Wednesday, March 13, 2019

One Pair of Ski Boots (Four Sizes!) - Roces Adjustable Ski Boots Review

First of all, why am I publishing a review for ski boots in March at the end of the ski season? Because if you haven't started skiing yet this winter, NOW is the time to start. It's spring and that means warm weather, sunshine, extended lift hours, slopeside concerts, deals on overnight resort stays, and even spring ski passes for cheap skiing!

It's spring and the best skiing is still to come!

Now if you haven't done much (or any) skiing yet this season, chances are the kids' boots won't fit! They can probably make do with last year's skis for a trip or two, but boots need to be purchased annually - or do they?

One pair of ski boots (four sizes!!)

Roces Adjustable Ski Boots Review 

- and interview with Phillip Lund of All Out Kids Gear

I could tell you all about why we love our son's Roces ski boots, and how much I'm going to love them next November when I don't have to go shopping for another pair!!

I thought I'd leave it to somebody more knowledgeable than myself though and so I've interviewed the owner of All Out Kids Gear, Phillip Lund, and he's covered every question you could possibly have. (If not, please leave a comment below and I'll make sure I get you an answer.)

My son has been using the Roces Adjustable Free Ski Boots (size 22.5 - 25.5)

1. Why is it so important for you to carry the Roces Adjustable ski boots for children in your online collection of ski gear? 

Roces was one of the original companies that made us think about opening a kid specific outdoor store.

When we first discovered these boots, we had to order them out of the US, and we thought to ourselves: "Why are these not easily available in Canada?"

Last year the Canadian distributor stopped carrying them so we almost lost them again in Canada. When we were searching for a new distributor, the Roces main office in the US offered to sell direct to us, which was great, but now we were responsible for the shipping and customs, which significantly raise our cost on the boots.

We seriously considered not bringing them in, but in the end I knew we had to keep them available in Canada for families like ours. As it turns out, I think we may be one of the only places to order them online in Canada.

We appreciate that we can order great outdoor gear locally in Canada

2. Why do you swear by these boots so strongly for families?  

Skiing is definitely not a cheap sport, so really anything that can bring down that cost is great, especially when you are trying to ski as a family and have growing kids!

The Roces ski boots mean your kids can keep the same boots for 3 to 4 years instead of buying new ones every year.

As an example, one of my friends who has three girls was trying to pass down the regular ski boots his oldest daughter was outgrowing, but almost every year the boots would be just slightly too big or too small for his younger girls and he would end up going out and buying new boots. Now he has all three girls skiing in Roces and is super happy with them!

My son will be wearing the same pair of ski boots until he's my size!

3. Do your own children wear these boots? 

Yes, both my kids wear Roces boots. We had regular ski boots for the first year or two with my son (age 9) until we discovered Roces and since then, he has worn nothing but Roces. My daughter (age 7) has only worn Roces.

They are a good ski boot and we definitely didn't want to be in the "buy new ski boots every year" cycle.

When we go skiing as a family I am always ecstatic when a parent notices my kids' boots and asks about them! It's kind of funny when we go skiing, and I am always so tempted to stop other parents and ask: "Hey have you seen these adjustable ski boots! They work great and will save you some money down the road!" And it's not to try and just sell more ski boots, but it's because I think most parents would love them if they only knew about them!

"Most parents would love Roces ski boots -  if they only knew about them!"

4. Do you get concerns from families that think an adjustable ski boot will be “cheap” or “gimmicky” and that it won’t perform as well as a regular ski boot?

We do get a few people contact us, but I think there are more people that probably just dismiss them without looking into them a bit further, which I think is a real shame.

We usually let people know that we use the boots ourselves and would not be selling anything we did not personally use or believe in. I also tell people that no matter where they look, they will have a very hard time finding any negative reviews about the boots.

Almost all the time the reviews are incredibly positive.

You don't ski double black chutes in "cheap" or "gimmicky" boots!

5. How do you find the Roces boots compare with other high end brands available on the market?  

We always keep our eyes out for different gear on the market and do test different things from time to time. Really, the Roces are just as good as most of the other mainstream kids' ski boot companies, plus they have extra little features like micro- adjustable buckles which a lot of kids' boots do not have.

Roces ski boots perform en par with other boots on the market

6. How are the Roces ski boots different from other adjustable products? (We all know toddler skates for example lack the support and performance of regular skates)

We unfortunately tried the adjustable skates (not the Roces brand), and although the idea is still good, the ones we had were actually really bad in my opinion, and we have only bought traditional skates since then.

The unfortunate thing about bad adjustable products like that is then some people associate all adjustable kids' gear to be the same low quality, but in the case of Roces this is not true.

Not all "adjustable" gear is bad

7. Would you recommend the Roces boots for all levels of skiers? (Including performance athletes or kids competing in ski racing?) 

My son started skiing in the largest Roces ski boot last year, the Roces Free size 4-7, and they are a step up in performance for sure with a three buckle design with a power strap. That being said, all of them are designed to have enough performance for the average skier at their respective ages. Each bigger size of boot has a bit more performance.

I would personally say they are suitable for all levels of skiing, but I wouldn't recommend them for racing as racing boots tend to fit quite tight and are generally stiffer than normal recreational ski boots.

No matter the level of skiing, Roces adjustable ski boots perform!

8. For little kids just starting out, what’s the best thing about the Roces boots?

In general they are a bit wide and are quite comfortable for kids. They also come in multiple colors which is kind of nice as well.

The biggest benefit (mostly for the parents) is being able to keep the same pair of boots for multiple years.

Roces ski boots are very comfortable and easy to put on

9. What other selling features can you describe for these boots?

Besides being adjustable for length, they have micro-adjustable buckles which a lot of other kids' boots do not have. I seem to use this feature almost every time we go skiing and can't imagine not having them.

One of the other great features that we are asked about, is that the actual sole size that goes into the bindings does not change. So what that means is that when you make the ski boots bigger or smaller, they still fit into the same bindings without any other changes.

They also have a memory foam liner, and having multiple colors is nice.

No matter the day or terrain, my son's Roces boots have always been comfortable

10. How do the boots perform for comfort and warmth? 

In general I would say they are about the same as most kids' ski boots. They are possibly a bit wider than some, which helps fit a wider range of kids and gives extra wiggle room for their toes.

Dropping in to the steeps! No problem with Roces ski  boots

Personal notes and perspective from my family's experience with Roces adjustable ski boots

My son, age 10, has transitioned from skiing easy black runs, carefully picking his way down small bump runs, and moderate speed on groomers to skiing double black chutes this winter - in his Roces ski boots.

I think that speaks for itself that the boots are not holding him back, that they perform the way they need to, and they are not just a cute little "beginner boot."

My son has also learned to put the boots on by himself this winter, fully tightening them and doing them up with no assistance from us. I consider that a victory too.

The only complaint my son has had has been with cold feet, but we've been skiing when the temperature was as cold as -35C this winter so I don't think it's fair to blame the boots for this one! (The parents, maybe.)

Overall we've been very happy with our Roces adjustable ski boots

Ready to buy a pair of Roces adjustable ski boots?

All Out Kids Gear has been a great company to work with and my family personally uses their services to outfit our son with skiing, climbing, biking, and backpacking gear.

The company is based out of Red Deer, Alberta, and I love that we are shopping local and supporting an actual family (rather than some big corporation.) I can follow All Out Kids Gear on social media, see what their family is up to, and know that I am helping fund those adventures with my support - which is very cool!

I can testify that Phillip only carries the best gear in his online store, that shipping is beyond phenomenal (same week always) and that pricing will always be comparable. (And everything on his site is in Canadian dollars!!)

Read more about Roces boots, check out the sizes and colors, and order a pair for your kids

Outfit the kids in Roces adjustable boots and never have to buy new boots (at least for a few years)

Disclaimer: My family received a pair of boots from All Out Kids Gear in exchange for this review. I am also an affiliate for the store which means I might make a few dollars to put towards a ski pass if you buy a pair (but no pressure of course.) 

As always, all words and opinions are my own (or in this case, words/opinions of the owner of All Out Kids Gear.) 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Five Reasons you need to Visit Fairmont Hot Springs Resort with your Family

My family has spent a lot of time at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort over the years and it's always been one of our favourite places to spend a day while exploring in the East Kootenay Rockies of British Columbia. Recently we got the opportunity to experience "winter at the resort" with skiing, tubing, and deluxe cabin camping.

Winter or summer, Fairmont Hot Springs is a vacation wonderland for families and you have to experience it yourself.

Summer at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort (vacation wonderland!)

Fairmont Hot Springs is located in the Columbia Valley between the communities of Radium Hot Springs and Invermere to the north, and the City of Kimberley to the south. From Calgary, the drive is just over 3 hours depending on where you live. It's easy enough to reach Fairmont on a Friday after work, and the drive is doable for a short weekend, returning to the city Sunday afternoon.

For a more relaxed visit, plan a trip out to Fairmont over a long weekend (Easter and Thanksgiving are beautiful times to travel here) or reserve one of the deluxe cabins for a week this summer. (It's a great vacation spot!)

Deluxe Cabin Camping at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

Five Reasons you need to Visit Fairmont Hot Springs Resort with your Family 

One. The Hot Springs (of course!!)  - some of our favourite in fact!

It's no secret in our family that I love the Fairmont Hot Springs pools and that we will be visiting the resort (no matter where we stay in the Columbia Valley) for at least an afternoon.

Warm Swimming Pool at  the Resort (credit: Fairmont Hot Springs Resort)

Reasons to LOVE the Fairmont Hot Springs Pools:

  1. They are hotter than the ones at Radium Hot Springs. And while I do love Radium Hot Springs in the summer, they just aren't hot enough for me in the winter.

  2. The hot soaking pool and the warm swimming pool are side by side so I can spend my time happily soaking in the hotter pool while my son is playing with his friends in the other pool - and I can still keep an eye on them. (My husband also prefers the cooler pool so he's usually over there with the kids.)

Disclaimer: The dive tank has been closed for several years, but will be reopening in spring 2024 along with at least one small diving board.