I am a skier. That is the first thing I think of when people ask who I am. Skiing – and the mountains – has guided many, if not most of my life decisions since my early twenties.
However, as I get older, my body is rebelling against this sport that brings my brain so much happiness. For the past few seasons I’ve come to accept frozen and numb feet as the norm, since my toes would go cold if it was below 40 degrees. While I’ve been recommended a variety of solutions, from no socks to vapor barrier layers to custom molded boot liners, nothing has prevented cold feet. Lately the accumulated foot frostnip has become much worse, to the point that I am forced to stop skiing if it gets too cold. Since this is heresy for me, N made a very convincing argument that boot heaters were the best solution. While I’m not thrilled with the idea of wearing battery packs on my feet all day, I gave it a go, since I had no other options.
It worked – my feet didn’t go numb, though they weren’t warm in any sense of the word. Just – not blocks of ice. There was an unfortunate side effect however. The heating element has a pad that goes under the ball of the foot, and despite attempts to rig it so it lies flush with the existing footbed, mine wasn’t quite so. And thus, molten lava-like foot pain ensued. It was a special kind of pain, and if forced to choose, I’d say frozen feet were preferable to this.
The guys at Footloose were kind enough to do some more work on the footbed, and after a few hours on the snow today, my feet are only mildly sore. The boot-fitting process is a time consuming one that requires multiple trips to the shop, but I’m not patient enough to do that. Plus, with these guys in Mammoth, it’s a bit more effort.
In the meantime I’ve found a flask that I’m going to keep filled with liquid vitamin I until this thing is worked out.