Tech Talk

Expert Edge-ucation
History of Mondopoint (Alpine Ski Boot Sizing)

Most downhill ski boots are sized in what is known as Mondopoint sizing, which measures the length of your foot from heel to big toe in centimeters. Mondopoint sizing was developed by ski boot manufacturers to provide a universal measurement for ski boots, as opposed to the many different sizing methods--such as Euro and US shoe sizes--previously in use. No matter what your shoe size converts to, make sure to try on the ski boots before you purchase them.

Generally speaking, to convert a men's American size to European, add 18 to the American shoe size. For example, a man wearing a size 10 in American shoes would likely be a size 28 Mondo point size system.

To convert a women's American size to European, add 16.5-17 to the American shoe size. For example, a woman wearing a size 8 in American shoes would likely be a size 24.5 or 25 in the Mondo point size system.

(from the webmaster) Thanks guys, great info!

Expert Edge-ucation:
Tips and information

Tip #19: Mittens are generally warmer than gloves.

Tip #20:  Footbeds can significantly improve your skiing by stabilizing your foot,
               neutralizing your stance and improving your boots fit.

Tip #21:  “Flex” refers to the stiffness of your boot, and should be matched to
                your ability level. 

Expert Edge-ucation:
Tips and information

Tip #16:  AT bindings like the Marker Baron can be used at the resort as well
             as in the backcountry. 

Tip #17:  Snowshoes are sized based on total weight (including clothes,
               boots, backpack, gear, food and water) as well as snow conditions.

Tip #18:  Proper ski length is based on a persons height, weight, skier type,
               type of ski, and personal preference... 

Are you buckling your boots properly?

- Start at the Top
- Pull together your power strap
- Next buckle the top two buckles alternating them as you tighten the boot.
- Stand up and flex the boot.  This will seat your heal into the back of the boot.
- Lastly..... buckle the bottom two buckles of the boot.
- You should be able to buckle these with one finger! 
- Any more pressure than that, and you're cutting off circulation!

Expert Edge-ucation
Ski Terminology

LENGTH -Buying a ski can be a confusing and difficult decision.   When it comes to deciding on what length of ski to buy, there is no simple answer.  Many variables and considerations must be taken into account in order to decide the best length of ski to buy.   Among these considerations are the skiers Height, Weight, Ability, desired terrain to be skied, and the particular ski in question.  Add to this that ski length is also a bit of personal preference and you have a recipe for a very complicated situation.   For this reason, we hesitate to offer a generic guideline for ski length.  If forced to give you an answer, we may tell you that an expert all mountain ski MAY come to the crown of the head, an intermediate ski MIGHT come to your nose, and a beginner ski MIGHT come to your chin.  However, we prefer to speak with you personally in order to offer you a more precise professional opinion on the best length for you in any particular ski we sell....
SHAPE - Skis come in all shapes and sizes now, but there are a few measurements that help us find out everything that we need to know about a ski.   Most modern skis are made in Europe, and because of this, their measurements are found in metric values.  The length of the ski is measured in centimeters, while the width of the ski is measured in millimeters and its side-cut is measured in meters.   So how are we supposed to take these measurements and understand what they mean?

The first thing that we tend to look at in regards to the shape of a ski is the width measurements.  We do this because we can instantly narrow the ski wall down into a few small categories: Carving skis, All Mountain Skis and Powder Skis.  While today’s skis will go anywhere that you want them to, some excel in certain areas better than others.  The way this generally breaks down is that skis with a waist width (center of the ski, under the binding) 80mm and under are considered Carving skis and will excel on the groomers, bumps and light powder.  These skis are designed to be skied 70% on-piste, 30% off-piste.   These are your Sports Cars of the ski industry.

Skis above 81mm and up to about 100mm are usually considered all mountain skis.  These skis may not be the best ski on the groomers or the best in the deep stuff, but they will go anywhere you want them to and do a great job.  These are your SUV's of the ski industry.  All mountain skis are designed to be skied on-piste 50% of the time and off-piste 50% of the time.

Generally speaking, skis above 95mm are considered a powder ski, and although these skis still do pretty well on the groomers, they prefer the deep stuff! These are your 4 wheel, Military style Hummers that will plow through and over anything in your way.    These skis are designed to be off-piste at least 80% of the time.

  ~Keep in mind that these are just guidelines, and that skiing style and personal preference might dictate these widths differently.

The next most important dimension on a ski is its Side-cut Radius.  This tells us how the ski "Likes" to turn.  Is it built for long fast GS turns? Or is it built for short, quick slalom turns?  Skis in all three categories will vary slightly depending on the characteristics of the ski.  So this now becomes easy to compare skis right off the wall.   A ski with a side-cut radius of 12m will be a short turning ski, while a ski with a 24m radius turn will be a long turning ski.  You will find skis in every size between this so it is our suggestion to try some out and see what you like!

Flex- The flex in a ski can impact its performance as much as any other single factor.  The flex of the ski helps determine how it will respond to differing terrain.  A stiff flexing ski will have excellent edge hold and will feel extremely quiet and damp at high speeds, while a softer flexing ski will be more forgiving, easier to turn, and be able to absorb irregularities like moguls and crud.
Weight- Weight can be an important factor in a skis performance.  The weight of a ski is directly related to its construction.  A Heavier ski will often have metal in its construction and will aid in its stability and performance at higher speeds.  A lighter ski will generally be without metal and will be quicker and more maneuverable if you need to turn quickly or lift your feet.

Women Specific Skis – Expert Edge carries a full department of women's specific skis for you to choose from.  What's the difference?  Several things:  Ski companies have finally learned that men and women have different body types, and because of this, effect skis differently while skiing.  Women specific skis generally are 20-30% lighter than unisex skis, have a slightly softer flex pattern, and have a different binding mounting position.  What does all of this do for you?  It places your center of gravity over the ski where a man's naturally falls, in effect evening the playing field and taking away the advantage that men have always had while on a unisex skis!

Systems- Many of today’s skis come as a "System".  What this means is that the ski and binding are integrated.  The idea behind this was to create a ski and binding that works together to give you the best possible performance out of the ski.  By testing the ski in this manner, companies are able to fine tune the performance and predictability in order to give you a better ski.  Almost 50% of the skis we sell are systems.  The other 50% have bindings "recommended" with these skis.
Rocker- Many of today’s skis are “Rockered” or have “Early Rise” Technology.  This means that the tips, and/ or tails have been turned up and have less contact with the snow.  In Powder, this allows the ski to float up and over the snow easier.  On groomed terrain, it keeps the tip and tail out of the way from catching on the snow.  One Caveat to these advantages is that you now have less ski contacting the snow and lose some stability and responsiveness because of this.  We suggest trying a rockered ski to see what you think…

Reverse Camber- Reverse camber means that the ski is actually curved upward instead of downward similar the hull of a boat.    This allows the ski to really flex and stay above powder.  Some twin tip park skis will also have this technology to keep the skis from catching on rails and boxes and to make rotational tricks easier.

10 Steps to a Perfect Boot Fit

Forget the Alta Chutes or Killington’s Superstar minefield. The most difficult ski challenge you’ll probably ever face is finding a comfortable fitting boot that also performs well. Here are 10 tips from Expert Edge's Certified Boot Techs that will make sure your next boot is your best ever.


      Boots not only have to match your skill level, they must mate with your foot and leg shape. That means your pal’s star may be your black hole of pain. Since on-slope boot testing opportunities are rare, visit a qualified shop where experienced techs can analyze your feet and help you narrow down the choices.


      Buying ski boots is a time-consuming process that too many skiers rush through. You probably spent an hour selecting your last pair of running shoes —and they’re made from pliable materials! A plastic boot shell will not mold to your foot’s subtle nuances, even if you wear it all day, every day, for 25 years so take your time to make the right choice. Expect the process to take hours, not minutes. Even with a Expert Edge's techs guidance, you should plan to try on a variety of different brands, models and sizes.

       When you seem to have mined a gem, leave it on your feet for 10 or 15 minutes. Flex repeatedly to seat the foot and start the foams compressing.


      Try different models and different sizes of the same model on your left and right feet. Keep the “winner” on and pit it against newcomers. Remember, though, your feet are probably not identical and may vary in size so when you find “winners,” try on both boots.


      For the best boot fit service, visit shops midweek in early fall at off-hours. During ski season, resort shops are busiest early in the morning and right around lift closing. Trade sliding time for personal attention and go when everyone else is out skiing. And remember, your feet can swell up to a half-size during skiing so size to fit them at their largest. For the best fit, shop in the afternoon or evening or after physical activity.


      Many people buy their boots too big. Understandably so.  A good fitting boot feels tight out of the box and may remain very snug during the first few days of skiing. Relax. Your liner will. We’ve tested hundreds of brand new boots over the years and most initially feel short and tight but compress to comfortable levels after being skied as few as two runs. Frequently our testers batten down all the buckles an additional notch after just one run.  It’s common, though, for there to be some snugness for the first few days you ski a new boot. Buying a boot that’s too big can be painful and cause injuries. In extreme cases, oversized boots can cause ankle sprains and bone breaks. Oversized boots also hinder skiing and promote fatigue. You’ll find yourself in the “backseat,” clawing your toes and tightening your thigh muscles and hamstrings to maintain stability and control.


       Expert Edge's boot techs can easily trim or stretch boots but shell work is best kept to a minimum. To check shell fit, remove the liner and put your foot in the shell. Slide your foot forward until your big toe touches the front. A finger to a finger-and-a-half of space between your heel and the shell will give you a good snug fit when the liner is reinserted, assuming no other parts of your foot are touching the shell. If you feel contact, these are potential “hot spots” and your boot fitter may suggest another model or customization options.


       If a boot has a good shell fit but feels unusually tight with the liner reinserted, have your boot tech check for a “short lasted” liner. Manufacturers spec a small gap between the toe of the liner and the shell to ensure liner toe boxes don’t become crumpled when they’re inserted into the shell at the factory. Sometimes, though, liners come from the factory as much as a half-inch shorter than the shell cavity. Your Expert Edge Boot Tech can stretch them.


      Boots have high cuffs for other reasons than to keep the snow out; studies show the cuff is critical for controlling your skis. You’ll ski with greater stability and confidence in a boot that contours snugly along your lower leg. The cuff should wrap snugly with your buckle bails set somewhere near the beginning to middle of the ladders. (Remember, the liner materials will compress!) If you’re near the end of the ladder, the buckles may deform the shell and change the boot’s intended flex pattern. Remember to use the macro and micro adjustments common to most buckles to custom tailor your fit.

      Just as important as leg contact is the angle of the cuff in relation to your skeletal structure. If the cuff angle doesn’t follow your lower leg, your skis will not sit flat on the snow and you will have problems controlling your skis. For the approximately 75 percent of the skier population with bowleg or knock-kneed tendencies, it is nearly impossible to create a balanced stance in boots without a cuff cant adjuster. If you fit into either category, make sure your boot cuff has one.

     Cuff height also dramatically affects stance. Short skiers particularly may have difficulty balancing in boots with tall cuffs. Bowleg or knock-knee skiers may experience similar problems. If you’re having stance problems in a tall cuff boot, try models with lower cuffs. Certified boot techs will be able to spot balance problems and help you select proper models.


       Use the manufacturer’s marked size only as a guideline. The sole length and inner cavities of supposedly similarly sized models can vary significantly. We’ve seen boots marked 27.5 vary from 305mm to 314mm. It’s easy to check the sole length; it’s embossed into the outside heel sidewall of nearly every boot.  Liner construction and materials also affect fit. It’s not uncommon for a manufacturer’s Race model liner to feel too tight while the freeride model in the same collection will feel just right because of the softer foams that are usually employed.


      Don’t negotiate the minefield of boot selection with a novice. It is the most complex piece of sports gear you’ll probably ever purchase.  The employees here at Expert Edge have the knowledge and training to help you…..   Why trust this decision to anyone else?