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Unless there's a whole lot of Demo Days complete with All Mountain Boards and Boots at major Ski Areas, I don't see much of a chance for Alpine appealing to the younger crowd.  They have low attention spans,  want immediate gratification, don't want to be bothered by trying to hooking with a current rider to patch together a set-up to try, they don't want to waste a day hunting for a set up to try when they have limited days on the slope, and the current pricing of new gear without being able to try first, are all going to contribute to no one wanting to bother.

I've given up on giving out my phone number to anyone that wants to try.  No one's ever called.

I know almost everyone here wants to get to the perfect carve.  I want the unexpected of everything that is un-groomed, and off-piste.  I want the challenge of meeting a NEW obstacle that needs to be met head on.  That's where I think Hardboots excel.  I also think that  would appeal to the soft boot crowd.

My personal opinion, of course.

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Great topic, great discussion. I have 2 kids that hardboot, I am very fortunate. Here is my secret: Teach passion first, passion will always triumph over ability.  Once they have passion for

Finally adding my 2 cents to the thread... I think the future of recreational alpine is as a progression from softboot carving. The on-ramps for new alpine riders are either racing or softbo

This is my first time commenting on this forum. I started skiing 12 years ago and enjoyed it a lot. I started skiing 6 days a week three years ago at a small hill in Ontario Called Brimacombe with onl

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Every alpine rider needs to bring into the sport at least one or more of his kids. Eventually our sport will grow... 😄

Tomorrow my 9 year old son will be riding his alpine setup for the first time. He already carves better than 98% of adult riders on his regular board...🏂

P.S. On snowbording heros for kids: A parent can be a hero for his children. My son learned how to carve just following me on slopes.

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On 3/6/2020 at 5:29 PM, softbootsurfer said:

I guess I am not being Clear, this thread is about the Future, not people here like yourself that have been Carving for years

You're right about racing and the future. There are more hardboot alpine racers in these parts than you can shake a stick. You can see them at the USASA nationals in a few weeks. The Gteam in Minnesota has seen growth in this aspect of the sport in the past several years, in part inspired by my daughter who trained in their program years ago and then went on to become the top US female alpine racer and competed in WC races all over the world. When she retired, she coached Gteam racers for a while, but has now moved on to other things. 

There are 3 girls from the gteam now competing in RTTC  (and one of them in the world cup at Blue Mt)---known as the "flower power"--Rose, Lily and Iris.

Racers have a different mindset about carving, Fin knew. Unfortunately, you rarely see current or former (serious) racers out carving turns for pleasure.

And then there are nuts like us here who can't wait for the next turn.

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2 hours ago, bumpyride said:

Unless there's a whole lot of Demo Days complete with All Mountain Boards and Boots at major Ski Areas, I don't see much of a chance for Alpine appealing to the younger crowd. ....

USASA national championships at Copper Mt.--the largest gathering of snowboarders on the planet. Donek and others are there with demos. A thousand snowboarding kids (and their parents) that spend a lot of time on the snow.

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4 minutes ago, bigwavedave said:

USASA national championships at Copper Mt.--the largest gathering of snowboarders on the planet. Donek and others are there with demos. A thousand snowboarding kids (and their parents) that spend a lot of time on the snow.

Need more of that at many different venues and hills.

 

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18 hours ago, bumpyride said:

Unless there's a whole lot of Demo Days complete with All Mountain Boards and Boots at major Ski Areas, I don't see much of a chance for Alpine appealing to the younger crowd.  They have low attention spans,  want immediate gratification, don't want to be bothered by trying to hooking with a current rider to patch together a set-up to try, they don't want to waste a day hunting for a set up to try when they have limited days on the slope, and the current pricing of new gear without being able to try first, are all going to contribute to no one wanting to bother.

 

I got into this as a kid. All of those negatives were aimed at my generation by the one before, and I never got to demo anything until many years after I started. So in my experience I don't think all of that tracks.

It's a fringe activity, but that just means it doesn't need as much by in to continue chugging along. I have kids (like,  12-16 year olds) asking me smart questions about the gear and how to get into the sport. If one out of 300 try it, then that's getting more folks in before I drop out. 

Edited by Mr.E
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Can somebody who has participated in ski area demos provide some perspective on wether HB demos actually work at getting new blood into the scene or if it just reenforces the perception that this is hard to get started in?

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I don't know about the future of "alpine", but the future of carving for me was just revealed after my first day on my new Coiler BX hammerhead 160x27.  With Flow bindings and some stiffer boots, I was able to lay out turns as quick and precise as any I have ever done on race boards and hard boots, plus it was much easier to just cruise and skid around on when riding with slower riders.  I spent years teaching people to carve with hard boots and race boards, plus more than a decade evaluating instructors (who used hard boots and race boards) mainly because free ride/freestyle boards from the late 90's-early 2000's were pretty terrible at carving on anything but hero snow.  I went through a whole bunch of supposedly "stiff" free ride boards over the past 15 years as a patroller (simply because patrolling on an alpine set-up is not very practical) and they were all weak.  Hard boots are still fun, and all the plate and sub-plate systems are fascinating to me, but as mentioned in this thread and others, race boards and race techniques are designed to get past the gates as fast as possible.  Fully rounded across the fall line layed out zero skid turns are not practical in a race.  

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7 hours ago, Deuxdiesel said:

simply because patrolling on an alpine set-up is not very practical

I know a couple of hardboot patrollers that don't seem to have any issues. They are great riders mind you...

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On 3/7/2020 at 4:35 AM, Deuxdiesel said:

race boards and race techniques are designed to get past the gates as fast as possible.  Fully rounded across the fall line layed out zero skid turns are not practical in a race.  

IMHO

Yep!!  When you set gates for Skis,

FIS dominates the whole situation, they wrecked any real chance for success long ago, there are many great Snowboard racers who have had smooth transitions all the way, however watch any Snowboard race series and the Hurky Jurky comes out most of the time...they could set different Courses, but they won't ...

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It feels to me like this all boils down to two things.....desire and the availability of gear. Availability has been much discussed here and it's a tough nut to crack....that said if the desire was there the market would step up and ensure availability. Profit is a great motivator.

This leaves desire. What prompts desire for a young person to get into a given activity? I'd like to think that a 15 year old seeing this old man carving would make him/her desire to do the same so badly that they would walk into their local shop to ask about gear, but that's unlikely. The vast majority of people are motivated by peer pressure and image and that's even more so with the young....they want to do what's cool. This means cool young people carving on youtube videos that other young people want to emulate. Watching me from the lift might prompt them to say nice things in the lift line but will it make them buck the trend of their peers? They might even ask how to get into it but will they tell their friends that they are changing gear and won't be following them into the park but instead will be sticking to blue groomers? Not likely. They need to see cool young people on social media carving before they will have enough desire to make the leap. They need a role model....an influencer.

There are always a few that buck trends - the individualists. These rare people are more self motivated and may even be interested in bucking trends instead of following them. I'm one of those people and I'll bet many on this forum are the same. The numbers are small and by definition this makes us a fringe element. Only the smallest board builders will bother with this fringe market. There's no financial incentive for the Burtons of the world to bother getting in.

What will cause a few young influencers to try hardbooting to make it cool? If I had the answer to this I'd be rich. It's a magic combination of things. I'd like to think that racing would draw people into the sport the same way that so many people watch Mikaela Shiffrin race on TV and then go out and free ski. Race on Sunday - sell on Monday. But that hasn't happened. I personally feel this is because our racing is boring to watch. I love carving, and I love racing of all sorts, but watching PGS is only exciting to a dedicated few. In its current form I don't think it will ever draw the youth in to build a foundation for our sport. Why would a young person choose PGS boarding when they can ski race and emulate their heroes on TV going 75 mph?

I obviously don't have the answer to this. I don't know how to get a few young cool influencers to fill social media with carving photos. If I did I'd have retired by now. I don't know how to do it but I do feel I know what needs to be done. Create desire and shops will suddenly have gear in stock....but not until then.

Thanks for reading.

 

dave

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On 3/8/2020 at 7:50 AM, softbootsurfer said:

IMHO

Yep!!  When you set gates for Skis,

FIS dominates the whole situation, they wrecked any real chance for success long ago, there are many great Snowboard racers who have had smooth transitions all the way, however watch any Snowboard race series and the Hurky Jurky comes out most of the time...they could set different Courses, but they won't ...

When I started racing, some of the best alpine snowboard racers were former ski racers, who found that their ski race skills gave them an immediate advantage. So, yes there is their influence on alpine snowboard racing. I often argued for bigger turns in race courses. When we did it, it turned out the course got destroyed much faster with big across-the-hill turns than the way courses are currently set. When you have 60+ racers using the same course, you have to consider that.

Try riding through a race course and maintain your smooth style. It's way harder than it looks, but it will improve your skills out of the race course. WC race courses are supposed to challenge the best riders, so you often see riders that are pushed to their limits of control and are not smooth (or are smooth, but not fast). Then you see riders like Karin Ruby, Ester Ledecka or JJA and a few others being smooth and fast.

Isn't this why we have the non-competitive "expression session". Otherwise, we would've been setting race courses with huge turns at SES. If you like getting to the hill early to make big turns on fresh groom before it's all tracked out, you're not gonna like racing. If you like sitting at the top of the hill waiting for the timing to get sorted out so you can make your one or two runs through a rutted up course, than racing is for you. It's a different mindset. Riding seems to take backseat to the competition. That said, I'm still in awe watching racer's go through a rutted up course, making it look easy, or even do-able, or maybe even fun.

Gotta say though, we have all benefited from the equipment innovations derived from the racing community.

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On 3/7/2020 at 3:35 AM, Deuxdiesel said:

 Fully rounded across the fall line layed out zero skid turns are not practical in a race.  

FYI, your information is outdated. This is old stereotype. In last few years racing advanced considerably. The racing technique changed. Check most recent competitions. Almost no drift in racing. 

Same technique applied in free riding and racing:

P.S. By the way, (good) races never skid, they may do drifts. Absolutely different thing... I love how Loginov rides - clean carving with some drifting:

 

Edited by dgCarve
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4 hours ago, Mr.E said:

Met a  younger (adult) woman on her second day on an apline board. She was killing it. I think the future is safe.

My 9 year son on his first day on alpine setup was laying carves on blues, like he was doing that forever! He was good carver on regular board, but WOW - it took few weeks to get me where he was just in one day. 

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1 hour ago, dgCarve said:

FYI, your information is outdated. This is old stereotype. In last few years racing advanced considerably. The racing technique changed. Check most recent competitions. Almost no drift in racing. 

P.S. By the way, (good) races never skid, they may do drifts. Absolutely different thing...

I'm happy to hear there is a thing called a drift and that it is not a skid or a slide. I feel better about doing some drifting myself and after watching some vids of racing I know exactly what you mean.

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2 hours ago, 1xsculler said:

I'm happy to hear there is a thing called a drift and that it is not a skid or a slide. I feel better about doing some drifting myself and after watching some vids of racing I know exactly what you mean.

Drifting is quite advanced technique, and not that easy to do...

 

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Drifting may not be skidding, but it is not carving either.  Remove the gates from that image and it would look pretty rough compared to the graceful arcs you see at an expression session.  Not that Karl isn't killing it time-wise, and is obviously exceptionally skilled, but the goal is to get there first, not prettiest.  In the mid weighting 3 video, the radius of the two turns is different as is the amount of the center of mass the rider puts inside the turn.  Both show great skill and similar technique, but not apples to apples.  

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10 hours ago, dgCarve said:

FYI, your information is outdated. This is old stereotype. In last few years racing advanced considerably. The racing technique changed. Check most recent competitions. Almost no drift in racing. 

Same technique applied in free riding and racing:

P.S. By the way, (good) races never skid, they may do drifts. Absolutely different thing... I love how Loginov rides - clean carving with some drifting:

 

The Free riding here in the Video to me, is Racing without the Gates...I have always noticed that Racers look as if they are looking for Gates, even when they are Freeriding 😃 I believe this Video of Sigi shows more Freeride than Race, just the way he is reading contours is really Beautiful to watch...

 

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2 hours ago, softbootsurfer said:

The Free riding here in the Video to me, is Racing without the Gates...I have always noticed that Racers look as if they are looking for Gates, even when they are Freeriding 😃 I believe this Video of Sigi shows more Freeride than Race, just the way he is reading contours is really Beautiful to watch...

 

The smile says it all. Love that SG video because you can feel the joy in the turns, even if he doesn't really take them all the way across, he's still going deep into each carve. He just likes to carry a lot of speed.

This conversation reminded me of some short clips I shot of finals at a recent RTTC PSL. Nice course, no need for drifts--nice smooth carves...short, but smooth turns.

Ignore our stupid grins in the cover photo. Bob and I were smiling because rather than racing, we were out harvesting all the neglected corduroy.

 

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6 hours ago, Deuxdiesel said:

Drifting may not be skidding, but it is not carving either.  Remove the gates from that image and it would look pretty rough compared to the graceful arcs you see at an expression session.  Not that Karl isn't killing it time-wise, and is obviously exceptionally skilled, but the goal is to get there first, not prettiest.  In the mid weighting 3 video, the radius of the two turns is different as is the amount of the center of mass the rider puts inside the turn.  Both show great skill and similar technique, but not apples to apples.  

Racers easily can do perfect carves on ice. For this you need perfect technique. Does Sigi look rough? LOL Search for Jasey Jay free riding too... @softbootsurfer posted a video of Sigi... Good racers have very sound technique, and can carve much cleaner than 95% of "free carvers". They just not interested in scraping slope and use parts of their body as brake...

P.S. I did read lots of posts here, and clearly can see that by some reason "free carvers" think that racers can not do clean carves, and that it is harder to learn clean "free carving" than racing technique. Both of this are very wrong stereotypes with no any factual basis.

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I believe that there is hope 😃.  It may not be using full on alpine equipment for now but I see a lot of softbooters  and (especially) sbxers carving turns at my local hill.  They may not do it all the time but they still do it by choice.  And for some of them, at one point, they may want to try on an alpine setup.  As someone wrote earlier, as long as that when I leave the sport, two of them switch over, the sport is still in good shape.  Hopefully they won't wait until that happens! 🤣

 

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Does anybody remember the ski/snowboard competition back in the 90's called "trench wars" or something like that?  It was run on a waterski style course with buoys (half balls) placed at different widths and you got more points for rounding the outer buoy than the inner ones.  Racers could go on both snowboards and skis for the "skimeister" award.  I remember watching  Mark Fawcett race in Vermont and always thought that would be the future of alpine racing, but obviously it did not take off.  

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On 3/7/2020 at 5:01 AM, st_lupo said:

Can somebody who has participated in ski area demos provide some perspective on wether HB demos actually work at getting new blood into the scene or if it just reenforces the perception that this is hard to get started in?

I can tell you that the two times the ECES was at Sugarloaf, it did effectively nothing for the hardbooting population here.  I think most demo day participants would be doing it on impulse, whether they are ready for hardboots or not.  Softbooters who can't already carve, or can't carve their downhill edge are going to have a bad time with that.

Kids getting into racing has been the only effective change agent I've seen here.

An idea I've had for a long time but have never been able to make it happen is a 5 day midweek carve camp.  At first it would be open only to people who are new to hardboots.  The expectation would be that they arrive to camp able to carve their softboots on greens, and the camp would provide demo alpine gear and coaching.  10 students max per coach.  I'd like to see this happen someday.

 

On 2/22/2020 at 12:59 PM, Mr.E said:

To be fair, it appears we've been lementing the death of Alpine for my 25 years in it.

Yes, exactly.  I'm not convinced we actually have a problem.  The sport is awesome and it keeps getting better.

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