Boot size: 8.5 – 9.0 US
Stance: Regular, 22-24 inches +15 /-15
General riding background:
Been riding for just over 6 years now and I would consider myself an advanced free rider (not expert yet) with good carving skills and all around back country experience. Can handle trees, steeps, crud, ice, powder, moguls and anything mother nature throws my way with relative ease and make decent turns doing it. I frequently climb Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams in the spring and summer to get my summer turns.
As for general freestyle and park skills, I am a low intermediate who can hit small to medium tables up to 15 feet no problem (straight air with basic Indy or Method grab) Easy boxes doing 50/50 and starting to explore board sliding but no hand rails or fancy tricks on boxes yet. I ride the 18 foot Super Pipe up to the lip (not getting out yet) competently and with ease. I have my 180`s down all 4 directions solid on small hits; working on 360`s. My biggest limitation for park skills comes from a deathly fear of heights so no going big or gnarly cliff drops are in my future (at least not on purpose).
I am an instructor who rides and works 50+ days a season not counting summer and fall back country which puts me close to the 100 days a year mark. I ride in any condition ,in any weather and prefer the off piste to groomers although laying down hard carves on firm, fresh corduroy is a nice treat when the off piste is boiler plate with embedded death cookies.
I have paired this board up with the 2012 Rome Targa bindings set at 22 inches, +15/-15 and am using the 3.5 degree cant in the footbeds and the medium flex foam pads in the ankle strap and just a dash of forward lean. I am not a fan of rotated highbacks.
Thanksgiving Day 11-24-2011
Mt. Hood Meadows Resort
Mt. Hood, Oregon
Cold, clear and windy in the morning turning to snow by noon. Temperature around 28-32F.
Very firm on the groom with patches of ice from a rain/sun crust and polished by the wind. Off piste was hard, frozen, churned up uneven crud with no powder stashes.
Well rested, ready to get on the snow. First snowboarding since a split boarding trip a week prior. Recovering from cold so stamina was not at 100%.
Hard and fast groomed runs
Upon arrival, I headed straight for the new Stadium Express lift to ride the Shooting Star area which offers a great variety of terrain in a small area of the resort. Skating felt very natural as I was already used to this camber / rocker profile. The trick to one footed gliding on this type of board is to ride the front half of the board. Keep your weight over the front foot and place your back foot a bit closer to your front foot rather than back up against your rear biding. This board responds very well to even the slightest amount of torsional twist with the front foot and as long as the front half is weighted, the tail just weathervanes right along behind.
Upon strapping in, I played around with the longitudinal flex of the board and found it to be just a bit stiffer feeling than the NS Heritage but still plenty “butterable”. My first run was down a firm steep section with a few small moguls and some stumps to avoid. The very first few turns caught me a little off guard as I definitely put a little bit too much force into it and it whipped me into the turns. As I reached the more mellow section, I opened it up a bit and began to get a feel for it. Within a very short distance to the Shooting Star lift, I felt pretty dialed in.
Warm up run
I lapped a couple of runs down Shooting Star with your basic, open ended skidded / scarved turns just to get warmed up. The response that this board has is truly phenomenal and it is extremely quick edge to edge. The run was semi groomed with wind scoured patches of ice and hardpack. There were a lot of very rough uneven areas that required loose legs. The dampness of the board was noticeable when dealing with this crud. The overall control and edge hold seemed very solid.
Large Radius Dynamic Carved Turns
After a couple of warm up runs, I began to lay down some medium speed, large radius carved turns. The one thing that a rider new to this board needs to be prepared for is the abruptness in carve entry when you lay this thing on edge. It surprised me a few times and still occasionally sneaks up on me. My first toe side carve entry just about threw me off balance when the edge engaged and like hitting after burners, it really accelerated into the turn. This board really requires the rider to use good angulation to keep their body weight stacked over the board or they will get left behind when it goes for it.
Basic carved turns using inclination felt very solid and less “hooky” so for a rider that is just really beginning to develop their carving skills, it is reasonably tame. When you start getting into dynamic skidded and dynamic carved, the rider better be prepared to keep up with the board because it really, really loves to turn. After a few runs, I was able to hold some decent medium radius dynamic carved turns even on the ice provided I properly completed my turns and worked the top of my next turn with early, positive edge setting. Once set, the magnetraction really holds well. This board has a mellower form of it and as a result, provides a feel that is very much like the NS Heritage on these conditions.
The base is very fast and I did put a good wax on. I was easily passing just about everyone in low aspect areas and felt a need to control speed everywhere else. The board is very stable at speed without a lot of chatter up to about 35 according to the GPS. From 35 to 45 the chatter on these conditions began to get noticeable. Due to the conditions, I kept it at or below 45 all day as it just was too dicey. One thing I noticed about speed, you really have to have a very light touch with your control inputs because of how responsive this board is. A new rider who has not yet developed the finesse to use very subtle movements to control their board will find this thing a bit much to handle at high speed.
Here is a bit of a paradox. As I just pointed out, this board could prove dangerous to a new rider hauling ass. On the flip side, it`s super responsiveness and flex pattern makes this thing so damn easy to turn at even the slowest speeds. So, while it is a lot to handle, it also could be an excellent first board for a new rider. They will have no problem getting the board to turn and will easily feel results from the moment they get on it. The ease at which it responds to torsional twist will produce results immediately for the new rider. The C2 rocker also allows an amazing margin of error by keeping the tips safely up off of the snow when the new rider starts throwing their upper body around to pivot the board. As long as the new rider understands the potential for getting out of control at speed, this board could actually be a very decent first board that the rider will never ever outgrow.
Due to the conditions and being my first day on the board, I elected to avoid the off piste crud for the day and just really rode fast and carved. I deliberately got this board in the 156 which is on the short end of my range because I wanted a quick turning, playful, agile board to slay steeps, moguls and trees with. As a result, I sacrificed some stability and dampness at speed. But the reality is, that for it`s length, it performed very admirably in these conditions. Snow began around noon and Friday looks to be a powder day.