How stiff a boot for a 15-yr old ripper?

maverick2

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It's time to upgrade boots for my daughter. She's 15, 5'6", 150#, athletic, and strong. She's skied anywhere from 20-30 days a season since she was 3, and rips. She prefers skiing in the trees and crud, and skis 78 mm waisted skis on the small end and my wife's Wailer 112s on the large. She's worn out (and I believe overpowers) her 90-flex Atomic Hawx, so am looking for advice on how stiff a boot to go to. (Her Mom's Tecnica Cochise boots seem to fit her as well or better than anything she's tried on in the past year, so I'm thinking that might be her next boot.) Looking for advice on how stiff a boot to look for. Thanks!
 

Ken_R

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It's time to upgrade boots for my daughter. She's 15, 5'6", 150#, athletic, and strong. She's skied anywhere from 20-30 days a season since she was 3, and rips. She prefers skiing in the trees and crud, and skis 78 mm waisted skis on the small end and my wife's Wailer 112s on the large. She's worn out (and I believe overpowers) her 90-flex Atomic Hawx, so am looking for advice on how stiff a boot to go to. (Her Mom's Tecnica Cochise boots seem to fit her as well or better than anything she's tried on in the past year, so I'm thinking that might be her next boot.) Looking for advice on how stiff a boot to look for. Thanks!
110's for sure.
 

Wasatchman

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Most brands at least a 110 I'd think and quite possibly she might even prefer higher. My wife likes a 110 in a Lange and she is 135 lbs.

It has been said here many times, but stiffness is not consistent across brands or in many cases not even within models of the same brand.

Boots are one of those things best done in a shop with a good bootfitter.
 

Castle Dave

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Also said many times that you can always soften a boot but you can't easily make it stiffer.
 

Philpug

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There is no standard in boot flexes, not only between brnads but even between models within a brand. There is no standard in bood shapes and widths. To an extent, you don't pick the boot, the boot picks you. You cannot get a boot fit from the internet just as you cannot get a hair cut from the internet. In these crazy times, make soem calls to yourlocal bootfitting shops and see what your responses are to where you feel the best to get a fit done.
 

NZRob

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I have a strong 14 year old son and he's loved his new Dalbello boots in a 110 after moving from an 80 that he was basically flattening (they were a bit old). Interpreting his grunts I have concluded that he likes the Dalbello's progressive nature. I did get him some booster straps as he was getting a bit of shin bang, they sorted that out.
 

oldschoolskier

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Aside from wt and style, if she’s aggressive and has the technique to match you could consider 120 or maybe 130 (if she’s really aggressive). My nephew at about that age (weighted a lot less) used my old race boots and it was an instant improvement, He ended up buying 120 Lange race boots.

Also look at more race oriented boots as the flex is usually more progressive and stiffer for similar flex rating (within brands) among other things.
 

Andy Mink

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Keep in mind the different shell materials react differently to temperature. A PU shell will likely feel softer in the shop than it will on the snow. The lightweight plastics like Grilamid are more stable across temperature.
 

martyg

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Lots of good direction here. Only a coach will be able to say. If your daughter has had a lot of quality instruction / coaching then she knows how to drive a ski & boot and can be a good judge of boot flex.

Much more important will be stance in her boots, both lateral and fore / aft.

Based on the skiers that I see on the mtn, most ski a boot that is too stiff, and they pressure the boot tongue too much. They are all about driving the tip of the ski. The consequence being that their tails wash out at the end of every turn - they are not using the entire ski - they are only realizing 50ish % of the ski's capability. If your control and balance are internal, and not external (relying on an outside force to help your control and balance), you can ski proficiently in running shoes velcro-ed to your skis.

Many of my more advanced intermediate clients are in that trap. We spend half a day on stance, often doing on-the-slope boot fit with trail maps, and skiing becomes much more effortless for them. Then we get to work on building capacity, and not compensation.

I see that you are in Ketchum. There are good boot fitters there. Go have a chat with them.
 

Wilhelmson

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No disrespect i would guess that many well meaning parents put their strong athletic talented not to mention brilliant kids in too stiff boots. If every strong 15 yr old is getting 120 or 130 then every stronger full grown 25 year old woman or man needs race boots with all the bells&whistles.

To follow up with a hopefully productive question, what criteria determines the move from short cuff to standard cuff?
 
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Aquila

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Lots of good direction here. Only a coach will be able to say. If your daughter has had a lot of quality instruction / coaching then she knows how to drive a ski & boot and can be a good judge of boot flex.

Much more important will be stance in her boots, both lateral and fore / aft.

Based on the skiers that I see on the mtn, most ski a boot that is too stiff, and they pressure the boot tongue too much. They are all about driving the tip of the ski. The consequence being that their tails wash out at the end of every turn - they are not using the entire ski - they are only realizing 50ish % of the ski's capability. If your control and balance are internal, and not external (relying on an outside force to help your control and balance), you can ski proficiently in running shoes velcro-ed to your skis.

Many of my more advanced intermediate clients are in that trap. We spend half a day on stance, often doing on-the-slope boot fit with trail maps, and skiing becomes much more effortless for them. Then we get to work on building capacity, and not compensation.

I see that you are in Ketchum. There are good boot fitters there. Go have a chat with them.
Based on my own personal experience as a skier matching that description - it's also because while learning to ski, you're generally so horribly back seat most of the time that getting forward starts to become the #1 priority. I was astonished when I took my first lesson this season and was told i am frequently TOO forward at the ends of my turns - I'd heard so much emphasis on getting forward that I actually had no idea it was possible to be too far forward. I actually didn't really believe my instructor until he took a video of my skiing to show me. I couldn't say what role my own boots play in this. I suppose stiffer boots make it easier to just lean into the tongue to balance. What do you mean by on-the-slope boot fit with trail maps?
 

martyg

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Based on my own personal experience as a skier matching that description - it's also because while learning to ski, you're generally so horribly back seat most of the time that getting forward starts to become the #1 priority. I was astonished when I took my first lesson this season and was told i am frequently TOO forward at the ends of my turns - I'd heard so much emphasis on getting forward that I actually had no idea it was possible to be too far forward. I actually didn't really believe my instructor until he took a video of my skiing to show me. I couldn't say what role my own boots play in this. I suppose stiffer boots make it easier to just lean into the tongue to balance. What do you mean by on-the-slope boot fit with trail maps?
I assess the student's range of motion with a few drills. Your stance, both amount of flexation and how far apart your feet are factors of range of motion. We find the optimum stance and provides the most efficient range of motion.

At that point I want the boot cuff to have about equal pressure - so that your lower leg rests about in the middle - equal pressure throughout. If not, we shim the boot with trail maps, dial in the correct stance, and you see the boot fitter after we're done skiing.

In all my lessons, even never evers, we focus on correct stance. The stance varies in very few applications. Like any sport, like Martial Arts, if your stance is not consistent, not powerful, not the index and ultimate source of truth that you can always rely on, you are not likely not skiing efficiently.

Skiing is all about your relationship with gravity. It is about keeping your center of mass over your base of support. Stance is where it all starts.

Have a good night.
 

oldschoolskier

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No disrespect i would guess that many well meaning parents put their strong athletic talented not to mention brilliant kids in too stiff boots. If every strong 15 yr old is getting 120 or 130 then every stronger full grown 25 year old woman or man needs race boots with all the bells&whistles.

To follow up with a hopefully productive question, what criteria determines the move from short cuff to standard cuff?
Stiff boots can always be softened, soft boots can never be stiffened.

For me its a question is the boot/ski combination hindering you and with young progressive/aggressive/athletic types (unless in a race program) they on in/on equipment well below their level. This leads to a lot of bad habits as the equipment does not respond as it should, that later become difficult to cure.

I am one for stiff boots and have no issues in placing 15yr olds in stiff boots, provided they are ready (most aren’t, but those that are, definitely are). Its not that they’ll need stiffer at 25yrs old, they’ll just have more finesse in same said boot. At 15 its power with age comes finesse.

I equate stiffness as speed of response and lack of stiffness as forgiveness in ski boots. The faster you ski, the faster the response must be. A boot that slows the response cause problems.
 

Wasatchman

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No disrespect i would guess that many well meaning parents put their strong athletic talented not to mention brilliant kids in too stiff boots. If every strong 15 yr old is getting 120 or 130 then every stronger full grown 25 year old woman or man needs race boots with all the bells&whistles.

To follow up with a hopefully productive question, what criteria determines the move from short cuff to standard cuff?
Yes, a lot of parents think their children rank among the smartest, talented, best looking, and generally most gifted people out there when the honest situation is they are closer to average.

Somehow I don't think putting said kids in too stiff of ski boots really ranks all that high of the disservice those parents are doing for their kids with their inflated assessments.
 

Wilhelmson

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Yes, a lot of parents think their children rank among the smartest, talented, best looking, and generally most gifted people out there when the honest situation is they are closer to average.

Somehow I don't think putting said kids in too stiff of ski boots really ranks all that high of the disservice those parents are doing for their kids with their inflated assessments.
Sure just reinforces that a general question is 90 too low for an advanced 15 yr old answer is quite possibly. Question does my kid need 110 120 or 130 flex answer is we have no idea.
 

markojp

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Sure just reinforces that a general question is 90 too low for an advanced 15 yr old answer is quite possibly. Question does my kid need 110 120 or 130 flex answer is we have no idea.
Pretty much. Have any vid and or input from coaches?
 

NZRob

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Sure just reinforces that a general question is 90 too low for an advanced 15 yr old answer is quite possibly. Question does my kid need 110 120 or 130 flex answer is we have no idea.
You could apply a rough scale:

90 - quite possibly too soft
100 - possibly too soft
110 - not likely to be too soft
120 - possibly too stiff
130 - quite possibly too stiff

So my 14 year old (without an over-rating based on my parental bias :) is 180cm tall (5'11) and about 80kg (176lb). He's very athletic and well muscled for his age. That's an adult build. However despite being an advanced skier with an adult build his technique is still developing and I didn't want him to be in a boot that would limit his enjoyment or technical development by being too stiff. Hence landing on a 110 as an ideal point for his parameters. I understand that a 110 in one boot is not the same as a 110 in another....but I was happy for my analysis to end there and he is in a Dalbello 110 that's working really well for him.
 
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maverick2

maverick2

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Apparently the answer to my question is "120"... My wife and daughter were in Spokane yesterday and our favorite ski shop was open, so they swung in and had a very pleasant Q&A and boot-fitting session with the owner. Walked out with a pair of "Head Kore 2" boots (120 flex).
 
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