Buying your boots…Home or Away
Your ski boots are probably the most important piece of ski equipment you will ever own, and one questions which constantly comes up is should you buy in the UK (home) or in resort (away) As a boot fitter in the UK I will always argue for Home, but with good reasons
UK boot fitters speak your language, unless you are lucky enough to speak the language of the resort you are in at a technical level, it can be difficult to get the correct information to or from the boot fitter, buying ski boots is not as simple as ordering a pizza.
In the UK the market is very technical, probably second only to the USA the UK consumer is technically minded, this drives the stores to be technical in order to service this market, it is surprising how few good ski boot fitters there are throughout Europe, that’s not to say they don’t exist but they are not as easy to find as you might think.
Custom footbeds are an important part of the fitting process of your boots, a good boot fitter will spend the time to make a custom footbed which works with you and your boot, they should have at least 2 brands of custom insole available so they can offer different products to work with your individual needs, often in a resort setting the store is so busy that this step gets overlooked.
Good boot fitting takes time, expect somewhere about 1.5 hours for the fitting and then possibly the need to have adjustment made when the boot has been skied for a few days, you have paid a lot of money to get to your ski trip, the last thing you want to do is spend time off the slopes when you could be training, whilst it might seem like a great idea that you can have boots adjusted on the spot, in resort these adjustments tend to be a drop the boot I after skiing and then collect the next day, so two visits to the shop and time off the hill. In the UK most adjustments are done on a while you wait basis (sometimes if a shell needs major work it needs to be on a press overnight)
in the UK we are really lucky, we have several indoor ski centres and many more dry ski slopes, these all allow a great resource for testing your boots finding out if there are any problems and giving you the opportunity to fix them before getting to resort. Fast turn around and drag lifts make for an environment which really brings out the worst in boots, so any problems can be uncovered quickly.
All in all, wherever you buy your boots you should expect an in depth assessment, a well made custom footbed and a boot selected for your needs as a skier, it takes time, select your fitter carefully, through research, make an appointment, and enjoy your new boots.
Colin Martin , Solutions 4 Feet 2020