When I moved to the Pacific Northwest
the first thing I noticed is that the Cascade Mountains get some heavy snow. In an attempt to battle the thick slushy stuff
everyone called Cascade Concrete, I decided the best course of action was to ride a bigger board. I jumped from a 162 to a
168. Still, I bogged down in the heavy deep snow. After several years of riding in the Cascades I finally ran across a friend
who loaned me his 195 cm long Glissade. Wow! That was the trick. Not just big, but jumbo. This year I have added two 200 cm
long Rad Air Tankers to the fleet. On a case by case basis I will be allowing the Tankers to go out as rental demo's.
This could be a revolution in Cascade Concrete Curing.
update: Currently I have logged in 4 trips on the Limited Edition reverse camber board, under various
conditions: Two deep snow days and two groomer days. Wow!: To go where no short board has gone before. Good luck boarding
under chair 5 and 6 with a shorty board in deep pow. Size does matter!
1/20/11 update: The regular camber Tanker 200
board went out for the first time on a groomer day. I know this monster will eat up the deep stuff, but the real question
I wanted to answer was, "how does she do on corduroy?" I was very pleased with the carving response. Believe it
or not, she handles like my 168 Prior. OK, so Troy brought his GPS unit and we tracked our top speeds. I'm still riding cautiously
on both 200's. I managed a 40.6 MPH top speed on my first trip down Lower Roller. I know this board has way more
juice but I wimped out and speed checked too many times. Troy did 57 MPH on the Head Peak 88 demo skis. I'll keep ya'all posted.
2/2/11 update: Took the regular camber up again. Groomer day. Cold temps and firm snow. After a couple runs Troy ran the
camera and followed me down run #9 below Chair 6. See the video. Troy also jumped in on a friendly competition and clocked
an amazing 81.7 MPH top speed run down Palmer face. The next highest speed was something like 61 MPH, when he left. Yea, I'm
using the new Evolve Flow Rental Bindings we now have on all our Snowboards. See how fast I get in the bindings, with zero
"butt on snow" time.
2/16/11 update: At the Mission Ridge Demo days
I rode most of the snowboards with a pair of NXT FRX Big Mountain FREERIDE FLOW Bindings. Before the day was
over I picked up a pair of the FRX's and an additional pair of the NXT AT All Mountain FREESTYLE FLOW Bindings,
for shop toys. Both are Flow's top shelf gear. These are the 2012 models, so I'm guessing they may not be available to the
public yet. Anyway, I stuck the FRX's on the Regular Camber Tanker 200 and Jason, my Senior Snowboard Tech,
put the AT's on my 168 Prior, affectionately called Richard Prior, and the two of us went up for the day. Jason expects
a little more out of a binding than the average rider. He prefers to be solidly on the board. Both of us
have been using the New Evolve Rental bindings on the boards, with no issues, but we really wanted to see what
a more secure binding did for the ride. Oh my!!! It took me a few runs to get the hang of the FRX's. Number one is reduced
input required to communicate to the board. Can you say, "Instant responce". Yea buddy!That takes a little bit to
get use to, but by 3 runs I was dialed in and lovin' it. Jason too. We each vote two thumbs up on both bindings.
update: OK. My friend came up from Portland and I put him on the regular camber 200
cm board. I rode the reverse camber 200 cm. We both had a blast. Nick is a believer. He wants one of his own. We used a
GOPRO helmet cam and caught lots of footage. See the Tanker II Video.
5/1/11 update: The season is over. The month of April gave me several
more opportunities to board, not just on pow but several more times on hard packed groomers: You know those boiler plate corduroy
conditions first thing in the morning. I am very pleased with the regular camber board response on hard pack. People do look
at me like I am a little strange to be riding a big board on a groomer day.They don't know. I found the Tanker to
be very responsive. How can it be bad to have a greater effective edge. The board is fast and stable at high speeds.
END OF THE SEASON THOUGHTS: Are
the 200 CM boards for everybody? It depends on your riding style. I like cruising, carving, high speed stability,
and going off the groomers in to the deep powder. How nice is it to have one board to do it all. During the season
I eventually worked up to riding in the trees too.The boards turn very quickly. They also have great stopping power. On groomers,
when I go heavy on my heel side to stop, I get instant response. No chattering on power turns either. As the season
progressed, I did move my binding angles from 15/-5 to 21/15. I found the forward stance more comfortable for my
riding style, but with no additional performance value. I kept turning my chest forward during high speed runs and it
was killing my shins. As for off piste, I went in real deep powder, where most of my shorter gear failed to keep me floating. It
opened up a whole new world on the mountain, where relatively flat deep snow fields would slow me down to a stall. I
found that I didn't have to lean way back on my rear foot to keep the nose up. The boards eat up crud. I plowed through
beat up runs with no issues. I see no limitations except maybe taking these boards in the terrain park. I think
the biggest obstacle to overcome is a mental one. The boards are intimidating to look at, and conjure up all kinds of
misconceptions. I forgot it was 200 CM after a couple runs. It acts like a surf board in deep pow.
HERE WE GO AGAIN:
the 2011/12 Season is upon us. Bring your gear in and get a tune up now and be ready to go!!!