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This is my first post to bomberonline. I have been lurking here since last winter when I started to hard boot. Actually, I only learned to snowboard last December coming off a broken leg from skiing. My first carving-type board was a Donek Axxess 167 with Catek bindings and Deeluxe 325T boots. I got that setup in mid February and was immediately hooked on this carving thing. I proly spent about 50 hours on slope with that setup. By the end of last season it had taken a hard toll on me, the left side of my body was so beat up. Black and blue left hip, left shoulder with chronic pain. I had to stretch a lot before riding at the end of March to get full range of motion. Recovered now tho.

In the off-season (they close the slopes here in Minnesota on or about March 31), I have acquired 2 more Doneks, a FC1 171 Olympic core and a Razor 170. Sean gave me last season’s price on both and next season’s price for the Olympic core upgrade. Sitting side-by-side, they look soooooo different but should perform similarly – except for the hard-boot soft-boot thing.

Last Thursday, sitting at home the doorbell rang and it was the USPS with presents – my new set of UPZ boots and my Radikal Claw for my summer endeavors. The boots from Dan Yoja are 25 % off right now. As I sit here wearing my UPZ’s in 80 degree heat, I only need one more set of Catek Olympic step-in bindings and a set of Catek FR2’s to be fairly complete for next season. I already got my season passes. I am going to use my Burton Driver-X boots for the Razor. I had a K2 Zepplin board that I used the Driver-X boots with for softboot carving, and I essentially broke the board in 4 weeks using it that way. Cracked the board at the middle to end transition points, both sides, all 4 transitions. Got a full refund from REI.

Acquiring the new boards was a no-brainer for me, as in who needs an excuse. Tthe boots were a different story. When I got the 325T’s, I had them fitted and a new set of custom footbeds made. My first day on the slope with them – about 2 hours – my right foot kept slipping up and down in the boot. My heel just plain hurt. I remember the pain that day, but also the fun of just carving down the slope. I took the boots back to my boot fitter the next day, and he put in one of those X shaped rubber dealies that tighten/shape the liner over the heel. It stopped most of the slipping, but pressured the heel. So we shaved the part of the rubber dealie near the heel down. And that seems to be the best we could to after fitting it about 2 more times, moving the buckles to grab my foot and ankle more and adjusting, adjusting, adjusting. My foot always seemed to jam the left-side of the right heel against the boot some way, especially in a crash (the left-side thing I described above). My right boot still has a slight heel lift. My left foot has never had a problem, and the right boot fits great. Funny thing is, my right foot is bigger than my left and it should be more snug in the boot, which it is not. Standing in the boots, there is absolutely no problem. In the bindings, they are ok also, but once my heel is jammed against the boots (as in an oh-so-frequent crash), they hurt my heel constantly. I took time off and skied so that the heel could heal, but that did not solve the issue. Next steps are to just punch that side of the boot out a lot so it will not have contact in a crash.

So, seeing as Dan has a sale, I ordered the UPZ’s, and so far they seem to fit like a glove. I have had them on about an hour and a half in 3 sessions, and they seem to be molding to my feet nicely. My initial impression is that they hold the foot in place much better than the 325T’s do, more like a ski boot. Both the UPZ and the 325T boots are the same size so it must just be my feet and the way the boots are shaped. The UPZ shape seems to grab the back of my foot better than the Deeluxe. What is so bizarre about this is I get all my boots fitted, and I would have betted money on the Deeluxe boots not having a problem as the fit is just so good. Next season will tell the tale.

BTW, I really like the customer service from Sean and Dan. Good people. And REI.

I am really looking forward to getting on the slopes. 3.5 months and counting down.


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rhaskins. As noted, there are some awesome riders in MN....including some of the best racers in the country as well as one of the best teams. The "adults" that make up the non-racing scene are very close and supportive. My son rides with them occasionally at Buck - you couldn't pick a better crowd to run with.....

Where do you ride? That's some pretty awesome gear for MN. We look forward to seeing you on the hill.



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Welcome Rick!

As I sit here wearing my UPZ’s in 80 degree heat,

Ha ha ha - I see you haven't "Un-plugged" from last season either? - nice!

We've got a pretty fun group that will often meet and carve Sunday

Morning's at Buck. Keep a eye on the BOL "Ride Board" forum, in the "MN" section.

Hope to see you out on the slopes!



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I can't wait for the snow. As for Buck on Sunday mornings, I have been there a few times and met some of the hard booters. I guess I just didn't make much of an impression :D

I got out on the slopes over 50 times last season, so I will be seeing you guys at Buck.

As for acquiring nice equipment - disposable income?


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  • 3 weeks later...

How is the leg doing? I broke mine on March 10, 2007 (sticks in my mind), tibial fracture. Popped a lot of calcium suppliments, and after the Doc gave me the OK 6 months later, I started to run 9 to 12 miles a week and lifted weights for 3 months leading up to last season. I think it helped. Full recovery.


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UPZs also fit my feet better than Raichles do (less volume around the ankle and over the tops of my feet) so I understand that fitting work isn't always the best answer. But...

Which part of your heel hurts? My heels have knobs on them right below my achilles, and having a boot fitter grind out some material (a lot of material) in that area really helped. If there's a particular spot that is giving you trouble, consider working on it that way. It's always nice to have a second set of boots in case something goes wrong with the first set, or if someone wants to try hardbooting. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...


Met you at Spirit last year and gotta tell you, you make me look like a piker. While I'm snap'n up all of Russ's old gear as I gain ground on this sport, you are taking this whole carving thing whole hog....gotta love it.

Can't wait to see the Razor ...(yeah, that's not a request)....when you come up to Duluth and hit Spirit this year.

At this rate, I'll be buying all your used gear next year and Russ will have to find a new way to support the habit.

Look for Russ and I this year, he's the only alpine boarder on ski-patrol and I'm up there most weekends, sometimes volunteering doing the mountian host thing on the hill.

Guess I'll take the boards out of storage and put em in the living room to stare at till the snow flies...............

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I remember Russ, and I believe I remember you, altho, on the webz everyone looks the same:)

I have been waiting for the slopes to open since they closed. I plan on being up in Duluth at least twice a month or more. Really, I get on the slopes about6 4 days/nites a week. It is like an addiction.


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