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Axis/Axxess off piste


ealely
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Hello there,

I think the problem is the rider who is not used to 'off piste' riding but if you have some advice, well, I'll take it. :eek:

I have an Axis and now I am very happy riding on piste with this board; it took me a little while to get used to it and find the right setting but now I find it great, it's a good carving tool, also good in soft snow, little jumps.... However, off piste, I'm having quite a hard time.

I was in New Zealand last month and we went 'backcountry' in about 30/40cm of fresh powder, I had a very bad time that day, seemed like I was too heavy for the board and turning without falling was a big issue...my guide said 'yeah it is more difficult for you in HB' but I don't buy it :nono: good rider go everywhere!

So I don't really think it's about the bindings setting, more about my technique but I was really disappointed and I wish I rent softboots that day to make it easier and enjoy the powder...what is wrong with me :eek: any idea guys ???

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despite what allot of people here will tell you here, hardboots blow in powder. the wrong tool.

Alpine boards are too narrow, too stiff so they don't float and so on, most hard boots are WAY too stiff as well as the bindings.

I CAN bring my Coiler AM and metal prior anywhere but when it gets deep make no mistake, I'd rather be on my tanker.

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I have my Axxess out in powder and find it OK. It is, however, not the best tool for it. It still only has a 21.5 waist which is still skinny and doesn't allow it that much float.

I love riding it where I can scoot down a groomer, drop off into something bumpy and chopped or into the powder, and come back out on the groomers. It's excellent for that type of riding. If you're off in the powder you have to keep the speed up or it will dive on you.

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but I practiced a few times in powder on my coiler am (19 cm), and had a tough time. you really have make sure you're leaning back, b/c i kept experiencing nose dive; going head over heels was only fun the first time

you can do it, but in order to get thru the pow you end up having to lean back or change your stance, and in doing so you dont really end up carving at all. I also found that after doing this for a full day, my feet were quite sore, b/c I was moving in unnatural ways that the boots werent really made for...

I know a lot of guys here will ride with their HB in the morning and then switch to SB in the afternoon when it gets crappy - carving is fun, but it gets really hard in the "wrong" conditions (especially for beginners like me)

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As people are saying, an Axis, 4WD, Coiler AM, etc aren't the best tool for powder, but they also don't completely suck at it either. Now I'm no expert on how to ride in powder and nor do I get to experience the epic deep powder like some of the riders on this board.

So on to the questions! How exactly are you falling? Are you weighting the nose of the board too much and augering in? Or are you washing out in mid-turn? Or maybe just simply sinking in due to lack of speed? Etc, Etc.,Etc...

With powder, you need vertical and speed because powder is slower is than groomers. Does this make sense everyone? To me it does.

What kind of bindings are you using? If you are using something like TD2, Cateks or another type of bindings that allow for toe lift on your front foot to help you get into the back seat that powder kinda demands so you don't auger the nose in and go over head over heels. That'll help. Also being quite while riding powder is important. I'm guilty of this one.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of tips that hopefully others will chime in with!

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It is the choice of boards. The Axxess is designed for on piste riding with the ability to do some off piste riding. I have ridden Utah backcountry pow (monitor bowl) in my SB123 boots on a Voile swallowtail, 4 ft. of fresh at home in the same boots on my Nitro swallowtail, and will be using Dynafits for out of bounds and inbounds all this season on my 192 Tanker. I would recommend softer HB's, but hardboots all the same. (btw, both days mentioned definately count as true bottomless days)

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So on to the questions! How exactly are you falling? Are you weighting the nose of the board too much and augering in? Or are you washing out in mid-turn? Or maybe just simply sinking in due to lack of speed? Etc, Etc.,Etc...

Well actually it is a little of all of that, depending on the moment!!

I am aware of the differences of riding and settings while carving on piste and while in powder....but sometimes in powder it's like too slow and sinks, sometimes, it is too fast and when i want to control the speed I just stop and fall...it also feels like the weight of the snow on the board is suddenly too heavy.

My bindings are Tiger force so i guess it's like snowpro...maybe too heavy? Boots are Head stratos pro, too stiff maybe.

I agree Axis and HB might not be the best tool for powder but I wish i can improve my riding in powder/backcountry without buying SB or another board cause usually i spend most of my time carving....but when there is powder you know...i wish i could enjoy another playground...it's not like freeriding really, I just want to be able to go 'off piste' (but not too far), on non groomed slope.. I didn't have this kind of issues when using skis 15 years ago!!!

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Hello there,

I think the problem is the rider who is not used to 'off piste' riding but if you have some advice, well, I'll take it. :eek:

Don't know the profile of the axis but I have ridden pow hard boots with everything from Burner 197 ( had to go about 50 mph to make that work) to FP173 both 18 and 19 waist, Burton Canyon, Coiler AM177, Frontier 185 ( my fave pow stick for sure ) so may be able to offer some feedback.

I havn't ridden soft boots in seven years or so. I have custom injected liners, footbeds and ride Burton Fire in a 28.5. ( Three pairs cause i kinda break them down being a big guy) so my feet are really comfy.

One problem is getting the weight back far enough without straightening the front leg. Once that is straight you cannot initiate a turn to save your life it seems. Very wobbly, sinking, lots of arm waving to start the turn.

Key is to get a setting or riding style that allows you to flex the front leg.

One way is to shift the binders back enough the nose will float with even weight distribution.

Another way is go hella fast until you plane out and then you can ride a little more forward with even weight.

If you can't flex your boots you will also have trouble. Even just clipping in on the carpet at home check it out how much you can flex the boot. I have enough mass to flex mine pretty good. I loosen the top buckle (4 buckle boot) by at least one click and all the others at least half to full click from my normal riding position. I also warm up with loose boots and slowly tighten them up as I ride. With pow this takes a lot longer slower until afternoons (usually warmer on pow days) I will tighten more. I think the BTS would help a lot here as well to give a little more cuff flex. I used to ride some in walk mode but now avoid that as I think you can hyperflex your ankle with the leverage of the boots. Also cracks the cuff at the bottom on mine.

Good luck.

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I'd have to agree that soft boots work best in the powder, but I get the sense that you already know that and are looking for a way to make the hardboots work for you. If you're like me, you only see epic powder on trips when you hit it right and can't afford to drag along 3 or 4 different set-ups. I've learned to ride my hard boots in powder and have alot of fun with it by doing many of the things mentioned above. However, the biggest difference for me is that I also ride the park and pipe in my hardboots and have them mounted on a 165 Atomic Don freecarve board. Its wide enough and flexible enough to make the nice floaty/surfy turns needed in powder. The one day I ran my Prior ATV in deep powder I hated it becasue I couldn't keep it on top of the snow unless I was really moving and that doesn't work so hot in trees. A total soft set-up will always perform best in the pow, but I do think that board choice is more important than boot choice and boards like the Axis are just too narrow and stiff to really float the way you need to in powder. Even the skiers have figured this out now with their super-fats for heli-skiing and epic pow.

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I think that the Bomber BTS system has made most hardboots alot more forgiving on flex. I aggree that a softer hardboot is the way to go but i dont think you should change up interfaces (hard to soft) as that will mess you up more than anything. "Slow changes" is the way to go ... finesse not power...or you will end up in cart wheels . You need to feel the snow enough to judge what the limits are from PNW cement to BC pow. I would love to have a lightweight set of intec compatable AT boots for climbing/backcountry.(hello deelux...or someone)

Jim

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I use hard boots for a very specific reason. I have high arches, and no matter what soft boot I have used, even with footbeds, they KILL my feet. So bad, that with one pair, my feet would be screamin' just walking across the parking lot, and would be partially numb at a half day. Hardboots eliminated that problem even w/o footbeds. So my feet need the support of the stiff lower of a hardboot, and off-piste a flexy hardboot is the order of the day. And yes, they are "surfy", so don't give me that argument.....

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Soft boot simulation?

No, its about having one great boot that works in all situations. You posted your thoughts, without addressing the essential question of the thread. How to make hard boots work better in pow?

So if you need to feel superior: YOU ARE RIGHT. Powder is easier in soft boots by a very small margin. Particularly in steep tight trees and deeeeeppppp snow.

But in the hands of a skilled operator on a wide open, steep powder field the combo of a good, long, not too soft pow stick, there is nothing like it.

Surgical precision at 50 mph. I have also had a great time riding pow on race days when you have to have the "wrong" equipment on. Still had a blast. Great race training BTW to go out in bumps and pow on your race stick. Really tunes up your balance point.

I have nothing against softies. Other than arch crush, heel lift, not stiff enough, broken straps, screws coming out, broken plastic, but other than that rock on.

So we know you favor soft boots in pow. I favor one pair of boots that work in all conditions.

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I'm not sure what it's like to ride an axis in hardboots, but I have a Burton Coil which is an All Mountain Board and I have ridden off piste often and loved it. I did initially feel like it was difficult ride off-piste and didn't like it. You definitely need off-piste to be steep in order to enjoy the conditions. I do however much prefer riding on piste, but I still drool over off-piste condition, so I've bought a Prior Pow Stick so that I can enjoy both on any given day.

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Ealely, while I have seen people tearing it up off-piste on several brands of carving AM boards with hardboots, and no doubt there are many here who swear by them, I am definitely in the soft boots and soft board for soft snow camp.

I have hit some powstashes off the groomers on the Axxess and I find it too stiff for the powder. In heavy powder it could be fun because the heavy snow can bend it, but in most soft snow off-piste conditions, it just does not bend enough to be easy and enjoyable to ride for me.

You might consider picking up a board better suited to the powder that you can ride with hardboots for a first step. If you can find one used, if you don't enjoy it, you could always sell it again and not lose too much money.

Buell

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the pow stick

I have heard from a couple people that it makes a hell of a softboot carver.....

as for making the axis work, get the softest boot you can find, the softest and lowest hard boot I ever used was the burton freecarve, I liked them for running trees and low angles. if you're doing allot of hiking go with a AT boot but they really are not for snowboards and you can tell so some custom mods to AT boots might be a good idea but still if you're gonna ride off piste keep a pow specific ride around.

there are a TON of great options that you can have on the cheap, $150ish

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any chance the board is just too stiff for you? I rode an Axis 182 at Bachelor...only about a foot of resort fresh, definitely not bottomless and I found it handled well, but it was definitely really stiff.

also have my Prior AWD 182 now...but its a 23.5 waist...rode it in 3' at mammoth, again just resort pow with a packed base...that thing RULES. all with Head stratos (in walk mode)

do you have your boots locked? DEFINITELY unlock them in powder. Even "powder mode" on the deeluxe isnt enough.

still though...board might not be right for you in those conditions. Only you can gauge that. Sucks that your equipment or lack of experience with said equipment got in the way of a good day!

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The correlation here is not necessarily your board or bindings or boots. The issue is surface area by weight..

You didn't mention your weight or the board dimensions. In carving your Axis is a great tool because it doesn't have to hold your weight on top of snow, just hold an edge in snow.

In soft snow (like water in surfing) the amount of weight you carry must be directly related to the amount of surface area that has to float you. If a 200+ pounder is riding a chip (small, thin surfboard), you can bet it won't be a good day on the water. However if he borrows his friends longboard you can bet he'll be riding with very little effort!

Of course there is another direct correlation between speed and float, but like someone mentioned earlier you can't make that work all the time in trees.

Bottom line: You can ride the hardboots/bindings in pow, just get a board with more surface area.

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just get a board with more surface area.

I have found it is more complex than that.

First off, I think a person's style of riding will have a great effect on what board specifications will work well for them in powder.

Beyond surface area though, the flex (particularly in the nose) seems to have a lot to do with "float" in powder. A softer nose will bend up and keep your board on top of the snow. A stiffer nose will drive straight into the snow and sink, unless a high speed is maintained.

The length and shape (radius) of the nose will affect the ride in powder. The typical nose on a swallow tail is an example - long and gradual.

Taper also has a strong effect on "float" by letting the tail ride a little lower than the nose, thereby keeping the nose up. Some people like taper, others do not. My 156 Fish and my 160 Khyber float exceptionally well, much better than my 173 freeride board and a couple of other larger boards I have ridden.

All that said, my Tanker 200 which is fairly soft, has some taper, and by far the most surface area, floats the best of all. At 145 pounds, I can enjoy all the low angle powder no one else can touch. :biggthump

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i really feel that a different board is the tool, regardless of the boots. i had the wonderful privilege to ride both my f2 speedster and my Coiler PR 184 in powder with cateks and track 325s, sure they work, but the boards are inferior for that kind of riding. on the other hand, if i ride my tanker 177 wide, with low angles (around 40 front, 36 rear) mounted slightly behind center, and my track 325s unlocked to get a little more twitch balance, i can ride tight trees and powder all day. just make sure you get some padding between a stiff binding like a catek or bomber and your board, otherwise some air, speed, and a bad landing can mess up your board.

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Ealely: I don't think your experience in powder on hard boots is uncommon. Unless I'm trucking through it at 30 mpg it feels like I'm stuck in a rut, the board is unresponsive, and I can't jump turn or surf turn. I can go faster and then it's pretty responsive, but then I can't go into the trees unless I want to crap my pants.

A lot of people have already touched on a bunch of points, like lower surface area of the board, stiffness of the nose, etc., and to that I will add:

Hard boots are restrictive in lateral ankle flex, so to move your weight from nose to tail you have to move shift your knees and hips in large movements, which is all fine and good for laying down power trenches while freecarving, but softbooting in powder is all about these delicate feathery surfy shifts of body weight (the way I like to play in powder, anyways), and it just doesn't work for me.

Sometimes I get that feeling you're talking about "feels like the board is too slow and heavy all of a sudden" and when it happens to me it is just because I'm locked into a skidded turn or the weight is too far forwards and my board is slowly sinking like a rock, and I simply lack the flexibility to fix the weighting gracefully; I end up sitting on the toilet with my arms stretched out like a monkey while brute forcing the board to do my bidding instead of delicately floating around on top of the board

I agree with bobdea and bola et al.; get softies, stick it on a tanker, dupraz, powstick, whatever, and go have fun. I'm on a 172 Tanker and it's just great.

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People have hit on this some already, but I will do it again. Technique in powder is essentially different than on groomed or runs with some base beneath some powder(aka resort pow). Typical turns will involve small ankle rolls, speed checking will be done usually by weight on the tail to sink it. Both of these will increase with speed. A high speed slash turn will kill speed pretty good, too. If you ride tight trees and want to go slow, I'd recommend something along the lines of a Fish/Khyber shape. The Spearhead/Dupraz looks like a good compromise for a faster board w/o the dangers of broken tails. A big true swallowtail is the speed gun for wide open spaces. Each board will have its plusses and minuses. Nose shape, nose flex,taper, then surface area is how I'd rate a powder board. To me, the Tanker seems like the best compromise for an all around board, nose is big enough and soft enough to flex properly, some taper in it, and enough surface area for float. Still will replace my sold swallowtails sometime, when I find the right one.

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