Which Alpine board for a decent boarder?
February 22, 2010 7:10 AM   Subscribe

What kind of Alpine snowboard should I buy?

I'm an intermediate to expert snowboarder. I've ridden 25-30 days a year for the last 10 years, and every year I think about buying a carving board at the end of the season... and then don't.

I currently ride a 159cm Burton T6 with SL7 boots, and weigh 185-190lbs nekkid. I've been up to a 164 but it was a bit too long. My riding style is basically all-mountain, with an emphasis on carving as fast as possible with a few little pops and jumps thrown in. I stay out of the park and pipe.

So size/style of board would you recommend to learn on? My hills are groomed Ontario hardpack and we have excellent ski shops nearby -- but I'd like to go in knowing a bit more than I do.

I also have access to excellent instructors.
posted by unSane to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
 
Not too many people make "alpine' boards anymore (I'm assuming you mean the kind where you use ski-boots, rather than snowboard boots).

The closest thing to an 'alpine' board is a super stiff board like your current T6. Maybe you can demo a newer one to see if the improvements in the past decade have made it more enjoyable for you to carve with.

Boarder Cross riders used to use alpine boards a few years ago, but now the dominant boards you see at the olympics are Kessler boards (http://www.catek.com/Kessler-snowboards.htm). So maybe try that if you want to drop $1600 on a board that might carve a bit better/be faster.
posted by xotis at 7:59 AM on February 22, 2010


Maybe it's a Canadian thing? There are a ton of Alpine riders at my club.
posted by unSane at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2010


On the other hand those Kessler board look all kinds of awesome.
posted by unSane at 8:03 AM on February 22, 2010


Alpine boards were popular in the late 90s, but they haven't been mass-produced by any of the top manufacturers for at least 5+ years. People still ride them, but they aren't easy to find.

I saw a ton of Kessler boards in the Olympics this year, both men's and women's boarder cross athletes were riding them. Seth Wescott, who won the gold medal, was riding one.

The other "premium" board for racing in the past few years is the Palmer Platimum LE. They were used a ton in the 2006 Olympics (Lindsey Jacobellis did her infamous Method in 2006 that cost her the gold, on one)

Again - Alpine boards were big in 2002 in Salt Lake at the Olympics there, but manufacturers dropping the alpine style meant that riders on older alpine boards couldn't keep up with the improvements being made in 'normal' boards. By 2006 they had been almost completely phased out and I didn't see a single one in Vancouver.
posted by xotis at 8:54 AM on February 22, 2010


Most of the boards I see round here are F2 I think.
posted by unSane at 9:04 AM on February 22, 2010


I've ridden a number of volkl renntiger that's pretty good as far as the kind of riding your talking about. My previous all mountain board was a Prior custom race board that was a bit de-tuned i've heard good things about Coiler boards as well. I would check out the community at www.bomberonline.com for alpine information it pretty much looks like the last refuge of the hardbooter. If you check out the Prior website they have seconds and demos that they sell.

As far as length running length and turn radius mean allot more that over all length to a boards performance. As well your riding style and where you ride will have a big impact on how appropriate the length you can run. Riding a 190 alpine board on a tiny hill with thin trails just isn't going to be fun but in a place where you can let it run a bit it's a different story.
posted by jade east at 12:03 PM on February 22, 2010


I've ridden alpine boards a few times, borrowed from a friend who's an avid carver. He frequents a message board called bomberonline.com, where you'll find a wealth of carving-board info. A couple alpine board mfrs. that I know of include Prior and Donek. I have a Donek all-mountain (non-carving) board, and am very happy with it.
posted by zen_spider at 6:37 PM on February 22, 2010


Well, thank you for the responses. I will answer my own question as much as I can, as it's already showing up on the first page of results for 'Alpine board' on Google.

-- Boots. I bought a set of Deeluxe 225 boots. They are the most relaxed hardboots I could find, which I was told repeatedly was important when transitioning to an Alpine board.

-- Board. I am going for a Prior 4wd all-mountain board. Again I was told by several people at my club that an all-mountain board was the best way to transition, and the least limiting in terms of the conditions I could ride.

-- length. I got a lot of different answers about this. The board manufacturers give weight ranges but I got different advice from different people. Some pro shops recommended a much shorter board than the manufacturers. Others said the length was much less important than the turn radius.

-- radius. This turned out to be more important that I thought. I was told by several people to keep it under 11m, and preferably less, so as to keep speeds down when learning, and so that I didn't take up the entire hill.

-- bindings. Lots of good choices here. The Bomber TD3, Catek OS2 and Intec bindings all look fine. This seems to be a less critical choice than many of the others. The main choice is between a bail system and step-ins. Since our hills are pretty short I will probably go for a step in. The Cateks also seem to have a lot of adjustability, so are probably the best choice for a tinkerer like me.

I dunno if I will get out this season but at least I don't feel so at sea now.
posted by unSane at 5:09 PM on February 28, 2010


By the way, although this is a niche sport it is certainly still going strong. I belong to a tiny private club of about 2000 people (skiers and snowboarders) with our own hill and we probably have 40 or more Alpine riders. We are a fairly serious racing club so that probably has an effect.
posted by unSane at 5:11 PM on February 28, 2010


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