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1st day (ever) hardbootin'--- thoughts & ?'s for you


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Hey all,

Well my anticipation is finally over...my setup finally arrived and I rode an alpine board (Burton Alp) for the first time ever on Sunday. (been reading this site since Feb '03, though) Also met Vlad a few weeks ago (thx to bomber) and it was fun (and challenging) chasing him....

Questions for you all after my first time out:

1. are parallel binding angles (48 degrees here) a bad idea? If no, would such angles make it easier for me (goofy) to wash out on heelside?

2. I'm a bit worried my raichles may be a bit too small- they're basically 2 sizes down from my street shoe size, my feet were freezing half the time (buckles too tight I think...) but my boot fitting buddy said to go with them and he could strech the liner and shell if necessary. I actually felt something pressing against the inside of my rear foot- I think it was the bale binding (perhaps just the shell though)...is this normal?

overall reaction:

Wow! I have even more respect for you guys. Hardbooting much harder than I thought, I was on the green the whole day. My rear kneecap felt like it was going to pop off b/c of the steep angles (48 on both bindings, and I dont' even think that's considered steep). By the end of the day i was getting used to the angles and getting it... Second to last run I just "felt" it and knew I had laid my first real carve.

I had both bindings at 48 degrees and 7 degrees front (burton) universal cant which I'm gong to try on my rear foot next time.

ps only a few liftline questions/comments and they were all positive...

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Re parallel binding angles...

Parallel is fine. It's all personal preference. Most people seem to ride with a small difference between front and back, so you may want to try that, especially if your rear kneecap feels like it's gonna pop. Go with what's comfortable.

Re washing out on heelside...

I wouldn't blame the parallel angles for this. I'd blame the fact that it was your first day. Heelsides are harder to get right. There's plenty of tips and advice regarding heelside turns on this site - read 'em all and narrow them down to a small list of things you can try out when you next go riding.

I basically taught myself to ride hardboots from looking at pictures and videos, reading technique advice here, and lots and lots of experimentation on snow. Experimentation is key.

Re the Raichles...

I wouldn't rush to assume they're too small. Do they have Thermoflex liners? Have they been molded for your feet? If the outer shell of the boot is long enough then just about any other fit problem could be taken care of by moldable liners and a good bootfitter.

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re: parallel binding angles, I did get used to them by the end of the day...


Re washing out on heelside...I wouldn't blame the parallel angles for this. I'd blame the fact that it was your first day.


LOL, chuckle...I can't disagree with that....


lots and lots of experimentation on snow. Experimentation is key.


I'm just an impatient person and trial and error can go on for a long time. also my season here in the DC area is almost over, so I wanna make the most of it.

Re the Raichles, no thermoflex liners b/c I really didn't wanna spend a lot of money on my first setup as the possiblity that I wouldnt' like hardbootin existed. i had the footbeds replaced...left boot is ok (my L foot is smaller) but the R boot is quite tight. I expect they will pack out a bit and if not, I'll have them stretched...seems like there is a bit of room in the heels actually...but this is one aspect of alpine riding I will hve to get used to (softboots are winning the "comfort war" IMHO so far)

ps Baka, what is your location?

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let me just insert here that for comfort, well-fitted boots make a world of difference. I just started hardbooting this season, and I first got my boots fitted (thermoflex liners) at a place that does mainly ski boots because, well, that's all that exists around here, and i didn't want to wait for a trip to whistler and fanatyk co to get on the hill.

what a mistake! pain, pain, pain. they didn't fit the boots properly at all (i think there might be some basic differences between fit principles). i ended up with pressure points all over the place, toes that were too cramped, etc.

i ended up getting them redone at fanatyk co (they really know what they're doing). turned out that the ski people hadn't left any kind of spot for the intec cables, so they were really pressing into my heels--ouch! they also relieved the toe pain, the instep pain...

anyway, the result is that now my hardboots are at least as comfortable as softboots ever were. I can go all day for days in a row without feeling any foot discomfort at all.

they are, however, less convenient for walking. trade-offs.

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(1) I'm not sure about the cant thing, although it may be terminology. If your legs aren't bent then you don't really need any "cant" (side-to-side roll). Instead many people use "lift", specifically something like 1 degree toe lift on the front and 1 degree heel lift on the back. Others ride flat. Search here and you'll find various arguments over what this does and doesn't do.

(2) 48 degrees is pretty mellow for on piste, although perhaps it's a place to start.

(3) There's no specific reason I can think of why you should be stressing your rear kneecap. It may be style or stance causing that, but it shouldn't happen IMHO.

(4) Washing out on the heel-side. You should be able to ride without washing out irrespective of the binding set-up or anything else. Practice...

(5) You should be able to get boots to fit so you just forget about them - I wouldn't have anything else. Although I like mine snug, it sounds like yours need some work. It might just be that as a beginner you're doing things with your feet which you shouldn't be, so perhaps it might be worth putting up with it for a few days just to be sure. Then get 'em fixed.

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I'd bet the knee pain and heel-side washout are related. You are probably not facing the nose of the board.

I had the exact same problem, I was trying to push the tail around with my rear leg, causing a lot of pain and washing out frequently.

Read the whole Heelside turn thread for more info than you could ever want.

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48x48 steep angles?? NO. you are just above the range of soft boots. Try some 50s and you will see a big difference. I dont know any alpine riders that have both feet that low.

During my First season of alpine yyz locked me onto his Coiler all mtn and the angles were 65x62. I was freaking on my first run and since it had those damn Cateks on it I didnt have a work bench of tools near by to adjust it. after the 3rd run I forgot about the angles and went on to have one of the biggest advancement in my riding of the season. I went home and set my boards at those angles and have not changed from those settings on true alpine boards since.

I think if you have basic understanding of alpine, riding Steeper angles will force you to use proper technique, atleast it did to me.

What cory said about pushing the board around with the back foot, At steeper angles you cant cheat or kick with that back foot like you can at shallow angles

Get those boots fitted properly or you will Never want to ride alpine.

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48 degrees is a good place to start, especially on a wide board like the Alp. I started there and went progressively steeper as I progressed. I am now at 60/60 and I am quite comfortable.

Parallel or not depends on personnal preference. I was thinking that I had 6 deg difference at first, but it appears I did not (because of Burton cant and special disk that were not precise enought), I was riding parallel all along.


I tried Burton cants (front, back, both, none), and I prefer to ride flat. Back only felt like it was throwing my weight forward too much and I had less control. Front only was comfortable, but lacked control in heelside turns. With both, it was not so bad, but nothing exceptionnal. And riding flat is the best for me (for now).


The first boots I bought, I chose them 1 size under my shoe size. I had to remove them between each runs because of the pain. I was able to exchange them for some the same shoe size I wear, and they are comfortable enough (not perfect). I am not ready to spit out 600-700$CDN for boots with custom fitting, so I'll keep mine.


The toughest thing when carving (or at least riding a carving board) is trying to sit on the snow, this really hurts the leg articulations and it is more comfortable to lie on your side if you are going to be sitting. But still, it is even better to keep standing up!


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Guest g1ngerrevolution

My first day was last Thursday @ Mountain Creek, then a morning at Pico on Sunday.

The biggest problem I had was a cramp like pain in my leading thigh, close to the groin (inner thigh).

I'm thinking it's probalby just the muscle isn't used so much as with my soft setup - but any thoughts on this are appreciated.

I rode 60 both front & back the first day, then went to 65 at the front on the second day. Pain persisted on both days.

Much fun had, especially at Pico, where I had the mountain & courdouroy(?sp?) pretty much to myself for 2 hours, despite washing out all over the place.

Is there a video of what "the norm" is supposed to look like? In the end I gave up & tried what I use with my soft setup to get right up on an edge -- reaching for between the boots with downhill hand (& trying to keep shoulders perpendicular to board on hard setup).

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lift the toes, lift the toes (in my boots, silly) and trailing arm forward. Gets me back to concentrating on why I came out to ride!I'd use higher angles myself, but aim for boots just at the edge of the board. I started @ 65/60 and backed off from there, but I'm moving them back up now. You'll grow into it, just be patient.

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Guest g1ngerrevolution

Board: F2 Speedster 167

Rossignol "race" bindings.

Boots Raichle SB 413

Sadly no adjustability on bindings other than angles and yellow wedges that raise the boot perpendicular with the binding. Look like 3 degrees but haven't got my protractor out.

I'll try releasing the lock on the front boot & let you know.


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are parallel binding angles (48 degrees here) a bad idea? If no, would such angles make it easier for me (goofy) to wash out on heelside?

Parallel or not - whatever you find comfy. As far as the 48 degree part - I personally get into trouble if my front foot is anything less than about 54, my technique starts to get more soft-boot like and things go badly for me. I don't go much shallower than 55/50, even on my Donek Axis which is wider like your Alp. Your mileage may vary of course.

I'm a bit worried my raichles may be a bit too small- they're basically 2 sizes down from my street shoe size

They could very well be too small, or not. When I started out on hard boots, I tended to overtighten my boots in an effort to gain more control. It didn't work - my feet hurt, which made it harder to correct the actual problem, my technique. (Now I don't buckle as tight, but I'm still on the never-ending quest to improve ;) )

Try leaving the boots a little less tight first. FWIW I am a 9 street shoe and started out with an 8 Raichle (Mondo 26) and then moved to a 7 (Mondo 25) which worked out a lot better. The 2-sizes-down works for me, in part due to the fact that my foot is shaped like a Raichle shell - smaler toes angled back as opposed to squared off, and narrow. People with wider, more squared off feet, or "index" toes that stick out, may not have as much luck down-sizing.

Second to last run I just "felt" it and knew I had laid my first real carve.

Didn't that feel great! Welcome to Bomber!

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Hey all,

thx for the awesome response....ok here's the deal....My board is an Alp so it's not real narrow & my boots are super small (mondo 23)...if i go much past 50 degrees, the bindings will likely be too far from the edge, at least certainly not flush with the edge...maybe this is another arguement for gettign the 24s....

re: the boots...my friend saw how both the 23 and 24s fit on me, and said go with the 23s....he works at a local shop known for being expert bootfitters (note he did not sell me my hardboots) and sold me my softboots (which had a heat molded liner) that killed me at first, but I now love them, so I trusted him more than my own instinct. I did have my R boot streched a bit. He says they'll pack out. I'm positive I had the things too tight b/c a few minutes after I was out of them , my feet got warm. I used to do this all the time. pretty dumb, when I'm already complaining about how snug they were. there is room in the back on the liner which my foot still needs to find...

if there are any fellow Burton Alp riders, I'm curious what stances you are using....I'm using burton's recommended (15 mm back i think it is, but their universal cant plays with that a bit)

Vlad, pencil me in for 'tail on Sunday. I say pencil b/c some college friends are coming for the Syracuse game this weekend and saturday could be a late night. i have to see exactly what these clowns are planning..i'll email you with a definite answer by friday afternoon. oh, and there's no way I'll be able to keep up with you, lol, but i'll take your advice.

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