It's a rite practiced in early December every ski season: kids boot-fitting.
And the process poses a few questions: Which boots? What size? What's the proper fit?
I sat down with David McClure, the owner of New England Ski & Scuba in Vernon, to get some answers that remind everyone about how to do it.
The first thing he brought up was boot type. Of course with the kids, it's all about style.
This chorus is commonly heard throughout area ski shops: "The pink ones look so cute." "This will make me look cool in the terrain park." Or, something being said more often, "I want what Bode wears ... "
We've heard their arguments. In this case, though, we have to put both feet forward and land the youngsters in the correct boots.
The styles can vary from a single buckle for the real young kids up to four-buckle boots for kids that are on their way out of a snowplow or already in their French fry stance and are doing green runs - or even blues - from the summit along with the easier park elements.
McClure said some parents automatically turn to the one- or two-buckle boots because they seem easier to put on and take off. Ease of use might be important, but parents need to focus on support and function, he said.
And parents should beware of what kids might say during the sizing process. Sometimes, they might fib a little to get a more comfy fit, but leave their feet too loose in the boot and therefore susceptible to injury.
Even those of us with some boot-fitting experience admit it's probably a good idea to let a shop technician get the kids in their stances and see how a prospective boot really fits.
McClure said most stock insoles are OK for children. It's not until the foot problems that come with adulthood - especially former high-level athletes - emerge that custom foot beds should be considered.