I really didn’t mean to be so quiet last week. Frankly, I didn’t realize until today that I hadn’t done any updates for quite awhile. And, it’s not that there was nothing going on. Just that I hadn’t been in front of the computer too much and, well I just had other things going on.
Such as … skiing!
After surviving through the ticket blackout over Presidents Day weekend, I was pretty anxious to get on snow Tuesday. We had no battle of the ski bums that day, (being a vacation week), but Dave & I determined we really needed to get on snow. We actually had some legitimate things we needed to test, but we also needed to clear our heads.
We met up with fellow Broken Toys team members and DODGE Ski Boot racers James Laughlin and Fred Bross at Stowe and started to crank out some good runs. If any of you were skiing last week, you know it was sub-zero each night so everything really set up hard, then it was brilliantly blue sky during the day. In my mind, Tuesday was one of those “Top 10” days for skiing weather.
With all the runs we had, it gave me a chance to test out some more how my newest boot punches were working on my DODGE carbon fiber ski boots. I punched a little extra room around my navicular, which allows my foot to pronate in and establish full contact with the medial wall of the boot. This is something Warner has had me doing for his boots and I must say it works well for my foot too. Every foot is different, but for me, this change gives me a better way of modulating the pressure before I have to drive my knee.
That said, I was still frustrated by my “skiing” on Tuesday. We were all using GS skis and I have been really struggling to make things work. When we all started jumping into the coin-op course (it’s really not a coin-op anymore, but old names die hard), and, while James, Dave & Fred were posting respectable runs, I was getting really pissed that I was so much slower. I didn’t feel like I was able to get the ski out from under me and, frankly had no confidence it would hold if I did. This had me stepping off the ski instead of keeping the pressure on and resulted in skidded, slow turns.
On the way home, Dave & I dropped our skis off with David Cone at Ski Express in Richmond, a teammate on our Bolton Corporate Race League team who does a terrific job with ski tuning. Dave Dodge’s slalom skis needed a good base tune and I decided my GS skis had way too much base bevel. I had Dave grind the bases flat with no bevel.
Wednesday was another “Top 10” day, but we didn’t ski a lot, instead demo’ing boots for some people at MMSC. But it was nonetheless nice to be outside and active on such a nice day. We headed back to the shop in the afternoon to set up some more tests for the next day.
While Dave was setting up some shells for a concept test, I fiddled with my alignment, specifically the relationship of the sole canting and cuff canting. Dave was pretty satisfied with his set up, but I was not happy with mine. So, stripped down to long underwear (so you can see how the legs are in the boots) I started to do some tweaks.
First change was to do a little posting under my big toe on my left foot. This gives it a little more power and also relieves some of the pressure on the navicular. I really liked how a tiny adjustment there re-positioned my foot in the shell and gave me better contact with the shell and also more power when I made small foot adjustments to get the boot on edge.
Next was to look a little higher up the foot and how my whole foot and ankle was positioned in the shell and how it started to move into the cuff. Trying some wedges under the inside edge, Dave & I determined that an additional 1/2 degree to the outside was giving me a better foot position and more power. My cuffs were already placed in a “weak” position, so we didn’t change those to compensate for the stronger foot position.
Now I was ready to go.
Thursday dawned with yet another spectacular day and I was pumped. We headed to Big Spruce with some boots for a junior racer and then got to do some of our own testing.
Dave took a few runs on the shells he modified with some really positive results. We’ll be reporting on this at another time.
I pulled out my newly-flattened GS skis and “tweaked” DODGE boots and “WOW!” I couldn’t believe the difference. Skiing on the race arena on Main Street, I was able to tilt the ski over and hold on the very hard conditions like I’d never done before. I finally started to feel like a skier!
Was it the skis (for sure that helped a lot) or the boots (I think so, but needed another test on other skis to see)?
The answer came yesterday. I took out my slalom skis and sure enough, the changes I’d made to the boots really improved things there too.
So, what’s with all the fuss?
Simply put, the DODGE boot right out of the box is pretty darned good. Unlike a rubber boot, it transmits power really well and gives you incredible feedback. It is super responsive to very small adjustments in the set up. And, also unlike a rubber boot, the DODGE wants you to do the fine-tuning. If you don’t do the fine-tuning, it won’t be bad, just not as good as you know it could be.
But if you take the time to really pay attention to the details, the boot is so incredible!
I’m anxious to get back out on some brutal conditions so I can further explore all the possibilities.