Me? Own a Quiver?
Me? Own a Quiver?by Toni Isom & Rob de Luca
You wouldn’t ride your Bianchi fixie on a freeride mountain bike course. And you wouldn’t eat Spaghetti-O’s with a steak knife—unless you’re some kind of masochist. The right tools make all the difference when it comes to dialing in your skills, whether you’re biking, dining, or riding. And that’s why we’re so keen on the quiver.
So where do you start? And once you’ve started, where do you stop? You don’t want a massive heap of rusting boards lurking in your shed.
On the snowboarding tip, things are easy and a lot less expensive than the two-plankers: start on an all-mountain board and add a jibber once you’re confident on the rails. If you shred like a submarine when it pukes, make a powder board your next snag. Below, we lay out the choices—seven of ’em. Yeah, that seems like a bit much, and owning all of them is by no means necessary.
For the skiers, things are a bit more complicated. If a skier chooses, say, the three pair best suited to his/her environs, prevailing snow and terrain will produce a significantly different quiver in Vermont versus Valdez. Similarly, a racer might prefer three scalpel-sharp, hourglass-waisted corduroy destroyers, while the rack of a powderhound’s pickup would strain to accommodate three of his favorite fatties. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus on a typical setup for someone in the Intermountain West.
Snowboard QuiverBy: Toni Isom
The goal of the snowboard quiver is really quite simple: to guarantee that you’re riding the right board in the right conditions, so every day kicks as much ass as possible.
The All-Mountain Board
This is what its name implies: a snowboard that will take you all over the mountain—groomers, park, off-piste, whatever. The all-mountain board is choice for those days when you might poach fresh lines in the morning and spend the rest of the day goofing around in the park. Look for a mid-stiff board with a directional shape and plenty of pop.
The all-mountain ride is an excellent place to start building your quiver, but once you feel like it isn’t stepping up during crucial moments, it’s time to specialize.
Powder/Big Mountain Board
Nothing is more anticlimactic than shoveling your 151 through a foot of fresh, bogging the nose and burning up your back leg. And nothing’s better than surfing a sea of pow. A tapered powder board brings your nose up so you can float through fluff with little more effort than takes to get a back massage—but it can be an ordeal to turn in the crud. A long, stiff freeride board with a set-back stance and a little taper will also give you good flotation and help you keep control on super steep runs.
The Jib Board
Short twins are just plain fun. F-U-N: FUN. Your jib board should have a large length-to-effective-edge ratio, a low swing weight for spins, and a buttery flex for presses, tail slides, and rails. If you spend a lot of time in the park, this is a necessary addition to ye olde quiver. Most park boards can take on the groomers, but have too much flex to carve in powder and not enough length to float.
The Park Jumps/Pipe Board
Jib, park, and pipe boards usually get lumped together in a hard-to-swallow soup called “freestyle snowboards.” But riding your noodly, midget-sized jibstick in the pipe doesn’t necessarily constitute a stroke of genius. A stiffer, snappier board gives you edge control on the tranny and boost off the lip (and off that 90-foot jump in the terrain park). Your pipe board should have a twin shape for effortless cab 5s.
Ice. It looks good in your grill, but it’s bad news on the slopes. We all hate it, but that ain’t gonna stop it from forming. You can stay home and whine about it, slide out and bash your face on it, or wake up to MagneTraction. MTX should be required equipment on the East Coast.
For those hard-to-reach places. The split board is the dental floss of snowboards. Unlock it, add skins, ski up. Lock it, remove skins, shred down. Repeat.
A splitboard greatly eases the human struggle (to summit). Now you’re ski-touring friends will invite you along instead of making up lame excuses involving out-of-state dentist appointments. If you’re handy with a circular saw, you can make your own split board for a fraction of the price.
This is your rock board, teacher board, and after-last-call urban mischief board. This is the board you secure in your snowboard pack before hiking up your favorite trail and making the most of the season’s first storm. This is the board you ride into the parking lot on April resort days and through the cemetery on New Years’ Eve. There are three key features to the preseason board: old, trashed, and/or cheap. If you don’t have an old ride lying around, snag a budget board from SteepandCheap or GearTrade.
The Ski QuiverBy: Rob de Luca
The ski quiver is truly a holy thing, revered by all as the mark of a true alpine disciple. The mere sight of a quiver hiding in a closet can be enough to send the pure of faith into a fit of glossolalia. For most two-plankers restricted to a single pair, the jack-of-all trades “all-mountain” ski dominates, but as the saying goes, it is the master of no one condition. Enter the quiver: we chose four very different models to exemplify the tools it takes to rip apart the Wasatch Range.
Powder Only: Deep Sixed.
The Armada ARG Limited Series comes out to play when the sky is puking and work sounds like the funniest joke ever told. The reverse-camber, reverse-sidecut and pin tip and tail throw conventional technique on its ear, allowing you to float and smear through pow rather than wear yourself out bullying around a shape meant to carve hardpack. A tiny traditional sidecut hides underfoot so you won’t plow into the liftline on the return, but typically these Franken-planks stay locked up when it’s not chest-deep. If the Armada’s aren’t your style, but you still want a taste of reverse-camber bliss, check out these alternates:
Big Mountain: Straitjacket Required.
When it’s time to blow doors and drop jaws, recruit two friends to help carry the Dynastar Pro Plus XXL’s from your car to the slopes. Big is the only word to describe these minimally sidecut, stiff-as-rigor-mortis rhino chasers. Picture a pair of downhill race skis welded together side-by-side, and you’re imagining about half of what’s strapped to a pro like Eric Roner’s feet when he pins a cliffed-out skiBASE line in the Tetons or straightlines an AK couloir. Needless to say, trees, bumps, and tight turns are a major pain in the ass on the XXL’s unless your name is Paul Bunyan, but big lines, big cliffs, and big balls demand big planks and that’s what these are. Got two insane friends with the same death wish? Point them towards:
All-Mountain: One ski, one kill.
The Prophet 100 from Line, the prog-rockers of the ski industry, is like a suspiciously normal dude standing around in an S&M dungeon. It’s only when he pulls out his cat-o’nine-tails and leather mask that you finally relax, and the same goes for the Prophet; it looks pretty average next to its noodly, wide-waisted Line brethren, but underneath it’s an all-mountain masochist, eating up variable, cruddy conditions like a hungry hippo when you’ve plundered all the deep stuff left over after a storm. The Prophet’s got everything we look for in a Western all-mountain ski—we love the quick-turning, edge-holding capability of the generous sidecut and its big shovel and tail, because powder is never a sure bet unless the snow just stopped falling. Others that fit the bill:
Resort: Bird of Prey.
Every once in a while, we pull the old Briko race helmet out of the closet, slip on our gate-bashing gloves, and scare the pants off the tourists by maching down icy groomers at warp speed on our Volkl AC40’s. Volkl calls the AC40 an all-mountain ski, and in the mind of an ex-racer (or on the frozen East Coast) that’s perfectly appropriate. But in the Intermountain West, when 100mm underfoot is considered “mid-fat”, this runway-ready Austrian supermodel actually reigns over the über-carver class, slashing corduroy like Jason slashes co-eds, smoothing out the roughest chatter, and encouraging the kind of turns you see on the cover of yuppie ski lifestyle magazines. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not putting down the AC40. When we feel the need for speed, this ultimate carving machine will beat anything not wearing a speedsuit and plug boots to the bottom, blowing up crusty crud and chopping through bumps along the way. For more hard-snow munching, boilerplate-shaving machines look here: