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  • in reply to: This place needs a POST! #878075
    russman
    Participant

    Ha! Yeah, let’s hear about that.

    Just curious Tayler, in the past 10 years what have you done to advance splitboarding? Just curious…

    in reply to: This place needs a POST! #877947
    russman
    Participant

    The Key boot looks sweet. I’d be stoked to read a real review.

    Maybe, as in the olden days, this will compel a soft boot binding industry douche to weigh in and, without disclosing the conflict that he works for a soft boot binding company, he can douche rag on AT boots and split tech generally.

    The Key boot looks sweet. I’d be stoked to read a real review.

    Maybe, as in the olden days, this will compel a soft boot binding industry douche to weigh in and, without disclosing the conflict that he works for a soft boot binding company, he can douche rag on AT boots and split tech generally.

    Yeah I wonder which douche you’re talking about?

    Well I just bought the Key boots. So I’ll get some words typed up once they see skintrack days!

    in reply to: Tip/tail clips upgrade – Spark vs Karakoram #829957
    russman
    Participant

    I work at Karakoram, so take what I say knowing that I’m a part of the team that developed the TipLock.

    The TipLocks are amazing. They actively clamp the tip/tail of your splitboard together with a significant amount of force. When used in unison with the Ultraclips, the entire splitboard is extremely tight, and absolutely rattle free. The thing that makes our TipLocks better, is purely this ability to actively join together the two halves of your board. You really do notice the increased stiffness, particularly when charging out the bottom of a line in open throttle position, only to smash into avi debris under a few inches of powder. The tip of your board simply behaves like a solid board: There’s no blowing out of the tip clip, ever.

    Just my 2 cents. -Russman

    in reply to: New Hybrid Soft/Hard Boot [Deeluxe Ground Control] #827700
    russman
    Participant

    I saw these in person at the SIA show last week. I do appreciate the concept and the willingness of Deeluxe to create something new and innovative, but this boot most certainly is NOT a splitboard boot.

    1) There is no walk mode.

    2) No tech toe.

    3) It weights about (literally) 5 pounds PER FOOT. Its ridiculously heavy.

    I did hear rumors however that Deeluxe is working on a split specific version of this boot for the 20-21 cycle.

    in reply to: Karakoram Ride Mode 2.0 #825028
    russman
    Participant

    @taylor I truly am sorry you feel I’ve been biased against AT boots. It is true that we all have opinions, and I’m likely as guilty as anyone in having biases. This being said I do work very hard to analyze topics from a critical thinking standpoint. I did a master’s in biomechanics, and at this point have spent about a decade studying snowboard athletes, climbers, endurance athletes of other types, as well as highly explosive strength / power athletes. I truly find the biomechanics of the human ankle joint and its relation to triple extension power transfer to be super fascinating. In essence, snowboarding is defined by triple extension characteristics. The AT boot / softboot discussion basically has 2 parts: 1) Personal preference in how you like your setup to feel. 2) Intrinsic biomechanical properties that every human neuro-musculo-skeletal system is bound to.

    I do also want to say that KK is not a “softboot binding” company. We are simply a “snowboard binding” company. And trust me, the “financial interest” I have here is rather irrelevant, actually. In terms of the market, it is true that of the hundreds of thousands of snowboarders globally, the vast majority still want to ride in a soft boot system. That is just purely where the market is. This being said, the AT segment is rapidly growing, and I see this as an opportunity to really drive innovation.

    With more innovation and new ideas, everything gets better. What I see happening is the AT “movement’ in splitboarding really forcing new technologies to come forward, and this on its own will change the culture. Its almost like the political divide in America… We really do have to listen to the wisdom of both sides of this isle. There’s tremendous merits in softboot technology because of the biomechanics of how the ankle joint moves in relation to forces being applied to it (ie. softboots can be likened to a suspension system). And yet there’s equally important value to be learned in the AT side. Its undeniable, AT boots are more efficient touring and they are amazing with crampons. Until your description of using plastics in soft powder, I’ve never really heard of a snowboarder describe any real riding benefits. But again that goes back to personal preference. Each to their own.

    Regardless of the hardboot topic, this new interface is something I’m super darn proud of. Changeovers really are amazingly fast, and the riding performance is absolutely locked in high precision shredding with a wide open throttle…

    I’ll also say, that in years to come, there are huge advances coming. I go to work every single day, every week of the year to hopefully advance this stuff, and trust me, I’m pushing the industry with everything I have to advance splitboard technology, and that very much includes AT boot / binding technology. Trust me on that one dudes! I really do think you guys will all be stoked on what’s ahead.

    in reply to: Karakoram Ride Mode 2.0 #824957
    russman
    Participant

    @buell + @96avs01 fair enough dudes. I forgot to mention Keffler. Three companies.

    in reply to: Karakoram Ride Mode 2.0 #824956
    russman
    Participant

    Seriously? Can you please provide an example of myself or any other person at KK “bashing” on other companies? Your comment is extremely misguided and not accurate.
    . Splitboarding as a whole is being driven by two extremely small companies with limited budgets, and together we are pushing the technological edge of this sport harder than any large company before. The new ride mode tech from KK benefits all splitboarders in huge ways, because the sport just keeps getting better and more accessible.

    Here.
    You may not directly slight phantom, but its pretty obvious the way you show disrespect to phantom but not mentioning them.
    karakoam and you just rub me the wrong way in how they hype up their products when imo its total marketing bs.

    Marketing bs? What have you done for the sport?

    I uprooted a highly lucrative career to do this and attempt to make splitboarding a far more viable option for snowboarders globally. It’s fine if you don’t want to use certain products, but think about who you yourself are bashing.

    in reply to: Karakoram Ride Mode 2.0 #824918
    russman
    Participant

    I didn’t know that you have financial interests in a soft boot binding company. Your failure to disclose that fact in your public dissing of AT splitbaord systems on this forum reflects poorly on you and Karakoram.

    Yo dude, first of all I’ve always provided full disclosure. Either here or on other social media outlets, I make it extremely clear that I work at Karakoram. Secondly, if you actually read my posts, you will NEVER find bashing or bad mouthing of other companies or specific disciplines. Check your facts.

    The “AT boot Vs. Softboot” debate is a long and interesting one, and its complicated. If you think critical discussions on the specific biomechanics of each system is “bad mouthing”, then you need to go back and reread the thread. I actually have hardboots and a full AT split system. I also happen to find the benefits / compromises of each style to be extremely interesting. Discussions on these details are not “dissing” AT systems.

    lame.
    extra lame that long time employees of karakoram bash other binding companies.

    Seriously? Can you please provide an example of myself or any other person at KK “bashing” on other companies? Your comment is extremely misguided and not accurate.

    I will also tell you guys, that Karakoram and Spark actually have a pretty cool friendship. Of course we don’t trade secrets, but we DO drink beer and tour together. I think your perceptions need to be updated. It honestly bums me out that you guys think I’m just here dissing and bad mouthing. That is absolutely not accurate.

    This post was intended ONLY to spread the stoke on the new technology. Splitboarding as a whole is being driven by two extremely small companies with limited budgets, and together we are pushing the technological edge of this sport harder than any large company before. The new ride mode tech from KK benefits all splitboarders in huge ways, because the sport just keeps getting better and more accessible.

    in reply to: Karakoram vs Spark #824807
    russman
    Participant

    Hey guys I love these conversations! If we all think back to even just 10 years ago, its absolutely incredible how far our strange little “sport” has come. Isn’t it?

    I’d like to get a new video put together that addresses the comments regarding snow and ice accumulation on the interface. When you go from warm and wet down low, and then find yourself way up high in the alpine with all that wet snow now a total plastered mess of ice, its true that in previous years this issue could prove to be more complex that we’d like. That’s all gone however, with the new Ride Mode 2.0…

    I can’t state enough how bad ass the new interface is. The bindings literally “fall on”, and because the contacting surfaces are all plastic, with very large round cleaning zones, snow and ice simply doesn’t build up or stick like it did in the past. We put in quite seriously 2 full years of hardcore engineering and testing on JUST the new ride mode, and its paid off for sure.

    Also, I’ll just leave this small comment here, just to tickle everyone:

    What if, you had a hardboot option for the new Prime Interface that pushed the AT plate binding side of the equation to yet another level of refinement, ease of use, weight reduction, and performance?

    I’m not saying, I’m just saying, projects baby, projects are happening!

    in reply to: Karakoram vs Spark #824759
    russman
    Participant

    I’ll pipe in quickly, but full disclosure, I was the first ever full time employee at Karakoram, and am therefore “probably” a bit biased.

    This being said, I’m biased for a reason. The whole philosophy of the company is one of mega high performance. You won’t find a binding that drives the edge of the snowboard harder into the ground than any of the Prime System Bindings. The level of fine tuned control you gain over the full running length of your snowboard is second to none. I like to say that nearly anything will ride “well” in powder, as long as you have a halfway descent board. Its when things get STEEP, icy, and you find yourself above exposure, gripping to the slope for dear life….THAT is when your equipment really matters most. How well does your splitboard system perform in BAD conditions?

    That is where Karakoram really shines. Its all about maximizing control on heavy lines. And with that control also comes the ability to carve your snowboard as if you were riding an F-16 fighter jet.

    Our Tour Mode is also the best in the industry. Its stronger, smoother, tighter, and lasts longer. We have a fully rigid integrated and lubricated “axle” system that absolutely crushes the competition. Its so bomber, I regularly see customers hitting 400 days of touring on older bindings.

    We also offer the most innovated accessories, such as the FlexLock, which allow you to side hill quite seriously JUST as if you were on a set of hardboots.

    Our transitions are better, too. We spent the past 2 years developing a new Prime Interface, and I can confidently say that the ease of setup, as well as the speed of transitions in the field are crazy fast. Transitions now basically feel like rapid fire… We’ve eliminated snow / ice accumulation issues by 99% with the new ride mode, and our tour modes and heel risers are fastest and easiest to use, period. In fact, I can say that of my 10 years testing the Karakoram tour mode, I’ve NEVER been able to ice up my tour modes. They’re utterly bomber.

    Lastly, we offer the lightest binding in the industry (PrimeX), as well as the most versatile system in the industry. You can run any Karakoram binding on any snowboard, solid or split. And with the new Connect bindings you have a full length EVA foam footbed and can achieve that same resort “feel”, but with the added performance and responsiveness of Active Joining Technology.

    Here’s the new ride mode:

    New TipLock video:

    Just a cool video of our Japan buddies:

    If you or anyone else has any questions, feel free to PM me.

    Happy shredding guys!!

    -Russman

    in reply to: Amplid Milligram #824724
    russman
    Participant

    Hey Buell,

    I just want to circle back to this thread and ask you Amplid guys how you have found the durability of the Milligram? I just picked up the 163, and I’m super stoked to give it a solid review!

    The lightness and softer flex, of course, raises durability questions for me. I’ve gotten 3 huge seasons out of my Jones Carbon Solution(s) in the past, and I’m curious to see how this board holds up in comparison.

    Happy shredding everyone!

    -Russman

    russman
    Participant

    I totally agree….

    If small innovators could enter the game, I feel that we would see rapid boot evolution on both the soft and hard sides of the political snowboard isle.

    russman
    Participant

    Hey guys!

    Thought I’d dig up this old thread. With all the chatter about hardboots on SB.com, I thought I’d see if anyone out there is still more interested in a technical “mountaineering” style boot for general splitboard and alpinism needs.

    I have the Fitwells, new Jones boots, have used the K2 Aspects, the Deeluxes, and countless other traditional snowboard boots. I am also in the middle of building a hardboot system with the Arcteryx Proclines. And today, a buddy of mine dropped off his old / used Spantiks for me to play with at my office.

    Overall thoughts:

    In general, if we’re talking about pure mountaineering, I’m most impressed with the Spantiks. The use of materials, design, quality etc.. are second to none. They also have tremendously greater agility and fine-tuned crampon control than any hardboot I’ve put on. For a weight comparison, they are only 50 grams heavier than the Proclines.

    For riding, I still have to throw my hat to the new Jones MTB. The forward ankle flex on that boot is absolutely BRILLIANT. Best flexing boot I’ve ever used by a very large margin.

    Playing with the Spantiks today:
    Once I add my old Intuition Ski Liners, they actually feel pretty damn dialed:

    I’m also curious if anyone on here has seriously looked at the new G2 SM from La Sportiva? That boot is supposed to be LIIIIIGHT as hell. I’m wondering if with liner modifications it could work well for snowboarding?

    https://www.sportiva.com/men-s/men-s-footwear/g2-sm.html

    As far as I can tell, most splitboarders these days are still more interested in a soft boot system than a hardboot system. And I understand that… It really does take an enormous amount of work to get the ride mode dialed in with hardboots, and even then I’m not sure you can really get 100% of the way there. Some guys get super dialed with it, but if I’m honest I can still tell that they are in hardboots by the way they move on their board. Not to mention, the top alpinists in the world still use “mountaineering boots” to climb super hard routes, they’re not climbing these routes in TLT6’s. So for more technical snowboard alpinism where you’re needing better crampon and climbing performance, I still think there is a lot of validity to a softboot system.

    I would say that the Fitwell is still probably the golden nugget for a soft snowboard mountaineering boot, but I have to admit, there’s something about the construction of the Spantik that is highly impressive. I think if La Sportiva legitimately put their game face on for snowboard boots, they could redefine the market entirely.

    Curious to hear your guy’s thoughts?

    in reply to: Lightest softboot with crampon heel welt? #819469
    russman
    Participant

    Taylor, your comment about AT boots being better in pow sounds a lot like creative justification! Of course flex all depends on the boot…If you’re comparing a brand new pair of Salomon Malamutes, then sure, the AT boots are softer. But look at the new K2 Taro Tomai boot. There’s a reason the industry is still married to softboot technology.

    I fully agree that AT splitboard touring offers very clear and obvious advantages. However, its pretty silly to state that in general, the ride mode is better in AT boots. There needs to be serious innovation to make a fully plastic boot snowboard to the same level as a strap system. Also, to say that your AT system outperforms the strap system in all BUT hard snow conditions… From my experience, its the hard snow conditions where an AT system SHOULD come into its own. For me the reason to use an AT setup would be for long touring approaches, and then high angle crampon work on huge faces where the snow sucks and you’re at high altitude where you really do need to cut the grams.

    russman
    Participant

    …Non-hardbooters I run into still often dont understand that carrying bindings in your pack while skinning is far superior to sliding your foot every step with a 500g binding attached. It is also not uncommon to see very poor skinning technique akin to lifting each foot like walking with snow shoes which makes efficiency even worse. Another benefit of this system is the ease and quickness of transitions, especially strapping bindingless skis to pack for boot packing.

    I will agree with your original post that cutting grams absolutely matters. In fact, it makes an absolutely profound difference. You can look at any study on elite XC running: The less the athlete carries, the less Oxygen is required to perform the task.

    Analysis of weight on feet VS. weight on pack:

    In graduate school I studied oxygen consumption during exercise on a treadmill with different weights of rucksacks. Included with the study were different weights of mountaineering boots. All at a 8% grade, at 3mph.

    I looked at pack weights of 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 pounds. And I used Chaco sandals, running shoes, lightweight mountaineering boots, and finally very very heavy old school leather mountaineering boots with an old steel shank.

    What I found was oxygen consumption was significantly increased with increasing pack weight (DUH, right?) What we did not find however (when controlling for pack weight), was any really meaningful change from the sandal to the lightweight mountaineering boots. There was a small increase with the heavy mountaineering boots.

    In other words, more fuel substrate in the working muscle tissue was required by increasing pack weight, and this change was VERY significant. I believe we saw as much as 70% increase in oxygen consumption. Increasing footwear weight did increase O2 consumption with the very heavy mountaineering boot, but not by very much.

    Now, there were inherent limitations to the study:

    1) Because we only looked at one type of biomechanical activity (walking on an incline), its hard to say that this fully transfers to something as complex and dynamic as ski touring. Further, this may have been a vastly different scenario if you looked at running, because with walking you gain support of the ground reaction force to take literally ALL of the weight of the sandal / shoe / boots during mid step. Running on the other hand puts your feet in the air a lot more, and you’re not gaining that help from the ground reaction forces.

    2) We didn’t look at the impact of increasing foot weight to much higher levels (ie. over 1,500 grams per foot).

    3) Another study limitation would be sample size. This was 9 years ago, and I believe we had 11 subjects. To gain true statistical power we would need far more participants.

    So, what is my take on shoe weight vs. pack weight? I personally believe your statement is incorrect:

    Splitboarding and ski touring utilize one VERY important human locomotion technique: The Rest Step!

    During each step, as mentioned, you gain the benefit of the ground reaction force supporting literally ALL of the mass in your lower extremity, and therefore you are removing approximately 50% of “time under tension” of your musculoskeletal system to move that mass. With the mass on your back, you are being forced to carry that mass 100% of the time. With it on your feet, less than 50%, and lower, depending on how slow you are going with your rest step.

    Again the limitation would be rate of travel to the point of more mass on your feet changing the biomechanics of locomotion, as well as the impact of boot weight beyond 1,500 grams per foot.

    I may agree that in elite rando ski racing, it could be different because your feet are spending such less time on the ground PER STEP. But for anything up to a 3mph walk at an incline, I believe your statement is incorrect, based on the Oxygen consumption data I looked at in school.

    The last thing I’ll add on this front, is that I personally have found that no matter what the terrain is, I’m ALWAYS faster and using less energy if I’m able to stay in tour mode. Like, if I’m climbing Mt. Rainier, and I get to a section that is firm and steeper, I’m ALWAYS slower and burning more calories if I put my board on my back and start cramponing. I’m also always slower when I’m cramponing VS. skinning. What this means, is that transferring the weight of my splitboard to my back is always more tiring than if I’m able to keep the board on the ground and literally drag it up the hill with my feet.

    This is why when Xavier de la Rue is using a solid board for a line, he drags it behind him with a small cord. Its also why you use a sled when hauling loads up Denali. Putting the weight on your back is less efficient.

    Your comment on skinning technique:

    I also strongly disagree with the idea that your boot and binding choice with make you “pick up your feet with each step”. Those of us who have been climbing mountains for a long time, and who have toured our butts off, absolutely understand the benefit of keeping the ski on the ground. This goes back to what I’m saying about utilizing the ground reaction force. I tour in Karakoram PrimeX bindings, and I absolutely keep my ski on the ground and just drag it forward. So I think your comment should be pointed more towards beginner splitboarders who have not yet figured that technique out.

    Anyway, good post dude!

    in reply to: Lightest softboot with crampon heel welt? #819128
    russman
    Participant

    This is a really good question.

    And for the sake of keeping Splitboard.com a SPLITBOARD website, and not just a “hard booter’s website”, I think questions like this are important.

    I’ve weighed quite a number of boots, and Tommaso is right, you can’t find a “real” boot with a Vibram sole and heel welt for under 1,000 grams.

    I just got a pair of the 18-19 Jones MTB’s for prototype testing, and they’re 1,500 grams. Far too heavy in my opinion.

    My Fitwells weight right in at 1,200 grams, and are by far the most capable soft snowboard boot available. I had to add a different liner to get a halfway descent ride mode experience, but they do quite well now.

    The K2 Aspects are also right in at 1,300-1,400 grams, and the Deeluxe boots are in that range as well.

    These weights are for my size, US men’s 9.5.

    Hardboots certainly have very clear advantages in certain applications, however there is still no comparison when it comes to riding very technical, high angle terrain in soft boots (such as spines in AK, or 55 degree hard snow on Mt. Rainier etc.) as well as undulating terrain at high speeds. The benefits are limited to touring and certain crampon work, while a softboot system still offers far more in terms of a “tuned suspension” system for the ankle joint, which is absolutely critical for powerful dynamic snowboarding.

    Boots are the last frontier, that’s for sure…

    in reply to: newbie: disadvantage vs solid board? #817574
    russman
    Participant

    This is a really good post with a good question…

    In my experience, splitboards “used to be” a major detriment to shredding performance. However, in recent years we’ve really dialed things in.

    In full disclosure, I was the first full time employee at Karakoram, and I still go to work there every day with a singular goal: Make splitboarding and snowboarding better.

    So, I’m inherently biased. That being said, I’m biased for a reason, as I have been doing this a long time. With the right interface and bindings, it honestly blows my mind how much we “don’t think about the fact that our boards are split when we’re dropping in”. By far, the heaviest lines of my life have been on my splitboard. And, I have to say, that my carbon Jones or carbon Prior with the PrimeX’s is a more powerful freeriding tool than any solid board with plastic bindings I ever rode.

    When you’re talking about resort shredding on hardpack, you’re really referring to edge control, and board control. I find that I gain stronger edge control with the Prime Interface than I do with a standard binding, primarily because we actively clamp the bindings onto the board’s surface. Also, the interface pack is wider and closer to the edges. In other words, its a more powerful system that is vastly more efficient at transferring energy to your edges, and ultimately to the entire running length of the snowboard.

    From a board flex standpoint, its also amazing to me how far things have come. Modern splitboard and binding technology really has allowed us to snowboard the big mountains with absolute confidence in our equipment. There simply is not a thought given to anything other than pure snowboarding when you’re dropping into something big and technical.

    So all this being said, the only reason I personally don’t ride my splitboard in the resort is 1) Its too expensive for me to justify banging it up and scratching it in lift lines, and 2) There is in fact a weight difference, simply because you’re carrying an inner edge, and a full tour mode system.

    The last thing I’ll add here, is that the engineering challenge of pulling two thin surfaces together, and asking them to flex and perform in unison so that you can snowboard with full open throttle confidence, well, its a huge undertaking! We’ve been working on this for over a decade now, and I have to say that we’ve learned a tremendous amount. When we started to realize how amazing the Karakoram bindings were performing on splitboards, we decided to apply the same engineering philosophies to solid boards. Now, with the Quiver Connectors, we can apply the same Active Joining Technology concepts to solid boards, and the result has been a binding system that offers unparalleled riding performance (seriously, try the Connects!) more versatility because of the ability to “rapid fire” between any snowboard (solid or split), and the increased value you get out of only having to buy a single set of bindings for everything.

    Is there a disadvantage to splitboards vs. solid snowboards? Nope! Its just a matter of how you look at it, and then also benefiting from the hard work of so many people over the past decade to make this sport better.

    in reply to: Mt. Shuksan: Hanging Glacier Headwall + Northwest Couloir #813366
    russman
    Participant

    Although I’ve never met Adam it’s always so tragic to hear of friends of friends dying in the mountains. Every death before a persons time is up is tragic, but these always feel so very close to home.
    Just watched the video in that article and he seems like such a nice and mellow guy too! And I wish I could have that lifestyle for a while. My heart is with his friends and family, especially Russman’s!

    Hey Swalbster,

    Just want to thank you for your comments about Adam. He, Liz and myself had a really amazing pose years ago, and its been extremely hard coming to terms with the fact that I’m the only remaining member.

    Thanks so much for your words buddy,

    Russman

    in reply to: Boot Forum Change? #810330
    russman
    Participant

    Hey Colin,

    I don’t think that will be an issue. There are already so many threads on here that discuss the differences between hard boots and soft boots. I feel that the “hard v. soft” discussion is more of a thread by thread topic, not a general forum topic. Although many on SB.com use hard boots, the vast majority of splitboarders out there still use soft boots. I’ve heard feedback from customers that its hard to find info on SB.com about new soft boot developments because most of the discussions are on hard boots.

    I just think that separating the two categories would be of benefit. People who hybrid back and fourth could still find all the info they need on current hard boot technologies, and vice versa.

    -Russell

    in reply to: Karakoram Heel Riser Issues #809631
    russman
    Participant

    I’ve emailed them a few times with no response… I’m wondering if i should just buy Voile Splitboard Dual Height Climbing Heels for $35 and includes the shorties…

    Hey Carneyme,

    Did you ever get your risers figured out? I’m not sure what happened with your emails last winter. They should have been received by our customer service software, and new ones should have been sent out. Regardless, send me a PM and I will get your risers replaced with the new DualSpeeds.

    The new risers are AMAZING, by the way…

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