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 Post subject: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:53 pm 
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I often wonder what shape backcountry snowboards would be, if freestyle had not influenced snowboarding. Now that we are in a renascence of backcountry riding, what is the future shape of backcountry snowboards to be? Currently most snowboards are of a twin-tip design.

If we are moving toward a directional freeride backcountry shape, would we see:

[*]a resurgence of true swallowtail [aka WinterStick}?
[*]Jones Hovercraft?
[*] Burton Fish or Prior Khyber
[*]Prior Fissle / Dupraz?
[*]Grassroots Noboard or Venture Euphoria (2012/2013)?

What are the merits of these directional backcountry snowboards listed above?

Quoting Barrows (from another post):

Quote:
I would suggest designing boards specifically to perform in backcountry snow conditions. Here are some ideas:
Long sidecut radii: for snow conditions with any depth at all, deep sidecuts hurt performance (especially float and stability), long radii perfrom much better, I am talking radii like 11 m and above, even up to 20 m. One can still get quick short radius turns out of boards like this by downweighting in any kind of softer snow, and the long radius makes the board less hooky, and improves float. Long radius sidecuts like this need to be paired with a wider waist, to achieve the desired width at the feet (and same average width).
Rocker, and low rise, blunted, tip and tails: Rocker works, plain and simple. My favorite for a split is flat through the middle of the board (a compromise, to allow for good skinning) combined with subtle early rise tip and tails. The rocker should just extend to the very tip and tail of the board, without an abrupt rise at the very tip and tail-this subtle rise, when combined with a blunted shape, allows the full surface area of the tip and tail to contribute to float.
Tapered tip and tail: end the sidecut radius early, and blend the sidecut into the tip and tail shape over a longer distance. This makes the entry (and exit) point of the sidecut very gentle, making the board very forgiving when charging at speed through variable conditions, and also keeps the board from wanting to "knife" through the snow and dive at the transition from the sidecut point to the tip and tail shape. This (combined with rocker and long sidecut radius) also allows the rider to more easily incorporate slarves, smears, and all other sorts of sliding turns into their riding, allowing for more creative riding styles in soft snow.
Nose to tail taper: Significant taper, setback, and a directional shape is going to be better for backcountry freeriders (8-15 mm), for freestyle riders, they will want a different board, but hard charging freeriders will appreciate significant taper on this design, as it allows quick planing, and also gives the rider more control over the tail of the board.

Right now, no one is really making a split incorporating all of these features, some are close... Furberg makes solids like this...
I would love to see splits with this design, perhaps a 167x26.5 with a 16m radius, and a 171x27 with a 18 m radius or so.

Hint: see what DPS is doing with their skis, they are making some of the most advanced shapes for backcountry free riding, and adaptiong those ideas to snowboards makes total sense.


Lastly, aside from the obvious of riding switch (fakie), are there any benefits for the twin-tip tail design in a backcountry snowboard?

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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:46 pm 
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We encounter many conditions in the backcountry. Your list implies that you are referring to powder specific backcountry boards?

I am a directional rider so if someone rides switch a lot, I am sure they would want something a bit different.

Counting solids and splits, I have ridden numerous swallow tails, several different years of the Fish, the cambered and rockered Khybers, the Spearhead, the Dupraz, the Hovercraft, K2 Gryrators, Venture Storm and Zephyr, 180 Pogo Longboard, a 200 Tanker, rockered 172 Tanker, a Furberg and quite a few other powder boards.

Based on my experience, Barrows quote sums it up perfectly for me.

The design he writes about will offer a variety of turn types and slarves, solidly lock in an edge when desired, be very stable at speed, not hook, and float really well. It brings the edge pressure closer to the feet instead of overpressuring the tip and tail giving the rider a better handling board. It also reduces the width of the nose and tail which limits the ability for them to throw the rider off their line by bending and flexing in deeper powder or while riding mixed snow conditions.

I would love to try a Furberg type design with a bit smaller sidecut for mixed conditions (the 162 has a 16m sidecut which is fine for powder) and I would love to see it with a blunted nose and tail which would bring the overall length of the 162 down to about 158 without losing any performance or float.


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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:43 am 
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Great thread title. Last week I was shopping for a blender in a thrift store. Propped against the back wall was an old 168 Gnu Kinetic, one like this:

Image

I hadn't seen one in years. I once had (and broke) one. I stood and stared. I was struck by how its basic design concept--with a long, early-taper shovel, generous taper, and relatively little sidecut--more closely reflected the attributes of a worthy back-country deck than the side-cut heavy twin-tip resort boards that would dominate market for two decades following. That old thrift shop Gnu was a last relict of a design era rooted in off-piste performance.

That's not to say the past is the future; it's not (God forbid anyone ever again have to ride a board with that Gnu's construction or flex). But it is to say that many of the basic design concepts from that era will continue to manifest and evolve in today's back-country renaissance--a welcome change of pace from the corn-syrup-side-cut dark age of snowboard design that spanned the Clinton and Bush I and II years.

As to the future, Barrows' pull quote largely sums it up for me too, at least insofar as it describes the attributes of a good all-around directional back-country design... My personal preferences differ a bit, but I think that he largely nails it. I also think directional back-country snowboard design still has a long, long ways to go. While Furberg is a massive leap forward, it's really only a start. There is a decade of design work to be done fine-tuning relationships between rocker, camber, early-taper ends, taper, and longer radius sidecut configurations to catch up to the sophistication of slope tools that our skiing brethren enjoy. I'm just glad it's finally starting to happen.

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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:00 am 
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Taylor, thanks for posting that pic, brings back memories. My partners and I tested the Gnu Kinetic, and Race Room models, of about the same vintage (the Race Room is a 178 of the same basic shape) for possible use on our first Canadian Rockies snowboard mountaineering trip. Eventually we selected (and were supplied with) Burton M6 alpine boards for the trip (the M6 was designed for slalom racing, and had about a 14 m sidecut radius, a relatively long nose, square tail, and long edge contact at about 168 CM overall length). The Gnu boards rode very well, but proved to not be durable with their foam core construction (we actually delammed two of them in testing).
Of course, all the boards of this era had camber, as the snowboard companies were working hard to try and get snowboarding accepted into many ski areas at the time. If one goes back a little farther in snowboard history, one finds snowboards with rocker, and even convex bases!
It will be interesting to see what develops in backcountry board design. BTW, Chimera is always trying interesting new shapes, I really enjoyed talking to Alister from Chimera at the Silverton Splitfest on board design, he is definitely willing to think outside the box, and I look forward to what he comes up with over the next few years-the boards are really well constructed as well.

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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:23 pm 
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i personally like a bit of tail for toeside billygoating/hang on for dear life toeside falling leaf.

helps in spots where you cant jump turn but need a bit of repositioning on your line.

i like the idea of shallow sidecut though for steeps.

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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:08 pm 
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What about tail design? Aside from the traditional freestyle tail, How does tail design influential your backcountry (directional) riding style?

Is an upswept tail really needed? For example Jones Hovercraft tail design interests me. Also K2 Skis negates the twin-tip design in favor of a straight tail design, so that the ski can be used as an anchor in ski-mountaineering.

One thing I would like to see (a minor point) is for splitboard manufacturers to add the rescue sled holes to their decks (as K2 has done).

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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:12 am 
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On tails... I designed a directional back-country split last year to my own specs. For context, I can but don't ride fakie in the back-country, and while spins may be rad for figure skaters and ballerinas (I love both), they're not for me. I've ridden plenty of square-tailed race boards in the back-country over the years as they offered the most sturdy chassis for the job, regardless of shovel or tail shape. My design left 19cm of tail for sideways or fakie sneaks in tight situations where flipping around onto my other edge was neither safe nor convenient. I've used it for those reasons, and have been glad for it. My opinion is that a kick tail, though it adds a bit of weight, is a desirable if not necessary part of a versatile back-country deck that, in rare but critical circumstances, makes the difference between casually riding out of sticky situations or having a square tail submarine, catch, or worse. Given a choice, square tails aren't worth the potential trouble.

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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:38 am 
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barrows wrote:
Taylor, thanks for posting that pic, brings back memories. My partners and I tested the Gnu Kinetic, and Race Room models, of about the same vintage (the Race Room is a 178 of the same basic shape) for possible use on our first Canadian Rockies snowboard mountaineering trip. The Gnu boards rode very well, but proved to not be durable with their foam core construction (we actually delammed two of them in testing).

I liked how my Kinetic rode off-piste, and I could totally see it as an expedition contender. But it didn't rail easily on hard pack (when others of its day did)--and ultimately, like yours, mine's construction failed (mine broke in front of my front binding on a railed heel turn--folded and cracked). I loved the M6s; I'd take one of those or an old Burton Safari as a free-ride deck any day.



It will be interesting to see what develops in backcountry board design. BTW, Chimera is always trying interesting new shapes, I really enjoyed talking to Alister from Chimera at the Silverton Splitfest on board design, he is definitely willing to think outside the box, and I look forward to what he comes up with over the next few years-the boards are really well constructed as well.

Chimera, like Furberg, is refreshing. I plan to query Alister about a custom shape for next season with long-radius-regressive-sidecut, moderately deep taper (25mm), and long-taper ends.



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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:43 am 
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Location: Whistler, Coast Mtns
I remember taking a jigsaw to our boards in the early 90's so we could have a round, twin tip look because next seasons boards looked like that.

I think with all the new shapes there will be just about something for everyone, but at the same time it will be small production in the overall scheme of things with manufacturer's marketing.
A non twin shape will not be anywhere near driving the marketplace and thus we won't see a lot of them.

Quick example from today.
One of the younger guys I used to work with rides for a fairly large company. He's a big guy, 6'1 185-190. He rides for their pro team and a 161 is as big a board as he has, and that was pushing it. With all the big backcountry sled accessed booters he is sessioning he has figured out he needs a larger board and asked them to make him a one off 168.........same graphics as the regular board so it would look the same in the mags. No dice.
They get their boards made from someone else(like many large companies) and they couldn't even be bothered.

It seems that there has always been people who make pow specific and backcountry specific boards and now more people are putting thought in to them. This is helping but most people have no idea about the geometry of what is on there feet. All these boards are just classified according to the length of them. They all want to buy a 154, 158, or maybe a big 161. These numbers are mostly useless guidelines but I'm sure the people that look at the bottom line in sales are telling the people doing R&D that there is no way they can sell a 169 to the public.


Anyway........back to what is actually happening.
It all comes down to what each of us prefers and that seems pretty specific. One board isn't going to solve all.

A couple thoughts on what I've tried.

True swllaowtails-never left will always be here.
For guys like Taylor the Pogo's are damn cool.....(http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.pogo.biz/&ei=7maKT5_JN8qMiALoidzpCw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDAQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpogo%2Bsnowboards%26hl%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns0, weigh a ton but hey ya can get a 235. Haven't been out on that but the powderguns are great for going straight and they plain well. The 'Wingergun' 189 I only took out a few times, didn't notice much difference with the unique tail design. I enjoyed the 180 longboard the most, and it has something I haven't seen in any other board. Behind the back binding, halfway to the end of the tail on the base it has a countersunk base in 2 spots for about 10cms. The idea is to track straighter, didn't notice much different on it either.

Jones Hovercraft.
Like it a lot. Will be a great split in the 160. Rides bigger than the Flagship but is compact. I think we may see more of these shapes, a bigger than normal sidecut sandwiched in to the minimal amount of board........a fish style without the squirrelyness or a longer than necessary nose.

Burton Fish/Prior Khyber.
Tons of these shapes around now. Many people are converted. Easy to ride, short radius, rocker. Great for getting twincentric riders moving towards pow specific boards.

Prior Fissile/Dupraz.
I still have my Dupraz and still ride it most resort pow days. The one thing I notice most......people on the chair/liftlines saying how cool this oldschool board is. Or "What the hell is that?", "How big is that?"
The fact that it's basically the same shape as a Burton Fish or Prior Khyber with just a pointy nose and slightly wider blinds them. Dupraz, fun, lazy, good in the trees(except the extra 10cm's which could be cut off the nose)
I think the Prior Kyhber is s better board. Not quite as wide, a little stiffer, 4-5cms saved from the pointy nose, a slightly larger radius than the 5.5-6m on the Dupraz.

Grassroots/Venture Euphoria.
Dunno, but I do have a TRice Banana Hammock. Novelty, mostly useless. Maybe I weigh too much or am too tall(6'3, 185). The shape doesn't works poorly in pow, and is VERY dangerous on anything else.




I think the Furberg shape could be a great new/renewed one.
As soon as I finally noticed the thread 2 weeks ago I emailed Daniel and ordered one.
I've been letting all the friends about it. Those I know who may enjoy the shape.
Even had Terje in the restaurant(we have a big festival in town so lots of people are around) and asked him about it. Knows Daniel, had no idea he was making boards or about the design.

Have to wait and see till it shows up but I did ride a full rockered, big radius(14-16m), wide(280), short effective edge ,concave board.....yes concave.
A 160cm Crazy Banana I picked up at the local Re-use-it center. From the late 80's????
I'm surprised we haven't seen more concave boards. This design works really well. Super great in the pow, lots of float(width through the waist), nimble(concave and rocker) and once you do get it up on edge on the hardpack it just tracks. Good on the steeps. Weighs a TON!!!
Would obviously be useless as a split.




Here's a photo next to my split.

[url]]Image[/url]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/61821887@N03/7078957839/

Concave
[url][url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/61821887@N03/7078957861/]Image[/url]
[url[/url] [/url]

Concave from the tail
[url]]Image[/url]



This is similar to what I wanted but didn't have the balls to fully go for it.



Tails.
As long as it is stiff enough I don't think there is a need for much. If taken to the extreme though the board may be anchored and not plain well. Short or swallow. Less taper needed in a swallow because it is usually easier to initiate a turn.
I wanted a square one in mine as an anchor and I see no need for the extra material to round it out for aesthetics.
I asked about holes for my nose as you mentioned but was told it was a major pain in the ass. I also though about a replaceable piece that would fill them, but his would be a nightmare .



Thoughts.
It all comes down to each of our preferences and there are more options.
Things are looking good.
Fashion comes and goes in cycles, old is new again, some things never change.

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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:58 am 
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Location: Sydney
While I am certainly no design guru I have played with a fair few board shapes and modified some of them to suit my own needs. This has allowed me to learn what works and what doesnt work for me, with this knowledge I have designed my own board and have begun building it, or rather 10 of them. I will be making each board with subtle changes until I find my perfect combo. This all started by not being able to buy a board with all the features I had identified I wanted in a board.
Below is my template for shape that I had cnc routed, I have built custom camber and core thicknessing moulds so I can literally change it all up as I see fit. I will never buy another production board again.

The board is a 180 powder design, camber from tail to in front of the front foot then very gradual rocker in the nose
Image


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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:06 am 
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Tails: While I agree in some senses that square tails can/do work in the backcountry, I prefer a longer tail shape, with a gentle kick, and a long, gentle transition from the sidecut to the tail. One powder ride on a furberg and I was convinced this design really makes sense. This tail shape allows for much more freedom with the tail, as the edge releases from the snow much more smoothly, allowing for the rider to more easily go from carve to slarve and back again in a single turn, at speed. As mentioned, tail kick also allows backing up, falling leaf maneuvering in tight spots-nice to be able to do in small couloirs and entrances.

Jamie: what you are terming "concave" (from the skateboard sense) is the same thing as I term a convex base. My first snowboard had this (Sims 1500 FE) so it is not a "new" thing. I suspect the convex base will be the next "advancement" in powder boards like the furberg, DPS has been working on a pow ski with this feature (the Spoon) for some time now, and I suspect it will finally be released for sale for next season. It is a little difficult to work out in manufacturing, as flat bases have the goal forever, but I suspect it will happen. For now, really tight Karakoram clips can produce some convexity (hulling)!

I agree that the mass market, which is limited to short resort oriented solid boards, will stay pretty much the same. But, the beauty of the splitboard market is that it is not the mass market. While early splitboard shapes are pretty much just split versions of solid resort boards, the fact that we have some players specifically making splits (Chimera) and some players focusing on freeride boards (Venture, after all, they make lengths up to 180) means that these companies are small, and willling to work on shapes specifically oriented to wards the backcountry, and not the mass market sub 163 cm segment. Hopefully splitboard companies such as Chimera will continue to focus on shapes oriented towards high performance riding in the wild snow conditions of the backcountry, and that they will be willing to break away from the mass market, resort, short board for intermediate rider model of the "big names".

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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:18 am 
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The JJ's Hovercraft claims the same contact surface area as a swallowtail, shorter length wider under foot for boot size.

Do you agree with Hovercraft design shorter length and wider width for boot size foot for a powder splitboard, and/or for a freeride splitboard?

How well will a short/wide board tour?

Having been on the Long and Narrow Ppath for so long (aka Alpine Carving) :wink: , I appreciate you insights to backcountry freeride design :clap: .

Back to the Tail: Do you prefer the round kick tail, Pintail (Never Summer Summit) or shallow swallowtail (Jones Hovercraft).

Much of the designs we are talking about: early-rise tip, cambered underfoot and rocker are designed in my Nitro Retro Swallowtail 1990.

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 Post subject: Re: The shape before freestyle and the future shape backcountry
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:06 pm 
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The JJ's Hovercraft claims the same contact surface area as a swallowtail, shorter length wider under foot for boot size.

Do you agree with Hovercraft design shorter length and wider width for boot size foot for a powder splitboard, and/or for a freeride splitboard?

Not for me, my riding style, and conditions. Generally, I prefer a tail in powder, and other conditions, for the reasons noted above.

How well will a short/wide board tour?

Touring is always going to work better with a bit narrower shape, especially if the tour includes any sidehilling, or kicking and gliding on the flats. But if we were thta concerned about touring performance we would all become skiers :-)

Having been on the Long and Narrow Ppath for so long (aka Alpine Carving) , I appreciate you insights to backcountry freeride design .

I came from this background as well, but back when "alpine" boards were still of reasonable width, and had some nose at least. As is noted, I really like the furberg design approach for soft snow conditions, as it combines both high maneuverability and freedom of turn shape, with high stability, float and a very forgiving ride. I have not ridden mine enough to know how it would perform in spring (frozen and corn snow) conditions, but I suspect the shorter model (167) might be fine in those conditions for me (at 6'1" and ~170 lbs). Now I choose board width based on boot size, since I really like to ride a lot of steeps, I do not want boot out to be a concern, so I am on a 26 cm waist for traditional board (with a 9-10 m sidecut) and a wider waist for a shallow sidecut board (27 cm on my furberg with 20 m sidecut). I recommend anyone who has not, visit furbergsnowboards.com and read Daniel's remarks about his design approach-remember that this guy was a top competitor on the World Freeride Tour-I find his remarks and design approach to be right on.

Back to the Tail: Do you prefer the round kick tail, Pintail (Never Summer Summit) or shallow swallowtail (Jones Hovercraft).

Longer, tapered tail, with very gentle kick, and gentle transition from sidecut to tail shape. It can be squared off a little to cut down on needless material length, maybe 1/3 of the total width squared off (a la Jones).

Much of the designs we are talking about: early-rise tip, cambered underfoot and rocker are designed in my Nitro Retro Swallowtail 1990.

I totally disagree with camber underfoot. Actually, rocker underfoot makes more sense, especially with wider stances. As rocker underfoot tends to make for a bit worse skinning, I find flat underfoot a good compromise, with long gentle rockers at the tip and tail. When the edge pressure is more evenly distributed along the edge, the board maintains float much better through a turn, rather than diving every time it is put on edge: the furberg is remarkable in this aspect of performance.


Specifically, as a specialized board for super tight terrain backcountry riding (think Vermont backcountry around Stowe/Mt Mansfield) I would prefer the shorter overall length, and deeper sidecut of a Khyber/Hovercraft/Unicorn Chaser type design, as in these conditions one is rarely riding truly deep snow, and then the nose up attitude promoted by this type of board, and the deeper sidecut, is a good thing. The furberg approach is better for bigger terrain, and backcountry snow which truly has some depth, where the board is allowed to actually plane (relatively level attitude with respect to snow surface) rather than plow (nose up attitude). But note when I say bigger terrain, I am not referring to open bowls, etc and maching only, but to any terrain one might encounter in the west, including trees, steeps, cliffs, etc. Anyone who has ever ridden the Vermont woods will understand what I am saying, there the terrain is interesting, tight, and micro golf, littered with bushes, rocks, waterfalls and small cliffs, and the snow is rarely really deep: usually a powder day means riding 6" of fresh on top of a firm (if not icy) base.

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Never Summer Prospector 167X, furberg 173 DIY, Dynafit TLT5/6 Mountain , Phantom Bindings, BD Glidelite Skins
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http://protectourwinters.org/
http://14ersnowboardproject.homestead.com/


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