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Old 04-12-2012, 08:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need For Speed! Help me with equipment selection / knowledge - Advanced Rider

I have been riding for 15+ years but have really been getting a lot of days in each season since 2006. My problem is this - I need to get a board figured out that can give me the top speed I am looking for!

I currently have a quiver of boards (Park, All Mountain, and Pow)and have a RAD setup for my All Mountain board - Burton Vapor 162 Wide with Trident ESTs. Problem is that I am topping this board out for speed on a regular basis! I simply hit a glass ceiling and cannot get going any faster even when the terrain is steep and I am straight-lining it.

I run into this problem consistently at Squaw Valley - when I have the need for speed I head over to Siberia bowl and just straight-line the chairline all the the way down. I have a buddy who is considerably less skilled that is able to keep up - even though I am straightlining it I just don't seem to pick up any additional speed past a certain point while he does. I know my speed is being checked by something, and I figure the board or potentially my technique at high speeds may be playing into it.

Here's the facts:
Height - 6'2"
Weight - 200
Outerwear - depending on what I am wearing Baggie or somewhat baggie
Board - Burton Vapor Wide 162
Wax - Fresh to moderately fresh (I wax once every 2-3 days of riding - I have my own hot wax kit, same equipment they use in the shops and have followed the tutorials to a T - it's super smooth when I head to the hill)
Snow - Groomed Tahoe hard pack for this type of riding
How I ride - Generally flat on the board or ever so slightly on my toe edge to give me a little control if something unexpected comes my way - just the tiniest bit of pressure so that the board is still flat on the snow. When I am pinning it I am aware of wind resistance slowing me down so I tuck my limbs in tight and hunch over to a low profile to stop my jacket from working like a parachute and slowing me down as much as possible. My friend mentioned above is kind of a Gaper so his gear is not baggie at all.

I have tried to use my Pow board for comparison purposes (a 164 Slackcountry) but I am nervous about getting up to extremely high speeds with this board because it has rather intense reverse camber and more difficult to control when you need to make a really hard turn or brake. As far as I can tell my acceleration feels about the same as the vapor though.

Has my equipment selection limited my top speed (as in does 200lbs sitting on top of a 162 put too much pressure on the surface area? Could I go faster if I stepped up to something like a 168)? Any tips, hints, gear selection, etc is welcome. I'm just trying to get rad - someone help me.

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Old 04-12-2012, 08:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You can always bust out with the hardboot race board and spandex suit. Other than that is sounds like you are pretty much maxed.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Buy a sled and have your buddy tow you downhill as fast as it will go

Disclaimer: I will not be held responsible for what happens and don't actually think this is a good idea!
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I go for all out speed any time conditions and "traffic" allow. I have a designated speed run at the local mountain that I've done hundreds of time. Most of these I've recorded and anaylized later (garmin edge 305). I'm 6'1" and ~235 and have tried to the following boards dozens of times (many back to back) under various conditions:

Burton custom x wide 164
Raptor X 169
Titan TX 169
Ride Highlife UL wide 163

My highest reproducable speed was 67 on my CX but normally get between 57 and 63 regardless of board. The top run was with perfect groomed hardpack and ~20 mph tail wind. What I've concluded so far is top speed is more a factor of snow condition and wind resistance than board choice. Board choice, in my opinion, comes more into play where stability and control is concerned. My longer and/or damper boards feel a little more stable but I don't have any evidence that they're actually faster. Your method may have a different base than the CX but it should still be plenty fast.

Wind resistance is a pretty big factor and by my estimate can account for 3-5 mph when I wear tighter fitting outerwear. Headwind can account for 5-10 mph easy. Snow temp and wax choice seem to be pretty big factors as well. I actually get faster with mid and late morning snow than with first chair runs, with ~5-7mph difference here.

Back to back testing with different boards seems to show little or no difference in actual speed although some feel very different at top speed.

So a different board may be faster for you but without a way to measure speed it'll be hard to tell. Not a physicist, but more weight per smaller area should overcome resistance easier (and/or provide more friction which creates a more consistent water layer) and result in a higher speed, so again, not sure a bigger board will be faster. There are lots of factors involed so it's hard to isolate...

I'd focus on wind resistance and possibly wax/snow temp. The method could be holding you up but the only way to know would be to do a back to back test with a good gps.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What kind of vertical feet does your run have? What kind of slope?

We have alpine race style slopes here that have 2500' drop on 30+ degree slopes they groom with winch cats. I can hit 55-60 on short bursts without much effort but I'm also 290lbs. My son can keep up no problem and actually wins because he sustains his speed longer. He is 5'4" 140 lbs and does it either on a 151 rocker/camber hybrid smokin snowboard or a 154 nitro cambered board. One of the girls I work with is an ex Olympian super g racer and gets over 100mph cruising down the closed course here.... its stupid scary fast.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeekendWarrior View Post
I have been riding for 15+ years but have really been getting a lot of days in each season since 2006. My problem is this - I need to get a board figured out that can give me the top speed I am looking for!

I run into this problem consistently at Squaw Valley - when I have the need for speed I head over to Siberia bowl and just straight-line the chairline all the the way down. I have a buddy who is considerably less skilled that is able to keep up - even though I am straightlining it I just don't seem to pick up any additional speed past a certain point while he does. I know my speed is being checked by something, and I figure the board or potentially my technique at high speeds may be playing into it.
Wait... is you question that you want to go faster? Or why can't you go faster than your friend?

It doesn't take that much skill to flatboard straight down a groomed slope (just when you make a mistake, the penalties are higher) - that's probably when your less skill friend is able to keep up with you.

Wind resistance is a pretty big factor (makes a big difference at over 65m mph). - that's WHY racers wear those silly suits (I'm sure they aren't thrilled about the fashion statement either... at least I hope not).

Board/dampness length does help as well (if money is not a factor... can't go wrong with Kessler's new "The Ride" freeride board)

Or... you could simply go to a steeper slope - Siberia is decently steep... but I even I (and I don't like flatboarding that much) straight-line most of that slope before pulling a loop at the bottom. Maybe try the groomed runs off of Granite Chief or Silverado at Squaw?

Last edited by lonerider; 04-12-2012 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Every company's base is different but i thought burton has one of the faster bases.

You could get a faster board but i suggest you try with what you have. How do you wax your board? Do you brush them before and after applying wax? what kind of wax do you use (brand, type, temp etc)? Do you use base cleaner? What temp do you use on the iron? what kind of iron do you have? Do you use at least 3 brushes? Do you have enough structure on your base or do you need to get a stone grind to add structure? How do you scrape wax? Is the base completely flat, concave or convex (use true bar to check) Do you allow the wax to cool at room temp for a long time? list goes on as far as tuning goes. Take it to a shop that tunes race skis. Full race tune will cost over $100 at least.

If you are going with getting new board, you can get more of freeride/boardercross board. Out of non custom options, I think Volkl Coal and Nitro Pantera LX are good choices and they won't break bank. Both are cambered deck. F2 Eliminator WC is a good choice if you can find one and afford one. Other option would be to get custom BX board like others mentioned. Kessler, oxcess, donek, coiler etc make them. It will cost you tons and also they generally take alot more maintenance.

Technique wise you have to keep your board flat to go fast. Any time you are on your edge, you are slowing down. Keep your board completely flat and in contact with snow (absorb all the bumps instead of getting air or bouncing on bumps). only time you are on your edge is when you have to turn.

I suggest getting a stone grind and have them add structure to the base (go to reputable RACE TUNING SHOP) then wax with high quality wax. If your season is done store the board in somewhere warm place with base side up (horizontal) and with wax (not scraped) so it absorbs wax over summer. You may have to add more wax over summer.
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Oh for the love of god, just ride.
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I going to say technique and wind resistance...idk maybe better line selection. Skier buds just by standing up slow way down. My daughter on her board has some secret technique of lying her board flat and just takes off, its like hitting the afterburners. We have comparable boards and relative length to weight. In theory I should be able to go faster due to being 50# heavier; but we will be cruising together at mid-run and she will do something and literally just pulls away and by the end of the run she can have easily 100-200 yards on me.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oefdevilvet View Post
Oh for the love of god, just ride.
+1!!! I consider myself a "bomber" but to me that doesn't mean straightlining it down a flat run. Guess that's just not fun for me? I like getting a LOT of speed while carving on a fairly steep slope.

As for trying another board, different bases, etc. that's not going to really help if you're trying to bomb on hardpack. Like SJ10 said boards don't really make that much difference in actual top speed, just in how they feel at that speed. It's gravity vs. friction (wind and snow friction). Make sure you're using the right temp wax, make sure you're scraping it all off properly, make sure you're using a texture pad and feeling around for any rough spots after waxing.

Baggy suits flapping in the wind will slow you down some. You'll actually feel it dragging that body part. My last pair of pants were baggy and I could actually feel them pulling on my legs at high speeds.

Body position also makes a big deal of difference. It's hard to "tuck" on a board but there are ways of minimizing your frontal area.

I do question the need to "straight line" though...
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