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Softboot carving Newbie set-up! Help!

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Hi everyone!

I've been lurking on your website for some time now and since I recently gave away my snowboarding kit to a friend, I'm looking at getting into carving and more specifically, softboot carving. Thanks for the advice!

Background: I'm a 5'10, 150 lbs dude who has been riding in Quebec (smaller mountains with icy conditions) for more than 10 years. My most recent board was a Burton Custom with soft, softboots. I rarely do jumps or ride switch and spend most of my time going fast and pushing my board to try to carve.  

I recently purchased a "new" 2015-2016 Arbor A Frame after doing some research on your forum as it seems to be a good board to get better at carving and maybe one day commit all the way to hardboot carving.

Looking for advice for:

1) Boots: From what I've read, the Burton Driver X or the Ride Insano or the Salomon Malamute are rigid enough softboots that would allow me to carve. Do you guys have any recommendations for the three (3) mentioned or any other softboots? All 3 are in the price range I'm looking for. If possible, I'd also like to use these boots to go ride in powdery conditions (Maybe Japan next year!) and would use the boots with another board.

2) Bindings: So far I've looked into getting the Ride El Hefe (if I can find them in Montreal...!), Ride Capo or Burton Diode. Any advice on these 3 or any other bindings and brands?

3) Power plates: How good should I get at carving before adding the Power plates? And what are the good brands / models for Power plates?

4) Stance / angles: I currently ride with a +20, -3 stance. Should I got +20, +20 to start? 

I appreciate the tips and advice guys! Hope to see you on the slopes!

Mick from Montreal

P.S. I've included a pic of my new board and of my dog Roam!


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Welcome Mick,

lots of discussion points on your questions, some of your answers might be able to be found here: 



and here:


Good luck on your journey to find the setup that works best for you. Your new board looks sweet as woodies really look nice ? 




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Micknouillen, you've got 'the board', though it may be a tad stiff for your weight at times. Your boot choices are good, so, I'll only note Dee-Lux Sparks as another option. In Bindings, I'm a fan of simplicity, stiffness,Toe-ramps, and rotation at the highback (at the hinge point; to bring the highback more 'in line' with the board's edge), and power-wings. The '015 Tech-Nine Bradshaw had all that. Earlier, the 2011 Burton Infidel also had similar features. Be sure you understand both 'why' you would want heel-cup/highback rotation, or even the 'power-wings' option. Also, I run with more forward lean at the rear than up front, as to also allow me to move 'softly' a bit forward of the board into heelside turns, then evenly create pressure to the edge from the middle-to-tail. This does mean (with directional stancing) that I'm riding "Fakie" , not 'switch', as there's a true bias in how power goes from my legs into the board, due to my angles, and then my highback set-up. Keep in mind that a bunch of moves available to Hardboot Riders are simply not something softboots will support, but as Softboots get stiffer, the differences will start to be less and less, at least at 'moderate' hardboot angles. Be sure to pay attention to binding centering ACROSS the board, try not to leave stuff 'hanging out' over the board's edges. If you're blessed with a board that's a tad wider than your bindings/boots, put the Toes to the Edge, and keep the Highback inboard of the edge, as the Highback adds 'leverage' to that turn, but also lacks the sensitivity to let you know you're about to "boot out".


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4) Stance / angles: I currently ride with a +20, -3 stance. Should I got +20, +20 to start? 

Since you're a softbooter that is used to 23* of splay, (difference in angle between front and back binder), I would recommend against going parallel to soon with your angles to start; better to keep the feet near what your used to as you advance your angles forward for more aggressive carving. Try moving the back foot to a positive forward angle 1st to get the feel of a more carve specific stance then move both angles more forward to find a stance that works comfortably for you. Maybe reduce the splay as you adjust angles forward. take a driver on the slope with you to make on hill adjustment as you go.

don't change more than 1 thing at a time so you know for sure which adjustment had what effect


ps. I've ridden alpine angle on freeride boards for near 30yrs and settled on 10*-15* of splay on 25cm +/- boards with 40-45 front and 25-35 rear. the wider the board the lower the angles I can get away with, w/out toe or heel drag when the board gets high on edge.

I think your gonna love that board

Edited by b0ardski
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6 hours ago, b0ardski said:


don't change more than 1 thing at a time so you know for sure which adjustment had what effect


This is really important. Figure out a baseline setup that is relatively neutral and does not have a multiple of confounding factors, so dont worry about the power plates for now. 

You may immediately feel something needs adjusting but do one thing at a time. Like it was said above, dont use parallel angles. You can start with 15/0 but Im one of those that recommend a strong directional stance from the beginning if you want to carve, so something like 30/15 but obviously everything depends on any boot overhang. In my case even with downsized Driver Xs (28cm) and a relatively wide softboot board I have to run 40/30. Stance, if you've been riding duck you're probably already quite wide so drop it by a few cm. Multiple you pants inseam length by 0.607 and tack on an inch as a start.

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Hey guys and gals, Muchos gracias for the advice!

I will definitely take into consideration all of your tips when I finally start to try softboot carving (if we still have snow in Quebec by then!) Incremental changes, got it.

It's going to be pretty humbling riding with aggressive angles and most probably tripping up quite often...so watch out for a dude with a green jacket if you're riding in the mountains around Montreal!


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A little splay goes a long way

running 21/9 freestyle

27/12 powdirectional

30/18 BX/softy freecarve

carveable-surfy feel that I think helps 

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