Olympic Bootworks Ski Shop in Squaw Valley, CA: World Class Vibe, World Class Footbeds

Miles Clark |
Wolfy and Jason dialing in another customer.
Wolfy and Jason dialing in another customer.

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.

Big Andy mounting my skis last minute today before a flight to Utah tomorrow...
Big Andy mounting my skis last minute today before a flight to Utah tomorrow…

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.  

Beers, sodas, tea, coffee all free for loungers at Olympic.
Beers, sodas, tea, coffee all free for loungers at Olympic.

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.


image: olympic bootworks
image: Olympic Bootworks

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.

Wolfy demonstrating how the Heel-Loc system works.
Wolfy demonstrating how the Heel-Loc system works.

“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

image: olympic bootworks
image: Olympic Bootworks

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.


Boots galore at Olympic Bootworks.
Boots galore at Olympic Bootworks.
Boot punch at Olympic.
Boot punch at Olympic.
Blizzard skis for sale at Olympic.
Blizzard skis for sale at Olympic.

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8 thoughts on “Olympic Bootworks Ski Shop in Squaw Valley, CA: World Class Vibe, World Class Footbeds

  1. Don’t superfeet mold the footbed the same unweighted way ? How is that proprietary ?
    Did Olympic boot works create the custom foot bed before superfeet ?

  2. I had hip replacement surgery 6 months ago which resulted in a slight leg length differential. A local sports store own, LTD Sports of Chico, referred me to your shop and suggested I look into custom inserts for overall stability. I like to speak you to discuss the benefits your product may provide. I can be reached by cell phone at 530-228-9269. Thank you, Julio

    1. Superfeet foot beds are far superior to heel loc orthotics , I bet the number of skiers who try heel loc orthotics go back to what they were using prior to trying heel loc orthotics.
      No custom foot bed should require that you clamp down the instep buckles to keep your foot in alignment and heel in place , you have the wrong boot if your clamping down the instep buckles on your boots , no foot bed is going to correct a poorly fitted boot , get the correct fitting boot then get superfeet custom foot beds and your feet and your boots will make skiing a way more pleasurable Experience.
      Also this is an old article ,can’t snowbrains come up with new material ?

  3. No footbed requires you too clamp down on the instep buckles. In a proper fitting boot the instep buckles are there to just keep the boot closed. Without arch support the heel still rolls out. I wonder how this footbed locks the heel?

  4. I 100% concur either this article.

    Olympic boot works is on of a kind on so many different levels. the
    Their products are hands-down the best in the industry. There are World Cup Olympians and Tier 1 professional athletes that ski better than you and I using their products.

    The entire staff from the owner, Buck Brown, through everyone that works there, is genuinely a great person, cares about what products they are selling and manufacturing and are hard-core skiers themselves. When you don’t see one of the Olympic boot Works team members in the shop you will see them on the hill. And if you have a boot issue on the hill they will be more than happy to get technical and fix your problem there on the spot if needed.

    And I cannot say enough about how awesome the vibe is in the shop. From the days of Hot Dog the movie to the weekly World Cup being broadcast live on the TV, this shop is a throwback experience to the pre corporate and pre institutionalized ski shoop experience that you get these days it almost all other ski shops.

    I would not be able to live in my boots everyday for 6 months of the year without Olympic boot works.

  5. thats cool that theyre good to you
    I had to stop sending guests there because of how rude they are to most people, not to mention them holding my boots hostage after bud agreed to punch them out for free but didnt tell his employees

  6. Big Andy is awesome. Got me locked into some boots, got my GF set up, and helped fix a boot bucket that broke (didn’t even buy the boots there).

    Plus they close at lunch so all the workers can get in a few laps. Love these guys.

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