Gate Training video and hard boots

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Gate Training video and hard boots

Postby patmoore » Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:40 am

If you've never tried a hardboot board you're missing one of the real joys of snowboarding. Last Friday I ran a clinic at Okemo and I put together a short video of what it's like to run gates on a snowboard.

The last racer in the black helmet is me. I could get lower but my arthritic 62 year old knees protest.

Consider giving hardboots a try.
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Postby John » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:36 pm

Hey Pat, thanks for the video.

The suggestion to try hard boot-riding is intriguing, but I see a few transition problems. First, there's the gear: I don't have any hardboot bindings or boots, or a suitable board. Then there's technique: I don't know how to lay it out like the hard booters do.

Would it be useful to try turning the bindings on my freeride board towards the tip of the board and see how I handle that before going whole hog into the hard boot world? Or that asking for more trouble than it's worth?

(I'm not really interested in spending another $600 or whatever for a cheap, new setup. That's another problem.)

Another challenge in going hard boot is that I ride duck, and have for quite a while. No, I don't do it to nurture my inner halfpipe star; it's just something I've become comfortable with. (Truth be told, even riding duck I find it hard to ride switch since, uhm, switching to a twintip but directional freeride board.)
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Postby patmoore » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:48 pm

John wrote:Hey Pat, thanks for the video.

The suggestion to try hard boot-riding is intriguing, but I see a few transition problems. First, there's the gear: I don't have any hardboot bindings or boots, or a suitable board. Then there's technique: I don't know how to lay it out like the hard booters do.

Would it be useful to try turning the bindings on my freeride board towards the tip of the board and see how I handle that before going whole hog into the hard boot world? Or that asking for more trouble than it's worth?

(I'm not really interested in spending another $600 or whatever for a cheap, new setup. That's another problem.)

Another challenge in going hard boot is that I ride duck, and have for quite a while. No, I don't do it to nurture my inner halfpipe star; it's just something I've become comfortable with. (Truth be told, even riding duck I find it hard to ride switch since, uhm, switching to a twintip but directional freeride board.)

Great questions, John. Just rotating your bindings won't truly emulate a carving board but it might give you a little flavor of the experience. The actual technique is more of a "roll your ankles" than the "heel-toe" turning you're used to. In a lot of respects, it's similar to skiing.

Depending on where you live, you might be able to borrow some gear. Introduce yourself on bomberonline.com and you might find someone near you who would be wiling to set you up and provide some coaching. If you're near Okemo and can wear a 10 1/2 boot I've got you covered!
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Postby bernwern » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:26 pm

Pat is right about the feeling...the only bindings close to hard-booting are the Catek FR2's that I have. And they are similar in not just the feel, but the mounting and options you have. Even so, those on BomberOnline have more experience and agree that they are not the same. I got the FR2's to decide if hard-booting is my next step in my snowboarding, and I am still unsure.

Boards meant for hard boots are much different. The bases are typically higher end and faster. The shape is typically different: this can range from a flat tail, to a single radii sidecut, to narrower waist, to narrower tail, or combinations of all. You can carve close to the same as a hard boot setup on a regular board, but it is harder to do and not as smooth. Swoard even makes carving specific boards now if you want to look into them. My Tanker was designed for carving and pow.

Like John, access to hard boots and equipment is a challenge (at least here in the mid-west). Demoing would be ideal, but that won't happen. And without proper retailers, we can't get a proper boot fit either! Also, there is a substantial difference in cost....most quality hard plates cost around $300 a pair, plus about the same for solid boots and then another $500+ for a solid board, whereas alot of veteran riders try to spend less than $1000 on a complete setup. My new setup is a hybrid and cost me nearly $1500, and it has broken twice ><

Lastly, I concur with Pat about the binding angles. You can change them to an alpine stance, and it will feels weird at first, but you might find you make turns easier and better than with ducked angles (especially if you don't ride switch). Doing this will also require some time to rotate your highbacks correctly, as well as to adjust forward lean. Spend a day and try it out!

-B
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