So… I haven’t exactly had the time to spend on here as much as I would have liked to over the last year. Yesterday I read an article from Yobeat with an Interview with Mike Ranquet. It really struck a chord with me as I am that “older snowboarder” now. I’m not 21 anymore and my focus isn’t to get in over 100+ days anymore. I’m more focused on getting in quality days and if the quality isn’t there, there are other things that I would prefer to be doing now in my “older” age.

I have renewed the site and decided that I will find the time to get on here and share my opinions on gear and my little adventures. I love snowboarding and will continue to write about it and make videos as I have always done, but you will start see the site updated with product reviews/videos in Snowboarding, Crossfit, Trail Running, Camping, Mountain Biking, hiking, etc…

So keep checking back for those changes, the next update will be for the 2015-2016 Berzerker from Ride Snowboards, Hopefully I can get tidbit to join in and put something together on the new Hellcat as well. Check out this little video I put together of us messing around with some friends at Brighton on those decks the other day.

Brighton 3/1/15 from Mr_Tidbit on Vimeo.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent the last 2+ months on the new Alter Ego from Ride Snowboards. Here is an overview/review of the board so far.

Size: 159cm
Boots: Ride Insano, Sz 10
Bindings: Ride El Hefe, Lrg

The setup is pretty straightforward. The binding placement and setup is just like any other snowboard. I prefer to ride all boards with a centered 23 inch stance with 15, -15 angles. Using the micro disc in the tray running parallel to the edges to dial in the width/placement of the bindings on the board, I didn’t find that I had any toe or heel drag.

I am a creature of habit and always hot wax boards before I take them out, I don’t want to have a bad day of a deck has a bad factory wax on it. Waxing the Alter Ego is pretty standard and the tail area isn’t too difficult to apply or scrape. Any run off is pretty easy to scrape from the inner slimewalls, but I found myself unclipping the tail when applying the wax and clipping it back together when I scraped it. If you don’t the tail section pedals back and forth as you scrape and you don’t remove much wax as you do it.

The board carves just like regular boards do on groomers when the tail is #FULLYCLIPPED. When you lock the tail down with the clip it completely stabilizes the tail and allows normal turn initiation, hold and exit. You really don’t even remember that you’re on a split tail board as you are riding down the trail as the split tail does not compromise the performance of the board at all. When you want to pop off the tail the POPwalls allow you to load it up and pop and spin like you would on any other board.

You can ride it #UNCLIPPED on groomers, but as you exit your turn you do get a fish tail slide out at the end of the turn. When you try to pop off the tail on a groomer when it’s #UNCLIPPED you get a feeling similar to a board with a lot of rocker on the tail and have to adjust how you pop to get the spring you are looking for. Check out the videos below for a visual of what it looks like as you ride:

So far my experience when trying to decide if the tail should be #FULLYCLIPPED or #UNCLIPPED is dependent on a few of things.

  • If you’re riding on groomers; #FULLYCLIPPED.
  • IF you’re riding in crud, chop or snow you think you’ll bottom out in; #FULLYCLIPPED.
  • IF you’re riding in snow you aren’t worried about bottoming out in; #UNCLIPPED.

Combining the split tail with the All-MTN Hybrid Rocker profile really makes this board one of the more versatile decks I’ve ever ridden. You have a Lowrize rocker on the nose, the micro camber through the tail. This shape rides great on groomers and floats like a tapered board does, without needing the taper. When you’re riding in as little as 4-6 inches of snow, the shape allows you to stay on top of the snow and the #FULLYCLIPPED split tail allows the tail to sink a little, but not to the point where you bottom out as you cruise down the mountain.

When you get into deeper snow (12”+), you #UNCLIPPED the tail and get one of the most euphoric feelings you will ever have riding powder. The All-MTN Hybrid Rocker keeps the nose up and on top of the snow. With the split tail #UNCLIPPED it sinks down into the snow and with very little effort you can steer the board and surf through the powder. I’ve had days of riding in 2+ feet of snow until it was all tracked out and haven’t even thought or worried about leg burn or fatigue with this shape. If you watch the video below you will see how the tail reacts in different depths of snow and how much the tail actually moves and adjusts to the terrain you’re riding down when it’s #UNCLIPPED.

I will be the first to admit that riding in powder is really 80% rider and 20% board… I’ve been riding in Utah for 11 seasons now after growing up in New England riding primarily ice… I’ve had my fair share of powder days over the past decade and am very comfortable riding in powder. But the Alter Ego has made parts of Brighton and Solitude that I’ve been riding for years now effortless and even more fun than they have been in the past.

You hear the term quiver killer tossed around a lot. But the Alter Ego is a board that can have fun riding on icy groomers, slushy groomers, blower powder & 2+ feet powder days. If you’re an All-MNT rider looking for one deck that does it all you should check out the Alter Ego when it hits shops later this year.

The season is off to an ok start in Utah. We picked up the Big Cottonwood Canyon pass this year so we can bounce between Solitude and Brighton all season. 4 days logged so far, here are a couple of pictures:

I have to say that the new Cocona stuff Ride is doing is amazing. I have the base layers and jacket & pants and the temperature regulation is like nothing I’ve ever had before in my outerwear.

The Great Weight Range Debate

You’ve probably looked at boards in your local shop and noticed the sticker on the back with all of the boards’ tech specs. It contains a ton of information that most snowboarders don’t really pay much attention to. One thing you should be paying attention to, though, is the weight range listed next to each board size.

I’ll admit, I was guilty of ignoring it as I was overweight and thought I could get away with it. I figured the worst thing that could happen being outside of the weight range was that I’d break the board. But after a pretty significant lifestyle change and a net weight loss of 60 lbs., I know that there is a lot more to it than possibly breaking the board.

When I started riding the Highlife UL 158 at the beginning of the 11/12 snowboard season, I was over the weight range. At the start of the 12/13 season I weighed 60 lbs. less on the same exact board and the difference in performance was profound. But before I get into what I noticed, let’s visit why the weight range is there.

Snowboard design is so technical now compared to what it used to be. Sure you see specs on the sticker, in the catalog or online… but there is so much more that goes into how the board rides that you’re never going to read or hear unless you talk to a board engineer about it. Each size is assigned a weight range that will give the rider the “intended ride” for that board.

Ideally you want to be in the middle of the weight range of a particular size… but that rarely happens. If you’re on the lighter side of the weight range, the board will probably feel a bit stiffer to you than someone in the middle or high end. Conversely, if you’re on the higher side of the weight range, the board will probably feel a bit softer to you than someone that is in the middle or lower end. So next time you hear someone’s opinion about the flex of a board, take into consideration their weight and size they are riding.

What’s the big deal if I’m under or over the weight range?
When it comes down to it, if you’re under the weight range of a board you really don’t have the “mass” to turn and stop the board safely if you get it up to full speed. You are putting yourself in a position where you might seriously hurt yourself or somebody else if you are unable to control your board.

Being heavier than the weight range has the opposite effect. You’re not going to be able to get it up to the speed that it is intended to have. Turn initiation will be a bit more sluggish and the big thing is the added stress you put on the inserts (those little things you screw your bindings in to) and core with the extra weight. If you need proof, check the bottom of a board you’ve ridden 25 days. Rub your hand across the base of the board where the inserts are and see if you notice part of the base raised up compared to the rest of it. Sure, just screwing in your bindings will slightly pull up on the inserts, but not enough where you’ll notice a 4” x 2” square of your base raised. If you’re significantly outside of the weight range, you run the risk of breaking the board when riding rails or boxes or landing jumps.

What have you noticed being lighter?
I’m still on the heavier side of the weight range, but I’m in the range now. The feeling is amazing. I admit that part of it is due to being in shape, being stronger, etc. But I am noticing that I can get going faster, especially in powder, and I’m not sinking as deep in the snow. My turn initiation is significantly faster and the pop of the nose and tail is easier and noticeably higher which makes it a lot easier to spin. I accidentally rotated a 720 the other day… I’ve never spun a 720 before!

I’m not the only one noticing a difference. My wife went from being in the middle of the weight range of the 155 Berzerker to the bottom of the weight range over the same time period that I lost the weight. The first few days of the season were really frustrating her as she was struggling to adjust her riding and didn’t realize that her weight loss was what was affecting it. The moment that I realized what was going on, I was what inspired to write this.

Unfortunately Ride doesn’t make a Berzerker in a smaller size than the 155. The next option was the Wild Life or the Baretta. Since the Baretta was already sold out, I picked her up a 151 Wild Life. The first day out on the board was a night and day difference. She was back to her old self, screaming down the mountain as confidently as she ever has.

How far outside of the weight range can I get away with?
It’s really up to you. After reading this you should have a good idea of what the consequences are and if you want to take them. What it comes down to is that you should want the size that is going to allow you to enjoy the mountain the most. So pay attention to the sticker on the back of the board or find the specs in a catalog or online.

Last night we got to see the premier of The Crash Reel a documentary about Kevin Pearce, his career, accident and recovery.

We were lucky as we got to meet Kevin and his family before the movie and sit behind him during the showing. Each year they give an award away at Sundance to the “Top Volunteer” from the previous year in honor of tidbit’s mom. So we get to go up, hang out “back stage” and then present the award before the movie starts.

The Crash Reel

The crazy part was he hadn’t seen the movie yet and he was going to see a lot of things for the first time. The crash, moments that he was unconscious or just plain didn’t remember at all. So it was really interesting watching the movie and also see him react to certain parts of the movie as well.

The movie is great… a little bit scattered, but you can still follow and enjoy it. This is the first time I actually saw the crash in the pipe at PCMR. The crash was bad, but not nearly as bad as I thought it was. The pictures of him they showed afterwards in the sled/stretcher going into the helicopter were nightmare inducing.

One thing that I think those that actually snowboard and don’t just by into what the Xgames tells you is snowboarding will like about the movie is how they bring Shaun White into the movie. They kind of build him up and show that he and Pearce meet and were actually friends at a young age. Then they had a falling out and Pearce and the Frends crew proceed to lay into him and call him out the rest of the movie. There is also this undertone that if the accident hadn’t happened that Pearce most likely would have beat Shaun out at the Olympics.

The pay homage to Sarah Burke as well, there are interviews with her and her husband. Kevin’s parents talk about how they talked to her parents after the accident trying to give them hope to stay positive.

The individual that steals the show in the movie though is Kevin’s brother David. He has down syndrome and struggles to accept his disability. But he is the funniest, smartest, “bluntest” & most likeable guy. You can see how close he is not only to Kevin but their entire family and how he is kind of the glue that holds them together. He is very candid and doesn’t hold back when Kevin talks about snowboarding again and really kind of gives Kevin some perspective that no one else seemed to be able to. He helps Kevin accept that he won’t be that snowboarder again and in Kevin learning that from him David starts to be able to learn to accept his disability as well. It was really one of those moments that kind of tugs at you and really makes you put things into perspective.

If you have the chance to see it during Sundance I highly suggest seeing a screening, but I’m sure it’s going to get national distribution in the near future with how the entire country latched on to the story when it happened.