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Donek Entry Level Pilot Series


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I've been informed that there are some questions regarding our new Pilot Series board. Hopefully I'm not overstepping my bounds by posting some specs and answers here.

Over the last few years there has been a certain amount of interest in an entry level product. We have decided to introduce one to see how things go with it. It's purpose is to make entry into the carving world a little less demanding on ones pocket book.

After consulting with some experts on teaching beginning carves we arrived at specs for 3 different sizes. These are square tail models and can be used learn to carve or by junior level racers for Slalom and possibly GS. The price tag is $375. We hope to be offering a plastic binding with them next season as a package. Our target package price is $550 for board and binding.

We are considering adding up to 3 more sizes to this line.

The fundamental difference in these boards is in their core construction. If you look at the tech for our cores, you'll find we do a number of things at the manufacturing stage to improve the performance of the board. The pilot will not get any of these improvements. Essentially we are using the same core production process used by the rest of the industry. This reduces the core production time to 1/3 of the time for our symmetriflex cores. The flex pattern has also been modified to maximize lumber yield. This results in a larger platform or untapered portion of the core, making the board softer between the feet. We have also elliminated the ash perimeter making the finished board less torsionally stiff.

We have produced a few of these boards so far. At this time we do not have a finalized graphic for them or the means to produce them as a production item. We are taking orders, but there may be delays in filling those orders. The intention was to release the concept and show them off at SES and go into production for the 05/06 season.

The specs for the 3 sizes are as follows.





<TR><TD>167</TD><TD>150 </TD><TD>10.6</TD><TD>20.0</TD></TR>


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Guest Randy S.


That sounds like a great idea. It sounds like this would be a good board for kids too. Am I correct? My son has a 135 carving board right now, and it will likely last him through next season. After that he'll need to step up a size. Assuming he stays light and isn't pushing super hard, would one of these boards be appropriate for a kid age 12-13?

Thanks for posting the info.


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This is exactly what the sport needs, kudos.

I'm reminded of my first carving board - Burton Safari Comp II - 165cm length, 135cm effective edge, 26.7cm waist, 16.3m radius. I'll bet I would have had an easier time on your boards!!

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The boards are intended to accomodate lighter riders. If you look at the 147, you'll probably notice some similarities to the 146 junior race in stiffness. It will work very nicely for a young or small rider.

We are looking at snowpro bindings and F2.

As far as performance, there was mention that I spent some time on the 167. The board performed very nicely. As my speed increased and I layed it over more I did notice a need to pressure the outside of my boots in order to prevent it from folding at the waist. Remember I weight 185 lbs. It's not a board for an experienced heavy carver, but will do very well for someone starting out.

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Guest James Pryor

One of my biggest problems when I decided to chuck the Atomic 203's and learn to ride Alpine was what kind of board to buy. Luckily the only board I could find was a Burton Amp. This is a great idea and will help serious novices get on the right equipment. Jim Pryor

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Just another hardbooter who thinks this is *exactly* what our sport needs. I thought the toughest thing about riding alpine was getting started, and this is sure to make it easier. I'm sure I would have started with one of these had they been available 4 years ago.

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Sean -

Ironically...I passed by this thread over the weekend and a parent asked me about this at practice tonight

Congrats on expanding the product line, easing the entry into the sport and helping the next generation of rippers....

IMO, this is a considerable step for alpine and I certainly hope your efforts get rewarded. The reality of alpine and the current "state of the trenches" is that boards are in short supply, prices are creaping higher, and most of the available product is "custom".

This leaves a heavy burden on the used market. First, selling a custom deck creates its own set of challenges. There is now a SHORTAGE of used (or even new) equipment for the 8-16 year old carver or roughly 50 to 130 pounds. As a alpine coach, most of my riders have to shop the used market and buy "premium" boards which they will out-grow (size and ability). It's no secret most of these are Burtons, RIP. It's downright tough getting these riders on gear...much less gear that is proper for their size. These heavily used boards are on their last leg and your announcement comes at a good time....

What is going to happen in say....2, 5, 10 years to the state of equipment?

I could ramble in a million different directions, but the reality is that the sport must grow from the youth. Unfortunately, USSA/FIS or even USASA isn't doing ANYTHING to promote the next generation of elite level alpine racers/riders. Sure, they put on races to make money...but I'm talking about the programs which the IOC MANDATES for athletic development. Currently, I'm (unfortunately) tangled up in the triathlon IOC drama...so I'm very familiar with the money situation. USSA is DROPPING THE BALL as I type. (If anybody from USSA is reading this...feel free to PM me).

Opps, back to snowboards.....

Did you take demos to SES? How'd it go? Are you taking demos up to USASA Nationals? If you need some help, let me know.

Also, I'd like to urge you to put a shorter board in the mix for smaller SL riders.....

Nice work.


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You and I spoke last year regarding the issues that Kent references.....too few reasonably priced boards for the kids that are the future of our sport. Thanks for making this effort. Us parents that scour the used market for smaller boards are quite pleased. Will you be at the USASA Nationals at Copper?....that's where you will find all of the young racers. We'd love to demo one of these boards. The next Michelle Gorgone might come from this crowd.

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I will make an effort to be there with at least one of the Pilot boards in hand. I'm not sure what the dates are. Can you let me know the dates of Nationals and when you and other parents are likely to show up and leave.

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Many people arrive on Saturday, April 2 and leave the following Saturday. My son races Wednesday and Friday but we will be there the entire week. As Kent suggested, I am sure that many coaches, riders and parents would be happy to meet with you and look at the boards during this time.....I know that Patrick (my 13 year old) would love to ride one. We considered your 146 race board (originally built for SMS riders if I remember correctly) but just could not stomach the price. Hence the feeling that you may be hitting a "sweet spot" for price and performance. (He rides Burton Speeds currently with race plates 149 for SL and 158/164 for GS). There are often booths set up at Nationals with a number of different vendors represented.....I wonder how much Tom Collins charges???

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