A couple of weeks ago was my first time boarding (although I'd had about an hour of lessons on an endless slope before then); progressed fairly rapidly with a 90min onslope lesson at Sierra@Tahoe, by the end of which I was linking turns on the bunny hill.
The rental board's bindings were crap, though; they kept coming loose. Aat my instructor's suggestion, I traded in the rental board/bindings for a demo board ... didn't know it at the time, but it was a brand new Burton Supermodel 2011 156cm with Cartel bindings. I spent the rest of the day having a great time working my way down the 3mile long green from the mountain top, so that by day's end I was feeling quite comfortable linking turns, as well as maintaining speed on the flats. I did catch an edge here and there (owwwy), but was getting better at avoiding and recovering from these by day's end.
This weekend, I'd hoped to spend two days boarding at Sugarbowl - alas, they have no board demo program, and I was forced to settle for their rental board/binding combo. To put it plainly, they blew - I had not realized until my first couple of runs on that garbage how lucky I'd been to end up with that demo board at Sierra. By contrast, the rental Burton board/bindings at Sierra felt squirrely, unstable, the back end seemed to keep kicking out - taking the board in to sharpen the edges, throw on some wax and toe out the rear foot helped quite a bit, but it was still total carp, compared to the demo board from a couple of weeks back. About the only good thing about the rental board was that it had a tendence to catch edges far less frequently than the Supermodel (which I was later told was due to the rental shop grinding? the edges up specifically to make catching an edge less likely).
By mid-day, I was tired, frustrated and just didn't feel safe on the board, so I called it and went back to skiing that day, and the day following.
So, I'm now keen to purchase a board, so that I don't have to worry about whether or not the mountain has a demo board center. I'd already picked up some boots (32 Prion Fasttrack), and am hoping to find a good end-of-season deal on a board. I'm 5'9", 160lbs, size 8.5 boot - not a parkhound, figure I'm looking for an allmountain/freeride board ... something in the 153-156 range, and I'm hoping to spend no more than ~$400 for board+bindings.
I had considered just picking up a Supermodel 2011, same board that I demo'd at Sierra@Tahoe, but after doing some research, I'm thinking I want a rockered, or possibly flyingV-type, board. I'm super paranoid about catching an edge and back/face-planting, and from what I've read, rockered boards tend to be easier to turn and less likely to catch an edge?
I'm also favoring Burton's ICS system, fwiw ... I just recall that the Supermodel/Catrel combo made for really easy/effective control, I felt like the board responded to my inputs spot on! (haven't had a chance, though, to compare the ICS with a traditional binding system, other than my short jaunt on that garbage rental, which of course isn't a fair comparison.)
I tried Burton's board advisor, as well as the board selecta on snowboard-review.com (both great tools!), so that my short list is currently:
- Burton Custom Flying V 2011
- Burton Process V-Rocker 2011
- K2 Raygun 2011
Would really appreciate any thoughts on my thinking - any flaws in my decision process, e.g., am I considering buying too much board?