Bataleon Whatever 156 Review.
Board: 2012 Bataleon Whatever 156
Bindings: 2010 K2-CINCH CTX
Boots: 2010 Burton Driver X
Stance: 21.5", angles: 18/0
Wax: Warm DaKine
Conditions: Knee deep slashed powder, some stashes of untracked powder.
Years riding: 6
Board: Arbor A-Frame 158
Average days per season: 25
Skill: advanced rider, mostly free ride/pow/carve. No park.
Board details: Bataleon ::
WiredSport.com gave me a chance to test this board. Thanks Randy!
Background: I have been riding now for 6 years. 4 of them in Kirkwood. I started on an old LibTech 155 (mid '90 model, Red with a violin key design on top, unknown model), then moved to a Ride Control 155, and finally my Arbor A-Frame 158. The Whatever was the first “TBT” board I ever ridden and I loved it.
I spent my day riding my Arbor A-Frame 158 on slashed knee deep powder yesterday at Kirkwood. Got some fantastic runs and around 1PM I decided to switch to the Whatever and see what the TBT was about. Conditions were great. Up to knee deep light powder, slashed and untraced, wind slab powder. Maybe 100 people in the whole resort.
My mindset: Ok I will switch to this playful short park like board and it will wash all over. Nothing like my razor sharp carving machine A-Frame. I want to find what all the fuss about non camber board is…if this TBT works, It will never hold an edge like regular camber, it will feel like a skateboard.. too playful…a flexy park board.. Man I was wrong
The Whatever feels light and nimble. I love the blunt nose and tail shape, I thought as I was riding the chairlift. Upon getting off I could feel there was something different under my feet. Lighter and very responsive. I stopped on the usual bank, pulled the lever on my back binding and took off.
I was focused on the TBT base and how that would feel on a well known run covered in powder. The first impression is that Bataleon system (camber between feet, rocked tip and tail with TBT) works great. it’s easy and stable to control and add a different feeling to the ride whit his original base design.
The board felt easy to control, very damp slashing trough knee deep trashed powder, stable, playful and at the same time precise enough when I wanted to carve. And all that on a pair of already fatigued legs. I was riding better than I was on the last runs on my Arbor. The Whatever felt so responsive and easy to ride. I feel that the camber between bindings is perfect to absorb chatter, bumps and landing on moguls of powder, where a camber would have transferred the shock to your legs, this one absorbs it all.
The TBT kept the nose above the powder easily. I set up the bindings in a very neutral center position, and I didn’t feel the need to ride in the back, as I did all day. This board floats really well. Gaining “altitude” in traverses (either side) was extremely easy with the TBT nose pointing up. Riding trees was a blast as the board turns on itself. The major advantage was the dampening…Slashing big muffins of powder with a pair of tired legs was a piece of cake. The TBT nose is perfect for that. You know when you turn on big piles of powder going from top to top, avoiding other people’s lines? When you get the tip of one of those moguls between your bindings it’s a workout on your legs, sending your knees in full compression if you ride a camber board, since the camber focuses on tip and tail. With TBT and camber the same event was completely absorbed and much less of a workout, leaving you needed energy to rebound to the next turn. The TBT takes a little to get used to and really lean into carves, Flat basing feels very stable and solid and overall it feel like a board exactly made for whatever you want to ride on.
But what about fast carving?
Of course I could not repeat the long steep carves of my camber board, but as long as you kept a delicate balance on your side edge, the board will carve elegantly and with ease, washing out just when the short(er) edge of the board would run out of snow to grip on, but by then you would be setting your next turn or thinking about hitting that sweet spot there. or that little jump over there. This board keeps your mind and eyes racing for the next feature you want to hit or land on. I loved it. This board seems to constantly ask you “what’s next”? I really loved the ride.
I will keep testing it more and in deeper powder next time. Possibly Friday. But so far I’m loving it. Not sure I will ditch my A-Frame any time soon, but I believe that the TBT is one of the best solutions for powder and trashed powder. It feels so easy on your legs you ask yourself why you spent your day riding that stiff long camber board, instead of this nimble and fun stick. And that's from someone that loves a fast stable long and stiff board like the A-Frame. I was so pleasantly surprised. I'm pretty sure a Bataleon will be my next board.