Hardbooting 101

Talk about hardboot snowboard riding, in which the boards and boots differ from those used by most snowboarders.

Hardbooting 101

Postby patmoore » Fri May 15, 2009 3:31 pm

If you're perusing this forum you're likely a snowboarder with more years behind you than the typical park and pipe habitue. You derive your boarding pleasure more from cruising the groomers than attempting aerials. Maybe it's time to try a different approach to the sport. Riding a hardboot board (alternatively known as alpine board, race board, riding plates, etc.) opens up a new world by enabling you to experience carving in a manner you'd be hard pressed to achieve on a softboot setup. With longer, narrower boards, hard boots, and bindings angled more toward the nose of the board, you can lay down trenches and really make heads turn. The more proficient practitioners have perfected Extreme Carving in which the rider can lay out his body completely in the snow, toeside or heelside. Some videos can be viewed at a Swiss website called http://www.extremecarving.com. Here's a nice composite shot showing just how much "bite" you can get with an alpine board.

Image

Used hardboot gear can be tough to find but the classified sales section of the forum found at http://www.bomberonline.com can steer you to some deals. Bomber makes excellent bindings as does Catek. Quality boots are available from Head and Deeluxe. There's a fair number of board manufacturers.

John, thanks for starting this thread. I'll add more in the days to come.
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Re: Hardbooting 101

Postby SteveH » Mon May 18, 2009 4:26 pm

Pat, you mentioned in the "Last Gasp" thread:
I'm switching from Burton Race Plates to Catek's race bindings for next season. Other than that, my gear setup will be pretty much unchanged.

How did you decide to go with the Cateks over the Bomber bindings (or others you may have considered for that matter)? I'm looking at the Cateks as well based on the fact that they appear to have an almost infinite range of adjustment, unlike the Bombers that require swapping parts to change the cant. I'm wondering what influenced your decision.
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Re: Hardbooting 101

Postby bernwern » Tue May 19, 2009 11:57 am

I have the Catek FR2 bindings, and they do indeed have infinite adjustments. I advise to get the Binding Spacers as well, as I apparently may have pressure points from the FR2's, snapping 2 Rad-Air Tanker 200's with a combined 15 days on them. Better to be safe than sorry!

-B
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Re: Hardbooting 101

Postby patmoore » Tue May 19, 2009 2:25 pm

SteveH wrote:Pat, you mentioned in the "Last Gasp" thread:
I'm switching from Burton Race Plates to Catek's race bindings for next season. Other than that, my gear setup will be pretty much unchanged.

How did you decide to go with the Cateks over the Bomber bindings (or others you may have considered for that matter)? I'm looking at the Cateks as well based on the fact that they appear to have an almost infinite range of adjustment, unlike the Bombers that require swapping parts to change the cant. I'm wondering what influenced your decision.


As far as I know, both Catek and Bomber are excellent bindings. A friend has the Cateks and I was impressed with their solution to lifting and canting. The fact that the Catek F2 Race Titanium binding was on sale was also a factor. Cost was $219 plus $12 shipping.

I have issues with my right knee being bent inward 5.5 degrees. Note the difference in the two ski shots below. On the left I have extreme "A framing" because of the knee problem. In the second photo (this year's Nationals on Vogue) I'm on Lange boots with the right sole planed. There's better separation of the knees.

Image Image
You can't tell much from this shot also at the Nationals but my feet are pretty much flat on the board. I also have problems with "quad burn" on my forward leg. I'm guessing that inclining the toe upward a bit will alleviate it. With the lifting and canting feature I might be able to address some of my issues.

Image
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Re: Hardbooting 101

Postby bernwern » Wed May 20, 2009 4:16 pm

You can indeed adjust the canting and lift on the Catek's to match your desired stance, and it is infinite. I even extended my stance wider, but compensated by canting inward so I had the same feel....greatly aided in stability and control. The lift system was great to prevent boot-out on the Tanker, since it was narrower than my Yukon. I will caution you: plan on 1-2 days of just adjusting the bindings on-hill, which will require you to bring the provided allen wrenches with you; you will also reach a point where you start adjusting things like 1° at a time, and you need to just stop or you will keep doing it forever.

-B
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Re: Hardbooting 101

Postby patmoore » Wed May 20, 2009 4:23 pm

bernwern wrote:You can indeed adjust the canting and lift on the Catek's to match your desired stance, and it is infinite. I even extended my stance wider, but compensated by canting inward so I had the same feel....greatly aided in stability and control. The lift system was great to prevent boot-out on the Tanker, since it was narrower than my Yukon. I will caution you: plan on 1-2 days of just adjusting the bindings on-hill, which will require you to bring the provided allen wrenches with you; you will also reach a point where you start adjusting things like 1° at a time, and you need to just stop or you will keep doing it forever.

-B

I'm looking forward to tinkering with the setup. I narrowed my stance a bit this past season and felt I was able to get better edge bite but it may all have been in my mind.

The Tanker is a legendary board. What length do you run? I think I've heard of some over 200 cm.
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Re: Hardbooting 101

Postby bernwern » Thu May 21, 2009 10:39 am

patmoore wrote:I'm looking forward to tinkering with the setup. I narrowed my stance a bit this past season and felt I was able to get better edge bite but it may all have been in my mind.

The Tanker is a legendary board. What length do you run? I think I've heard of some over 200 cm.


I had the Tanker 200, which is the longest version they make and Ralph Castleberg's pro-model. The first one saw 5 days, then the core literally exploded through the base. The second one was warrantied, got 10 days on the slope, and then had the exact same thing happen. I am getting a thrid and final one, but contingent upon not breaking it.....it is likely that the Catek's caused pressure points, breaking the boards. I never abused either board, and there is absolutley zero damage other than the core snapping and forcing it's way through the base.

Because of this, I highly reccomend getting the clear plates that Catek sells to distribute pressure from their bindings; I will be getting some for next season when I hope to shred the crap out of everything on my Tanker 200! It was indeed the single best ride I ever had, but I had a bad expirience with mine ><

Next year I may get a NeverSummer, but unsure if I will swap the Catek's over.

-B
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Re: Hardbooting 101

Postby patmoore » Thu May 28, 2009 8:41 am

My new Catek race plates arrived yesterday! Took a month but I finally have 'em. Now I can't wait for the return of winter to try them out.
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