Yesterday I had one of my best days on a snowboard in a long time.
It was all because of my Birdman.
Whistler has been getting a good dose of snow all week, for the first time this season. There was over a foot overnight. It was nice and cold (-12 °C in the alpine IIRC) and the snow was light. I tried my Birdman earlier this season during a substantially smaller dump and found the float impressive, but quite a chore to turn, especially in the trees. I would find myself getting nervous in the time and space leading up to any turns I knew I would have to make. I wasn't sure I could handle it and had maybe been a little too ambitious with my purchase. I felt like outside of a heli trip, I'd never get to see the conditions to really appreciate it for what it can do. I had the stance set fairly far back if my memory serves me correctly. Yesterday I set it a fair bit further forward. I think this made all the difference for me.
The way this thing performed was legendary. I powered those turns with the power back foot with confidence and ease. I destroyed anything in my path that I desired. Pow stashes off the beaten path were chewed through like a chainsaw without slowing down, trees, steeps, rollers, hits, drops, and small cliffs were aired and stuck. Crud and tracked out crap was slayed. After popping out of the trees at a medium click I launched a natural little crevasse leading back to the trail, maybe 6 ft deep 8-10 ft across with ease. It was just pure reaction and seat of the pants and I was astonished I actually pulled it off and didn't end up pulling myself out of a powder hole for 10 minutes.
The craziest thing about this board was the places it took me. I rode places pretty much nobody but the most skilled riders on the mountain were. Often I was all alone. We went for a trek out on the glacier on Blackcomb. I reached spots no one else could, some that I never even noticed or thought about before. I ducked down into a pillow line, crashing through drops several feet high, dodging boulders the size of cars. I couldn't believe I was actually pulling this stuff off. The stability on this big board allowed me to take hits and airs, and ride out chop that I never have before. I loved it. I got this feeling last weekend on a 2015 Skunk Ape HP 165, but in a different way. It made me a much better rider than I actually am, and it really felt that way.
Sadly 2014 is the last year for the 180 Birdman, with my 2013 being the last with a sintered base. After this it'll just be a 170. I assume Lib doesn't sell as many of the big boards, as more than one model has downsized it's biggest range. I highly reccomend it. For reference I'm 6'3", a little over 200 lbs, and rode this with 2014 Now Drive bindings (around 12 or 15° duck stance), and sz 13 2014 DC Travis Rice boots.
After feeling like a man alone on the moon out there on the glacier in a field of pow no one else could even touch, I started flapping my arms periodically throughout the rest of the day while riding. I was a man in flight...
I live my life one storm at a time.