I had the opportunity to befriend a gentleman named Steve Wiggins who was then and still is thirty years later one of the premier ski instructors at the Snowmass Village branch of the Aspen Ski Company. Steve and I skied together whenever we could and he was kind enough to impart some.... a little... of his VAST knowledge to me as we hung around on his rare day's off. One of the concepts he gave me was that of "Pressing the button" of ones arch into the ski when weighting and un-weighting the skis during turns. This was helpful but I didn't truly get it until I had the good fortune of meeting another Snowmass legend a Mr. Jack Rafferty of "The Thotic Shop" of Snowmass Village.
Jack made me my first pair of orthotics and he made them in conjunction to fitting me with new boots. Even then I had very hard to fit feet due to the extreme width of my what I refer to as bear paws. After the installation of my new orthotics into my ski boots, I finally understood what it was Steve was trying to tell me and had a new found sensation of connection to the slopes through my orthotics right into the snow. I wasn't a Chiropractor at that point nor had I any exposure to the idea of the mechanism of gait, but this became part of my thought process immediately after meeting Jack and getting my first pair of orthotics.
Imagine the irony that twenty years later my fabulous boots were disintegrating. So I went to my favorite Ski Shop, Any Mountain in Corte Medara CA. and started the process of trying to get new boots. Three months and as many boots later (God bless Any Mountain) they threw up there hands and said "The master boot fitter of the universe is coming to teach our boot fitters how to fit boots. Your feet are so bad we thought you could be one of our stunt feet and have this guy fit you. Its a once in a lifetime opportunity as the guy comes from Canada only once every few years." The heck you say so.... there I was walking into the store with my old boots in my hands and I start to tell my story to the master from Canada. He said... "What Restaurant were you running ? What was your name again ? Ed.... I made those boots and orthotics for you twenty years ago, its me, Jack Rafferty."
Though currently Jack and I may disagree philosophically somewhat about the merits of semi rigit versus soft orthotics, I feel fortunate to have had that early introduction to orthotics. It was my first intuitive sensation that ones feet had a greater import to our connection to the planet than we might have otherwise thought about.