The first half of my day was spent lapping the Shooting Star lift which gave me access to everything from “groomed” runs, to steeps to trees and natural hits and ravines. The wind was a constant 35-45 MPH with blowing and drifting snow. No new snow, just being moved around. The temperature was around 25F. Later, I rode the main areas serviced by Mt. Hood Express and spent a lot of time on the upper bowls and the Face along with some laps of the main groomed runs. After dark, the wind died down to nothing and the temperature dipped to 16F.
This board in my opinion is definitely a very task specific tool. The handling in powder was phenomenal and I really enjoyed every turn down the filled in steeps such as 3D and O-Ring down through the ravine where the powder was nearly a foot deep. Compression turns off of the banks were great and the board felt extremely loose and playful. I really wish I had tried a shorter deck instead of this 161 as it really felt long to me after being on my 156 rockered Billy Goat.
On ice however, this board came up seriously lacking!. I have to say this was one of the most unnerving rides I have had as a result of having almost no edge hold. Granted the conditions off the pow stashes were brutal, but this thing was flat out scary to ride. The factors involved here are the conventional sidecut with no form of magnetraction combined with the TBT profile which I will go into below. I did a few laps through the Zoo to do some basic 50-50`s and a boardslide on the small boxes. The looseness of the board makes it great for jibbing. In fact, I was jibbing 100 foot sections on ice all night long.
My overall opinion of the board is that is a great powder and park board and a less than ideal “does everything well” board. If a person is looking for one board that does it all, this in my opinion is not it.
This board is rated a 6 out of 10 for flex on Bataleon`s scale. Every company has their own scale and I have to say that I did not find this board nearly as flexible as my NS Heritage or my Gnu Billy Goat which rates 8 out of 10. Longitudinally, is does have good flex that felt very even tip to tail but torsionally, this thing is a plank. I found myself having to use tilt to steer the board than flex. Part of this I suspect is the Triple Base Construction that begins at the binding inserts then becomes more aggressive toward the contact points. This construction is not conducive to twisting.
This is one of the areas where this board really shines. It Ollies very energetically and popping off of natural hits was super fun and playful. The full camber profile which is quite pronounced really gives this thing a lot of bounce and that aspect of this board was very fun.
Weight and Balance:
For the length of this board, it is amazingly light and in the air, it has great balance. After the Ollie, it was effortless to keep this thing level for a nice flat landing and its lightness made it super easy to pull the board up after takeoff.
This for me was an area that I was disappointed in the board`s performance. This board felt a lot like I was riding on a steel I beam on the crud. It transferred every jar, jolt, bump, vibration and chatter straight up through the bones into my body and after a full day of riding on hard crud, my knees are toast. It also has a tendency to “buck” you when hitting unexpected rough crud and requires as much looseness of the the ankles, knees and hips as you can muster. If I were into giving boards names, I would call this board “Teddy” after Teddy Roosevelt as a “rough riding son of a bitch”.
Edge to edge agility:
Oddly, considering how stiff it is torsionally, this board is very quick edge to edge and is actually quite agile. This is due in my opinion to the TBT construction that gives the base the shape of the hull of a boat. Imagine if you will, rocker but instead of tip to tail, the rocker is edge to edge. A slight lean, and this board “rolls” over onto the edge and aggressively enters the turn. In powder, this characteristic makes this board one of the funnest rides I have on a board. On ice however, if is flat out spooky. The one thing I will this board very high marks on regarding edges is it`s overall forgiving nature. As loose and out of control as it felt at time, I never came close to an edge catch. After a full night of riding it, I did grow more confident and less spooked by the looseness of the board. For a beginner this board is not a bad choice other that the torsional stiffness. I think that overall, this thing is less edgy than a full rocker.
Powder: I give this board a 10+ for powder riding. The TBT makes this thing feel like you are driving a high performance speed boat! It planes up on top like it has anti gravity boosters and the TBT nose is shaped like the hull of a boat ant is actually throws a rooster tail out to each side when you hit high speeds in the pow and it looks pretty damn cool!. The thing I loved about riding pow with this board was how tightly you could turn by “rolling” the board onto it`s side without having to dig an edge in. Loved that aspect of this board thoroughly!
Hard groomers and ice: I have to give this thing a 3 or 4. Not impossible and as I got the feel of the board, things got better but I do not like this loose almost out of control feel the board has on ice. You have got to lay this thing way over onto its side to get any kind of edge hold and by the time you do that, you are generally turning sharper than the edge can hold. If any board needs magnetraction, this thing does. When I discus the TBT profile below you will clearly see the edge hold issue. Imagine you have taken any snowboard and beveled your edge to like 10 degrees then tried to ride ice. That is what this thing feels like.
Carving: Where I found softer snow and could actually maintain a good carve, this thing did it very well and it was fun to lay down a few hard carves and feel the rebound after loading up the board and decambering it through the turn. It really pops you out of the turn and sets you up to dive into the next. When the conditions are prime, this would be a fantastic carving board.
Steeps: I found the torsional stiffness less than ideal for the 40 degree plus steeps. It just takes too long to really aggressively initiate the turn and speed buildup becomes a concern on these less than ideal condition. On a deep powder day however, this thing would be fun as hell to make medium radius bomber turns down a steep bowl.
Moguls: Like the steeps, I find it does not respond as aggressively as I need to ride a good bump line and the added length exacerbated this problem in the moguls. Maintaining a zipper line was doable, but require a lot of help with a huge amount of upper body movement. At times I felt I had to throw my shoulders and hips into to whip the tail around or do a Wyle E Coyote maneuver into the face of the next mogul.
TBT and why the board behaves as it does:
For those who are not sure what TBT is, it stands for Triple Base Technology and it describes the shape of the base. Starting from the binding inserts, there is about a 4 inch wide section down the center that is flat like any other board. On each side however there is a strip that is canted up toward the edge. At the start it is barely noticable. As you near the contact points, it steepens dramatically to almost 10 degrees. This effectively lifts your edge and your contact points a good half inch off of the snow. If you look at this board nose or tail on, it looks just like the bottom of a teaspoon. It`s a “double edged spoon”!
The effect of this is that the board will not sit flat on any surface just like spoon does not. It easily rocks side to side. The good from this is the loose feeling in powder but the other side of the coin is that rocky feeling like a canoe becomes scary on ice and you are riding basically edgeless unless you get this thing up on a relatively high edge angle. The flat base bombers out there might love this feeling but I like always having my edge engaged and I like the ability to ride a very low edge angles and still have the edge engaged. It really felt like I jibbed more of the mountain than carved it.
Here are some Iphone pics of the TBT close up:
An absolutely phenomenal board for a few specific tasks. Awesome powder board and great all around park board that is super forgiving for landing in cases where the spin did`nt fully complete. buttery and it made nose and tail presses easy to spin multiple 360`s. Great jibbing board due to the edges being lifted up. Super easy for a beginner to jib with as you would have to get pretty crazy with tilt to hook an edge. Does not provide the clear “locked on” feeling however.
As primarily a free rider who rides anything in any condition though, this is not the ideal board for my needs. If had the funds and desire to add another task specific board to my quiver, I would not hesitate to grab this board. For me however, being really sold on rocker hybrids, I am just not that thrilled with any full camber deck these days and without good edge hold on ice, it does not fit the bill for my needs like the boards I already have and am in love with.