I beg to differ. A rider can be a kick ass freeride, Eurocarver, backcountry or what not and have never, ever left the ground or hit a box. I think the almost obsession among snowboarders with park riding has skewed the opinions of what a good rider is based soley on their park skills. This is total BS as I have seen my fair share of park rats who can grind any rail or throw any trick off a kicker, but shit their pants when confronted with a 50 degree pitch and a 2000 foot vertical drop on ungroomed piste. A rider can really be top notch in one area and a newbie in another. AASI is recognizing this in it`s certification process and is moving towards a more Canadian or European system with a seperate Freestyle certification. It is now easier for older riders to gain their cert 2 and 3 without having to master all of the park skills that many older bodies just can`t take any more. These riders may have been tearing it up as younger guys, but just can`t do it anymore, yet have a wealth of experience to pass on as instructors and managers. The AASI freestyle rating allows younger instructors who can just rip it in the park to fill a niche also; it is a win win for instructors and customers alike.
To answer your boot question, Burton Avenger is right. Even though heel lift may not be a problem, the boot sounds too big at least in some places for your foot. I would suggest a boot with a medium stiffness rating for your riding goals with starting to learn park where a bit of give is a good thing, but still having the support for all mountain riding. I am not up to speed on women`s boots, but in general, I would advise you to try lots of pairs on and make sure to walk aroung or run in the boots to really get a good feel. Having a demo board with bindings in the store to strap into to get a real feel is also very helpfull. When doing this trying on thing, try to pick the shop you will ultimately buy from as the time these people invest in boot fiting is wasted if you don`t buy boots from them.
I guess Iím being a little over critical and donít want to beat the topic to death as the real question is about boot fit, but since skill level was referred to as a possible explanation for the boots not working I had to have an a-hole moment. My interpretation of an advanced rider would be someone a couple steps away from being sponsored and/or turning pro, someone that has the skill level to work as a guide in the backcountry, or someone who could be a level 4 instructor. Iíve been riding for 21 seasons straight, am comfortable with any run on the mountain, and would consider myself a good intermediate though that may be me being a humble Canadian.
There are a lot of examples on this forum and others where noobs flop around in the park for a season before they actually learn any fundamental skills and call themselves an advanced rider. Iím not sure why this bugs me but it does. I definitely agree that someone can be an advanced rider and have never been nor have any interest in riding park. My deduction came from the comment that the original poster rode ďmostly groomers,Ē so I guess they could be an advanced groomer rider. Anyhow, enough said, any more discussion can be started on another thread.
Iím sure you were not being literal but if you are an advance backcountry, eurocarver, or freerider, your board has definitely left the ground.
snowsam17, good luck in your quest for the perfect fitting boot. Take to heart what Snowolf and Burton Avenger have to say as they know what they are talking about and have some of the most experience of anyone on this forum.