Head’s Up Ski Gear Review

Jan 26, 2010 5 Comments by

Head Ski Shop, bansko

Head Test Centre, Sport Hotel by the Kempinsky

“I cannot ski; something’s badly wrong…maybe I need new ski boots.” These were my feelings, when as it dawned on me that maybe it’s not just faulty technique that’s to blame. I felt a disconnect from my skis, a lack of control. Could it be that I had useless ski boots? Ski Gear, ski equipment, clothing, technical stuff… I love it all. But was it going to be the case of  “all the gear, and no idea?” Read on to find out how I got on.

Head For Head In Bansko

Convinced I needed new ski boots, I started my research online, and came to the conclusion I wanted a major brand name in ski boots and skis. But then I then checked with Nikola, BanskoBlog’s snow blogger from the Bulgarian Ski Team. As I knew his father, Stampi, had just opened up a new Head Test Centre in the new Sport Hotel, right next to the Grand Arena Kempinsky Hotel.

So I took a look in there, and met a very helpful Alexander. I spent a pleasant two hours discussing the different boots; wearing and walking around the shop in each one for at least twenty minutes.  All the time I was absorbing boot tekkie information in the different models and ranges. I tried four ski boots in all; from the best selling Edge and Ventor range to the the top end Raptor models.  Please check out the video we made in the shop on Thursday, right after my Head ski test session.

Head Test Centre

Vasco, Ski Instructor for Head Test Centre

Flex Index: My Tips For Fitting

The range starts with the ladies Dream boot, but I didn’t try this… looked pretty hot though. The Edge range, like all of the range, has varying amounts of angle called the “Flex Index” from 70 to 110 (and 150 for the Raptor). and stiffness. So each boot has a model to suit each standard of skiing and comes in ladies as well as men’s fitting.

The higher the number; the more aggressive and advanced style of skiing.

The Edge Range

This is Head’s biggest selling ski boot range, and this is the one I thought I was going to buy before entering the shop. I knew they sell this one in the tens of thousands around the world. Deservedly so as it comes with a load of new ski boot technology. When I tried it on, it was an immediately comfortable ski boot. This was nearly the one I bought.

I am sure most people would not need look to look any further. The Liner has the Sanitized®, HP HeatFit, anatomical frame footbed, 35 mm power velcro strap all prepared for a heating system. There are four micro-adjustable HP alloy buckles, 2 double power buckles, 1 supermacro ratchet. There is a stiffer/softer flex adjustment, adjustable wedge arch support, double canting, adjustable rear spoiler, SoftWalk Heel and Grip system plus the stabilizer frame.

Vector Range

This is one hell of a good looking boot. Looks don’t count… Or do they? If by judging how many of you read ski fashion 2010 article, then they certainly do. Ask Vanya in her signature edition Rossignol 2010 ski suit, to see if ski fashion matters!

The Vector 110 is an award winning ski boot. And I could see why. Again, with the flex options, it’s still a comfortable all day mountain boot. Perfect for progressing intermediates up to proper expert level. For both on and off piste terrain.

Raptor Range

If the Vector looked the business, then the new Raptor looked totally professional. Stampi and Nikola use this boot. You can even seen your foot wiggle through the clear shell. Kinda Nice. I was expecting something totally unsuitable for all day on the pistes. Maybe good for one hour and a  two minute race.

I was wrong….

…The Raptor LTD RS 115/105 flex boot was incredibly comfortable.

The level of purpose was, quite literally, transparent from the first second. The liner is HeatFit Pro with anatomical sport frame footbed, 40 mm velcro strap and again the buckles have four micro-adjustable HP alloy buckles, 2 double power buckles. The racing flex adjustment, double canting, FIS approved sole thickness and the Raptor Performance Tuning Concept complete the technical picture.

Whilst this is in the race range, this particular boot in tasty transparent anthracite and orange, is suitable for all day use. In fact this was going to be the one for me. Good enough for Stampi, then good enough for me.

My Ski Boot

And then a final try of the RS 90 boot. A similar boot to the Raptor but a few seasons old and a few left in the shop. My lucky day. They fitted perfectly and, as the video above shows, more than anything I have ever bought for skiing, this boot has made skiing a whole lot more fun.

Tips For Fitting Ski Boots

Wherever you go to buy your ski boots, remember this is the most important piece of equipment you will buy for your skiing enjoyment. Take your time. Do it when you are relaxed, with no deadlines to fit in. Maybe early afternoon after your foot has spread a little from walking around. Be honest and clear about your ability and ambitions before you enter the shop.

I like to ski quite fast, and to progress some more. But if you prefer things more gentle, then say to the boot technician how you ski now — and how you wish to progress.

The right boot is the one that fits. Never be influenced by price — you’ll live to regret it.

Head Ski Equipment Offer

I never recommend something I don’t believe in. And the professionalism of Stampi and the team at the Head Centre would be worth paying a premium for. Whilst this article is a sponsored review, I would say the same. The Head Test Centre has brand new skis and snowboards for hire and really top level tuition. I hope this feeling is conveyed in the video below:

At the Head Test Centre, customers try their skis before they buy. And as I will explain in a future article, skis do vary.

Ski Gloves, Reusch

Head Test Centre

Those who have been following this blog for a while, will know I like to see top value and service in Bansko. So I searched for UK prices for these boots, and for the skis I tested. I then negotiated a deal for buying in the Head Test Centre in Bansko that would beat UK internet prices — even at today’s exchange rates. This was agreed by Stampi.

So save yourself hassle and try gear here in Bansko. Just subscribe to this site in the top right hand column, and you’ll receive a voucher which offers a no quibble:

  • 10% discount off boots or skis,
  • 15% discount for skis and bindings bought together
  • 20% discount when you buy boots, skis and bindings together

Why Head Ski Hire Pre Pay ?

All subscribers receive the BanskoBlog ski/board/lift pass quote form. The Head test centre offers a prepay deal through this BanskoBlog. It’s a handy 10% off all ski, board, boot hire and tuition.

They have family tuition packages. This is a top idea, which nicely solves the problem of splitting up families for tuition.  They also have group and personal tuition from very experienced instructors like Stampi and Vasco you can see in the videos.

Subscribe, confirm your email, then fill out the form and email back for your exact requirements. Mix hours and days of family/individual tuition within your group. It’s the ultimate service in prepay discounted ski / board hire / pass and tuition.

All Head Test Centre hire equipment is brand new for 2010. Prepay makes logical sense. Don’t delay; we need 48 hours notice before you arrive in Bansko to secure prepay discount.

Ski conditions Today

Excellent ski conditions. Cold. Video snow and weather report coming up tomorrow but get ready for snow tomorrow afternoon, Thursday and Friday.

Tip Of The Day

Ski Preparation:  Most boarders and skiers are not optimising the performance of their skis. It makes all the difference to have you skis and snowboards waxed. Get your done by the professionals. I get mine done at the Head Test Centre in Bansko.

Head Ski Shop, bansko

Head Test Centre, Sport Hotel by the Kempinsky

“I cannot ski; something’s badly wrong…maybe I need new ski boots.” These were my feelings, when as it dawned on me that maybe it’s not just faulty technique that’s to blame. I felt a disconnect from my skis, a lack of control. Could it be that I had useless ski boots? Ski Gear, ski equipment, clothing, technical stuff… I love it all. But was it going to be the case of  “all the gear, and no idea?” Read on to find out how I got on.

Head For Head In Bansko

Convinced I needed new ski boots, I started my research online, and came to the conclusion I wanted a major brand name in ski boots and skis. But then I then checked with Nikola, BanskoBlog’s snow blogger from the Bulgarian Ski Team. As I knew his father, Stampi, had just opened up a new Head Test Centre in the new Sport Hotel, right next to the Grand Arena Kempinsky Hotel.

So I took a look in there, and met a very helpful Alexander. I spent a pleasant two hours discussing the different boots; wearing and walking around the shop in each one for at least twenty minutes.  All the time I was absorbing boot tekkie information in the different models and ranges. I tried four ski boots in all; from the best selling Edge and Ventor range to the the top end Raptor models.  Please check out the video we made in the shop on Thursday, right after my Head ski test session.

Head Test Centre

Vasco, Ski Instructor for Head Test Centre

Flex Index: My Tips For Fitting

The range starts with the ladies Dream boot, but I didn’t try this… looked pretty hot though. The Edge range, like all of the range, has varying amounts of angle called the “Flex Index” from 70 to 110 (and 150 for the Raptor). and stiffness. So each boot has a model to suit each standard of skiing and comes in ladies as well as men’s fitting.

The higher the number; the more aggressive and advanced style of skiing.

The Edge Range

This is Head’s biggest selling ski boot range, and this is the one I thought I was going to buy before entering the shop. I knew they sell this one in the tens of thousands around the world. Deservedly so as it comes with a load of new ski boot technology. When I tried it on, it was an immediately comfortable ski boot. This was nearly the one I bought.

I am sure most people would not need look to look any further. The Liner has the Sanitized®, HP HeatFit, anatomical frame footbed, 35 mm power velcro strap all prepared for a heating system. There are four micro-adjustable HP alloy buckles, 2 double power buckles, 1 supermacro ratchet. There is a stiffer/softer flex adjustment, adjustable wedge arch support, double canting, adjustable rear spoiler, SoftWalk Heel and Grip system plus the stabilizer frame.

Vector Range

This is one hell of a good looking boot. Looks don’t count… Or do they? If by judging how many of you read ski fashion 2010 article, then they certainly do. Ask Vanya in her signature edition Rossignol 2010 ski suit, to see if ski fashion matters!

The Vector 110 is an award winning ski boot. And I could see why. Again, with the flex options, it’s still a comfortable all day mountain boot. Perfect for progressing intermediates up to proper expert level. For both on and off piste terrain.

Raptor Range

If the Vector looked the business, then the new Raptor looked totally professional. Stampi and Nikola use this boot. You can even seen your foot wiggle through the clear shell. Kinda Nice. I was expecting something totally unsuitable for all day on the pistes. Maybe good for one hour and a  two minute race.

I was wrong….

…The Raptor LTD RS 115/105 flex boot was incredibly comfortable.

The level of purpose was, quite literally, transparent from the first second. The liner is HeatFit Pro with anatomical sport frame footbed, 40 mm velcro strap and again the buckles have four micro-adjustable HP alloy buckles, 2 double power buckles. The racing flex adjustment, double canting, FIS approved sole thickness and the Raptor Performance Tuning Concept complete the technical picture.

Whilst this is in the race range, this particular boot in tasty transparent anthracite and orange, is suitable for all day use. In fact this was going to be the one for me. Good enough for Stampi, then good enough for me.

My Ski Boot

And then a final try of the RS 90 boot. A similar boot to the Raptor but a few seasons old and a few left in the shop. My lucky day. They fitted perfectly and, as the video above shows, more than anything I have ever bought for skiing, this boot has made skiing a whole lot more fun.

Tips For Fitting Ski Boots

Wherever you go to buy your ski boots, remember this is the most important piece of equipment you will buy for your skiing enjoyment. Take your time. Do it when you are relaxed, with no deadlines to fit in. Maybe early afternoon after your foot has spread a little from walking around. Be honest and clear about your ability and ambitions before you enter the shop.

I like to ski quite fast, and to progress some more. But if you prefer things more gentle, then say to the boot technician how you ski now — and how you wish to progress.

The right boot is the one that fits. Never be influenced by price — you’ll live to regret it.

Head Ski Equipment Offer

I never recommend something I don’t believe in. And the professionalism of Stampi and the team at the Head Centre would be worth paying a premium for. Whilst this article is a sponsored review, I would say the same. The Head Test Centre has brand new skis and snowboards for hire and really top level tuition. I hope this feeling is conveyed in the video below:

At the Head Test Centre, customers try their skis before they buy. And as I will explain in a future article, skis do vary.

Ski Gloves, Reusch

Head Test Centre

Those who have been following this blog for a while, will know I like to see top value and service in Bansko. So I searched for UK prices for these boots, and for the skis I tested. I then negotiated a deal for buying in the Head Test Centre in Bansko that would beat UK internet prices — even at today’s exchange rates. This was agreed by Stampi.

So save yourself hassle and try gear here in Bansko. Just subscribe to this site in the top right hand column, and you’ll receive a voucher which offers a no quibble:

  • 10% discount off boots or skis,
  • 15% discount for skis and bindings bought together
  • 20% discount when you buy boots, skis and bindings together

Why Head Ski Hire Pre Pay ?

All subscribers receive the BanskoBlog ski/board/lift pass quote form. The Head test centre offers a prepay deal through this BanskoBlog. It’s a handy 10% off all ski, board, boot hire and tuition.

They have family tuition packages. This is a top idea, which nicely solves the problem of splitting up families for tuition.  They also have group and personal tuition from very experienced instructors like Stampi and Vasco you can see in the videos.

Subscribe, confirm your email, then fill out the form and email back for your exact requirements. Mix hours and days of family/individual tuition within your group. It’s the ultimate service in prepay discounted ski / board hire / pass and tuition.

All Head Test Centre hire equipment is brand new for 2010. Prepay makes logical sense. Don’t delay; we need 48 hours notice before you arrive in Bansko to secure prepay discount.

Ski conditions Today

Excellent ski conditions. Cold. Video snow and weather report coming up tomorrow but get ready for snow tomorrow afternoon, Thursday and Friday.

Tip Of The Day

Ski Preparation:  Most boarders and skiers are not optimising the performance of their skis. It makes all the difference to have you skis and snowboards waxed. Get your done by the professionals. I get mine done at the Head Test Centre in Bansko.

Ski Fashion


About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.

5 Responses to “Head’s Up Ski Gear Review”

  1. John says:

    Just got back from Bansko yesterday and just wanted to add what a great experience I had of the Head Test Center. I went with a group of others who used skimania (booked through the chalet), but I went with Lance's recommendation and tried HTC. The guys there provide a personal quality service, the equipment is brand new and the price is very competitive. Compared with skimania whos equipment appears to be a few years old, it is well worth the extra 15 lev (£8) for the 6 days hire. I returned my equipment to the shop after each day and they put my boots on the heaters over night. The best rental shop I have encountered!!!

    I would also like to add that I had 2 x 2hrs private lessons with Vasco, who is a great instructor. The lessons really improved my skiing and confidence, and made the whole experience even more enjoyable.

    • LanceNelson says:

      Hi John,

      Thank you so much for your feedback.

      I had just read on twitter of someone, quite rightly, complaining about customer service in Bulgaria's ski resorts. It's so good to hear positive experiences too.

      The Head Test Centre are a real find for renting and purchasing gear and Vasco improved my confidence too. Such a calming and clear manner.

      If I may add that BanskoBlog subscribers automatically receive discount vouchers ranging from 10% to 20% for gear bought in the shop, and an exclusive to this site prepaid hire deal with the Head Test Centre (by the Kampinski Hotel) http://banskoblog.com/lift-pass-ski-packs/ for more info.

      Once again John, thank you for your comments.

      Lance

  2. Tony says:

    I like Ski Boot. But i dont have a ride. I'll coming as soon as possible and enjoy it.

  3. Alcantara Resort says:

    I like this article and youtube videos, congratulations and thanks for sharing!!

  4. Alcantara Resort says:

    I like this article! Congratulations and thanks for sharing

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