what happened to hard boot snowboarding?
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oldensign - DCSki Columnist
February 1, 2008
Member since 02/27/2007 🔗
437 posts
what ever happened to hard boot snowboarding? It used to be that you saw one or two guys ( mostly patrolers) snow boarding with hard boots.

It always seemed the more adult way to snowboard...which is why is probally never cuaght on hu?


I guess it has gone the way of the mono ski!
RiverOfBass
February 1, 2008
Member since 12/25/2006 🔗
13 posts
I'm a hardbooter...we're still around. The home of hardbooting on the web is, unquestionably, Bomber Online, or BOL for short. http://www.bomberonline.com . It's a passionate bunch, and mostly older; their annual Summit Expression Session in colorado is coming up. The Mid Atlantic carvers have their own version, which will be taking place next Friday at Mountain Creek. Many of us are on the same mailing list and know each other (b/c there are so few of us).

It's generally more technique oriented and the crowds and narrow runs are not conducive to hardbooting. I ride soft and hard. Locally, you will see hardbooters pretty much every weekend at Ski Roundtop - they actually have a race club. Much of the equipment is second hand, but many are paying big bucks for high end carving/racing boards - all purchased off the internet.

BOL is your source. alpinecarving.com is another good source, but everyone hangs out at BOL.
wvrocks
February 2, 2008
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
We are still out there. There are typically about 3-4 hardbooters are Timberline just about every weekend. There is myself and 2 other patrollers, 1 instuctor, and at least 4 regulars who are out on plates thoughout the season. I started riding alpine because I realized that I'd never be any good in the park or pipe, I've got a bad knee that doesn't react well to that kind of abuse. I can however carve a turn. With a more all mountain oriented alpine board a person can handle just about anything out there. I patrol on mine and only have issues in really tight trees and tight bumps. Even those are doable, just not fun.

RiverofBass is right about Bomber, its pretty much the center of the hardbooter universe. Locally MAC Tracks is a great event to attend. Lots of very talented riders, and good instuction. Since we as hardbooters tend to ride alone, its really fun to get to see other riders and learn from them. Everyone is welcome at the event, even softbooters. \:\)

There are a couple of reasons you don't see alpine as much, first and foremost, the gear is more unforgiving. Its tough to hop on an stiff alpine board and have a good day if you only ride 3 days a season. You can go out on soft gear and do ok. Soft gear can be easier to handle in variable conditions as well, especially for someone who doesn't ride much.

Second, there isn't a lot of money for promotion like there is with freestyle/freeride companies. No BIG names pushing the gear as the cool thing to do. Love them or hate them, Burton did the alpine community a major disservice when they dropped their alpine product line.

Third, because not every shop carries a selection of gear it can be difficult to get set up. The Bomber Classifieds are a great place to find used gear at fair prices. The Bomber store also carries a full selection of new gear. Another good place is eBay, http://www.raceboarders.com has a link on their site for a customized alpine gear search that works well. There is a place called thestartinggate in New England that actually stocks alpine gear if you happen to be up that way.

One misconception is that alpine gear is very expensive. No doubt a bottom of the line NEW alpine setup is more costly than a bottom of the line NEW soft boot setup. Of course you get way more for the money but for the average parents buying the average kid a board they don't see the difference. When you start comparing mid to high end gear the gap closes. I feel too that you can be much more comfortable buying used alpine gear. Hardbooters tend to be a bit anal about gear maintenance and because of that even well used gear is usually in very good shape. That allows you to lower the entry price without sacrificing performance or quality.

If you are interested in Alpine, give it a try, look for people in your area on Bomber or here. Most alpine riders are good about sharing any extra gear they have to get someone new hooked.

Speaking of the monoski... http://www.donek.com is actually making monoskis again... and some really riping alpine boards.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
February 2, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
I have found this thread fascinating and very informative.
My grown daughter snowboards, skis and monoskis. I have never before heard of alpine/hard boot snowboarding. It looks very similar to monosking. What are the differences...I noticed the binding appear different with monoskiers using regular alpine bindings...what else?
Thanks,
The Colonel \:\)
RiverOfBass
February 2, 2008
Member since 12/25/2006 🔗
13 posts
well it certainly looks different than monoskiing. our bindings are not together (like monoskiis), just pointed toward the nose of the board, at very sharp angles. Our boards are, as WVRocks mentioned, generally stiffer (sometimes MUCH stiffer), almost always much more narrow, frequently longer, and generally much less unforgiving than a "traditional" freeride/freestyle snowboard.

Perhaps the biggest difference is our attitudes, however. The first thing is the comraderie. There truly is real comraderie--b/c there are so few of us. I feel completely comfortable going up to a random hardbooter I've never seen before and striking up a conversation. As WVrocks mentioned, I'd gladly lend some equipment to a guy I don't even know - most of us are like that. The second thing is while we're there to have fun, a lot of us really want to have good technique. Many of us obsesss over technique and debate it endlessly on BOL. I prefer not to do this, but a lot of guys who ride alpine are detail oriented, engineer types. The 3rd thing is most of us are older- a lot older- than the typical "snowboarding teen." We're not into the park scene. Now, with that being said, there are guys who actually ride the Terrain Parks on their alpine setups - I've seen it, before. Takes skills (and a pair).

I could go on and on. in closing, if you see a good alpine rider, especially if he/she is getting real low (skimming the surface of the snow), you're likely to notice...check out this pic

http://www.tahoecarvers.com/home.php

a few of us will likely be at roundtop tomorrow...

btw, WVRocks, what's up, i met you at the First MAC Trax (i'm on the MAC mailing list)...are you going to it this year? didn't realize it was so far away - near NYC.
camp
February 2, 2008
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: RiverOfBass
The Mid Atlantic carvers have their own version, which will be taking place next Friday at Mountain Creek.
Just curious, where is this?

I've rented hard/carve setups a few times 10+ years ago. I like it, even though I never got a perfect fit. I'm from back in the day of the Burton PJ. Remember Peter and Jean? Extra points for any who can recall their last names?

I bought a carve board (brand unknown, no name on it) a few years ago on eBay, but have never mounted it up. Then I started freeheeling, and that's become my obsession.

Do you think I could mount up that carve board with my old Clicker bindings and boots? I see a couple carvers at Whitetail on weekdays, and it does look fun
wvrocks
February 3, 2008
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
RiverOfBass, I'm not going to be able to make it this year. The move to Bear Creek made it a 6 hr drive for me. I have an EMT class till 11pm on Thursday and have to patrol at T'line at 7am Saturday so it just doesn't work with my schedule. Made it the first two years and really wanted to go back.
wvrocks
February 3, 2008
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
Camp, you could try it out with the clickers but I suspect they are going to be too flexy laterally, especailly when combined with the higher angles needed to ride a narrow board without boot drag.
RiverOfBass
February 3, 2008
Member since 12/25/2006 🔗
13 posts
today at SRT there were at least 6 hardbooters (including myself)- 2 of them were rockin OLD Skool asyms - including the PJ! There were at least 3 other plate riders either in softies or on skis, too. One of the guys had a $1000+ Kessler race board- all the pros racers are rocking these. First time I'd seen either the Kessler or the PJ in person.

" Remember Peter and Jean? Extra points for any who can recall their last names?" Bauer and Nerva? BOL folks will know for sure, but i'm pretty sure I know this one too.

I thought the event was Mountan Creek, I guess it's

http://www.bomberonline.com/VBulletin/showthread.php?t=19389

or the official site:

https://home.comcast.net/~phillipleebowman/MAC/index.htm

The BIG DADDY event for the EC is this, however:

http://www.eces.us/


Camp, I agree with WVRocks. If you can ride the alpine board with softies, it sorta defeats the purpose. The hardboots give you a lot more response/performance. Personally I wouldn't do it. You're better off mounting plate bindings to a freeride board. Post in BOL that you want to demo a board, someone should be able to help you out, especially if you come to Friday's event. Boots might be the only tricky thing....
Denis - DCSki Supporter
February 7, 2008
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,221 posts
I started riding in softboots and couldn't stand them. They probably weren't very good boots. I got rid of them and got plate bindings. I'd seen people ride with plates and mountaineering boots and it seemed to work well. I tried my backcountry tele boots. They fit in the plates very well because I had ground off most of the duckbill in order that they would fit my step-in crampons (for Mt. Washington in the spring). I like this set up a lot. It is easy to get in and gives a nice firm connection while still allowing some movement due to the boots being much softer than an alpine boot or snowboard hard boot. I have never seen anyone else do it and I get some funny looks. Now if I could just get better at getting off a lift.

Oh yeah, this is on a free ride board. I ride at about 35 back foot, 45 front. This is comfortable for me and I can see in both directions without craning my neck, which I couldn't do riding sideways in soft boots.
wvrocks
February 8, 2008
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
Another thing many people do is ride plates in AT boots. Especially for the backcountry and on split boards. They make good sense when you are going to be doing some walking since they have a high traction sole and are typically lighter than a regular snowboard hardboot. You do have to deal with longer sole lengths but that can be solved with higher angles or wider boards.
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