My Graham board is indeed a downhill board, not a freestyle board. It has a pretty narrow sidecut and is very stiff. But it came with strap on bindings, so I got soft boots.
I really like the freedom of movement and all around comfort of the soft boots. In fact, that was one of my innitial reasons for leaving skiing behind and taking up boarding, comfort.
These days, I'm usually going a lot faster, so I think that I'd really appreciate the extra control and stability at speed that hard boots can provide.
How about it? Does anyone out there use hard snowboarding boots?
I just bought the full Burton Alpine setup while I was in Lake Tahoe.
The boots are Aigner european hard snowboard boots, with a great deal of forward lean built into the boot. The bindings are Burton alpines and the board is the Burton Factory Prime 164.
Riding this board is like driving fast an out of control truck. It's stable at speed and very fast, but is a handfull to carve turns. Unfortunately I have only ridden it for one day on crowded slopes. I need to really open it up on some empty slopes to get it down.
More accurately the board takes me for a ride and not the other way around. It goes very fast and seems to have a built in gyroscope which automatically stands the board upright and points it downhill. It takes a lot of energy to turn and hold an edge. It is lots of fun, very fast but tough to learn.
But I see that this is the nature of alpine riding. I think that I'll be buying a helmet soon.....
I had my alpine board for a couple of years (bought it when I was an employee at a ski shop), before I was able to find hard boots in my size (Woman's size 7) - finally located them in Canada. So, if you're thinking of getting a hard boot/alpine set-up, I recommend getting the board and boots at the same time.