I began my day riding over on Shooting Star dipping in and out of the trees and untracked powder. While not impervious to getting stuck, this board made riding in waist deep, heavy Cascade powder not only possible, but as close to effortless as is possible. The only time I actually got truly stuck was when I pushed the limit to stupid levels, riding through completely flat untracked zones in literally waist deep snow. In anything with a reasonable pitch to it greater than 15 degrees, this board was easy to keep up on plane.
A slight aft shift of the hips was all it took to keep the nose up and I felt no back leg burn even after all day plowing through this stuff. One thing that I really found that I liked about this board was it`s ability to get itself unstuck so long as you did not really dive it in deep. Several times I got too adventurous and went where no sane man dared go on a day like this. As it slowed to a stop, I quick aft shift, allowed the nose to pop out and it became possible to “skootch” my way ahead to a steeper pitch. The only time I had to actually unstrap and swim out to “dry land” was the result of a fall in the deep.
The real test though came toward the end of the day when I conned my friend Pdxrealtor to follow me through Endor gate to S&R Cliff in Private Reserve. This is gated “side country” through dense, old growth timber on pitches that vary from nearly flat to 60 degrees with cliffs. This board was truly amazing in it`s ability to provide superior float in the deeps powder I have seen in this terrain and yet still remain agile enough to negotiate tight turns at speed through tight trees.
Due to the conditions, I was not able to bear right far enough to miss the edge of the actual S&R Cliff and we were left with only two options. Attempt to hike back up and over another 50 yards through the deep. or take a chute through the cliffs. We agreed the chute was the better choice and I dropped into the nearly 70 degree chute that was about 40 feet before it opened onto the scree slopes below the cliffs. I made my first turn to discover it was solid ice with a loose dusting of powder and that immediately sloughed when I got onto it starting a mini avalanche. At this point, I went into the toe side hand over hand “death descent” slowly zigzaging my way down the spine. Dropping was not a safe option as the terrain below and its coverage was an unknown. This is where the other side of the Cobra saved the day. The Variogrip edge allowed a safe, controlled descent down this precarious drop without so much as a slip.
The rest of the ride down through the timber to Yoda Bowl was as delicious as the upper section had been. I can honestly say that this board performed actually beyond my expectations. The actual visual differences between it and the Heritage are very subtle, but when put to the test, they deliver the goods. I remain steadfast in my opinion that this thing is the ideal deck for the true all mountain rider who wants a slightly more flexible board than the Heritage to jib with,hit jumps, ride the pipe, carve icy groomers and take off piste into bottomless powder.
If there is any “negative” to speak of it might be the different feel of it switch. On groomed terrain, I found this to be no issue at all and even rode medium moguls on blue terrain switch with it quite effortlessly but you must take a few switch runs to get used to the feel. In the deep powder, it does not do well switch. The very properties that make it excel in powder, make it very poor at riding the powder switch. This board was made for the Pacific Northwest conditions, hands down. I rode my Gnu Billy Goat that I have enjoyed so much this season, the next day and Pdxrealtor was on his this day. The Cobra runs circles around it in these conditions without a shadow of a doubt.
Here are some pics that Pdxrealtor took of our journey through Private Reserve where the Cobra was at ease and at home: