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All-Mountain Board Recommendations

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I'm in the market for an all-mountain snowboard that I can ride primarily in hardboots but also in softboots if I so choose.  While I would love to order up a custom board right now, I think I would prefer to try out a few different shapes, sizes, flexes, etc. before taking that plunge.  The problem I'm having is that I don't know what to look for in a board that will tell me it can handle the stress of hardboots.  Most of my direction is coming from the info found in the Carver's Alamanac.  My searches have mainly been for larger, stiffer boards and boardercross boards but I don't know what else to look for.

I recently came across a few boards for sale and was wondering if anyone could tell me more about them and if they are hardboot-capable.  They are a Virus (model unknown), Virus Avalanche, and a Winterstick Severe Terrain.  Does anyone have any experience with either the Avalanche or the Severe Terrain?  Any recommendations for boards from more "mainstream" manufacturers that I would be able to use?  Thanks!

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1 hour ago, SnowFerret said:

I'm in the market for an all-mountain snowboard that I can ride primarily in hardboots but also in softboots if I so choose.  While I would love to order up a custom board right now, I think I would prefer to try out a few different shapes, sizes, flexes, etc. before taking that plunge.  The problem I'm having is that I don't know what to look for in a board that will tell me it can handle the stress of hardboots.  Most of my direction is coming from the info found in the Carver's Alamanac.  My searches have mainly been for larger, stiffer boards and boardercross boards but I don't know what else to look for.

I recently came across a few boards for sale and was wondering if anyone could tell me more about them and if they are hardboot-capable.  They are a Virus (model unknown), Virus Avalanche, and a Winterstick Severe Terrain.  Does anyone have any experience with either the Avalanche or the Severe Terrain?  Any recommendations for boards from more "mainstream" manufacturers that I would be able to use?  Thanks!

All-mountain... custom... gotcha fam...

Donek- https://www.donek.com/product/axxess/

Donek- https://www.donek.com/product/hazelwood/#topsheet  (Note: Some folks have combined the outline of the Nomad with the core of the Proteus... sounds like a winning combo to me!)

Prior- https://www.priorsnow.com/collections/4wd-snowboards/Mens

Thirst- http://www.thirstsnowboards.com/boards/

Stranda- https://www.strandasnowboards.com/

Pogo- http://www.pogo.biz/en/snowboards.html

Mainstream = Lamestream

 

 

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I think SnowFerret is asking for non-custom boards. 

Is this for carving groomers only? Powder? BX boards generally aren't great in powder. 

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32 minutes ago, Corey said:

I think SnowFerret is asking for non-custom boards. 

Is this for carving groomers only? Powder? BX boards generally aren't great in powder. 

I'm looking for a board that I can ride with hardboots in all kinds of conditions, not just pristine groom.  I want to be able to carve up the groomers in the morning and still be able to use the same board in the afternoon when the ruts and bumps come out here on the east coast.  Eventually, I'd like to bring my hardboots with me when I make some trips out west.

The reason I mentioned a BX board was that I had been told that the construction of most regular boards is not sufficient to hold up to the stresses of riding with hardboots.  Key word is "most."  I'm assuming there are some exceptions, and so that's why I started this thread in order to get some suggestions.

I would love a custom board, but I would like to get comfortable riding in an all-mountain style first.

 

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11 minutes ago, SnowFerret said:

I'm looking for a board that I can ride with hardboots in all kinds of conditions, not just pristine groom.  I want to be able to carve up the groomers in the morning and still be able to use the same board in the afternoon when the ruts and bumps come out here on the east coast.  Eventually, I'd like to bring my hardboots with me when I make some trips out west.

The reason I mentioned a BX board was that I had been told that the construction of most regular boards is not sufficient to hold up to the stresses of riding with hardboots.  Key word is "most."  I'm assuming there are some exceptions, and so that's why I started this thread in order to get some suggestions.

I would love a custom board, but I would like to get comfortable riding in an all-mountain style first.

 

All the boards I linked have a non-custom (standard) options.

I personally ride a Coiler Nirvana Balanced (178 w/powder nose, 12 to 14 scr, 23.5cm wide) with hardboots and Gecko plates in everything all day long.

If you are looking for a new laimstream board pressed in Dubai or China that is up to the task of hardboot stresses, has an all camber profile, some rubber and metal in the core for dampening, enough effective edge that can be used for all mountain hardbooting and is affordable, good luck!  If you find one let us know!

Also watching the for sale forum here can lead to interesting and affordable options. :biggthump

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32 minutes ago, SnowFerret said:

I'm looking for a board that I can ride with hardboots in all kinds of conditions, not just pristine groom. 

Hmmmm... Really doubt you'll find a mainstream board that's burly enough for hardboots. Most manufacturers want their boards to be approachable and making them strong enough for hardboots makes them too stiff for most riders.

 

You can find inexpensive boards though!

I'm a huge fan of Steepwaters (not the Arbor made version but the original).  Yeah, it's flat and has an extruded base but it's pretty thick and has a nice big sidecut for a "softboot" board. Hugely versatile and pretty robust. Dirt cheap too. I've been riding mine with softboots, hardboots, and now softboots with plates. It can take it. Hit up @www.oldsnowboards.com he might still have some available.

I have no familiarity with the Prior 4x4 but they seem to be regarded as great all-mountain boards too.

 

Other than that I think @lonbordin's suggestion of stalking the "for Sale" forum here is probably your best bet of getting an inexpensive all-mountain board that can handle hardboots.

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8 minutes ago, lonbordin said:

All the boards I linked have a non-custom (standard) options.

I personally ride a Coiler Nirvana Balanced (178 w/powder nose, 12 to 14 scr, 23.5cm wide) with hardboots and Gecko plates in everything all day long.

If you are looking for a new laimstream board pressed in Dubai or China that is up to the task of hardboot stresses, has an all camber profile, some rubber and metal in the core for dampening, enough effective edge that can be used for all mountain hardbooting and is affordable, good luck!  If you find one let us know!

Also watching the for sale forum here can lead to interesting and affordable options. :biggthump

Ultimately, I'm looking to acquire a Donek or Coiler in the future but I would like to start out/progress on something a little cheaper first.  I understand that I'm not going to get all the features by going with a mass-produced board and that's something I would have to live with.

I've missed out on a few really good deals in the for sale forum since I've started looking earlier this year.  Trust me, I'm always on the look-out for deals there :ph34r:.

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See if you can find a 2nd hand Pure Boarding stick (tough order, I know). They are dedicated AM boards designed with "one man, one board" in mind. Not meant for softboots, though.

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Take a look at the Donek Incline. A basic classic glass board built to be ridden with hard or soft boots. It is evidently the board that inspired Ryan Knapton's wide softboot carver.

I think there are a lot out there, some custom and some stock, many folks seem to hang on to them because they are such good all around utilitarian boards. An old one just sold for under $100 on the forum.

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^^^ West Carven spends half the winter hardbooting his Flagship at Whitefish, and loves it.

An older Salomon Burner might be a good choice too, if you can find one.

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<shrug> I've had zero problems riding mainstream boards, which are generally well built and warrantied, not that I've ever damaged one.

I'd try lots of boards and see what works. I'm not a big fan of custom boards: unless you can get the maker to build a range of them which you can pick from, it's hard to test them. 

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On 2/10/2018 at 4:24 PM, SnowFerret said:

Ultimately, I'm looking to acquire a Donek or Coiler in the future but I would like to start out/progress on something a little cheaper first.  I understand that I'm not going to get all the features by going with a mass-produced board and that's something I would have to live with.

I've missed out on a few really good deals in the for sale forum since I've started looking earlier this year.  Trust me, I'm always on the look-out for deals there :ph34r:.

My Prior 4WD is still available if you;re interested...

 

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"I'm looking for a board that I can ride with hardboots in all kinds of conditions, not just pristine groom.  I want to be able to carve up the groomers in the morning and still be able to use the same board in the afternoon when the ruts and bumps come out here on the east coast"

That's exactly what I was thinking. I settled on a  Ride Berserker.  I've been hard booting  on it this season with good results.  It's a directional big/all mountain board with a softer nose and full camber back to the tail.   It carves great (at slow to moderate speeds) and runs through the soft stuff, piles and crud really well.  It's not stable at higher speeds like the Prior 4WD, nor does it carve as well, but it does the "all around thing" very well. I haven't had a pow day yet but we're heading to Banff in March!  (They're getting great snow this year!)  

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5 hours ago, Lurch said:

@Jack Michaud has a ST (and a tasty one at that) - hit him up for some info

I haven't tried my hardboots on it yet, but I don't have a need to.  Winterstick is just now experimenting with metal, so at the moment I would look to Donek if you want metal construction.

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OP, the main question is what sort of all-mountain riding are you going to do? Mostly carve and still be able to carry on when conditions get bad, few inches of surprise pow when you didn't bring the right board, occasional detour through small bumps; Or actually actively seek freeride situations, like bigger pow, big steep moguls, trees? 

Next constraint is the board width. If you wanted to ride softies too (what's your boot size, BTW?), you need to go pretty wide, or be prepared to ride hard boots at pretty low angles... 

Anyways, here are few recommendations, first some hardbootable classic freeride boards, then some wider hard boot boards that possibly could be ridden with smaller size soft boot at high (for softies) angles: 

Someone mentioned the Sterpwater already. Its great, cheap and burly, but a bit of a tank. It's not the best pow board, but handles everything great and carves like a beast. 

I rode only older Winterstic ST in various sizes and they are very good. More nimble then the Steep. 

Tankers are awesome if you can handle long lengths. Can be cumbersome in tight trees and really big bumps. 

I tried the new Ride Timeless last year and it blew my mind how well it carved. I didn't really freeride it, but the big nose and decent taper were very promising. It's titanal construction. 

Arbor A-frame is great too. Again not the best pow board, but good allrouneder. 

Dynastar/O'Sin 3800 is very good in pow and everything else, but will be a bit flimsy for fast carving if you are heavy. They are quite cheap. I think there are still NOS 163s to be found... 

Priors: MFR handles everything well. Camber version is carvier, hybrid rocker/Camber is better in pow. AMF is a bit softer and closer to a twin tip board. Spearhead is a pow board but very capable allrouneder too... 

Nidecker Proto is my favorite freeride h/boot board of all time. It's light, nimble, lively, floats, great in bumps, I even ride park with it. On the down side, it's fragile and can be overpowered in faster steeper carving. It's discontinued too, I didn't try the slightly wider Spectre, which seems to be the replacement model... 

Prior AWD is similar, but heavier and "lazier" board. More durable, though. 

I loved the older narrower SG Cult in everything but flatter pow. The new wider version might be an improvement, but I didn't try it. 

Someone mentioned the Pure Boarding boards. They are interesting beasts... I didn't try the Two, only have the Bastard. First, it's amazing that they created a pretty good board with relatively old school technology and shape. It actually performs a bit better then it should. However, it's still mostly a wide carving board that rides ok in other conditions. I think they missed a golden opportunity to make it way better by doing a modern nose profile (decamber). They tried to compensate by doing the weird flat spot in the edge at nose transition. It somewhat works, but can do some wonky things too... 

F2 ElDiablo, or whatever other name iterations they had over the years, is surprisingly similar to the Bastard. It has something weird in the nose flex pattern, which makes it slightly worse carver, but I find it a bit better in pow. 

Last but not least, our beloved custom makers can build a superior board of any spec you want, but that wasn't the point of this review of mine... 

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Like Blue B, I have ridden a lot of the older Winterstick Severe Terrains. I currently own 4 of them from the late 90's: a 159, a 162, a 164, and a 166.

They can easily take plate bindings and hard boots- in fact, I have only ever used hard boots on my Severe Terrains. Severe Terrains smaller than 164 have tighter sidecuts, so they might get squirrelly if they are asked to lay a hard edge with aggressive carving.

If I was buying a Winterstick today, I wouldn't hesitate to get one of the newer edition Severe Terrains, or a Seth Westcott pro model and ride them in hard boots.

 

Geo

Edited by crucible

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Sooooo.   Most of the suggestions above make sense.  I ride most stuff, with the exception of parks/pipe, with hardboots and to me it looks like most of the boards mentioned above make sense if you break with the recent trend and "size up" instead of down.  I feel that hardboots allow you to go longer and stiffer.  Fundamentally you have to ask yourself BlueB's question about how you want to freeride - there is a pretty big range. 

I make my own boards and recently had a bit of a  re-awakening to the desirability of a highly versatile board that carves well.  I had taken out my alpine board because the grooming was looking good (from the snow report) and kinda trying to predict from the earlier storm/weather.  I get up there and its absolute hero snow.  Incredible.  Like, really can't make a mistake.  But the crazy thing was that the wind was blowing and the alpine had been wind-groomed with about 10 cm of blown around snow.  I met an acquaintance and followed them down a double black bump/bowl thingy and holy smokes it was awesome.  you could ride like it was powder.  You could do all kinds of stupid stuff like carve on the hero grooming and mach off into the ungroomed and simply carve/slarve back after a couple highly pressured turns.  Terrific day.  The only thing was I was on a full on alpine board.  It was shockingly good but a little more width would have been nice off the groomed....Here I started thinking, it all comes down to where you draw the line.  

Not too many others are riding like this and it's largely because of the boots (I think).  Hardboots allow you to ride longer stiffer boards with a lot of control - if you back angles off to about 45/35 in everything.  It doesn't carve quite as good as higher angles but allows for more versatility as the snow gets "variable".   You don't have the ankle mobility/fine control in powder that the soft-boot carver guys are bringing to the party, but it's pretty damn good, and when the snow gets choppy and conditions are deteriorating hardboots provide more appropriate power and control for charging.  The problems show up in tight confines at low speeds.  You simply can't mollycoddle, and if you are tired there can be some, well, sporty moments.  Basically, the power and control afforded by hardboots allow you to get a longer, more stable board than you would normally (normal=softboot context), and it can be somewhat stiffer.   If you get it wide enough to avoid bootout at moderate angles you get a pretty versatile setup.  A board with a large surface area shovel, a relatively stiff forebody, some decambering (around 10 cm nose, and 7 tail, assuming directional) combined with a long edge contact is even better.  If you want to focus on carving more than not carving you can go a bit skinnier with less surface area nose.  Actually, what comes to mind as well is Fullbags Blunt Diamond.  138 long edge contact is pretty healthy in a 163 board that is 26.5 cm wide.  My answer (for me):  148 edge contact, 23.5 waist, 9 to10 m blended sidecut radius, 1.2 cm of taper with a 3 cm setback centered on the sidecut,  some decamber.  With a bobbed tail, eliptical rise, cut off 12 cm back of edge contact (the best part of this old school tail profile is that it "stands up" when leaned against a wall or something  doesn't just fall over) it comes out at 178 overall.  I am 6'1 and about 100 kilos (220). 

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9 hours ago, carlito said:

Actually, what comes to mind as well is Fullbag's Blunt Diamond.  138 long edge contact is pretty healthy in a 163 board that is 26.5 cm wide.

Those are the specs of the Diamond Blade.

The Blunt Diamond is a whole different beast... :biggthump

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10 hours ago, carlito said:

 

Not too many others are riding like this and it's largely because of the boots (I think).  Hardboots allow you to ride longer stiffer boards with a lot of control - if you back angles off to about 45/35 in everything.  It doesn't carve quite as good as higher angles but allows for more versatility as the snow gets "variable".   You don't have the ankle mobility/fine control in powder that the soft-boot carver guys are bringing to the party, but it's pretty damn good, and when the snow gets choppy and conditions are deteriorating hardboots provide more appropriate power and control for charging.  The problems show up in tight confines at low speeds.  You simply can't mollycoddle, and if you are tired there can be some, well, sporty moments.  Basically, the power and control afforded by hardboots allow you to get a longer, more stable board than you would normally (normal=softboot context), and it can be somewhat stiffer.   If you get it wide enough to avoid bootout at moderate angles you get a pretty versatile setup.  A board with a large surface area shovel, a relatively stiff forebody, some decambering (around 10 cm nose, and 7 tail, assuming directional) combined with a long edge contact is even better.  If you want to focus on carving more than not carving you can go a bit skinnier with less surface area nose.  Actually, what comes to mind as well is Fullbags Blunt Diamond.  138 long edge contact is pretty healthy in a 163 board that is 26.5 cm wide.  My answer (for me):  148 edge contact, 23.5 waist, 9 to10 m blended sidecut radius, 1.2 cm of taper with a 3 cm setback centered on the sidecut,  some decamber.  With a bobbed tail, eliptical rise, cut off 12 cm back of edge contact (the best part of this old school tail profile is that it "stands up" when leaned against a wall or something  doesn't just fall over) it comes out at 178 overall.  I am 6'1 and about 100 kilos (220). 

that's how I ride; but find 26+ too wide(m27 boots) for anything but float on deep days(rare for me), love to rip offpiste conditions that send softies running to the park

Arbor steepwater narrow 167; more nimble than it's namesake and just as capable

Edited by b0ardski

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