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Old 01-01-2011, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Freeride Board Advice- Long post/special case

Alright, so just like everyone else, I'm looking for a new board, and I could use some input from you all. Sorry for the crazy long post- but this post would be pretty pointless if I didn't give you all the relevant info.

My stats: I'm 28 yrs old, 6' tall, about 165lbs, size 10.5 boot. I grew up as a skier (gasp!), but switched to snowboarding in my early/mid teenage years so I've been riding a long time. I did take about a 6+ year hiatus from the sport (mostly thanks to economic and geographic limitations), but several seasons ago I got back into it.

My riding: Simply put, I love to freeride. I really enjoy high-speed carving, and IF there was any real backcountry nearby, I'd probably ride it all the time (sadly, there isn't). I ride with some pretty good skiers almost all the time, and I need to go fast to keep up with them. I'd say I'm an "advanced" rider- I feel like I can confidently and quickly ride/carve down any groomed run in the midwest. I don't really do any crazy spin tricks anymore, and I don't really ride switch much at all. I love to go fast and get air off of natural features. I'd say a vast majority of my riding is done on steep groomers (keep in mind, that's coming from my midwestern, as steep as Lutsen or the U.P. of Michigan has to offer, but...still "midwestern" steep). I'd say I'm "quasi-aggressive" or "aggressive" most of the time; I'm not going full-tilt every run, but most runs I'm going at a pretty fast pace.

My location: I live in the suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. I don't ride around here very often at all, even though there are several local hills...mostly out of pure boredom. It's just not worth my time (and money) to ride around here very much (especially because I'm not riding pipe/park anymore). I never ride rails either (lots of respect for those that do though!). I take a few trips up to the north shore to Lutsen every year, and this year I've got a very special "quasi-backcountry" trip planned to the U.P. in Michigan (specifically to Mt Bohemia- lots of ungroomed snow and crazy looking tree runs).

My existing setup: Several years ago, I bought a super-closeout 5150 deck for about $100 so that I could return from my "hiatus" (not sure of the model…Nomad maybe?). Its 159cm, wood core, biaxial glass, and cap constructed I think. I've been happy with my ultra-old Preston aluminum bindings, and I love my Solomon boots that I've had for a few seasons. I ride regular-footed, about +15 on my front foot and +5 or so on my back foot. This setup has been really good considering what I paid for it, but I keep getting frustrated by the slow and easily-damaged base, crappy edges and crappy edge grip (I wash out when carving at speed sometimes), mushy and un-poppy flex, etc.

Catch #1- I REALLY don't wanna spend $450-$500+ on a new board. If I was going to spend that kind of money, I'd be looking at boards like the Rossi One Magtek, Arbor A-Frame (might be one of the sexiest decks out there IMO), a few different NS boards, maybe the Libtech T. Rice, Bataleon Undisputed, Compatriot Falcon/Outra Vez, etc. There are LOTS of good boards in that price range. So before you make suggestions, remember that budget is a HUGE concern for me! I'd like to be closer to the $300ish price range (or less) if it's at all possible. I'm not opposed to buying something that's a year or 2 old, or even gently used. And yes, I'll be prowling the "for sale" section here on the site!

Catch #2- I'm kinda biased in a few ways. Burton is out of the question (I don't wanna buy new bindings, and I think they are a bit overpriced anyway). I do have a bit of a bias in favor of companies that make stuff in the USA. K2 has never really impressed me much and I'm not really into most of their boards, but I've heard the Turbo Dream and other high-end boards from them are super awesome. I'm definitely not opposed to riding something from a "ski" company like Rossi, Atomic, Head, Elan/Artec, etc. More than "who" makes it, I care about durability, functionality/features, and value.

Catch #3- I'm not super picky about graphics, but I like simple and/or bold. No pink, no purple, no rainbows. Bright colors are fine, just as long as they still have some machismo to them.

Catch #4- Demo days are pretty much out of the question. There are few (if any) of them near where I live, and I doubt I'd get a chance to ride any of the boards I'm really looking at. Even if I DID go to a demo day, it'd be at a local hill that's so small I wouldn't really be able to put the board through it's paces anyway.

Catch#5- It's entirely possible that I'll take this new freeriding board on a trip or 2 out west at some point in the next year or two.

I'm thinking I'd like to find a decent freeriding board, with a 6/10-7/10 flex, directional shape (or directional/twin hybrid), sintered base, with good edge grip. I'm thinking that I should stick with traditional camber, but I'd be open to camber/rocker hybrids in cases where it's still engineered for my type of riding (like on the new Rossi One Magtek, etc). Regular width will probably work, but midwide might not be a bad idea either cuz some freeride boards run a bit narrow (I really hate drag!). Looking to find something in the 159-164cm range.

Also- DURABILITY is a key factor to me. I want a board that will last me for a good 3-5 years or more, so it's got to be built to last and put up with some abuse!

OK, so as you prepare your recommendations, here's some specific options I've found so far:

-Last season's Bataleon Omni (found a few closeouts for around $300ish or so). The freeride version of TBT is VERY interesting to me, but I've seen some reviewers who say that the Omni doesn't hold an edge nearly as well as it should. Will TBT make the board feel too surfy and sloppy to really lock into uber-crusty hardpack groomers here in icy MN? Would I be better suited to try and track down a used or closeout Undisputed?

-Last season's Rossignol OneMag (on sale for $300). Even without the new camber/rocker hybrid profile on this year's model, it sounds like a great freeriding board. Seems like this board has lots of edge grip and is great for freeriding, but is it going to be too stiff and/or unforgiving for me (remember, I live in the upper midwest and I only weigh 165lbs!)?

-Epix Freeride series ($350). A bit more money, but its a small company that looks like it makes solid looking boards right here in the USA (look 'em up if you're not familiar). Haven't found any specs on their boards (sidecut, waist width, etc), so I can't be sure I'll avoid toe and heel drag yet, but seems like a really good board at a great price. Have any of you heard anything about these boards?

-I'm even open to some of the stiffer "all mountain freestyle" type decks that supposedly carve really well, such as last years Ride Concept TMS (closeout at Evo puts it closer to the price range). My lighter weight, and the fact that I ride in the midwest (as opposed so somewhere awesome out West), tells me that even though I'm a freerider I'd be able to get away with one of these "freestyle" decks just fine, as long as the design still supports good carving and edge hold.

Alright, I'll shut up now. Any/all input is welcome!
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Old 01-01-2011, 03:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm a big fan of Never Summer boards. I have two, 164 & 169 Titans--only a couple of days on the 169 as I got it last year right at the end of the season. I'm an old fart--no pipe or park for me! But I do like some speed & carving ability. I went a bit long on the new one because of that.
I'd watch for deals to be coming on soon. After Christmas folks tend to deal. You should be able to buy one right in the next month or so.
When I was looking last year, my short list was the Never Summer Titan, Arbor A-Frame, Prior MFR, & the Donek Incline (to my specs, may do this yet one day). Got a great deal on the Titan & am very happy.
FWIW, NS is doing demo days in Wisconsin:
Sunday, February 20
All day Tyrol Basin, WI - Free DemoWednesday, February 23
All day Devils Head Resort, WI - Free DemoThursday, February 24
All day Cascade Mountain, WI - Free DemoFriday, February 25
All day Granite Peak, WI - Free DemoFriday, March 18
A bit of a drive, but might be worth your while. I'd really like to try out the new Raptor & see what the Rocker/Camber thing is about.
Happy hunting!
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Old 01-01-2011, 03:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanx plagtr2! I appreciate the info on those demo days- all the info I found (or didn't really) applied more to the local twin cities areas. I doubt I'll be able to make it to those days in WI, as I'll be riding in Lutsen that weekend....but ya never know, maybe I'll scoot out that way for a day instead. I'll check out those Donek and Prior boards too- not familiar with 'em right now, but I'm sure I can track them down on the web.

I expected lots of folks to rant and rave about NS boards- everything I've read indicates that they are absolutely awesome decks. If they were more in my price range (which as you said, maybe a few of 'em will be in the next 30 days or so), I would totally buy one, and probably never would've even started this thread. They seem to have a great reputation as being really high performance boards that last forever, and their graphics are pretty slick too (IMO anyway). For the current models tho, they are usually too pricey for me....maybe I'll get lucky on eBay or something.

Thanks again....keep the input coming!
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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check out ebay for some great deals. I got a 2010 Arbor nightrain for $300 shipped. It was demoed once. Just check the sellers rating and whatnot. Lots of great deals on there and if you are looking to get a high end board that is gently used its the best place if you dont live near a bunch of ski resorts. I then bought my boots and bindings thru closeouts at online retailers, got 09 model salomon F-series boots for $100 new and new 10' salomon relay bindings for $120.
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Update!

Yep, I'm definitely lurking on eBay, and I've got a few decks in my watch list that might end up being really great deals.

After a whole bunch more research, I think I've got the list narrowed down to:

-New Old Stock '08 Stepchild Corporate 158.5: I haven't been able to find a ton of in-depth info about this board, but generally it sounds like a kickass choice...especially because it's super affordable ($225). Supposedly it's more of an "all-mtn freestyle" deck that has some good freeride characteristics due to a reasonably stiff flex (quad-ax 'glass), and it'll be fast enough w/the sintered base. Graphics are kinda cool too.

-New Old Stock Rossignol OneMag 159 (blue chevron base graphic): This board is probably the best matchup for the stiffer freeride board I'm looking for, but it's a bit more dough ($300) and doesn't have AmpTek (hybrid camber got added with the '11 model), which seems to be the thing everyone is raving about. Plus, I've heard some less-than-positive things about several Rossi boards...the only one that guys seem to rave about is the new '11 One MagTek, and some guys like the Experience for big-mtn stuff.

-New Old Stock Bataleon Project Green 161: I've been curious as hell about TBT, but I've heard mixed reviews about the way it handles hardpack and ice (both of which are exceptionally common here in MN). Might be a bit too freestyle-oriented for me, but it might ride a bit stiffer as it's a bit longer than the others. I think I saw it for somewhere around/less than $300.

-Barely used '09 Arbor Roundhouse. Probably the sexiest board on the list, and right now it's in my price range, but it might not be by the time the auction ends.

-There are some deals on older used NS SL's out there. Supposedly they are unreal decks...but I'm not sure I want to spend 250+ bucks on a deck that's already been so heavily used when there are so many other deals happening.

-Rome Anthem SS 161- Should be a super awesome deck for me, not sure it'll stay within my price range though. I've heard these are great freeride decks.

-New Old Stock '09/'10 Palmer Burn- More of a stiff "all-mtn freestyle" board by design I think, but I've read that these decks can lay a really nice carve and they are supposedly pretty well made. Yes, I know it's a twin tip, but I'm not too worried about that. If I need to I can always set my stance back on the thing.

Questions for the group:

1) Has anyone ridden one or more of these, who can provide decent comparative feedback?

2) Does anyone know why Triple8Sol does NOT recommend the Bataleon Project Green? According to Bataleon, it was loosely based on the Jam...and according to Bataleon, it's actually a decent all-mountain do-it-all choice. And YES, I do like the idea that it's built with sustainable materials...and NO, I'm not a hippie.

3) Any chance you guys have thoughts on the Stepchild Corporate? YES, I've searched- what I'm looking for is more specific feedback for how this deck handles at high speeds. Come to think of it, I'd love to get a more accurate idea about how ALL of these handle at high speeds.

To save you having to re-read my monster first post....I'm 6' tall, 165lbs, size 10.5 boot. Love to freeride, board will spend 95% or more of its time here in the midwest, with a couple trips to better locations (1/yr) thrown in.

Thoughts? Ideas? Boards I'm forgetting about?
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The reason i bought an Arbor was that other than the Nightrain board style being perfect for me, but the durability, resale, and reputation being as high as any manufacturer out there. I have really never found anyone knock any arbor boards for any reason and they come with 2yr warranties i believe on most models, and seem to last a long time. Plus there graphics are by far the sickest out there in my opinion. Another name brand that is pretty solid and affordable is Atomic. I have two buddies that ride them and they love them. There are several models on ebay from 175 to 300 and that's new or barely used. I know there reviews are all good and they have won those Good Wood awards a bunch so im sure they are legit boards.
"Snowboarding is an activity that is very popular with people who do not feel that regular skiing is lethal enough."
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Narrowed the list!

OK, well it's finally down to 2 boards. I've found pretty reasonable deals on these decks at my local shops:

'10 Rossi OneMag 159- I'm a little worried about it being TOO catchy- I've heard that MTX on traditional camber boards is a bit squirrely...although I mostly ride midwestern hardpack, and love to go fast on steep groomers, so the board fits my riding. Not all that thrilled w/buying a Rossi deck, but what can ya do?

'09 DC HKD 160- Found a New Old Stock one (w/limited edition graphics that are kinda ugly IMO) at a local shop. It's got the honeycomb-kevlar in the core, good n' stiff, and seems lightweight (although I bet both of these decks are gonna be plenty light). My concern is I've heard some sketchy things about DC's reliability, since they are fairly new to the snowboard-making business.

SO- I'd love to hear what y'all have to say about:

-MTX on a camber board. I've done a boatload of research, so i understand the theory, and I understand that its all personal preference anyway. Just curious if anyone bought an MTX board with camber and had to get rid of it cuz it just was over-the-top catchy, or so unforgiving on landings that you hated it.

-What's the build quality like w/DC snowboards in general (and/or the HKD if you have one or know someone who does/did)?

As always, responses are greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I've demoed the 2011 Magtek. It has a hybrid camber, but the mid-section is positive cambered so close enough.

I didn't find it too catchy at all. It was great on ice. Mind you, this was a demo board so the edges were probably dulled out. That brings me to my next comment. If you find it too catchy, you can detune the edges. You will still get the performance on ice without it being too catchy on other types of terrain.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The K2 Raygun sounds like a perfect match for what you want, including price point. But you don't like K2 just because.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Leo View Post
I've demoed the 2011 Magtek. It has a hybrid camber, but the mid-section is positive cambered so close enough.

I didn't find it too catchy at all. It was great on ice. Mind you, this was a demo board so the edges were probably dulled out. That brings me to my next comment. If you find it too catchy, you can detune the edges. You will still get the performance on ice without it being too catchy on other types of terrain.
Where do people find Magnatraction catchy?
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