Three of us were in the "Dark Arts" group which is the most experienced group of fitters. It is always so great to be able to get deep into boot fitting with people that have so much experience. Greg Hoffman, Jack Rafferty, and Jim Schaffner were the instructors for this years session. All three are legends in the world of ski boot fitters and are all very good instructors to boot!
Jackson Hogan's stance is being scrutinized by Greg Hoffman. I think Greg is saying "nice superior extensor retinaculum!" I love this place!
Also in the Dark Arts group were Corty Lawrence, Jackson Hogan, a Canadian or two, some folks from Viking Ski in Chicago (always good boot folks over the years) and a number of other people that I really enjoyed spending time with. It is just not that often that we get to spend time with our peers like this. Most of the time we are working hard to keep your feet happy in our own little world without too much of a chance to come up for air. I always feel very lucky that I get to work with a group of bootfitters as talented as the ones here at the shop. We have gotten to know each other as fitters so well over time, however, that we love to get out and freshen it up with some other boot geeks!
It is also great to be able to talk business with people that I respect very much in the industry. While we are on one level "competitors", we are also all in this together and only wish the best for each other. Also interesting is getting to chat with the many ski shop folks taking the more basic classes from shops all over the place. Sports Basement had some folks there. SSV employees from Any Mountain and Northstar were well represented too. Everyone seemed to be learning a lot, having a great time, and very passionate about selling boots.
There is also a great social vibe and we spent a dinner downtown with Phil Pugliese (Start Haus)and his wife Trish (www.OnTheSnow.com). Trish also works at True North at Northstar and her co-worker came along too. Lots of Chinese food was consumed and a good time was had by all. I went back and turned in early but a few of the younger (or at least feeling younger) boys and girls came back and headed right for the casino floor.
So now it is back to the shop to compare notes from the different classes and breakout sessions. And we will start full time hours this week too. Boreal opened today. It is all happening. I love it. Winter is coming!