It’s the same story every year… My new skis and boots show up the day before I have to jump on a plane for a ski trip sending me clattering into Olympic Bootworks in Squaw Valley, CA – armfuls of gear in tow.
They’re already laughing as I stagger and clank through the door…
Year in and year out these guys take incredibly good care of me. Two years ago, they stayed 2 hours after closing shop to mount my skis, punch my boots, and make me custom footbeds – getting me fully dialed the day before a flight to Japan.
Olympic Bootworks‘ custom footbeds are a big part of what makes this ski shop world-class. Owner Buck Brown invented the “Heel-Loc” system that locks in your heel, freeing up your forefoot, which allows for high performance, comfort, and hard-charging.
Just ask any of the professional athletes who use them daily like World Cup Downhill Skier Travis Ganong, World Champion Snowboarder Ralph Backstrom, and Badass Polar/Mountain Guide Doug Stoup:
“I really like how it locks my heel in place and allows my foot to move. This footbed is comfortable and you can move your foot still but you keep that heel in place which gives you the power but you have the finesse from the rest of the footbed.” – Travis Ganong, World Cup Downhill Skier
What truly makes this shop world-class is the good, authentic, old school vibe they relentlessly throw around in that shack that was once the bar that hosted the wet T-shirt contest in the classic ski movie “Hot Dog.” People come into Olympic Bootworks just to hang out. Hell, I go into Olympic a few times a week just to drink beer and shoot the breeze.
The beer, coffee, soda, and tea is free and there are even snacks on occasion.
If you’re having any kind of boot issue, I highly recommend these guys, their Heel-Loc product, and their good vibe. Even if you just have an equipment question, swing by and let ’em know. These guys are cool, helpful, and fun.
It doesn’t hurt that the boss lets them loose for a one hour minimum “skiesta” every day. Happy shop employees make for a happy shop.
Typical orthotics require you to clamp the buckles down over the forefoot to keep your foot from moving around.
Olympic Bootworks emphasizes loosing up those front buckles, freeing up the forefoot, and letting that forefoot move. All this results in improved comfort and control.
Heel-Loc is the most active footbed on the market. By active they mean it’s natural, it has a very accommodative feeling but is very powerful and precise.
“The big difference is how we capture or mold the foot and build the Heel-Loc orthotic. At Olympic Bootworks, I feel we are able to develop the best heel cup in the business. By cupping the heel with our Heel-Loc Orthotic, we’re able to keep the athlete’s foot locked in place in the boot through the Tibia/Fibia axis (snugging third and fourth buckle), giving that corrective support under the arch which stabilizes the foot without it feeling like you’re standing on a typical arch specific orthotic which builds up under the arch (feels like a golf ball under your foot).” – Wolfy, Olympic Bootworks bootfitter
I’d like to give a special shout out to the entire Olympic Bootworks crew and especially Buck, Big Andy, Ryan, Wolfy, Jason, and Doug who have been enormously helpful to me over the years. Thank you.