boots too soft for mighty Baldy! -Katie Matteson


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