Snowboard Boots – Packing Down

27 02 2010

Snug boots = good control...

Loose boots are not fun when snowboarding.  Having a snug fit without being overly tight is essential for good control and it saves you having to tighten your bindings like crazy which is not comfortable at all.  Even if you manage to buy the perfect boot you’ll notice that over time it’s starting to feel a bit loose.  That’s normal and is just the liner packing down from being compressed under you.  The heavier you are, the more you ride and the more aggressively you ride the sooner you notice a change.

Once you do you have two choices:

  1. wear thicker or more socks to take up the extra space.
  2. insert an extra insole under the existing one to take up the extra space.

When I first bought my Burton Mission snowboard boots they fit great with just the orthopedic insoles [blue insoles above] I like to use in all my footwear so I pulled the stock Burton insoles [gray insoles above] and put it away.  Now that my boot has packed down a bit it’s time to put them in under my orthopedic insoles.

I could switch to thicker socks or add a thinner sock to my usual sock, but I like riding in a single sock and I have lots of them so I don’t want to invest in some thicker ones.

I was talking to a snowboard instructor at Castle Mountain who is out in his boots everyday of the season…he mentioned by the end of the year he’ll have 8-9 extra insoles in his boots…yikes!  That’s a lot of riding…=-)

V-day Shredding

15 02 2010

Top of Castle Mountain

Tools of the trade...

Sharon on the move...

Sean learning from Bruce....

Happy at the end of a nice day at Castle....

The Snowboard Gods Smile!

8 02 2010

A tale of two boards...

So my recent round of streamlining has caught on amongst my friends.  Deanna Facebooked me and asked if I would help her get rid of some skis and snowboards.  Sure!  I swung by her place on the weekend and amongst the gear I collected for sale/disposal was 3 snowboards:

  • 156cm Winterstick All Mtn
  • 159cm Burton A Model [w/ Flow bindings]
  • 169cm Burton Alp [w/ plate bindings]

This was a score indeed as the Winterstick is just the board my buddy Kurt needs to ride and after damaging the edge of his snowboard last trip to Castle Mountain this has come at a perfect time.  The Burton A Model is the perfect size/type of board for my GF Sharon to use as a spring season/rock/powder board and keep her good board from getting damaged…it even comes with bindings which is perfect since she has no spares laying around.  Two for two so far!

The real treasure was the Burton Alp…my post yesterday was about how much I missed alpine carving and I was stoked to see I could still get an Alpine board from Prior Snowboards.  Well the Burton Alp is basically the exact same board as the Prior 4WD I was interested in and it comes with bindings and cant plates.  Even better is that it is setup exactly right for me…how do I know this?  Well this Burton Alp is actually one of my boards from 6-7 years ago still setup just the way I last rode it…=-)  I’ve known Deanna 13yrs+ and she’s always been the stable home owner type friend…so whenever I’ve packed up all my stuff and gone traveling some of my stuff has lived at her place.  This board was gathering dust in the rafters of her garage forgotten until now.  The timing is perfect and it’s uber nice to have $1000+ of gear in exactly the spec you want drop into your lap…=-)

Looks like I’ll be carving it up this year!  I just gotta track down my hard boots and hope they still fit.

Photo: Carver's Almanac

BTW – if you are an alpine carving snowboard fanatic I found this useful site – Carver’s Almanac.

BTW2 – also check out Bomber Online

Castle Mountain 2010

2 02 2010

Riding the upper bowl at Castle

Kurt is a blurr...

Two thumbs up for Castle Mountain Resort...

Early season adjustments...

I'm a tree hugger...

Kurt wishing I was a better snowboard photographer...=-)

Burton EST Bindings – not Old Skool!

27 01 2010

Burton Supermodel snowboard with EST bindings...

Most snowboard manufacturers still use a 4 hole disc system to attach the bindings to the board.  That’s what I’ve been using for the last 20 years or so.  It works well and allows almost 180 degrees of adjustment of your bindings.  The downside is that it requires two large metal plates or some similarly stiff inserts to be built into the snowboard so you have 8 or so holes at each foot position to allow the bindings to be adjusted laterally as needed for each rider.

Burton has decided to move to a new system using a flexible channel and only two bolts per binding to hold it onto the board.  This is good because it allows the board to flex naturally and is very easy to adjust if you want to move your bindings around – say to the rear for a big dump of powder.  However, there are a few problems with the new system:

  • you only have 2 bolts holding each foot to the board so a loose bolt is a huge problem whereas with the old 4 bolt per binding system it was not much of a big deal.  Check your binding bolts every ride!
  • the binding hardware is totally unique to Burton.  If you loose one you’ll be screwed unless there is a Burton dealer close at hand.  Definitely get two spare bolts/nuts.
  • EST bindings have a limited range of stance angles for each binding [27 deg on the front and 12 deg on the rear foot].  If you ride high angles you are going to be out of luck.
  • EST bindings can’t be adjusted for as narrow a stance as traditional bindings.
  • EST bindings are not common so if you break a binding you can’t just throw another one on to get you through your trip unless it’s also an EST binding.  There is a way around this by getting an adapter disc from your Burton dealer which it makes sense to carry with you on a longer trip just in case.

Traditional Burton bindings with EST adapter...

I’ve tried my Burton Supermodel with EST bindings and they just don’t offer enough stance angle adjustment and I can’t get my feet close enough to each other to be comfortable.  I’m currently running 30 deg front/18 deg rear with a 19″ stance width.  I’m using a traditional style Burton Mission binding with an EST adapter disc provided for free by my local Burton dealer.  This gives me almost all the advantages of the EST system with nearly unlimited stance angles and a narrower stance width.

I should point out that for most new riders the EST bindings give more than enough adjustment since current trends in snowboarding are towards low stance angles and twin tip boards.  So don’t worry about it unless you have been snowboarding for 10 years+ and want to run an old skool setup.  I started in 1991 and at some points was running angles as high as 55 front and 45 rear!!

Polar Opposites!

25 01 2010

Not the Baja!

I can’t complain…a day of snowboarding is better than a lot of things I can think of, but at the same time I can’t help think about how nice it would be to be walking down a beach in Mexico with my kiteboarding gear getting ready for 3-4hrs of splashing around in the ocean.  It’s nice to be home in a lot of ways, but I’m having a hard time with the cold.  I’ll adapt given some time and until then I’ll just grin and bear it.

I’ve got to do an overhaul on my Pugsley’s disc brakes because the pads have become contaminated with oil.  I’m hoping to get that done in the next couple days and then start my winter mountain biking campaign in earnest.  Between the Pugsley and as much snowboarding as my job will allow I’ll manage to smile until spring arrives.

My motivation to find a way to escape the Canadian winter completely is growing year by year…

I’m a bad influence…

5 04 2009
Deanna's got a new ride...

Deanna's got a new ride...

Deanna is the proud new owner of:

  • Burton Feel Good ES 150cm snowboard
  • Burton EST bindings
  • Burton Supreme boots

If you need any help justifying the purchase of high-end sports gear just give me a call…=-)

Take a lesson fool!

2 04 2009
How I spent my 40th b-day...=-)

How I spent my 40th b-day...=-)

So I’ve been snowboarding for over 10 years.  Add in a 5-6 year lay off and that makes me pretty old school in that sport.  I remember when you had to check and see if a resort allowed boarding and seeing another boarder was cause for celebration – sort of like seeing someone else on a recumbent today.

That sort of long history makes you feel like you know what’s going on and also makes it hard to admit you have a lot more to learn.  I’ve been out riding some serious mountains since I got back into snowboarding.  Tackling the expert terrain and having fun.  I must know what I am doing – right?

Wrong!  While we were out snowboarding on my birthday Kurt suggested we hire a snowboard instructor for a lesson.  I agreed, but I wasn’t sure how much we’d learn.  The guy running the ski school gave us a killer deal – $100 for 2hrs of private lessons. That works out to $25/hr each.  Our instructor Bruce was super nice and had been riding for 22yrs…ya that’s right at the very beginning of the snowboard era. I was shocked to see how much we improved in the first 30 mins.  Instead of making the snowboard go where I wanted I was able to go where I wanted and the snowboard came along for the ride.  I wasn’t forcing the board to turn.  I  was just using my body’s centre of mass to initiate a carve and the board did its thing.  I felt like I was using a lot less energy and having a much more relaxing experience.

When I was riding the trees last time I was out it felt like I was fighting my board and the whole experience was not great.  After some tips I was actually eager to hit the trees as high up the run as possible so I could get in more turns.  Amazing!

I left the lesson looking at my snowboard with a totally different perspective and tackling challenging terrain with more confidence.

Let’s do the math:

– new snowboard = $600

– new bindings & boots = $600

– lift pass for the day = $70

– my share of 2hr lesson = $50

Clearly the lesson is a total bargain!

I’m planing to go back to Castle Mountain and get another 2hr lesson with Bruce this week.  First thing I’ll do next season is get a lesson and as soon as I find the right mountain bike instructor I’m getting a lesson to make me better at technical obstacles and high speed turns.

I’m fine spending lots of $$$ on gear, but I haven’t spent nearly any $$$ on getting high level instruction how to best put that gear to use.  I’m going to change that.

Post boarding gear explosion.

Post boarding gear explosion.

Burton Super Model 159

27 03 2009
My new ride...happy birthday to me!

My new ride...happy birthday to me!

So I’ve been riding my 10 year old Winterstick All Mountain 164cm board.  It’s long and stiff which makes it great for fast riding in open terrain.  You can lay down these big deep carves on a nicely groomed run while keeping your speed at full throttle – super fun.  What it’s not so great at is being nimble and darting between trees.

Since my birthday is coming up I decided to add a new board to my quiver.  Something shorter with more flex that would let me explore some tighter terrain in the mountains – trees, gullies, etc…

My local snowboard shop is selling boards at 25% so I jumped on a Burton Super Model 159cm.  I mean who doesn’t want a super model in their lives?…=-)

Burton Mission bindings

Burton Mission bindings

I’ll be using the Burton Mission bindings pictured above and the Burton Driver X boots pictured below.  The Super Model uses Burton’s new ICS binding system, but I already have these non-ICS bindings so I’ll use ’em.  At some point I’ll get some ICS bindings and swap them out.  Unless you are snowboard geek ICS won’t mean anything to you – so jump to Burton’s site and click on Tech, then boards and then The Channel for an explanation. The simple answer is it’s a proprietary Burton binding attachment system.  Since I’m using non-ICS Burton bindings I’ll need to use an adapter disc to mount my bindings.

Burton Driver X boots

Burton Driver X boots