For the sake of carrying a little less luggage, especially on a weekend ski trip, it can be tempting, especially on a short trip, to say, ‘Ah, I'll just rent for a couple of days’. Now this might be okay for skis, but boots are a different matter.
Not only is it a frustrating experience trying on boot after ill-fitting boot, but it’s also the equivalent of borrowing a jacket and tie from the maître d' at a restaurant when you could have had a bespoke suit from Savile Row.
For all their Active Dampening Systems and Adaptive Rockers, skis will only perform as well as the boots clipped into them and, in turn, they will only respond if they fit your feet perfectly. Profeet is a specialist boot-fitting shop on the Fulham Road that not only advises on the best boots for your feet (Head, for example, are particularly good if you are wide in the forefoot) and modifies them if necessary, but also hand-makes custom orthotic insoles (for all shoes in fact). In order to achieve a custom fit, the staff conduct a series of tests, including pressure scans and postural body analysis. The result is not only increased comfort, but better response and performance, and better protection against injury. Which is why most British ski professionals have been through their doors.
Custom fitting and orthotics, £149 (not including purchase price of ski boots); profeet.co.uk.
The other piece of equipment that is essential to tune up is your body. Over the river from Profeet, chiropractor and ski nut Dr Craig McLean runs sessions of biomechanical and neurological analysis specifically for winter sports at the Putney Chiropractic Centre. He is able to prescribe chiropractic treatment, alignment correction and specific exercises designed to alleviate problems such as leg burn, favouring turns in one direction, sitting back in the skis, to name just a few. Which could save you days with an instructor and allow you to move up a level.
Assessment and postural X-ray, £125; putneychiropractic.co.uk/ski. You can also view Dr McLean’s 10-step ski stretching video and 11-step power ski exercise video online at putneychiropractic.co.uk/category/video/