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Versatile, go-anywhere snowboard


skategoat
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I just got back from Fernie BC where we were hit with the full gamut of weather conditions - heavy rain, heavy snow, yo-yo temperatures. We ran into a bit of everything - smooth, heavy powder, crust with deep soft snow underneath, groomed hero snow, frozen cord., you name it.

I brought a 156 Fish with softies and 174 Prior 4WD with plates. The Fish was great at the higher elevations but not so fun on the groom. The Prior was a blast when surfing the untracked snow but when I hit bumps, I was getting thrown all over the place. Then, when I hit the hard cord, most of it frozen, I was wishing I was on my Coiler Race Carve.

So what's a guy to do? I'm getting tired of packing multiple boards, bindings and boots. The skiers in my group thought I was nuts. Every night, I was screwing around with setup, swapping bindings, angles and boots.

I'd trade everything I've got for that perfect, do-anything, go-anywhere snowboard. Does it exist? Maybe I should try an All-Mountain Coiler or Prior with a narrower waist and slightly softer flex. Any opinions?

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The closest thing I've experienced thus far is a Donek Axis 172. I am in queue for a Coiler AM 172 custom next season that I am hoping will hit even closer to the mark - bigger sidecut radius for more carving versatility and a tail shaped for better flotation. I'll always have a quiver, but I see the value in having a single board fpr travelling.

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Bumps, pow/trees, carving groom, pipe/park - you name it. I'm not saying it's the best board for each thing of course, but it does all of them pretty damn well. I usually run it with Burton plates and softer 3-buckle freeride boots. It's like the swiss army knife of snowboards, at least for me.

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Guest thomas_m

Dammit Bola, you beat me to it. :biggthump

Had mine out today in 8" of heavy fresh over what felt like a thin raincrust. A bunch of high speed slaloming around the fir tree saplings and hitting some pillows in early AM. Once it was tracked, jumped over to the groomers with the wife an kids, it was all good.

I caught a lift ride with a guy in plates and an interesting rig. He was riding an older Avalanche Tom Burt with lightweight alpine touring boots (Dynafit I think) and what looked like Burton plates but thats a guess. He said the performed very well for him, more response than softies and not as heavy and stiff for steep pow. Looked like they'd be very cool with a splitboard.

T.

Skategoat:

You got your answer. Check it out.

Bola

www.allboardssports.com

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is unique with it being soft in the middle, makes for ease in the bumps

the best thing you can do for your bump riding is get something like the AM and even more important is go to a softer boots like the 413, still works on the groom but sure is nice in the crud

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Guest jschal01

The Fish and the 4WD both fit the description of versatile, do-anything boards in different ways. The 4WD should be fine in the bumps. I would check your edge bevels and sharpness if you felt you were having excessive difficulty on frozen cord with the 4wd, but it should be fine there, too.

You basically sound as if both boards were working well in the better snow, but you had difficulty when faced with challenging conditions. You probably have technique issues dealing with those specific conditions, and will benefit more from working through those issues than you will from trying a new board at this point.

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Heresy, I know, but this season I've been surprised to find how often I reach for my freeride board, an Arbor Munoz 162. Yesterday at Meadows I rode windblown powder, ice, mush and a little bit of hero snow, and I really don't have anything else in my quiver that would have been as much fun. Don't think I'd have gotten enough float from a more alpine-oriented board.

Of course, a gearhead always wants to tinker, so I will allow that an Arbor A-frame 170 or a 168 Incline might be even better for me: a little more length to float the powder, and a bigger sidecut for railing the groomers.

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Of course, a gearhead always wants to tinker, so I will allow that an Arbor A-frame 170 or a 168 Incline might be even better for me: a little more length to float the powder, and a bigger sidecut for railing the groomers.

Dan, remind me to bring my Incline 168 to MBES for you to take for a spin. It's old and beat up, but imagine a snappier version of it when uyoui are riding it. You're welcome to try my Axis 172 as well, as long as I don't need it that day :)

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The Fish and the 4WD both fit the description of versatile, do-anything boards in different ways. The 4WD should be fine in the bumps. I would check your edge bevels and sharpness if you felt you were having excessive difficulty on frozen cord with the 4wd, but it should be fine there, too.

You basically sound as if both boards were working well in the better snow, but you had difficulty when faced with challenging conditions. You probably have technique issues dealing with those specific conditions, and will benefit more from working through those issues than you will from trying a new board at this point.

Yes, technique is an issue. I consider myself an intermediate snowboarder at best. However, even intermediate skiers can jump on a pair of all-mountain skiis and charge through powder, groom, bumps. The fact that I, as an intermediate snowboarder, cannot do this on a board speaks volumes as to the limitations of our sport.

I'll continue to carve the Eastern groomers with my Coiler and Volkl and I plan a heli-trip for next year with my Fish but if I get to Fernie again, I'm bringing (gulp) skiis.

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However, even intermediate skiers can jump on a pair of all-mountain skiis and charge through powder, groom, bumps. The fact that I, as an intermediate snowboarder, cannot do this on a board speaks volumes as to the limitations of our sport.

The hypothetical skier you're talking about doesn't sound like an intermediate. I'd call that guy advanced. The intermediate skiers I know suck in powder and they are in survival mode in bumps.

My favorite all-mountain board so far is the O-Sin 4807 168cm. I can carve that O-Sin as well as I could carve on my old Donek Incline. Plus the O-Sin beats the Fish in powder. The O-Sin is also manageable in the bumps. But I haven't ridden the O-Sin on an icy day.

Your review of Fernie makes me not want to go there. Heavy rain during a snowboard vacation? Screw that, I'll head to CO instead. I always thought of Fernie as powder heaven. Is this just a bad season for them or is rain normal for them?

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The hypothetical skier you're talking about doesn't sound like an intermediate. I'd call that guy advanced. The intermediate skiers I know suck in powder and they are in survival mode in bumps.

I agree. And my AM172 lets me do all those things but I consider myself advanced (not expert - I'd need to log way more days than I do - and certainly not pro).

I always thought of Fernie as powder heaven. Is this just a bad season

for them or is rain normal for them?

They are in some sort of weird meteorological mini-climate there due to the way the ranges come together. The upside is a ton of precipitation. The downside is it isn't always snow.

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Guest jschal01

You are an intermediate boarder with a 4-board quiver, and if you follow the advice you're getting in this thread you'll soon have 3 more boards at least. While good for the industry, it will not lift your game as a rider.

If you want to get better, you need a game plan for improvement over this season and the next...this should include one individual instructor/coach who you work with, and a committment to riding regularly.

In terms of taking skis on a trip, one advantage of larger destination resorts is they frequently also have the best riders/instructors. If you work with an instructor regularly, tell him or her where you're going, have them hook you up, use the trip as a riding resource. Or, simply ski all the time. :)

I also think you would benefit from retiring at least two of the four boards temporarily. The different sensory input from simply being on a different board can interfere with acquiring new motor skills as you improve as a rider.

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Actually, I have, I think, 7 snowboards. But I only ride 3 of them with any regularity. I think an online garage sale is coming. The times I have asked for instructors on plates, I either got a puzzled look or a chuckle. The one lesson I got 4 years ago in softies, he recommended I switch to a duck stance. Basically, I paid some young guy to ride with me for an hour. Hey, I can do that for free with my own kids.

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Guest jschal01

Well, you've got a public forum here, have you posted asking about finding an instructor? I'm sure you would be able to find one. If you have a need, there's always a way to feed it.

Getting better, like getting rich, takes time and hard work though. You're not looking for a 1 hr ride-better-quick scheme (I hope) you're looking for someone to partner with you for a long period to produce a better rider.

I wouldn't limit yourself to instructors in plates, though, you want good instruction, not necessarily a "hardboot brother" to bond with. Some of the best instruction I ever got was from a kid at Vail who was primarily a rail specialist, on his rail board, centered duck stance.

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