Date your Skis, Marry your Boots

A Boot Guide for Beginners

Whether you were born with skis or are just taking your first wobbly steps in ski boots, you've likely heard the adage, "Date your skis, but marry your boots." It's a catchy phrase, sure, but how much truth does it hold? Are ski boots truly the linchpin of a skiing experience? As a beginner skier myself, I was skeptical.

Let's start out on the right foot

Before we begin, I think it’s important for readers to know that I am very new to the ski industry and the sport. Despite me being local to Sunday River, I had never downhill skied before working here. I took a few lessons when I started working here, and those lessons began on the magic carpets and ended with me absolutely hating Dream Maker (which I now love). So, when I say I am a beginner, I mean it. 

Sometimes you just have to lean in

I've always been one to take a pragmatic approach, especially when it comes to buying equipment for a sport that I thought I may not be totally sold on. I found myself prioritizing the "big" items – skis, helmet, and poles. The boots, on the other hand, felt like just another piece of the puzzle. As long as they weren't too big and my toes didn't feel like they were in a vise, I figured I was good to go.

But here's where I should have paused and checked in with the experts around me. As a beginner, my interpretation of comfort and fit was basic at best. My boots felt snug enough, my toes brushed the ends without agony, and I could manage some heel movement. Good enough, I thought.

Over the course of this off-season, a casual conversation about foot beds caught my attention. To be honest, I had no idea what they were for months. It was like everyone was speaking a foreign language, and I was  just nodding along. I decided to entertain the idea of making my ski gear more comfortable – at least that’s all I thought that I was getting into.

Rookie Mistake

Enter the Sunday River Sports shop – the hub of skiing wisdom I never knew I would learn to understand. As they patiently explained the nuances of well-fitted ski boots, I realized I had underestimated the importance of this crucial piece of equipment, and to boot, I learned that I was a whole boot size smaller than I was skiing in (which turns out to be a very common mistake). They explained that ski boots weren't just glorified footwear; they were the foundation upon which your entire skiing experience rested.

Take it an extra step further

The team elaborated on the role of foot beds to enhance comfort and control. The concept finally clicked – these small insoles could align my feet within the boots, leading to a more precise connection with my skis. From my newfound knowledge, I decided to give foot beds a shot.

The transformation was astounding. The boots that had felt "good enough" now felt completely wrong. The difference between knowing you have the right boots, with perfectly molded foot beds, compared to boots that you think work enough is miles apart. Having felt this first hand I can share, with certainty, that minor adjustments have the impact to turn an ordinary skiing experience into an extraordinary one.

Reflecting back on my lessons learned, I realized that the saying "dating your skis, but marrying your boots" held a profound truth. My skis might provide the means for gliding down the trails, but it's the boots that dictate how that journey feels. With the right boots, skiing becomes an extension of yourself.

Put your best foot forward

So, fellow beginners, take it from me. Don't underestimate the significance of well-fitted boots. The journey from being a novice to a confident skier is paved with wise decisions, and investing in your boots is a pivotal step. The team at the Sunday River Sports shop isn't there to simply make a sale; they're there to enlighten, guide, and support you on your skiing journey.

As I look forward to the upcoming winter season, I do so with a newfound appreciation for the sport and a promise to always prioritize the most important relationship of all – the one between me and my boots.

Author's Note: 

I am buying new boots for this upcoming season because my boots were a whole size too big. I will say that I could probably get away with using the foot beds and would be fine, but I am personally trying to get better at the sport, and I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot this season.

Later this winter, I will report back on how much of an impact the foot beds had and how different I ski with well-fitting boots.

  • Written by: Ellen

    When she isn’t randomly falling on her skis, you can find her at a local coffee shop or enjoying the outdoors with her dog, Cali.