After receiving a free pair of snowboard boots a few years ago, I was stoked. At that time, I mostly cared about the color. Black and hot pink – yes, please! Throughout the winter, I snowboarded many, many days. Every few days, there was a light dusting to several inches of powder, so the riding was always pleasant – a powder day, every day. Then, I started feeling like even though I was getting better at my carving and even small cliff jumping skills, something was not quite right. After a day on the mountain, I would unstrap my board and my boots would be completely loose, almost untied. I tried tying them tighter. To my dismay, not one, but two of the metal clasps that hold the shoelace in place popped off the boot. The other day, I was on my break between work shifts. I decided to take a run down KT-22. After one run, I went back to the car and my boots were so loose that my heel kept slipping. That was the final straw. I headed to one of the shops in Tahoe City to buy some new snowboard boots! Right away, the girl who worked there asked me if I rode all-mountain or park. I said all-mountain, so she said I should look for a stiffer boot. She also said that most people should wear a much smaller snowboard boot than shoe. For example, I bought a size 6, and I wear 7 to 7.5 and regular shoes. The boot should fit tight, where your toes touch the front of the boot, but do not curl over. New technological innovations have created boots that have cranks and pulleys, instead of the traditional lace. My new Burton boots have strings that pull up to tighten and back to lock into place. The way they are made makes it easy to tighten more if necessary while out on the mountain. The boots also have a liner that heats up from your foot's temperature and molds for a tighter fit. This is a great time of year to purchase new gear, as many of the local shops offer great sales! Wow, what a difference boots that actually fit can make – just an exchange of some gear can make a huge difference in the way you ski or snowboard. And, they can still be stylish too.