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What part of the set-up needs the most work?


What order of gear needs the most work?  

71 members have voted

  1. 1. What order of gear needs the most work?

    • 1) boards 2) bindings 3) boots
    • 1) boards 2) boots 3) bindings
    • 1) boots 2) boards 3) bindings
    • 1) boots 2) bindings 3) boards
    • 1) bindings 2) boards 3) boots
    • 1) bindings 2) boots 3) boards

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OK, this is a poll I have wanted to do for a while. What I am curious to find out is, from the three core parts of a "carving system" (board, bindings, and boots) which one needs the most work?

In other words, list the order you think these items need the most improvement on. For example I think boards have the most room for improvement, then bindings, and last is boots. So I would select #1 as my vote.


I believe that the board is where we can see some really good advances in carving. Don't get me wrong, I am in NO way saying the boards we have now are inadequate, I just think this is where we can see the big returns. I want a board that will stick like a slot car on the hard stuff but give a damp ride like a Cadillac. I believe that the current board makers have done a fantastic job with the materials they have at their disposal, but someone needs to step-up and take us to the "next level".

Points in the history like this are:

- Steel edges

- The first high-back (thanks Jeff Grell!(sp))

- 4 hole threaded inserts

Just a few examples of the sport making a huge leap forward.

Look at Mnt Bikes, in the 80's we where all trying to figure out how to make our "hard tails and rigid forks" ride smoother. Paul Tuner (Rock Shox) stepped up and showed that in order to get that smooth ride we better go to the "next step" and copy from the Moto-X world with forks with sliders and stanchions with 2+ inches of travel. At first he was laughed at, but who is laughing now and what do 99% of Mnt. Bikes now have?

So what do you think needs the most work?

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Realize that I am new to alpine and I haven't yet tried my new AF600 with thermoflex liners... but I think boots need the most work... I mean if the SB224 I rode last season is a 7-year old boots and from what I'm told, the mold and the materials are almost exactly the same! 7 years with limited changes in design, parts (cant mechanism), and materials (heavy clunkly plastic).

When you compare a board from '97 and a board today (ignoring high-end custom models with custom materials) I think boards overall have just gotten a lot better as higher-end technologies have become more mainstream (pushed down). I mean yea, when I read about board construction and materials... I can see Fin's point... we still use basically the same stuff we did years ago... and I think more research should probably be done in finding better materials (wood and fibreglass might be the best, but aside from like carbon-fiber/foam, I don't think much core material research has been done... from what I've heard... there could be tons of failed attempts that I'm not aware of).

Just my thoughts,

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It's all relative.

You haven't that much of a choice in hardboots if you compare the choices and possibilities you have in skiboots. The Deeluxe boots are the same every year, just another color. You have some minor brands as UPZ and Headboots. The UPZboot is a welcome newmodel boot in this market but only suitable for racing. The development in hardboots is minor and if there is any it comes from the ski-industry.

The bindings, yes the TD2's and Cateks are beautiful, but if if you compare it with skibindings...... F2/Proflex bindings are standing still in their development, just another color every year and some minor materialexchanges. For eaxmple this season Atomic have bindings which are controlled by an electronic chipsystem. Because of the forces you get on the modern boards, the maximum capacity and possibilities of this type of bindingsystem has been reached. It's time for a computerized systembinding.

The boards I can't complain about, choice enough in good and better boards for all purposes in hightech material.

You can all refer it to one cause: money and possibilities. The Alpineski-industry is very big. The alpineboarding industry is just nothing if you compare those two. And just this said, I am not complaining about the stuff we have right now. Keep on the good work, Bomber, Catek, and so on. Just my two cents (in brief).

Greets, Hans.

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Boots - Boards - Bindings

Boots need to be improved. There isn't much of an arsenal of boots to choose from. There needs to be much better flex control, with good shells that can be controlled effectively with springs, and an independant forward lean.

I'm curious about the new UPZ's, why are they only suitable for racing? Are they not about the same shell and tongue stiffness as the Suzuka, and can't you control the overall flex to either soft or super stiff with the spring system?

Boards can definately be improved, with more durable bases, perfect sidecut to flex pattern combinations, better materials for controlling torsional flex etc. but that's about all I know for board improvement

Bindings are pretty rock solid with the Bombers and Cateks (pretty much all the others look laughable, but some people prefer them because they offer a soft set-up) So I guess we should be looking to combine the adjustability of the cateks with the Dampening control of the bombers, and then there would be a binding that is 100% perfect. What else is there to improve on bindings?

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Boots...companies like DC are expanding/upgrading the technology in soft boots 3-4 times a season and we are riding 7 year old boots.

Bindings...I'd like to see a better step-in system than Intec, I just don't like pullin up my pany leg to get out of my binding.

Board...there are too many boards that I have to try before I can comment on that

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Hi Fin

Great Poll

Bindings, Boots, Board

The one thing I wish I could modify/buy is different bindings. I have a pair of TD 2 Standards, which are beautiful, but ....

I would like to see the Bindings be MORE responsible for LATERAL flex in the boot/binding interface.

I would like to see the Boots be MORE responsible for FORWARD flex in the boot/binding interface.


I want the ability to control, change, set the amount/degree of LATERAL movement in a binding.

Ask the binding guys about about binding flex and they will tell you that any real flex should be delivered by the boot, not the bindings. Flex in the binding equals fatigue in the binding/bails. The fatigue of constant movement back and forth, like a paper clip being wiggled back and forth, eventually breaks. Breaking is a bad thing for a binding manufacturer, so binding guys make em' rock solid. The Elastomer Ring of the TD2 no matter which durometer under full compression to one side only deflects .23 degrees from center. For many this is enough, for many it is not enough.

The natural pivot point for lateral movement is the bottom of your foot, or the sole of a hardboot ... not the upper cuff of a boot.


I want the ability to control, change, set the amount/degree of FORWARD movement in a boot.

So why not get the lateral flex from the boots? Boots like the Raichle 325LTD, UPS/Z, Deeluxe Indy and Northwave Point 900 have a few things in common: a spring system to control the forward flex and a VERY stiff shell. The very stiff shell is the foundation of the spring system that makes it possible to control the amount of forward flex. But, doing this creates a boot with very little lateral movement. If the boot is made softer, to allow lateral movement, the shell will now buckle rather than support the spring system when under high loads. Temperature changes and the effects in has on the plastic of most boots also makes it hard for the boot to have a consistent and controlable lateral flex.

Dream Time

Fin offers a second, slightly different, 'Bottom Assembly' for the TD2, which has more movement designed into it. The top remains unchanged. Next Fin designs a much improved RAB for the Deeluxe line.


These ideas are based on moderate to low stance angles, boards with a wider than traditional waist width, a rotational style of turning and an All Mountain point of view. If I have inadvertently stirred the 'style' pot here, it was unintentional.



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Sorry Fin,

but IMHO there are binding available on the market, which even do more than a binding needs to do, which are issues of the boots. A F2 Titanium is all one needs, if he has a perfect board and perfect boots. O.k., maybe we could discuss the bending arc of the board at this point, but there are boards working very well with the F2. For all the others there are the high ends like Bomber.

The point, why boards are on the first place for me is: It's by far the most important part of the system. If it fit's perfectly the rider and various conditions and styles, it will be perfect. But as we've seen in a poll a few days ago: Most people here own several boards for various conditions and riding styles. Furthermore my riding level depends much more on the board than on boots or bindings.

Boots as second because of the mentioned reasons: Nothing happened for years. My old NWs ar by far the best boots I could get. Maybe the UPZ/Virus will change this, but not my ranking. because one suitable boot is not enough and the number of manufacturers is still too small.

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Boots: It's hard to find boots that fit AND have the features you like because there are so few boots on the market.

Bindings: Except for TD2 and Catek bindings, which are out of my budget (I am a recreationnal rider with one board and I dont' upgrade often), it's hard to find bindings that have good adjustability AND have a decent price. Lots will say for the construction, TD2 and Catek have decent prices, but not everyone needs bombproof bindings that cost more than the board I currently ride.

Boards: there's so much boards on the market, at least three can be had custom at decent prices, so everyone can be happy. Some say the boards still limit your ability, I'd say it's more important to learn to ride the board you have than to find a board that suits your ability.

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Guest thomas_m

Defintely boots first. Jusr oing ito a good ski shop and comparing the high-end models both in breadth of features and depth of choices make the snowboard hardboot choices look kind of pitiful.

I guess the same thing can be said of boards & bindings but the current level of those already perform beyond my abilities. However, painful feet make anyone ride worse.


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'cause the cants in the Raichle line suck. How about a machined metal cant mechanism to go into the existing shell to start, then a slightly stiffer boot bottom half with interchangable cuffs for different heights and stiffness? And make the whole thing lighter, too. The materials are already there to do that. Then, make the toe/heel pieces slightly more rockered AND vibram for those of us that hike/climb in the backcountry, including the stepin heel piece. Then make a easily interchangeable spring system for forward lean that you can swap out with a lock down lean system whenever you want. Then I need about 2 thousand dollars to buy boards for all my needs and I'll use TD2's for everything!

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In my opnion, you can find boards out there that are adaqute, but could still be improved. There are also binding choices that will get the job done, I somewhat disagree with what many here think a binding should do, but there are options out there that cover the whole spectrum.

Now to my main point, the boots out there suck. I see world cup riders on ten year old boots (klug, greenwood, and rosie to name a few) because there isn't anything better out there. When you see high level riders using cut up five gallon buckets and medical grade plastic designed for splints and cast to modify their boots something needs to be done. I've broken ten times the number of boots than I have bindings and boards combined.

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Great poll Fin!

Have to agree there is more of a selection of boards and bindings than boots... The average shop wouldn't know alpine gear if they tripped over it, but boots are the weak link as far as selection is concerned. Such is the life when your're talking about what, 1% of the snowboarding population...

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Boots definately.

I haven't the experience to comment on lots of equipment, but it just seems obvious that it's much easier for cottage industry and part time businesses to innovate in boards and bindings than it is in boots. It's embarrasing how much lighter, stronger and better fitting ski boots are compared to raichle. Lack of competition in boots is really letting that stagnate.

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looks to me that the majority do agree that boots need the most work. I would like to agree, and i think i do, but there is a problem with my opinion since i havent gone to snowboard specific hardboots. I just wish that i wouldn't tear the ankles of my skiboots right apart, they need a stronger way to hold em together, im sure the spring system takes care of that problem for the most part. But i doubt completely.

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In business they say the thre most important things are location, location, and location.

Boots. Boots Boots. (then bindings, then boards)

don't get me wrong. Our bindings are great for what they do: hold our antiquated boots on a board. But sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to start all over and take a new approach.

Look at skis. all integrated systems now. but even with those advances the boots (which our boots are based off of) haven't really changed.

aw hell. no need to reinvent the wheel. lets go ride and have fun. someone will ghet drunk. suggest something that seems silly at the time try it, probably get hurt. refine it, and it will grow into another sport. Look at the teleboard. maybe it will be trikerdad's "ski Boards"

( see: poll: how many were carvers first, P. 2)

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Guest Randy S.

For me its a toss-up between boots and boards. Bindings come third in either scenario. I tend to agree with crobar that it would be interesting to have more pivot/flex options in the bindings, but you could get much more of that with a better boot.

We've come a long way in boards in my 18 years of snowboarding. Flex, sidecut, length, etc. It is hard to believe that there aren't some materials and/or designs out there that could improve dampness, snap and edge hold. And is p-tex the best base? Maybe, but why all the waxing and maintenance?

We've probably beat the boot issue to death in this and other threads. Better flex and walk/ride mechanisms. Better shell designs that handle the multi-axis flexing that boots must endure would be huge.

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Guest Todd Stewart

here's what I want to see in snowboarding technology, boards that can adjust flex, might be done with bars clipped on the the top of the board or with microchips like within some head boards. Binding that are easliy swapped between boards, could be done easily by putting screwing in pegs in the inserts then the binding clip onto the pegs. As for boots, they would obviously be better with adjustible flex patterns, also with replaceble springs so for those who want more pop in ther boots or when the old ones wear out.

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I put binding first. I say that because the wear I see on the Step In Heel piece that needs to be replaced now and then. Also, my binding screws do not come loose cuz I use 242 Loctite but I always check them for safety. It would be nice to see a 100% locking screw used every where.

FIN, This could be easily done possibly with PEM press locking nuts like the LK series or PEM HEX series, pressed in from the back side of a binding plate. Once tightened these won’t loosen and can be used over and over. Same for the other locations. This would be a great improvement. If you used Solidworks I could even send you my Library files for these.

Boards I put last because all I do is wax and tune the edges now and then- it like tires and brake pads – maintenance acceptable items. Not something I see easily changing within a reasonable cost. Ceramic edges yes but can we afford it? A new base material that would never need any wax – wouldn’t that be nice.

Boots second due to foot bed requirements and again checking heel and toe piece screws for tightness. Those could easily be a self locking nut installed into the boot, then we could “forgtabotet”

Let’s get self locking nuts in the Bindings soon.

Good luck and great Post Fin…. Keep up the good work. You Too Michelle!



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Gotta agree with the majority, boots are the starting point.

Boots - I have heard the points of some of the coaches and Giants of the Carve World proclaim the glory of riding with insoles. Why do we have to pay an extra $100-200 for them? When we're shelling out $500 for new boots, can't a company come up with a boot that will conform in every aspect to the uniqueness of the foot right out of the box? To heck with all the extra spending for heating, insoles, boot fitters, etc. Suddenly a $500 boot skyrockets to $800. Don't they custom make boots for that? Gotta be a better way.

Bindings - Same as above...immediate cant changing, easy/inexpensive board change interface, flex options, etc.

Boards - damp, snap, powder, big mtn, bx, sl, etc. If there was a board that did what Head claims their intelligent series does, wouldn't we all be riding it? Is there truly an all around board that changes it's response to the conditions? Could you stiffen the flex to use hardboots and increase the flex to use softies? Am I just MADD that I didn't order one when they were $500?

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As far as boards being raised to another level, manufacturers are going to have to start getting access to more exotic materials developed by NASA or their subcontractors. Failing that, unless someone is going to 'reinvent the wheel' when it comes to snowboard laminate technology it's probably going to remain at an impasse at getting a more affordable and higher performance FWD/carving monster under your feet.

Perhaps, the next best option is to focus on boot/binding interface. CarvCanada mentioned the ability of a binding allowing a boot to flex more (laterally?). Current connect points on boots eventually wear and unwittingly provide a limited amount of flexion as the interface is used. Why not a non-friction pivot interface say, like a skateboard truck, or an assembly that can gimbel with increasing resistance? More machining, r and d, and engineering but, less emphasis on exotic and sexy materials; thus, helping to keep production costs down. It'll take some paradigm shifting to get something like this to market.


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i simply want boots that fit!

one thing i think (so yes, this is my opinion) that would make a huge difference in hardboots is adjusting the placement of the ankle strap. i would love to see it placed a little higher in an effort to actually lock the heel down as opposed to pressing down on the foot.

or am i the only person with this problem?? the strap's orientation seems to be in the same location on numerous boots.

it seems as though when it comes to boots, many problems remain unresolved due to a lack of interest or something. it's kinda glamorous to create boards that somehow meet every potential need. it's kinda glamorous to conduct r and d on new materials for those things adn present it all in a shiny package. bindings seem to have a better defined niche to fill, as opposed to trying to fit every rider's own unique "footprint."

so, we continue compromising.

boots, boards, bindings

if everyone who has purchased a particular product has had a problem with some feature, then shouldn't it be changed??

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Guest Randy S.

Alpinegirl: If you take your boots to a good bootfitter, they should be able to help make them fit so that your heel stays put. This is more a function of bootfitting than the boot design. Even with the plethora of ski boot options, many people still need help holding their heel down. Its almost certain to be an issue with snowboard boots, given the lack of options we have. Two things work best for this. One is getting a good custom footbed made. The other is adding strips of padding on the outside of the boot, around your ankle. Some of the online shops sell this bootfitting padding.

I don't disagree that boots could use some engineering help, but I wanted to point out that you can find help with your problem. Good luck with your bootfitting. -Randy

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