A select group of top independent U.S. and Canadian ski and snowboard shops specializing in custom boot fitting have joined together to form a new marketing alliance, America’s Best Bootfitters.

“Turning and stopping may be the most difficult part of skiing and snowboarding but finding a good boot fitter is just as important,” says Steve Cohen, executive director of America’s Best Bootfitters (ABB). Cohen should know. He has been directing Ski Magazine’s boot testing program for the last 15 years and says the most frequent question he receives from readers is where to buy and get their boots fit.

“Unfortunately, big box sporting goods and chain ski shops have increasing removed boot fitting from their sales equation. Our members are among the remaining core specialty shops who’ve made a commitment to boot fitting excellence.”

It has been said that bootfitting is 60 percent knowledge, 30 percent art and 10 percent voodoo. “ABB members have not only been trained in state-of-the-art bootfitting techniques, “says Cohen, “but they also know how to sculpt the canvas and where to stick the pins.”

America’s Best Bootfitters membership has been granted only to shops whose boot fitting and customization work has demonstrated a high level of expertise and consistency over the years and meet rigorous standards. All ABB shops have a supervising boot fitter with a minimum of 10 years experience and have at least two full-time staffers who’ve achieved top-level “Masters” certification from MasterFit University, the snowsports industry’s bootfitter training center. They also have a full compliment of the stretching, grinding and stance analysis tools necessary to optimally customize today’s new boots.

The association has launched a national advertising campaign in SKI and SKIING Magazines and created a website, bootfitters.com, which contain member shop profiles and information on the association.

“A comfortable, good fitting, optimally-tuned boot is crucial for maximizing skiing and snowboarding enjoyment,” says Cohen. “Now snowsports enthusiasts can easily locate the top professionals who can help them select the right boot for their foot and customize it for perfect fit and performance.”

America’s Best Bootfitters is a MasterFit Enterprises program. MasterFit Enterprises also operates MasterFit University Bootfitter Training Centers and manufactures and distributes Instaprint brand custom footbeds and boot fit aids.

ABOUT MASTERFIT UNIVERSITY With training centers in the U.S. and Canada, MasterFit University is where North America’s ski and snowboard bootfitters go to perfect their skills. It is the only snowsports training program that qualifies for Continuing Education Credits from the prestigious board for Certification on Pedorthics.

At MasterFit University, bootfitters learn the latest techniques for fitting and customizing ski and snowboard boots to maximize both comfort and performance. They train with state-of-the-art equipment for analyzing and customizing fit under the direction of some of the world’s leading authorities.

Graduates of MasterFit University have learned biomechanical examination and analysis techniques, advanced boot modification strategies, stance alignment and canting protocols and footbed making skills that will ensure skiers and snowboarders get the best fitting and performing boots possible.

MasterFit University is presented by Ski Magazine, Transworld Snowboarding Business and Ski Area Management. It is sponsored by the industry’s premier boot and bootfitting customization companies including Tecnica, Salomon, Nordica, Rossignol, Dalbello, Head, Lange, Dolomite, Zip Fit, DownUnders, The Cant Co., Booster Strap, Toe Jam Spreader and Instaprint.