Sounds like to me that if you wait to buy in the US you'll save a ton of money. Plenty of good shops in Summit that can fit you. Even with the higher resort area costs, you are going to spend about 1/3 of what you are quoting for in Australia. I'd wait.
$50 is kind of a lot, but it doens't matter how much it is if they refund it when you actually buy a pair. Makes sense to me, I'm sure shops get sick of having their staff spend a lot of their time helping people pick the right pair of boots just to have them immediately leave to go find them cheaper on the internet somewhere.
Sucks gear is so expensive over there...
Bingo I'm sick of spending an hour with a person going through all options only to have them walk out and know they're going to go buy at either sports authority or the internet. Its a waste of my time and takes money from my pocket.