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Author Topic: Snowboarders  (Read 1613 times)
jimjar
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Posts: 187


Snowboarders
« on: 03/11/03, 03:34 AM »

Who out there snowboards and what do you use to get up the hill? I myself use the good old snowshoe method.
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Jim Oker
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Posts: 1585


Re: Snowboarders
« Reply #1 on: 03/11/03, 10:45 AM »

I don't board, but boarders I've gone out with have successfully used swap-meet or church-sale alpine skis cut in half with appropriate bindings mounted (e.g. hinged clickers or whatever worked for their boot/binding system) and climbing skins permanently attached. This works much better for mixed ski/board groups than snowshoes, as you can all use the same track w/o anyone getting too edgy or overworked, but the skiers tend to do most of the hefty trailbreaking in really deep snow since longer skis float better. Worth a thought if you slide with integrated groups.
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ultragrrl
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Posts: 76


Re: Snowboarders
« Reply #2 on: 03/12/03, 03:19 AM »

snowshoes, snowshoes....

yep,yep,yep
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MW88888888
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Posts: 512


Re: Snowboarders
« Reply #3 on: 03/14/03, 04:45 PM »

Hey there!

Luckily, I'm one of the few (it seems) who avidly skis and snowboards (the first since I was able to steal them from my sisters when I was a whipper snapper in vermont - the second since 1985 when Burton came out with the first steel edged, p-texed bottomed snowboard) so I think I can answer the question from both points of view.  

I'm pretty much all about ease of transition (uphill to downhill in under 5 minutes), saving weight (why carry too much crap?), and the overarching rule for great control on the descent.  So, in my experience, here's my ideal set-up for snowboarding:

1.  Moutaineering boots.  Don't ever buy those damn "snowboard" boots.  They weren't ever intended for the backcountry, only for the Ski Industry to bring snowboarding into the fold by making youngsters dependent on $300 worthless crap, just like they do with Alpine ski boots.  And you'll never be able to put crampons on "snowboard" boots anyways...ah, but of course unless you BUY the "snowboard boot" specific crampons that SOME of the manufacturers make!  Gee - see a pattern here?  Finally, they're so damn comfy I could sleep in them (and on a number of cold overnight outings have done just that).

2.  Mid-Sized snowshoes.  I've been using my Tubbs Katadins for about 10 years now (hell of a company, btw, they replaced my bindings this year FOR FREE after fatigue finally cracked the plastic), and they're (as goldilocks would say) just right.  Too small (like the Outdoor Lifestyle "featherlight" style you see that are all the rage for Backcountry wannabes.) and they're worthless in powder.  They look great and sheek walking down the snowmobile track from your Land Rover, but when you really need them (say, like, in untracked powder) and you might as well be wearing sandals.  And, too small makes your track more "post hole" than track and you'll end up pissing off your skiing partners who do indeed have to do all the work of breaking trail if you want to keep your speed.

Too large of a snowshoe and you break my second axiom of saving weight - big snowshoes are too heavy!  If you need a "Trapper John" snowshoe, the avy danger will be too high anyway and you might as well go ski touring on gentle terrain...if you know how.

3.  Collapsable ski poles.  Probe poles are a plus if you want dual action - a Black Diamond Whippet on one and you've got a three-in-one tool for steep ascents!  A ski pole is indespensible in deep snow and makes travel easier - you'll be faster, you'll see.

4.  One curmudgeon of a skier in the party who will put down snowboards (and snowboarders) at every turn (pardon the expression) in the outing like it was still 1989 and the backcountry was the only place you were "allowed" to snowboard.  Well, this one is not really a necessity but an added bonus.  I'm still surprised how close minded people can be, even in the "Backcountry" we're it's supposed to be "free your mind" and all that kind of stuff.  Ideally, you should have the curmudgeon in your tour group on those wind board or crusty days when you can float on top and smile...waving gleefully at the bottom of the run at the curmudgeon yelling and complaining about the "breakable crust" from his or her bomb hole.  

I'm intrigued by the Split Decision style snowboards that come apart and you skin up and then descend on one board but I have two problems with them:

1.  They're way too expensive for a guy like me who has rondenee, tele and snowboard set ups.  Unless you're made of money, who can afford a $600 snowboard?

2.  They don't have a uniform flex pattern that makes me suspect of their performance.  If I'm traversing on a frozy-froze corn surface above cliffs, I'm going to want my stiff snowboard with great edge control.  A snowboard is a great down moutain tool and high mountains have a lot of snow conditions.  You won't complain in powder, but on wind board or ice?  Not a place to lose control on the descent...      

Now about snowshoe vs skin tracks.  hmmm, not really sure what all the shouting is all about.  If you're using good mid-sized shoes, your tip to tail footprints will be just fine for skiers to follow (I've followed my brother's on skis for years with no complaints, thank you) but...if it's super deep, well, like I said, you might as well have those tour skis on anyway.    And after two snowshoers pass, the trail really is a trail and it doesn't matter what you're on - ski or snowshoes.  It'll be a thick track of passage that only the curmudgeon will complain about.
   
« Last Edit: 03/14/03, 05:26 PM by MW88888888 » Logged
Jim Oker
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Re: Snowboarders
« Reply #4 on: 03/15/03, 02:33 AM »

Generally snowshoe tracks aren't a big deal for skiers to follow - just a little bumpier than is aesthetically perfect, but nothing to complain about for the chance to enjoy a peaceful and diverse world (hey - I'll *happily* take advantage of trailbreaking by a snowshoer until the pitch gets too steep for good uphill skiing). It's on steep traverses where snowshoes can really trash a well-set skin track and convert it from an easy highway to a real pain in the butt (I've seen this repeatedly, so I'm pretty confident in this opinion). Of course in those situations I have kind of wondered why the snowshoers didn't just blaze their own track because it looked like it would have been easier for them to just break straight up rather than follow the track we skiers had set. But in any case, that's the place where I've seen a real problem sharing a track. But it was the snowshoe that bugged me, not the snowboard.
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MW88888888
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Posts: 512


Re: Snowboarders
« Reply #5 on: 03/15/03, 01:53 PM »

Right on, Jim (I assume?  I'm Michael btw) - you're absolutely correct from what I've seen as well.  The reason: traverses are THE hardest technical challenge for snowshoes.  Takes practice and a lot of patience.  More often than not the inexperienced (and I'm as guilty as the next guy when the snow is tough) will wash out front or back and demolish the silky smooth - and level- track created by skis.  Not a spot for a snowshoer.  

In these circumstances I much prefer to punch steps straight up and reunite past the difficulties than ruin everyone elses easy going.   Of course, terrain sometimes prevents that.  Luckily, if it's a long tour I'll usually be on skis anyway.  Ah, but that's the pleasure of switch hitting - take the right tool for the job before you leave the parking lot.    
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