Gear Guy

Can I get inserts custom-built into ski boots?

I interested in buying a quality set of boots and skis, primarily for Vermont and New England skiing. Problem is, I wear a two-centimeter orthotic insert in my right shoe that corrects a leg length problem and heavy over-pronation. Can I get this custom built into ski boots? Any other options? Also, what's your opinion on the softer boots like the Atomic Beta Ride 10.50? Are they worth the $600? What is the best ski for varying New England snow conditions (i.e. one day powder, next day ice)? Walt McMann Hden, Connecticut

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I don’t see any reason why a good ski boot fitter couldn’t accommodate the orthortic insert. It would simply replace the factory insole, I should think. Ask around at the nearest high-quality ski shop as to who could help you with this. They’ll know of someone who specializes in this sort of thing, and the odds are good you can get your boot custom-equipped as you desire.

What you ski in is so common that most ski makers accommodate it, although the powder-to-ice transition is a bit tough. K2’s Axis ($625) is a highly rated all-around ski. So’s the Volkl Vertigo G2 Energy/20/20, at $575. My advice: Try to rent skis for a few days, and get some out on different terrain and different snow to see what you like.

Beyond that, I should think the Beta Ride 10.50 would be terrific for you. It’s uniformly rated as a top-rate all-mountain boot, comfortable yet with plenty of support. The only drawback, as you mention, is the price—$600. I bet you can find one for about half that at some ski shop, though. It’s clearance time of the year. Otherwise, lots of lesser-priced boots work well in changeable ski conditions. Salomon’s X Wave is a comfortable, all-mountain book that sells for $500. I also like Tecnica boots -— check out the Rival RX Ultrafit ($525). It’s also a very roomy boot which might help you better accommodate an orthotic.

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