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Turned off to softboots forever!


SWriverstone
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So after a year (or more) of riding in hardboots and a carving board exclusively, I pulled out my Burton Premier freestyle board and softboots a week ago, thinking it would be perfect for snowboarding with my daughter Kate. It's good gear, not Burton's best but not cheap dimestore junk either.

When I put the bindings back on, I went ahead and set 'em up duck-footed, just to be an "official" softbooter. :)

YEECCHH!!!! I hated riding in that gear! After hardboots, the soft gear just felt, well...mushy and soft and too flexy! The only redeeming feature I found was that the softboots were more comfortable than my hardboots. But other than that, I was miserable! I couldn't wait to get that crap off my feet! And dealing with those insane strap bindings was obnoxious—I've gotten used to getting off the lift, pausing for 10 seconds, and going!

Riding was a drag, because I just didn't feel like I had anywhere near the backbone and support throughout the whole system that I do in my carving gear. It did not inspire confidence. I hated going everywhere sideways too!

Now, I say all this partly tongue-in-cheek. I'm not bashing soft gear...just saying that I am definitely a hardbooter for life! :rolleyes:

Scott

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Hardbooter for life! Before, i was planning on getting a soft boot set up just so when I go out west, to use in powder. That was before I found out that there are powder alpine boards. As for comfort, I will defintly trade comfort for more control. My skis are in my closet for the rest of the season and most likely for alot longer than that.

:biggthump

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I revisited softboots earlier this year after a 5 year hiatus and I have to say I was not impressed. I rode them on a powder day earlier this year thinking I would appreciated the flexibility. I didn’t. I just got back from Copper and we had two powder days with a foot of new snow each day. I rode my Nidecker Escape 174 with my hardboots down steep mogul runs, back bowls, trees, and blue cruisers. My setup was absolutely perfect for everything. My softboot days are officially over.

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Been there...done that....same conclusion. I bought a Prior Khyber for pow, bumps and trees last year along with some nice soft Salomon boots and bindings. After one day on the setup the boots and bindings are currently collecting dust in my basement. I put some Bombers on the board and have ridden it with great satisfaction with my Raichle 224s. Speaking of the Khyber...it's a sweet little board. I was surpised how well it actually carved. Haven't ridden it in the pow yet. I guess it's Prior roots are showing through.

Miguel

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Riding was a drag, because I just didn't feel like I had anywhere near the backbone and support throughout the whole system that I do in my carving gear. It did not inspire confidence. I hated going everywhere sideways too!

Now, I say all this partly tongue-in-cheek. I'm not bashing soft gear...just saying that I am definitely a hardbooter for life!

Scott

I think it's kind of like diving into a pool after sitting in a hottub... it felt fine before... but now it feels shockingly different. When I switch back to softboots and a freestyle board to ride the park in the afternoon, there is a usually slight period of adjustment where I remind my brain I'm not riding a lunch tray and yes I do have muscles in my lower legs that need to be used now that they are not supported by a plastic exoskeleton. If you have the patience, practice, and don't give up... you will be able to adjust and ride whatevers under your feet without all the mental biases.
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part of the problem though is that by wearing hardboots, the muscles used to ride solidly in softboots arent used and become less strong.

This is true - unfortunately. It should not be this way, but hardbooters tend to forget to use their ankles because, quite frankly, they don't have to. You get much more performance out of hardboots if you use your ankles, but it is a little more work. In softboots, you don't have a choice but to use your ankles.

I truly believe that it helps to switch back and forth from time to time just to feel that ankle movement and then try to emulate it in your hardboots.

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http://www.bomberonline.com/VBulletin/showthread.php?t=5013

The difference for me is that my whole soft setup is bad (old board that's now a noodle, boots too soft because I didn't know there was a difference back then). I rode it for one day last year, one run in 2002. The last year I rode only soft was 2001 and I almost stopped snowboarding because of this (I was in between alpine boards).

So it's hardbooter for life for me too.

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i was told to try out my roommate's soft set up just so i can get the ankle use in. Then someone else told me to not strap my boots on too tight and apply pressure using ankles instead of only leaning. It helped out tremendously. I now put my boots on tight and completly forgot bout the ankles. Looks like I gotta try some of that out again tomorrow.

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phil, that makes total sense

fact of the matter is, there are many, many, many incredibly ripping riders that ride softboot setups. not talkin about park rats...Im talking about badass freeride guys, hitting the most advanced terrain possible.

there are very few hardboot setups doing this. The question as to why is tough to answer, but...sadly...there's this funny mentality that somehow by "going all hard" one is being a rebel, or special or something...

Scott...in a way you _are_ bashing softboot setups, as are the others who have posted, and will post.

bottom line is a good rider can ride anything. ask Bryan Sutherland about the legends races where dudes were riding OLD...20 year old setups...and ripping on them.

skill is in the rider.

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another thing...when I was in steamboat I had two boards, one of which never came out. I rode a Morrow Revert 156 (I probably weighed around 195) with Burton Freestyle boots (brown leather upper, rubber lower, neoprene liner) and morrow baseless bindings.

I could carve that board really, really well, rode waist-deep powder in it, hit the park, etc.

I avoided ice back then...still do. just dont like it. lack of skills on my part, admittedly.

then I got my first carver...PJ7, and Burton Shadows...but STILL rode the revert 90% of the time.

funny enough, but...finding the carving "community" has been a curse in some ways. Sure...I prefer carving groomed now, but the fact of the matter is I was a better all around rider then, and you wouldnt have caught me spending hours and hours trying to tweak my setup, buying new stuff to find the "right" setup...etc (let alone all the time I spend online)

I just rode my snowboard. I wasnt anywhere near pro material but I rode well. Fast, confident and adaptive.

this whole thing is a double-edged sword

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Well, I'm far from an expert on softbooting (or hardbooting for that matter)...but in most sports that involve equipment, the goal of the human-to-hardware interface is to transmit as much of the human's energy as efficiently as possible to the hardware. The key word there being efficiently.

In kayaking, boatmakers strive to build stiffer boats so energy isn't wasted when the hull flexes, and the paddler's energy is more efficiently transmitted to the boat.

In road bicycling it's the same: the less the cranks and the frame flex, the more energy is being transmitted to the rear wheel.

In hang gliding, double-surface wings with stiffer sails create a much higher lift-over-drag ratio for better performance.

Hockey players and figure skaters lace their skates up as tightly as possible so more energy is transmitted to the blade.

It's the same idea, over and over. The less flex in the system, the more "pure" the link between human and machine. And the less flex in the system, the more efficiently every subtle movement of the human is transmitted to the rest of the system.

Softboots just don't feel very efficient by comparison! Of course, I don't know what the top Olympic freestyle softbooters' gear feels like in comparison to the average skidder. And of course, the purpose of freestyle snowboarding isn't really efficiency and speed...but more acrobatic.

Scott

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true...hardboots are more efficient in transferring energy, but...that is also their limiting factor. There is a reason the kids aren't throwing 1080s in hard boots...Unless you land it perfectly, there isn't enough give to have the time to recover.

NOt that any of us are dying to throw 10's...

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D-Sub - no one is saying anything of the kind. Someone states they prefer a hard boot set up to a softboot setup and you think it's a bash fest. Everyone has seen soft booters ripping it up in all kinds of terrain. Hell - both my kids can ride circles around me. All that was said was some people prefer riding varied terrain/conditions in hardboots. Personally I think the board choice is what is important, not the boot choice. BTW – the reason you don’t see many hard booters hitting the most advanced terrain possible is BECAUSE THERE ARE NOT THAT MANY HARDBOOTERS TO BEGIN WITH…for gods sake.

Honestly – who gives a **** what somebody rides – board, skis, soft, hard. It’s how you ride, not what you ride. Don’t take this to a bad place.

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Scott...in a way you _are_ bashing softboot setups, as are the others who have posted, and will post.
I'm not really bashing softboots. I know there are guys who can carve like crazy in softboots...but that doesn't mean that softboots are best for carving. :) I love to carve groomers, and honestly couldn't care less for tricks and stunts, riding moguls, plummeting down vertical ravines, etc. Therefore for me, softboots just don't do it as well.

Scott

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Hmm...I guess it's all a question of purpose and goals. If your only desire is to carve groomers, then frankly, you're wasting a lot of energy (no matter how good you are) doing it in softboots.

If your only desire is to shred the half-pipe, then you're better off in softboots and a freestyle board. (Yes, I know some hardbooters can shred the pipe, but that doesn't mean hardboots are best for shredding the pipe!)

If your goal is to do everything with one set of gear, then D-Sub had a point, you're probably better off with a good softboot setup.

Scott

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I'm not really bashing softboots. I know there are guys who can carve like crazy in softboots...but that doesn't mean that softboots are best for carving. :) I love to carve groomers, and honestly couldn't care less for tricks and stunts, riding moguls, plummeting down vertical ravines, etc. Therefore for me, softboots just don't do it as well.

Scott

yup, hardboots are best for carving.

Cliff...Im not taking anything to a bad place.

my point was...and yeah this is gonna get me flamed but whatever...hardboots actually allow sloppy riding in many ways! sure, we get punished too, but...

oh well...none of this matters. scott made it really really clear what he means...he likes carving groomed runs (so do I!) and why not have the best, specialized gear for that.

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My bias comes from breaking my ankle in softboots....nevermind I rode the rest of the day with a broken ankle in my soft setup, nevermind I rode the next month in my soft set up with a broken ankle...I see my soft setup now, think about the surgery I had, think about how my ankle still's bothering me...

I can't go back....

Not using my ankle with a hardboot, jeez, I can't use my ankle now!!!

Bring on March...I'll be out with hardboots and a bum ankle

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the reason you don’t see many hard booters hitting the most advanced terrain possible is BECAUSE THERE ARE NOT THAT MANY HARDBOOTERS TO BEGIN WITH…for gods sake.

errr...thats a chicken/egg argument and doesnt fly, man! and god has nothing to do with it.

there are many reasons why hardboots arent prevalent. some of them are stupid (trends) and others are functional.

Tex didnt ride hard, Farm didnt ride hard, goodwill didnt ride hard, but they and others came up in the era when hardboots WERE available.

anyway...scott made his point...

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errr...thats a chicken/egg argument and doesnt fly, man! and god has nothing to do with it.

It's not chicken/egg - it's just numbers. You don't see many hardbooters, therefore you don't often see hardbooters on tough stuff.

I'm definitely a "it's the rider, not the equipment" kinda guy. Hardboots work well for me, but I've seen softboot riders that rip.

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right, but then why arent there many hardbooters? at one point hardbooting equipment was readily available.

you know...with the BTS available, I suspect plates might become even more viable in an all-terrain situation

fact of the matter is, if I didnt feel a little hindred by them, Id ride plates in everything too.

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right, but then why arent there many hardbooters? at one point hardbooting equipment was readily available.

Snowboarding is in large part a rebellion against skiing. Kids want to snowboard, not ski. They see hardboots, they think "ski". Also, kids want to be like their heroes. None of the guys spinning off the kickers in the mags wear hardboots. Kids drive the market.

I don't think hardboots were ever "readily available". Even when they were more available, the focus was really on racing.

Even now, hardly anyone promotes hardboots as an all-round solution. You said so yourself "specialised for the groomed". On this site the majority of the active members are east coast guys, they're riding stiff, skinny boards on hardpack. They are mostly older with deep pockets, so if it's soft out they've got another board, often with softies. The further west you go, the softer the conditions, the fewer hardboots you see.

Wider, softer board, softer boots - that's the way to go for all-mountain use. You need some flex and float. But you can do it in hard equipment and do it well - if more people understood that and could find the equipment, it would be more popular. And that is a chicken and egg problem.

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