Jump to content

Why is the carving community so darn small?


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 117
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Simple, and I am not out of line for saying this, for the most part , we are a bunch of dorks. Engineers, geeks, and tech head adrenalin junkies who(m) love minutia, with a weak sense of self preserva

What the carving community needs is more emphasis on all mountain carving.  I borrowed this from the Oregon ride board.  This gets me excited, even though it's soft boots.

This is the kicker, I think. Even if you're a competent softbooter, if you're strapped into hard gear and thrown on to the hill, you're probably going to have a miserable time of it. I certainly did -

Posted Images

For me, hardbooting is actually the best gear for a family outing.

 

I picked up tele a few years before I had kids and that was great for teaching the kids to ski, but I have since returned to the board because the kids are too fast.  I actually hardboot more now than I ever did before kids since I used to spend more time on softboots searching for powder and steeps.

 

The kids tend to ride more blues and easy blacks these days, so by hardbooting, I can still have fun and be challenged on the same terrain as them.

Yes, there are definitely exceptions.  If ones children are capable of running a trail without needing assistance then there's not much impedance.  If one needs to be coached every 200 feet or stood back up after a small fall, the impedance increases and sort of takes away from the whole reason one is on hardboots.

Edited by MikeC
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I also don't see an easy way for married folks with kids to get into hardbooting.

 

When my kid was small, I saw more hardboots on skiboards on the magic carpet than attached to a snowboard. The trick is to already be in hardbooting when the kids appear. The time when you teach them to ski is only an hiatus.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason the alpine community is so small is because of riders like me. I possess alpine equipment, alpine skills, the health, the time and a great mountain just 25 minutes away. I snowboard every day but I have not ridden my alpine gear in 5+ years. With virtually zero new riders entering this niche snowboarding discipline and a great many former riders losing interest (see prev posts in this thread for a dead horse beating of the often valid reasons why they don't anymore) and u have the reason u see less and less alpine riders on the hill. I think it unfortunate as the sport, when done right, is breathtaking to witness. It will never disappear but u guys r probably looking at really small participation levels for many years to come. Just saying... well, this east coast season is shot in the butt already. Did the valve clearances on my yz450 yesterday, had the vtr out already and will b riding the xc300 Sunday. And the Hudson river beckons the 454 big block on the trailer. Btw, I almost made it to eces this year on Friday. But a new grandson on Thursday blew up that plan :). Btw, I would NOT have ridden my twin. I was going to bring my Winds and demo the good stuff to try and spark my interest again. C u guys next year. Hopefully on alpine gear.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Describes myself and the guys I ride with exactly.

 

I also don't see an easy way for married folks with kids to get into hardbooting.  How's Dad gonna teach Jimmy and Sally to ski if he needs to rip turns all day?  It's not as conducive as just jumping into a set of skis and going out with the fam.

 

It ain't easy, that's for sure!  (or at least that's my experience).  I was a soft boot boarder that married into a family of ski racers.  The first few years (before we had kids) I learned just how differently skiers see a mountain compared to soft-boot snowboarders (hard booters are different again). Now we've got a couple of kids and I just started learning hardboot carving last season.  My oldest daughter who's been ski racing for a couple of years now just sails away from me when we get off the lift.  Our youngest daughter who is just learning to ski is mainly in the hands of my wife.  I did find that when push comes to shove I can still help teach our youngest daughter ski even though I've got my hard-boot board on.  Requires a lot of ego swallowing and skidding backwards while tracing out a path for her to follow while giving advice.  I sometimes borrow a slalom gate to help me keep my balance when skidding at slow speeds.  I can also use the gate to give our youngest something to hold on to when we have to go down trails that are beyond her current capability.

 

My last soft boot board is probably going on the wall soon.  After switching to hardboots last season I honestly couldn't figure out how to ride it when I tried starting this season on it.  It was the most humiliating and bizarre day I had on that board behind my first ever day of snowboarding.

 

Not sure if it the 9-to-5 is the difference between a hardbooter or not. I do a 9-to-5 (actually 9-to-4:30, it being Norway and all) and I know of a few hardbooters that do the 9-to-5. The one thing that stands out is that they have developed or found  a passion for the sport beyond what is normal for most other people that ski/snowboard (probably especially considering at their age), and we all want to excel at this.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well hello from my side, I am coming from Greece a small country in the Eastern part of Europe. Unfortunately I am one of the few HB in my country as many friends and buddy HBooters prefer soft boots or even skis. From my point of view this is very common in our new world, for instance ppl nowadays they will not want something that it is tough or stiff  ... ''we'' prefer the easy way. To be more specific did you notice that the last few years the 4x4 cars are not really as much as strong as they are used to be (at least in Europe). Why? Moreover the companies are forcing consumers to change more often goods. If I can say a few words about HB? The first it would be ''Loyalty''. Something that it is missing in our new way of life-thinking-living. The second one hm.. ''Determination'' which is also missing from the young guys (sorry about that, at least in my Country).

 

I hope one day we can find many friends (again) on the slopes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I started this topic and I'm amazed how many replies it has generated.  It must have hit a bit of a nerve.

 

Practically the day after we bought our four daughters new ski equipment for Christmas they all decided they wanted to switch to boarding so I joined them, after skiing for forty years, and skipped soft booting, going straight to carving with hard boots.  That made for a slow learning curve but I finally got so I could lay out a few (very few) well-linked trenches when the conditions were just right, i.e. just the right slope, snow and surface conditions.  When the slope got a little steeper, the snow less than ideal and the surface a little bumpy I was unable to adapt.  I went to SES 2005 and couldn't lay out a single non-skidding carve.  I was really bumbed.

 

So, after several years of no skiing or boarding mountain time I am working to get back into carving again as it fits perfectly with taking my young grandchildren up while they learn to ski.  I would be bored to tears if I had to ski with them but learning to carve while they perfect their snowplow and stem turns is working very well now.

 

My take on why the board carvers are so few and far inbetween is because it is very, very conditions specific, i.e. for most of us it requires just the right slope, snow and surface.  I also think the difficulty of getting expensive hard boots to fit and be comfortable is very detrimental to carving.

 

At this point I have no interest in skiing unless I am with a very few of the guys who I like to pound the mountain with and we can never seem to get together so learning a new skill, again, with my grandchildren is really my only interest on the mountain.  I feel a little like a Yellowjacket with summer coming to an end (I'm 72) but am very excited and determined to learn to carve on moderate slopes with my grandkids on moderate slopes before I have to hang up both skis and boards. I mean who boards or skis at eighty?  Maybe I'll be lucky enough to do so but it's not likely and it may not be smart even If I am able to do it. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Limited exposure whether in the media or on the slopes, combined with a high barrier to entry will keep the community small.

 

Unfortunately for the growth of hardbooting, it takes commitment to enter the sport.  

  • Commitment in money to purchase product, sight unseen.  
  • Commitment in time away from another snowsport where the opportunity for enjoyment is more immediate.  
  • Commitment in focus to spend a full day on hardboots when the conditions for learning are no longer in your favor (and the logistics of returning to the parking lot to swap gear is too inconvenient).

In some ways, the situation is similar to snowboarding in the 80's, but the media exposure was better and the barrier of entry was lower.  Retailers and resorts saw an untapped market with huge potential.  Other than the niche vendors, the snowsports industry does not view hardbooting as market worth chasing.  I don't see hardbooting growing very much without larger players getting involved.

 

Maybe I'm wrong.  I hope I am.  There is some momentum with over 8k views of Ryan's video from ATC.  But even if 10% of those viewers turned into hardbooters (which is wildly optimistic), we would still be a drop in the bucket.

 

I love the tight-knit nature of the community, but some growth would be a net positive.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

The answer to the original question lies at the intersecting of desire and opportunity.

 

I view this sport like three other similar activities that I have dabbled in over the past thirty years, two which follow a similar trajectory with respect to opportunity and one that is more limited based on desire.

 

Winding surfing and its natural extension kite boarding are both ultimately dependent on Mother Nature’s offering of a strong consistent wind.  When first starting out in both activities wind does not play a superior dominant factor in the enjoyment of the sport but as you climb the learning curve and master the skills of either sport the need for strong consistent wind quickly becomes the most significant determinant factor for enjoyment.  You become dependent on better conditions which occur less frequently as your skill increases until you get to the point where you may stop (like I did) unless you are blessed by living in an area like the Columbia River Gorge, Aruba or Hawaii, etc. Other areas can offer ripe conditions but you must be flexible to capitalize on their infrequent occurrence.

 

Similar to alpine carving, stand-up jet skiing was at the root of personal watercrafts and like alpine carving is now the niche part of the sport as it was left behind by the popularity of sit-down jet skis’.  For the vast majority of people the ease of plopping down on a sit-down jet ski satisfies the desire to get out on the water and have fun.  The development of the skill sets to balance, ride and yes eventually lay down a carve on a stand-up [which sinks under the weight of its rider while at rest] is way too much work for the average rider of a sit-down. Even though the production and availability of new stand-up jet skis has greatly diminished over time, the community is populated by a group of like minded riders who thoroughly enjoy the challenge and freedom that a stand-up jet ski provides. In this case opportunity to ride is everywhere there is 12” of water but the desire to do so is the limiting factor.

 

Unfortunately alpine carving is limited by both.  The soft boot population is content on skidding around on the slopes with a subset of riders that ride their edges. In contrast, alpine carving by function does not favor skidding around so in that respect it is one dimensional. Within that dimension there is a wide variety of paths to follow but they are all variations of riding an edge verses riding the flat. So there must be a conscious decision to commit to predominantly riding an edge, also known as a desire. Furthermore the as you progress up the learning curve the enjoyment of riding becomes not only dependent on the availability of suitable terrain but also on mother nature’s offering of favorable riding conditions. In that respect the limiting factor becomes opportunity and in reality equipment costs, lift tickets, getting to the slopes, etc. unfortunately are really just the price of admission. 

 

So on a nutshell "Why is the carving community so darn small?" it's because there are only so many enlightened people in the world and you should be glad you are one of them. 

 

Live to Carve or Carve to Live, either way this winter season was to damn short.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that video, great inspirational stuff.  Some of the people I recognize either from BO avatars or style, but who was that riding from 2:30 to 3:30 (orange jacket, grey pants)?

 

Also after reading JNG's statement: "Limited exposure whether in the media or on the slopes, combined with a high barrier to entry will keep the community small."  I think I hit on an untapped marketing opportunity; HIPSTERS!!!  Donek, Prior and Bruce should attend all of the fixie conventions, craft roasted coffee meets, and beard waxing competitions and market their boards as "Artisanal Boarding Supplies for the Discerning Individual".  

 

Maybe not as filled with awesomeness as the previous video, but like the video's caption says: "Blake Paul, Cam Fitpatrick, Wade Dunstan, and Mark Dunstan, strap into some stiff hardboots and let ‘er rip down the trails of Jackson Hole. It’s majestic to say the least.": 

 

https://vimeo.com/83958015

Edited by st_lupo
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the very inspiring videos. I don't really care much to watch EXTREME carving, stance switching (difficult as it must be) and jumping around but I do like watching good, hard core, no skid, carving on various boards as depicted on the vids. Pure, big arc carving is my goal, lofty as it may be.

Edited by 1xsculler
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the best free carving I've seen, EVER, but sound track sucks. Video has been out about 2.5 years and I just watched it yesterday. So I'd agree with the low visibility/low marketing comments. But as long as we have enough carvers to make sure we continue to get great boards, I'm happy with that.

As a recreational rider, the only positive I see with a bigger community is the possibility of getting some hard boots that don't need modification to work well.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I started this topic and I'm amazed how many replies it has generated. It must have hit a bit of a nerve.

Practically finally got so I could lay out a few (very few) well-linked trenches when the conditions were just right, i.e. just the right slope, snow and surface conditions. When the slope got a little steeper, the snow less than ideal and the surface a little bumpy I was unable to adapt. I went to SES 2005 and couldn't lay out a single non-skidding carve. I was really bumbed.

After about 30 years on snowboards mostly in hard boots I find the same thing. I'm so frustrated that I can't get that trench dug in. I went to Aspen this year 2016 and I'm pretty sure I didn't do one carve on the best equipment you can get. The point is and what leads back to the premise of this thread is that yes it is hard, yes it takes talent, yes it takes years to define and at 64 years old it's actually where I want to be when I'm 70.

post-305099-0-01577400-1457972591_thumb.

Edited by Henry Hester
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are disappointed that hardboot snowboarding is still an obscure industry, imagine how some of the skwal guys feel. :freak3:   I am jumping on both alpine boarding and skwal within a year of each other and though the price of equipment cost me very little, the lift ticket prices are what probably push people away the most since both require immense confidence and practice.

Edited by iplaywithnoshoes
Link to post
Share on other sites

...

My take on why the board carvers are so few and far inbetween is because it is very, very conditions specific, i.e. for most of us it requires just the right slope, snow and surface.  

 

...

 

I'm not sure that's true. Good carvers, on soft boots or hard boots, can carve anything, whatever the conditions, whatever the slope. That's why I recoil a bit when I hear people here talk about "carving hills" - as if they can't ride the edge anywhere there's snow. Sometimes that's because they use the wrong gear (typically boards which are too long, or piste boards in powder), but it's an attitude I don't share.

 

I think some people choose to use equipment which only works on easy slopes, and some others use technique (eg Euro Carve) which only works on easy slopes.... but those are choices they make.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Phil, many just HATE to make skidded, sloppy turns, so a 'perfect' hill becomes the mantra. It only has groomed wide blue-square trails, no lift lines, and 1$ burgers with .50$ beers!! [in your dreams, mate!]

 

I say, carve what you can as you can, and if it's powder, break out the Swallowtail! But most of all, show the flow, Style you turns, be in control (even IF it feels fuzzy, Own It, the hill only gives you what it has, You need to make it look smooth!), and don't go to slow!! 

 

When I see a good rider, it's very obvious. Boards just have more power on edge than skis (although, good skiers, nowadays, look pretty good in terms of arc + lean), and when a rider can link carves down the slope, it's noticeable. More-over, what I really notice is Flow. That might be a hangover from my pipe-judging days, but if a rider is in good control on the way down, I'll note it.

 

This Friday, I watched a former student, now Instructor, working his spin-to-revert-carves (toesides) while I was on the chair going up Stratton. He was great at those,btw, but I caught him at the bar later, and asked him to up his highback lean, as his butt was stickin' way out on heelsides. He was surprised to hear my critique, but a few 'porno turn' (Um, hip thrust,, toe-to-heel, very unflatterring looking!)  bar-side demos convinced him to think it over!

 This 'kid', whom I taught when he was a teen, is a 'Jibber', but still knows that carving has a place in the skill set. So, 'Style' isn't beyond the mindset of the current generation, it's just that the focal point shifted from turns to spins-in-the-air and Jibbing. The re-introduction of the Surfing Turn may change that focus, but all the progression that's occurred also must be considered in the mix as well!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Phil, many just HATE to make skidded, sloppy turns, so a 'perfect' hill becomes the mantra. It only has groomed wide blue-square trails, no lift lines, and 1$ burgers with .50$ beers!! [in your dreams, mate!]

 

I say, carve what you can as you can, and if it's powder, break out the Swallowtail! ...

 

Let me turn that around... "hey guys, take up hard-booting. It will restrict you to riding motorways, and the equipment is expensive plus you need more skills than riding a soft boot board". If it were true, then QED, but it's not true in my world.

 

Swallowtails? I've still never seen anyone ride Monashee heli powder two days in a row on one. Sure, I could do it, but I would not want to waste the vertical. Those things are better for wall decorations, IMHO.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me turn that around... "hey guys, take up hard-booting. It will restrict you to riding motorways, and the equipment is expensive plus you need more skills than riding a soft boot board". If it were true, then QED, but it's not true in my world.

 

How is this not true?  It would be disingenuous to tell a newcomer that switching to hardbooting is easy.  A better message is that it's hard, but it's well worth the investment.

 

Good carvers, on soft boots or hard boots, can carve anything, whatever the conditions, whatever the slope.

 

It is equally disingenuous to imply that the only reason some riders cannot handle any conditions on their carving gear is because they are just not good enough.  I have seen exactly one person carve a mogul field on a carving board and he was an AASI snowboard examiner.  I think you are setting the bar unreasonably high when defining a "good carver".

 

There is a reason that many of us have a quiver to handle different conditions and it's more than just gear lust.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Swallowtails? I've still never seen anyone ride Monashee heli powder two days in a row on one. Sure, I could do it, but I would not want to waste the vertical. Those things are better for wall decorations, IMHO. [This posted prior by PhilW] Below, my reply....

 

 

Hmm, while I had my Tanker 200 in Argentina, I also had the Madds BX, and O-Sin 4807 along, too. The O-Sin got quite a workout, not just from me, but from the crew I was coaching, too.  I was the only one on the Tanker, probably 30 or so runs in 5 days, one out-of-bounds Cat tour. The O-Sin was out way more than that...

Last year, where we had 88 inches at this time (vs 24.5" this season), the O-Sin was my second-most ridden board, my 1985 Performer got the most days in (more than it ever saw in it's 30 years prior, as well!). I even got it to Whaleback within a day or two of it's being the 3rd Board to ever use the lift there (and had a Ski-Patrol escort on the lift, as it was back then..).  WALL HANGER?!!  Hell NO!!  Both of those (and others similar in type) will continue to be ridden, with Style, swiftly, in the appropriate snow conditions (which, for the O-Sin, is any old day). If you lose touch with the Roots, you lose touch....

Edited by Eric Brammer aka PSR
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...