By Callie Oettinger | Published: February 10, 2012
“You need to tighten your boots
“They’ll loosen once you get going.”
“No they won’t.”
My son and I hate putting on our ski boots. We want to hit the slopes, but there’s still that boot hassle.
He screams and complains.
“These boots are soooo stooopid. This is the worst day of my entire life!” (He errs on the dramatic side. . .)
I practice the breathing exercises I learned when I was pregnant and try to avoid pinching my fingers, catching my skin between a fussy latch and boot.
He wants his boots loose.
I want mine tight.
I tell him to tighten his boots.
He says no.
I shake my head and remember the same conversation, decades earlier, when my father provided his two cents on boots.
We make our way to the lifts, place our skis side by side on the ground, step into them, and exhale. There’s something magic about hearing the click of the boots into the bindings. The annoying boots are forgotten and we’re on our way—until he loses control.
Have you ever driven a car with a loose steering wheel? You turn the wheel and the tires don’t follow. There’s a disconnect. It takes excessive turning of the wheel to make something happen.
That’s what happens when you wear loose boots. Your feet are the steering wheel. When you turn your feet, your boots, like your car wheels, should turn. If the boots are too loose, your feet move within the boots, but the boots don’t go anywhere—which means your skis (or your car) won’t follow.
I sit with my son and try to explain that if he can get through the tightness in the morning, he’ll be good the rest of the day, but I know it’s a lesson he’ll have to learn on his own.
You have to choose discomfort before you can take a sweet ride down the mountain.
I don’t know when I started tightening my boots as much as possible. It’s just something that happened. One day it clicked, like my boots into my bindings, and I exhaled. I got it. I learned to breathe through it because the joy on the other end was worth it.
I’m still practicing my form—and find myself cursing fear when I crash on a run and then avoid bumps the rest of the day—but I’ve got the boot thing down.
If I can get through the boots in the morning, I can choose the runs the rest of the day.
I’m looking forward to seeing my son tackle some of those runs, too.