Howdy folks. Over the last two seasons I have about 10 days on a board. First trip was to Brian Head Utah in March 2013, where I took a group lesson on day one, with a private lesson later in the week. At the end of the week, I was absolutely HOOKED
and bought a pair of Salomon Savage BOA Strait Jacket boots. This past January, I spent a couple of days in North Carolina and took another private lesson at Beech Mtn, followed by a day at Wolf Ridge. Then this past March we took the family back to Brian Head for spring break 2014. On both Utah trips, I rented the exact same kind of board (what the shop recommended) which was a 154cm Rossignol Trick Stick (not sure what the bindings were). I really enjoyed that board! I don't remember what board/bindings (or size) I rented at Beech, but they felt fine and reminded me of the Trick Stick. On the day at Wolf Ridge, I got a total P.O.S.
board (they only had about a dozen boards available to rent!) and was miserable enough to cut my day short and go home early.
Anyway, our family trip for this coming spring break is Copper, and I hope to go back to Beech (or maybe even Snowshoe) for a couple of short 2-3 day trips in January/February. So hopefully I'll get another 10 days or so this season. But I'd like to go ahead and buy my own board and bindings for this season. I don't expect to spend any time in the park, although I enjoy getting an inch or two of air whenever I can. Mainly I just like carving groomers, and hitting powder whenever I find it. I never really figured out skiing in powder, but it feels natural on a board and I absolutely love that floating feeling!!
I'd like to buy a board that is appropriate for western spring conditions, and am not really worried about eastern ice (I will only drive to Beech or Snowshoe when I know there is fresh snow and little ice). As far as level, I believe I am a solid level 4 according to the videos here: Snowboard Lesson Levels & Descriptions
I'm able to link turns easily and can ride switch, linking turns in that direction as well (but more slowly/tentatively). And the instructor at Beech told me I was definitely intermediate level and took me down blue runs.
Based on my research, one board I really like the sound of is the Rossignol Templar Magtek. But I'm not sure about the size. I weigh 185 lbs in my birthday suit and am 5'11" tall. My boots are size 9.5. So will a 158cm be long enough? Or do I need to get a longer board? Or will a longer board be too frustrating at my level? And based on my all-mountain/freeride preference, what other boards should I consider? I absolutely love
the Salomon Savage boots, so I definitely want to buy a set of bindings that will work well with them long term.
And regarding bindings, I'm primarily considering the Union Force and Burton Cartels. My main concern with the Force is that my particular boots may be a tight squeeze for the M/L size (based on this thread: http://www.snowboardingforum.com/bin...on-savage.html
). But it sounds like my boots would be right in the middle of the range for the medium Cartels. So any suggestions related to bindings would be appreciated (especially if anyone has specific experience mating Salomon Savage boots to the Force bindings). And I've read all about the toe-cap issue with the Force bindings, but it sounds like that problem has been pretty well resolved with the current model? Any quirks or issues I should be aware of with the Cartels? And what other bindings should I be considering?