I have been riding alpine for the last three years, starting late winter my first year. However, I have been snowboarding since early 1990’s, but I now refuse to return to my softboot set up. Before I go on, here are my specs: I am a female, 5’3”, 120 pounds, regular stance with width of 18.25, front angle of 50 degrees and back angle of 45 degrees. Also, my front binding has toe-lift and my back has heel-lift.
Yesterday, I rode a Kessler 168 with F2 bindings and UPZ RC10 boots. This set up immediately took my riding a notch up. Prior to that, I had been using Prior WCR Metal 173 with Cateks and old Burton Fire boots. I was pretty happy with my set up with the Prior until I experienced the new set up. I have to admit I was uncertain the first two or three runs with the Kessler as the boots were quite an adjustment for me compared to the old Burtons (which I suspect were bottoming out on me).
After the first few runs, I started feeling the benefits of the new set up – I was carving better than I ever had. The UPZ boots were very comfortable although a bit stiffer than I was used to. My back leg shin felt constant pressure and is showing some bruising (ouch!) – and I have made changes to my back boot to make sure it is leans forward a little less than it did yesterday. That is my only complaint – but I am quite sure I have it solved with the slight adjustment. I’ll let you know when I ride again later this week.
As for the Kessler, I have only one three-letter word for you – WOW! It just gobbled up the snow and made a mockery of the bumps and grooves in the snow. Admittedly, the snow was soft yesterday so I was not really able to test it in more icy conditions (if it exists out here in the west and according to my husband, it doesn’t). I could immediately tell that this board is significantly different from the Prior I was using. However, I was really trying to adjust to my boots, so I don’t feel I am able to give you a more thorough review of the board. Stay tuned for this….
The F2 bindings is a big step up from the Cateks I was using. The bindings were so easy to get into compared to the Cateks and felt more flexible. I think this flexibility added to the subtlety of the ride.
More updates later….In the meanwhile, get out and enjoy the snow!