Hey guys! After always wanting to try boarding, some friends and I rented a condo for 3 days by Sunshine Village here in Alberta for my 30th Bday last month and I finally tried it. I am soooo addicted now.
For that first weekend I borrowed my buddy's Burton Bullet 159 (wide board) and his boots. It's got Burton Freestyle bindings on it also. That's what I've been using for now so that's my only board experience. My friends have told me they are really surprised at how fast I'm picking things up and I plan to continue this now as long as my body will let me.
Day 1: strapped in, hopped on the chair, managed to get off no problem, and started off down a green run. Had a few falls but nothing major. Was riding blues by the end of the day and rode the ski out down at the end of the day.
Day 2: about the same as day 1.
Day 3: stuck to a Green run for a good chunk of the day working on the toe side transition. Managed to get it somewhat but not as good as I hoped (yes I'm determined to progress my ability and I'm stubborn)
Day 4: had one of those ah-ha moments when my choice was to ride my toe edge and keep up speed or get off and walk on a flat spot. I didn't walk! By the end of the day I was comfortably carving back and forth from edge to edge both regular and switch. Comfortably riding all blues by the end of the day and did a couple blacks (not riding over my head, just taking it slow and feeling out the terrain)
Day 5: This was this past Saturday. Pretty much the same as Day 4 but I started trying some small jumps off natural hits on one of the blue runs and trying a couple small cliff drops (really small like 4'-5') as well as having a blast winding through some tight stuff in the trees.
Sorry for the essay but I'm hoping by giving as much info as possible it will be easier for others to comment on my choices. At this point I'm ready to throw down some cash for a nice quality board that will last me a few years and I won't outgrow skill wise too soon. I figured boots are going to be at least as important if not more than the board so after trying everything from Vans, 32, and Burton that I could find I ended up with a pair of Burton Hails. I have very wide feet but a narrower heel and they fit me the best with no heel lift and they're insanely comfy.
I read the FAQ at the top of this section and did a bunch of research on my own of boards that interest me but I'm looking for some more input to narrow it down and see if any of these are right or totally wrong for me. As for the Bullet I've been using I like the length but I feel like it's a bit dead to me from edge to edge. I think that's probably because it's wider than I need. The tail also seems to slide around on me a bit but that might just be due to me being too far forward.
I copied this list from the FAQ also and tried to answer as well as possible.
Weight - 180lbs and 5'10"
Boot size - 11 (Burton Hails with the footprint reduction)
Riding style - all mountain free ride. Tight stuff through the trees, natural hits, groomers, powder, no park anytime soon.
Age - 30
budget - $450 or so
Your location of riding - Alberta Rockies (Sunshine, Louise, etc.) and probably BC (Fernie, Whitewater)
The ones I've been looking at are:
NS SL 158
NS Cobra 158
Arbor Coda 159
Arbor Element 159 (cx or rx???)
Arbor Formula 158 (worried I'll advance past this board too soon and regret the purchase)
If I have left out anything you need to know at all just ask and I'll try to answer. Thanks for any help on this as I'm a bit overwhelmed trying to decide right now. I don't think I'd be making a mistake jumping to a more intermediate board but maybe I'm an idiot.