Dave did some quantitative comparison tests of his Dodge Ski Boots versus his old rubber, plug boots yesterday on the course at Stowe. Very interesting findings.
In timed runs, the Dodge was fully 1 second faster on a 24 second course! That’s 4%. In a World Cup GS like Alta Badia or Adelboden, that’s the difference between winning and 25th place.
“Feel” with a boot (or a ski) is a tricky thing. Oftentimes, the thing that feels most comfortable is actually slower. We’re all aware of this in race skis, as the deeper sidecut skis “feel” better, but are significantly slower than straighter sidecut skis. The straighter skis don’t feel as fast, but the clock doesn’t lie.
We’re seeing the same thing with our boots.
“Old-style” plug boots might “feel” better, perhaps due to what we’re used to or maybe because they’re fit so much tighter (to get the stability to make them work). But, when really pushed, the old boots don’t deliver as high a level of edge hold or control as the Dodge.
Conversely, the Dodge might “feel” a little harsher, likely because there’s not the rubber to dampen the feel. But, when pushed in harsher race conditions, the Dodge seems to deliver a higher level of edge hold and control. Dave reported that while the Dodge might have felt a little “harsher” in that he could feel everything more, but he could be more relaxed due to superior edge hold and control. He also said he could ski with the Dodge buckled much looser than his “plug” boot.
I guess a good analogy might be car tires. Compare the “feel” and performance of a 65 series tire with a tall sidewall to a low-profile 35 series tire with a short stiff sidewall. The only way to increase the performance of the tall passenger tire is to pump up the air pressure to make it stiffer, but it still won’t give you that precise contact with the road that the performance tire has.
What Dave quantified yesterday is consistent with our experiences from the very first prototype raced on last Spring. Racers using that boot were consistently 4 or 5% faster on the Dodge than on their own plug boots. And that’s after taking only one or 2 free runs on the Dodge.
My own experience is consistent with Dave’s comment about being more relaxed with the Dodge. For me, that translates into much more comfort as I am not always tensing muscles to maintain edge hold or control. In fact, yesterday I discovered after 3 runs on a hard, wind-scoured surface that I had only barely buckled my boots, but I had no loss of control. No way I could do that in a rubber boot.
It’s gonna be fun to see the performance differences for others using the Dodge.
Ski fast (and with a Dodge “Ski faster”).