It's a rite practiced in early December every ski season: kids boot-fitting.
And the process poses a few questions: Which boots? What size? What's the proper fit?
I sat down with David McClure, the owner of New England Ski & Scuba in Vernon, to get some answers that remind everyone about how to do it.
The first thing he brought up was boot type. Of course with the kids, it's all about style.
This chorus is commonly heard throughout area ski shops: "The pink ones look so cute." "This will make me look cool in the terrain park." Or, something being said more often, "I want what Bode wears ... "
We've heard their arguments. In this case, though, we have to put both feet forward and land the youngsters in the correct boots.
The styles can vary from a single buckle for the real young kids up to four-buckle boots for kids that are on their way out of a snowplow or already in their French fry stance and are doing green runs - or even blues - from the summit along with the easier park elements.
McClure said some parents automatically turn to the one- or two-buckle boots because they seem easier to put on and take off. Ease of use might be important, but parents need to focus on support and function, he said.
And parents should beware of what kids might say during the sizing process. Sometimes, they might fib a little to get a more comfy fit, but leave their feet too loose in the boot and therefore susceptible to injury.
Even those of us with some boot-fitting experience admit it's probably a good idea to let a shop technician get the kids in their stances and see how a prospective boot really fits.
McClure said most stock insoles are OK for children. It's not until the foot problems that come with adulthood - especially former high-level athletes - emerge that custom foot beds should be considered.
An interesting item from Mount Snow in Vermont:
Mount Snow first opened for skiing on Dec. 12, 1954 and has since enjoyed one of the most interesting histories of any resort in the ski industry thanks in large part to the resort’s visionary founder, .
There are as many Mount Snow stories out there as there are for any mountain. To celebrate that history, the resort has announced that Dec. 12 will be known as Founders Day and skiers and riders can not only get an advance ticket for $12, but go to a party in Cuzzins Bar and Grill, eat birthday cake and check out a display of memorabilia from Mount Snow's storied past.
Lift tickets must be purchased online at least 48 hours before the day of the event to get the special price and the promotion is limited to 1,000 tickets. Mount Snow officials said there will be a discounted rate at the lift ticket window for those who missed out on the advance purchase price.
“We are so lucky to be part of a resort that is so steeped in skiing history it only made sense to make Mount Snow’s birthday an annual celebration, a party that would have made Walt proud while offering our guests a great deal to come celebrate with us.”
To purchase $12 lift tickets for Founders Day at Mount Snow, visit http://tinyurl.com/cda2hzl. For information on snow conditions, events and deals, visit www.mountsnow.com.