First post ever on these forums. I hope to be apart of the community as often as possible. Let me begin by telling my life story...
I have been skiing for about 11 years and have recently switched to snowboarding this season. I instantly fell in love and have been using my season pass as often as possible. My family has never been one to splurge on new equipment, so I buy all of my own gear. Being a high school student, used gear has been my only choice. I am currently riding a 11 year old Oxygen Supreme (Super stiff) and Burton bindings with no padding, no toe ramp and extreme pressure points. I recently got to demo the 2011 Easy livin and Flying V with the new Prophesy bindings. Anyone who tells you equipment does not matter is very wrong, as I was able to do black diamonds all day without falling or even having pain in my legs!
If you were too lazy to read that, then let me sum it up for you. My current board and bindings are far to old and I am progressing at a level that they can't keep up with. I only have money for bindings and because I don't make money quickly they need to be the BEST possible bindings for me.
My riding habits:
-I ride in the sierras (Northstar, Sierra at Tahoe, Sugar Bowl) so I need bindings that can handle ice, powder, slush, crud and anything else that will be in the way at somewhat high speeds.
-I want something that can give me great feedback while also being COMFORTABLE and will last long.
-Ride mostly black and blue runs and I spend the most of my times riding in the trees and doing black glade runs.
-I need a binding with a toe strap that cups the toes (my old one killed me!)
-I don't do much park, but would like the option to progress if needed.
-I have heard of canted high backs and maybe that would be a good option?
The only binding I have looked at that seems to meet these specs were the Burton Missions but I wanted to ask the community and I haven't checked out the other companies yet. Oh yeah, did I mention these bindings need to be around $200? (A little less or more would be fine and I will consider all options) Good luck!
I know this isn't what you want to hear bro, but your BEST option will be work, save some more money and this summer snatch some 10-11 gear when it goes on sale right as the 12 gear hits the streets. That or check out geartrade, backcountry sells a lot of their perfectly fine returns there, or ebay. I'm one for saving money, we all are unless we are getting paid to do this sport and equipment is free... keep an eye on steep and cheap every once in a while they have great gear deals, use the find, it has some links with working coupons and a search feature I've found useful. Go to local boardswaps if they have them in your area etc. I started snow skiing at 3 and switched to a board at like 13 or so I forget, I share your feelings man... I can kill it on the skiis for someone that lives in Lousiana especially... but my passion is on a board.
If you absolutely have to have some bindings in the 200 range depending on what flex you want I'd check out the Union force (retail is right at 200), burton cartel re:flex (similiar tech to the forces, lets your board flex more naturally) or some ride spi, the last 2 are like 229, but watch ebay, geartrade, and the find for some deals. Also keep a look out on ebay and whatnot for some burton prophecies if you liked them, I just ordered a set for 232 shipped. I think backcountry has a slightly used set that was returned on geartrade for like 160+ shipping in size Large... but I require a medium so I got some new ones off the bay. The Union forces are really great bindings from everything I've read... just the straps are hit or miss, either you love em or you hate em. I've never ridden them though, so take that for what its worth.
TLDR; stick to the skiis this season or tough it out on the uncomfy gear and wait until 11 gear goes on sale and snatch up some new goodies at a discount price. Believe me bro, next season you'll thank yourself. I'd do this but I have NO gear of my own right now, so I just ordered a new setup so I can go board with my bro next month at baker and crystal. Besides if you wait until then you could probably afford a new stick and boots.