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Powder board: what length best?


Helvetico
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I just rode a rented 177 Rad-Air Tanker oversize this weekend and loved it, even if it was a beaten-up hunk of junk. I was all set on getting a 182, when I started to wonder: if I get this much flotation out of a fat 177, wouldn't a 200 be even better? I was tracking up parts of the mountain (Andermatt, Switz.) no one else could manage--not for lack of ability, but lack of float. Wouldn't a 200 let me cruise nearly flat, untouched terrain?

So here's what's holding me back: I worry about being able to swing the damned thing around and I worry that it will float so well I won't ever be able to go down anything steeper than an intermediate run. There's something reassuring about the slowing aspects of a smaller board on steep, steep runs. I wonder if a Nidecker Megalight 168 or 174, with its floppy nose, might not slow things down enough to make steep pitches manageable. Then again, they won't float me over undulating backcountry terrain.

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This is why some guys have a quiver of boards.

You want to ride deep dust, that's not to steep, you need a big board with lots of float. Or go on a diet.

The fewer boards you own, the more that one or two boards must be a comprimise of your riding styles and riding conditions. So its kind of up to your planned, desired riding, your pocket book depth, and your desire to haul multiple boards around. If you only ride super dry not to steep powder once or twice a year, maybe that doesn't require that you own a 200 or 180 or even the 177. Maybe a 168 or 175 4WD or Axis or ??? is the right board. Works good in 90% of your powder riding and the spring slop. That plus a nice stiff carving board covers 95% of your riding needs.

Or buy that 180 rad air tanker and ride the deep, but not steep and narrow (which is where I will be on my 162/164).

Glad your getting some great powder.

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how many compromises do you want/need to make. My quiver is growing too fast, and the lug 'em all thing is hitting meltdown. 5 boards now, and the list grows. Longer boards are harder to jockey around in the trees, but size/shape dictate float. Which is more important? If you can't have 2 boards for the 2 demands, make a choice. And in my short mind (5'7" and 160 lbs.) a 177 isn't too long for anything but the tightest trees. A 156/160 Fish will be enough to float, and short enough for trees, but expect to come up a little short on the speed. My 178 Nitro pow swallowtail is what I consider as the shortest true pow stick I'd consider, and I think my splitboard at the same length is ideal for most things I do here in the PNW. Just my $.02

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I've got a Winterstick 185 swallowtail that I ride when the powder's over 12 inches deep- I've used it less than 15 times, but each of those times has been magic and priceless.

The rest of my quiver depends on the terrain and conditions- two

159 Winterstick ST's for technical steep carving, a 172 ST for big mountain riding, a 162 Winterstick Cirque for boardercross, and an 170 Oxygen race board for trench digging.

Top that off with a Prior Khyber splitboard and an approach ski set-up, and you've got two seriously heavy boardbags.

We won't even start on my ski bag quivver.

George

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I don't know about your local powder: look what the good guys are riding and take notes, I'd say.

My experience is all heli with a bit of cat stuff. Back in the day there you'd want to go big, precisely how big depending on the snow and avalanche risk. But the Fish changed that for me. It doesn't accelerate as fast as big boards, but what you lose on the [really easy] terrain you gain in spades in the trees.

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That is part of the reason why people like the big Tankers, because you gain so much and trade so little.

They are manueverable, carveable, floatable, and the fun is endless. As for whether you can take them on the steep, just check out the picture.

*They are changing their sidecuts and shapes for 06-07, so find any available ones right now, they are real keepers!

post-146-141842212353_thumb.jpg

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Helvetico, I agree that the tankers are great no matter what size you go for. I ride the 200's only and am only really challenged in tight trees (attached pic is my friend Bodhi on a 200 in the trees in Japan). As for worrying about swing weight, the only time that it is going to come into play is towards the end of the day when your legs start to get tired (if you are in shape it won't matter). Other than that, all of the longer tankers turn exceptionally well and fairly easy and the longer boards have more edge contact making turns at speed more comfortable.

post-420-141842212361_thumb.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

This mornings report stated 5 inches new but, by the time I got to the mountain there was another 3 or 4 that had puked onto the other 5 inches. That on top of 5 inches heavy/wet new the afternoon before.

The Tanker 200 performed well beyond my expectations and has cooled my ardor for trying to get yet another swallowtail. The Tanker is kinda like a swally but without the broken tails. Plus, the sidecut and running length makes it infinitely more stable on crud and cord. It is such a stable platform to surf powder on.

As I watched other riders from the lift, I noticed that all of them never turn in low angle snow (duh, they sink and flail) and straight-line to keep their speed to make it to the next pitch. Also, those same riders had most of their weight on the rear leg, ouch, IT BURNS! Bad memories. And, with their front boot just inches from the tip of the board, it is very easy to go ass over kettle if they bobble in the crud.

Once I was back on the snow I was able to carry speed through the low-angle transitions and then once on the steeps, I kept in the fall-line and had helpless powder at speed to surf and slash. I cannot understand why riders bring 156cm freestyle boards to a powder session. They don't work! When are these TWS plebes going to get it?

Hightlight of the day: Noticed a rider killing it on a Kemper Bullet. I couldn't keep up with him and his posse. The dude was rockin' his Bullet.

Mark

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if you have to choose between the two go with a grocer, for some reason it handles just as well as its bigger brother in most conditions

if you are gonna go huge there are far better options than lib tech

SVR, in the east that would be a trail, thats hardly a tree run out on this side of the country

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I've heard that the doughboys are noodles, though I haven't ridden them myself. If any of you can do a side-by-side with any of the Tankers, I'd like to know.

If you're nervous about going all the way to a 200 but liked the way the 177 rode, just go up to the 187. You keep the width, gain some length, and don't have to worry about the extra 13cm.

We've been getting sick amounts of snow in the Central Sierra Mountains.....nirvana.

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if you have to choose between the two go with a grocer, for some reason it handles just as well as its bigger brother in most conditions

if you are gonna go huge there are far better options than lib tech

That's true about far better options than lib tech. i suppose i'm a bit patriotic considering the fact its made in US. Thanks for the word up about the Grocer. Saw an old board of the Grocer via ebay.com. Dunno if Ill grab it since Ive seen better Grocer than that one. I want the one with the icon of a happy boy with thumbs up. :biggthump

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