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Soft Boots & Bindings for a new setup


nuejam
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This coming season I will be in Hokkaido, Japan, in the Niseko area, training to give backcountry tours for four months. What with Hokkaido's renown as one among Japan's fresh powder paradises, all I've heard about the pleasure of soft boots in powder, and the skating I've been doing this year making me eager to enter the terrain park and half-pipe, soft boots and bindings are on the top of equipment to purchase.

I did a quick search of the forums and found the most talk about Nidecker Pro 800 Pro and Catek Freeride bindings, but little discussion of what boots (other than comments about Burton boots being stiff) are good for what.

Mostly I'll be using the new setup in knee-waist deep powder and the terrain park. I have relatively large (12.5 US) feet, which may be an issue.

If anyone is feeling like they have an abundance of advice on the subject, I'd appreciate replies, especially from those who have done a lot of riding BC and in the park.

Apologies if I missed in my search any thread with the information I'm searching for.

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This coming season I will be in Hokkaido, Japan, in the Niseko area, training to give backcountry tours for four months. What with Hokkaido's renown as one among Japan's fresh powder paradises, all I've heard about the pleasure of soft boots in powder, and the skating I've been doing this year making me eager to enter the terrain park and half-pipe, soft boots and bindings are on the top of equipment to purchase.

I did a quick search of the forums and found the most talk about Nidecker Pro 800 Pro and Catek Freeride bindings, but little discussion of what boots (other than comments about Burton boots being stiff) are good for what.

Mostly I'll be using the new setup in knee-waist deep powder and the terrain park. I have relatively large (12.5 US) feet, which may be an issue.

If anyone is feeling like they have an abundance of advice on the subject, I'd appreciate replies, especially from those who have done a lot of riding BC and in the park.

Apologies if I missed in my search any thread with the information I'm searching for.

I have done a lot of park riding and limited BC riding. Are you using snowshoes or splitboard for BC?

I own the Nidecker 800 Pros and have owned the Catek Freerides. How much do you weigh? With size 12.5 feet, I'm guessing you are over 200 lbs and so I think those two bindings would be good for you.

I'm only 140 lbs and the Catek Freeride FR1 were a little too stiff for freestyle in my opinion (bruised heels and ankles), unnecessarily stiff for powder, and a bit heavy for backcountry since I didn't need the extra stiffness, powder, and the cant/lift adjustment (in comparison one FR2 binding is heavier than BOTH Burton C60 bindings). I wouldn't suggest the the C60 to you at your weight as you might shatter it. So maybe the Nidecker 800s.

For boots, people like the Burton boots for backcountry also because of their Vibram rubber soles. Salomon Malamute is a good stiff BC boot (I have a pair). As are Nitro Darkseids. For freestyle I have the Nitro Teams which are medium stiff - but made for ppl with narrow heel/ankles.

Hope that helps.

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Thanks, that tells me a little more what I wanted to know about the different setups.

Let's see if I can be helpful with information about myself:

Thanks to a crazy gene pool, I'm 5'8", ~152lbs (69kg), and have size 12.5 feet. The board I'll be using for powder and park (until I have money to buy another, maybe a splitboard?) will be the Malolo, so I'll be hiking up with snowshoes wherever the day takes us.

Weight and stiffness definitely make a difference, but I'm used to riding hardboots and plates in powder, so I wonder how something like the Catek FR2 will compare to what I'm used... sounds more similar than the Nidecker 800s or the C60s would be. Since I've heard people talking about the 'surfy' feeling from riding softies in the powder, perhaps something further away (from hardboots/plates) is what they're talking about?

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Thanks, that tells me a little more what I wanted to know about the different setups.

Let's see if I can be helpful with information about myself:

Thanks to a crazy gene pool, I'm 5'8", ~152lbs (69kg), and have size 12.5 feet. The board I'll be using for powder and park (until I have money to buy another, maybe a splitboard?) will be the Malolo, so I'll be hiking up with snowshoes wherever the day takes us.

Weight and stiffness definitely make a difference, but I'm used to riding hardboots and plates in powder, so I wonder how something like the Catek FR2 will compare to what I'm used... sounds more similar than the Nidecker 800s or the C60s would be. Since I've heard people talking about the 'surfy' feeling from riding softies in the powder, perhaps something further away (from hardboots/plates) is what they're talking about?

So all of this is my personal opinion, which varies from other peoples. Yes, the point is to get something that feels different from your hardboots/plate setup and having ultimate carving power all the time is not the point of this setup.

A malolo will be good combination for powder and park. I have NOT ridden the FR2 (I rode the FR1), but even with a thin dampening pad and a 25% weight reduction, it's just not what I would recommend for someone doing park and powder. If you are in good shape, have healthy ankles and have good fitting boots you won't need the ultra-stiff boots and bindings.

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:cool: Boasting alert:cool: : I was one of the original foreign snowboarders in Hokkaido (since 1982) and I skiied there since 1981 so I know Niseko and I know the snow. </IDLE boasting>:D :D :D

That said IMNSHO any decent softboot + binding should be fine. For boots check out Deeluxe, Salomon & Burton. For bindings check out Burton, Ride, Salomon & Nidecker. (Many other brands would also be OK).

But what you really need is a Rad-Air Tanker. And maybe a Dupraz D1. :biggthump:biggthump :biggthump

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That said IMNSHO any decent softboot + binding should be fine.

That is kind of how if feel as well. As long as it is good equipment, it is like choosing between Coke or Pepsi. It is more about how the boot fits you and the binding fits the boot. Generally, there are a few binding/boot interfaces that don't work as well as others, but that is the exception, not the rule.

On the other hand, with size 12.5's and a Malalo, you will most likely need binding with rotating highbacks to adjust for the forward angles you will most likely be running. If I am not mistaken, the three bindings discussed here all have rotating highbacks.

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should also try the salomon f- series boots.... as they have molded the toe of the liner into the shell, thus your 12.5 will have a smaller footprint.... can't remember which of the stiffness scale of the f's so maybe look it up on their site

if you have wider feet though.... may wanna go for the burtons...

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Don't get BURTON BOOTS. The materials they are made out of get trashed in less than one season, and really are not all that warm.

AS to bindings, your options are huge. You want to stay away from All Plastic as tehy tend to get brittle in super cold weather. I have ridden and reccommend Palmers, Rossignol HC1000 and HC4000 and also K2's. THey are really well made and take a lot of abuse and comfortable. I personaly like older airwalk angle toed boots, but that just is my style as I too have a large foot. SIMS and RIDE also are very comfortable not only for riding, but also for walking in. AS an instructor, I spend way too much time running around without my board on my feet, and I had a pair of SIMS that have lasted me quite a few long days and I still felt spry and able to run around without that "BOOT O' LEAD" feeling.

HTH.

If you are going to be doing a bunch of backcountry stuff, SPEND THE GOOD MONEY ON A BACKPACK WITH INTERNAL FRAME AND BOARD RACK !

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IMHO coming from a guy that has done more in their softboots than just about anyone here other than a few, burton boots are fine as long as you go with the high end ones in most cases

Ion or driver x, if they fail burton is fairly reliable on warranty stuff too.

Burton boots have outlasted anything else I've bought to work and ride in over the years so I keep coming back. I have a pair of drivers that have a 100 days or so of working as a liftie in them as well as riding and they are fine, I have another pair of drivers that has closer to 300 and they are beat but still work.

YES! the vibram soles are great for hiking, other companies must offer vibram I'd think though.

ohh yeah, the ones with 300 days on them I also used to walk to and from work in, about two miles.

my biggest worry for you though is that malolo with your big feet, I'd go with something wider, think a tanker wide or something similar

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Nuejam,

I will try to get up to Niseko this winter as well and will let you know when I do. as for the board and bindings, it is going to depend where you ride in neseko....I ride the tanker 200's for everything, but there are some places in Niseko where the trees can be a bit tight and something like the malolo is more suited for that terrain. Another board you should check out once you get over to Hokkaido is a Gentem Stick http://www.gentem.co.jp . They are made locally and most of the locals ride them. The Speedmaster is pretty fun, but a bit short for me. That being said, I agree with most of the comments above about bindings, just go with what fits your boots comfortably. I have owned and ridden Catek FR1 and FR2's and they are too stiff for park and pipe and The nideckers are nice as well as salomon's higher end spx models. I have actually gone back to a medium/stiff binding as I like the feel of them better so that will come down to what you like. Boots IMO are the key here...the issue is not finding a boot to ride in, it is finding a boot that you can hike, snowshoe, ski (w/splitboard or approach skis), and RIDE with. I personnaly like Salomon Malamutes and F24's (but they changed the shape of the last so it does not fit my feet anymore), Deeluxe Sparks, Vans Fargo Focus, and Burton Drivers (same problem with salomons). What I did was get custom liners and footbeds so that made a big difference for me. Also, I am using the Boa Focus right now and it is nice for hiking because i can losen up one area of the boot without it falling off or rubbing my calves/shins raw. Hope that helps. Attached pic is a 25 minute hike from Niseko Higashiyama and you come out at Annapuri resort (lift tickets are good at all three resorts on the same mountain).

post-420-141842234371_thumb.jpg

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Those swallows look itsy bitsy for swallows, but the TT looks like a lot of fun. Can't understand a damn thing about the board, but I did find the spec sheet (after way to much looking, its right there in the menu bar).

:freak3:

Just looked up the price. 144900 yen is about $1250 :freak3: . I think I'd opt for bringing a Dupraz with me and eating out a bit more.

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svr: Nice shot. If we get together I look forward to riding with you. I had my eyes on that area every time I hike the Annupuri summit. :^)

Thanks to the advice from the rest of you, it's good to have some many opinions. One problem of living in Japan is that the summers are 30º celsius and humid like a sauna. Another is that I can't try on shoes/boots my size because so few Japanese people have size 12 feet that most stores only go up to size 10, which is still on the big end. So I'm going to do a bit more looking and asking around before I choose any one boot.

Chocolate kisses to you all.

love & hugs

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NEU, I have a spare pair of fairly new Airwalks 12.5+ (Mondo 31 or so) that are a bit too big for me. If you want them, I'll give them to you for the cost of shipping.

Promise you won't ever switch to another brand again ;)

Which model/year are the boots, and how much is shipping to japan? :)

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Looking at the Tanker...

With mondo size 31 feet I'm not sure whether or not to go for the extra 3 centimeters of width on the 167 (versus the 177, which bobdea has lovely things to say about). With a 68kg body and only 173cm I have awkwardly large feet for my size, so I'm not sure whether to go with length or width here.

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I'm a big fan of Ride bindings. They use all aluminum construction so they'll last a long while. Their straps and rachets are nice, and the toe strap can either be run normally or as a cap strap. They're not too heavy either. I prefer the SPi, but the EX is a great value.

I'm sold on Salomon Malamutes. They are fairly warm and have very good support. However, they fit people with a narrower ankle the best. They have a fully heat moldable liner now, so the fit should be even better.

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mwah!, kisses to you all.

soon as I get a tanker I'm off to the store for trying out bindings... the ride, burton, and salomon are probably the only ones I'll be able to find in Japan's sport-world-street of jimbocho... but we'll see.

cheers from niseko, japan,

jamie

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mwah!, kisses to you all.

soon as I get a tanker I'm off to the store for trying out bindings... the ride, burton, and salomon are probably the only ones I'll be able to find in Japan's sport-world-street of jimbocho... but we'll see.

cheers from niseko, japan,

jamie

If you have any trouble finding a Tanker I can put you in touch with the importer in Japan if you want.

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