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Old 02-17-2014, 10:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bird is the word.

I posted this in the review section but wanted to share my stoke here...

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...
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That is a cool story and a fun read. I hope to get the chance someday for an equivalent high!
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Destroy, thanks for the sharing the "experience" with us. This is the kind of experience that cannot be had without the right board, the right conditions and the skill level to pull it all together.

I am an Ice Coast rider. A true pow day is as rare as the Blue Moon. But I have a dedicated powder board that only comes out when the day is right. I am not an expert rider by any means, but good enough to warrent having a couple of hundred dollars tied up in something that sits in the dark way more than it sees the light, for when the stars align and it all comes together, the day becomes something truly magical. I dare say that you have not experienced all that snowboarding has to offer until you have spent a day in powder on a dedicated powder board. There is no other feeling like it. Quite Euphoric. Drugs not required.

I have yet to have experienced one this year. We have had lots of snow, but no one dump of epic proportions to warrant bringing out the powder deck, but I am going to drag it to Whistler in March and hope that the snow gods that have been blessing W/B the last week or so, continue to do so well into March.

Here's hoping.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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great post - definitely stoked you're stoked. not too many things more fun than progressing on a snowboard.

i'd like to offer one caution that reading that made me think of tho, and i say this from experience:

when you're riding in a way that is pushing your skills forward, eventually you'll break yourself off. in the type of riding and terrain you're getting into you're really going to want someone with you when (not if) that happens.

its just part of snowboarding. when you're learning new stuff you don't land everything and when you don't land shit on bigger shit, or natural shit which is always unpredictable, or on stuff that's just gnarly - you do get hurt.

if it happens and you're alone it can range from very scary to literally life-threatening. when it happens with your buddies they will help you.

just something to think about - not trying to down you at all.... guess i'm just a little bit of a Safety Sally.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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^ + 1

With the # of lives lost to Mountains in the past few weeks, very wise words of advice.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great read made me smile
I know this feeling as well, when you get surprised by yourself - these are the days that remain long time in memory. Enjoy!

BTW: +1 on Shreds comment. Stay save... and collect more of these days!
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing the experience. So for a mix of powder and groomed runs, would you prefer the Birdman or the Skunk Ape? I'm trying to decide between the two for a powder oriented board, and hoping the Birdman isn't horrible on the groomed runs.
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