Forums Splitboards Chimera Unicorn Chaser Review–has anyone ridden the beast?
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  • #576679
    JimmyC
    351 Posts

    I know that it has been a bit of rough winter for powder in some parts of North America—but I was wondering if there were any reviews out there for the Unicorn Chaser 160. I am quite tempted by the shape—I like this style of board for riding in tight trees and I am impressed with their design—but I can’t seem to find much in the way of rider reviews. I would also consider a 160 cm Hoovercraft split but I have no idea if Jones has a 160 cm version in the works for 2013.

    #654005
    buckchow
    356 Posts

    I do help out Alister at Chimera here in Utah (though not an employee and I don’t get free boards nor paid) so I invite you to consider me as biased as you wish, as I tell you that I sincerely love the Unicorn Chaser.

    The Unicorn Chaser has been my main board the past 2 seasons, 100+ days touring on the beast. I’ve tried all 3 sizes and like the 157 size the best and I’m 5’9″ 145# (Pisces). I’ve for sure had more fun riding it than any other board I’ve had (twin tip splits, Khybers (fun board too though), Burton S-series).

    It is of course a powder-oriented board. It’s really spry underfoot. With the shorter tail, it feels quick and reliable to turn when you need to turn quick in trees. I love the spryness. It ollies great and springy with the lil tail, and lands solid with the taper, rocker, setback stance. Just really fun to ride and floats like a dream in powder, never bogs down.

    However, the Unicorn Chaser is not just for powder days, it’s my main everyday board, whether it’s Sierra spring corn, crusty conditions, 45degree+ chutes with firm snow, whatever. I prefer the carving characteristics of a trad camber board, and the Unicorn carves pretty good, I find it fun and fast in corn snow. It turns super quick in tight steep spots, even if not powder.

    The main concession with a more directional deck like this, kinda obviously, is riding switch. If you find your riding style gravitating toward nose butters or landing switch, get a different board. However, I’ve carved groomers switch, done traverses fakie to save leg burn, barged my way backyards through plenty of standard Wasatch low elevation scrub oak exits, on the Unicorn Chaser and it handles that kinda stuff fine and has never struck me as less versatile due to its directional design. Whereas I feel like a giant swallowtail (also awesome in the powder) would hamper the type of varied riding I like to do, and the adverse riding situations I sometimes find myself in.

    I think a tapered, setback stance tends to helps me in crappy/sketchy backcountry riding conditions, cuz I find I can power through/over crusts better. I can make quicker confident turns in hazardous spots, whether it’s a jump turn or a speed-check. Also I feel like the float and the light weight help me keep my speed when it’s vital or more fun to.

    If any curious people are up in Baker this weekend, the Chimera crew will be demoing boards and splitfesting – there oughta be a couple Unicorn Chasers as well as all the other models. So much wish I was up there myself – get some turns in for me!

    #654006
    JimmyC
    351 Posts

    Great review buckchow—I really appreciate it!! The Unicorn Chaser sounds like the perfect board for me—-we have very similar interests in riding styles. Now I just need to make sure that I order a board that doesn’t have a hot pink base (I am cool with bright orange, green, etc). Thanks!!!

    #654007
    JimmyC
    351 Posts

    I just placed my order for a 161 cm green logo Unicorn Chaser—yahoo!

    #654008
    Shortarms
    8 Posts

    Last year at Mt Baker Splitfest the Chimera guys talked me into demoing the Unicorn Chaser. I really didn’t want to because I was still stoked on my Prior Khyber that I had bought a month before, but they were very persuasive so I decided to take it out the next day.

    The board rips! That is the best pow board I’ve ever ridden. Light, great pop, floats with ease, very agile and ollied well. I have no reason to say this other than my pure love of snowboarding.

    Just sold my Prior and I’m about to place an order for a new Unicorn Chaser.

    #654009
    JimmyC
    351 Posts

    Nice report shortarms—you got my stoke going.

    #654010
    provotrout
    130 Posts

    Just took delivery this afternoon of a 161 UC. It was ready a little earlier than expected and Alister spent a good 20 minutes going over the construction, why they make the boards the way they do, what they’re doing with their product line, etc.

    Very solid guy, can’t wait to ride it.. though I’ll probably wait for a few storms to let the rocks get covered :thumpsup:

    Quality and finish is excellent, a few features that I hadn’t thought of previously that are worth considering if you’re in the market:

    – Flexible seals between edges/core and topsheet/core to allow give when hitting rocks/trees without opening the core to water

    – Thick base material not ground down as much to help reduce core shots
    – Topsheet that repels snow and takes wax to shed even more snow.. can be a big deal.

    Stoked on their approach and mission.. such a breath of fresh air.

    #654011
    Snurfer
    1439 Posts

    @provotrout wrote:

    Just took delivery this afternoon of a 161 UC. It was ready a little earlier than expected and Alister spent a good 20 minutes going over the construction, why they make the boards the way they do, what they’re doing with their product line, etc.

    Very solid guy, can’t wait to ride it.. though I’ll probably wait for a few storms to let the rocks get covered :thumpsup:

    Quality and finish is excellent, a few features that I hadn’t thought of previously that are worth considering if you’re in the market:

    – Flexible seals between edges/core and topsheet/core to allow give when hitting rocks/trees without opening the core to water
    – Thick base material not ground down as much to help reduce core shots
    – Topsheet that repels snow and takes wax to shed even more snow.. can be a big deal.

    Stoked on their approach and mission.. such a breath of fresh air.

    I haven’t ridden the UC, but a touring partner is riding that board and it looks to ride well in varied conditions. I am currently riding one of Alister’s prototypes and while it may not have the same finishing touches (being that its a proto) it is a VERY well built stick, and I echo that Al is a solid guy, providing a solid product. And super generous to let me beat up one of his boards and then complain about it (give feedback 😉 ). Happy snurfing!

    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

    #654012
    provotrout
    130 Posts

    the big rocker wide body? I’m gonna try to get some runs in on one… looks sick

    #654013
    Snurfer
    1439 Posts

    @provotrout wrote:

    the big rocker wide body? I’m gonna try to get some runs in on one… looks sick

    Not quite, more like this

    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

    #654014
    provotrout
    130 Posts

    @snurfer wrote:

    @provotrout wrote:

    the big rocker wide body? I’m gonna try to get some runs in on one… looks sick

    Not quite, more like this

    o wow that’s pretty rad. I put the feet down on the UC tonight and the shape is so sick.. that looks like a more pronounced scoop, maybe more rocker up front?

    #654015
    Snurfer
    1439 Posts

    @provotrout wrote:

    o wow that’s pretty rad. I put the feet down on the UC tonight and the shape is so sick.. that looks like a more pronounced scoop, maybe more rocker up front?

    It’s a true swallowtail both in terms of tail length; nose shape/length. The stick is 176cm (give or take) and with my fat ass on-board there is essentially zero camber (trad or reverse). Because this is experimental, I can’t speak for Chimera in terms of where this goes, but I’m stoked that a true swallowtail is something Al was willing to try.
    Happy Uneecorn chasing, snow on Monday!!!! :bananas:

    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc

    #654016
    provotrout
    130 Posts

    Got my 161 out for a run down east Flagstaff ridge. She handles like a short board on a groomer.. very nimble, floaty and predictable. Conditions were windbuff and soft pockets with some firm areas mixed in.

    Thought my 165 Rome was a sweet ride (it still is) but the Unicorn is more maneuverable without sacrificing float. No issues with nose dive despite it being a smaller length for my size in the backcountry.

    here she digging into the windblown:

    #654017
    JimmyC
    351 Posts

    Nice report provotrout. I take my UC out for our first date this weekend. I can’t wait.

    #654018
    provotrout
    130 Posts

    Ended up going to Brighton tonight last minute, UC was the only thing in my car. Couldn’t even tell it was a split, the thing charges comfortably.. no issues bombing choppy runs, it’s at home in tight trees and can handle drops. Hit a lot of rocks and trees, etc bouncing around dim tree runs 😳 but she looks a-ok. Really impressed by its performance at the resort, splits have come a long way! :bananas:

    Aaaand I wanna buy another. Rode my Rome W/R 165 yesterday and while it’s certainly a legit ride the Unicorn Chaser… I swear it makes me a better rider. Chop, pow, tight trees, open fields, skinning, carving switch in bounds. The UC freaking rips. Had high expectations and they have been exceeded. Starting to think about planning for another to pad the quiver or for friends. She is sooo money :rock:

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