Review: 2011 Ride Slackcountry

Posted: May 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Boards | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments »

Ride 2011 Slackcountry 164The Slackcountry’s name describes it perfectly: this is the perfect board for lift-accessed powder stashes. Rule the powder and have an awesome time getting there. Most powder boards require you to give up significant performance in-bounds. Not this ride. The Slackcountry is equally at home carving up your local mountain and raging the steep and deep of the backcountry. Dare I say “quiver killer”?

The 2011 version takes last year’s rockered twin-tip powder design and refines it to make the board even better. The board still has the minor 3/4 inch setback (with markers for 0″ setback if that’s your style) and rocker from bindings out. Ride has kept the board’s urethane sidewalls to absorb chatter and keep edge pressure on the pack. The new model adds an ultralight base, a clear hemp top sheet, and a new 157 cm option.

Our thoughts: Ride hooked me up with a 164 Slackcountry to ride for several days in varied conditions. I took the board out for several days at local Washington resorts, including a fast-charging bluebird groomer day and a powder day at Crystal Mountain and a spring slush-fest at Stevens Pass. After getting to see how it did riding lift-accessed slackcountry, I took it up to British Columbia for a cat-accessed backcountry trip with Monashee Powder Cats to see how it did in non-stop deep powder. I rode the Slackcountry on ice and hardpack, I carved up wide-open untracked bowls and snaked through trees, I bombed chutes and dropped cliffs. No matter where I was or what I was riding, I had an absolutely awesome time on the Slackcountry.

They’ve nailed it with the rocker on this board. The float is fantastic. Because the board isn’t tapered or set back, the tail doesn’t settle on it’s own. Fortunately, it only took the slightest shift toward my back foot to pop the nose up and get some float. If I didn’t keep my weight shifted back, the nose would dive, but because it rocked back so easily, rear leg burn was never an issue. The Slackcountry doesn’t have the non-stop float of a heavily tapered board, but for what you gain with it (in-bounds awesomeness), I think it’s a fair trade.

The almost-centered stance and twin shape let me do something I rarely attempt on a heavily tapered board: ride powder switch. Which I did a LOT. And it was tons of fun. Tons. The rocker also made buttering and wheelie-ing much easier in powder. I found myself playing around on this board much more than I ever had before.

There is a downside to the heavily rockered shape of this board: landings can be squirrelly. Because of the ease with which this board pops up in front of you (to give it float), I found it really wanted to zip out from under me on big landings. If I came down centered, this wasn’t a problem, but if my weight was back even a tiny bit, I really had to shift forward as fast as I could if I wanted to stick a landing.

The biggest surprise the Slackcountry had in store for me was how well it carves on pack. It’s a fairly soft board designed for powder, so I didn’t expect much on groomers. Turns out it carves phenomenally well. Groomers are a blast on this board. I think the secret is in the urethane side walls – even though the board is fairly soft, they keep the edge in contact with the snow. I only had issues at very high speeds, where the edging couldn’t keep up and the board would begin to feel a bit unstable.

During my first day at Monashee, our guide pointed me toward a perfect chute between two cliff bands. It was about 100 feet long, 10 feet wide, and very steep. I’ll admit that I was a little nervous as I dropped in at the top. Losing my edge would have resulted in quite a tumble. About two turns into the chute, I realized that on the Slackcountry, I had nothing to worry about. This is where the board really excelled. The rocker gets the tip and tail out of the way – the board flipped edge-to-edge effortlessly, but once on edge, it gripped the snow with a Vulcan mind-board connection. As I dropped out the bottom of the chute, I had a massive ear-to-ear grin and I was hooked on this awesome board.

Camber: The Slackcountry features Ride’s “Highrize Rocker” which is a reverse camber design where the board is flat between your feet for stability and edge control, and rockered from the bindings to the tip and tail giving the board lots of lift and float.

Size and options: The 2010 Ride Slackcountry is available in a 157, 161, 164, and 168.

12 Comments on “Review: 2011 Ride Slackcountry”

  1. 1 Mike said at 1:35 pm on August 19th, 2010:

    Hey man,

    Loved your review. Gonna pick up the board now. I was in conflict with this or the Rossi Experience but you solved my quarrel.


  2. 2 Aaron said at 3:22 pm on August 19th, 2010:


    Glad to hear the review helped – you won’t be disappointed. The Slackcountry is a really fun board. It was a sad day when I had to give it back!


  3. 3 hinde said at 3:07 pm on October 23rd, 2010:

    trying to decide between slackcountry and highlife….Need an expert, all mountain, power slaying machine. want both but need to choice one. any thoughts?

  4. 4 Aaron said at 4:33 pm on October 23rd, 2010:

    That’s a tough call. Haven’t ridden a Highlife, but from what I understand it’s got a stiffer, less rocketed tail. So it probably will hold better on hard pack but won’t float as well in powder. So if you will spend most of your time carving pack, the highlife is probably the board you want. But if you spend your days in the trees and seeking out powder stashes, I’d recommend the Slackcountry. The Slackcountry still is tons of fun to carve, but it’s definitely optimized more toward pow a than pack.

  5. 5 hinde said at 5:58 pm on October 23rd, 2010:

    thanx for da feedback. definately am a powder hound and have been riding a 2009 lib tech trice 164.5…pre C2 tech. Luv it and need a replacement. Have seen the highlife in person, but none of the shops around me have the slackcountry. Am also torn on which size…i am 6’4″ 170lbs and have previously enjoyed 168-170cm boards. most of what i ride is slackcountry and in bounds pow stashes, but do need my new board to deal with groomers, ice, crude and moguls that are in route to the pow. any further imput would be great. want both but must choose one for now…..btw will be rockin the salomon relay pro bindings, which i have luvvved over the years….unreal feel in the pow especially.

  6. 6 Aaron said at 9:01 pm on October 23rd, 2010:

    Get the slackcountry. It’s tons of fun and handles groomers, crud, and moguls very well. You won’t be sorry. I’m 6’1″ 195 lbs and found the 164 to suit me well. If all I did was ride pow, I’d probably upsize to the 168 for the float, but as a daily driver, the 164 would work really well.

  7. 7 hinde said at 9:48 pm on October 25th, 2010:

    thanx again for the feedback and for the great review. I’m 90% sure i’m going for the 164 slackcountry. Trees, chutes and pow pow is where i spend most of my time and just wanted to make sure that this deck could get me there. the one thing that through me off was that u said…”It’s a fairly soft board designed for powder….” I understand that it’s actually a fairly stiff board with lots of carbon and also lots of rocker, which allows the tip and tail to flex without having a noodle board. This combo seems perfect for my style and preferred terrain. thanx again and will just have to see how the highlife does this season in the everchanging mixed cambered/flat/rocker market.

  8. 8 Aaron said at 1:19 pm on October 26th, 2010:

    It’s definitely not a noodle board. The carbon keeps it stable and non-chattery, but I wouldn’t call it a stiff board. Of course, my perspective might be a bit warped because my main board resort board the past few seasons has been a Burton T6, which is just about as stiff as you can get. The Slackcountry’s fun to ride all over the mountain, but as it’s name wil tell you, it’s designed for steeps, trees, and powder.

  9. 9 hinde said at 10:04 pm on October 28th, 2010:

    …upon further review, u didn’t seem to like the non-taperedness of the 2010 slackcountry. had u rode that board and didn’t like it and then enjoyed the 2011 SC? Just thinkin bout gettin last years board at a discount and doesn’t seem like much change expect hemp top and some UL improvements…thanx again for imput from another freerider.

  10. 10 Dusan said at 9:33 am on May 7th, 2011:

    I’m not sure at all if ill be picking up a new board but i want to be on a lookout for a good deal. I already have a 10/11 TRS, and for this season i picked up a 159 (not w) skate banana because i wanted something more jib friendly. Ideally, i would like to have a quiver with something powder dedicated. Slackcountry seems more a daily driver. Would you recommend adding it to the quiver?

  11. 11 Aaron said at 9:42 am on May 10th, 2011:

    Hi Dusan,

    The Slackcountry’s a great board but it’s definitely not as pow-specific as a tapered board. Here are three ideas for you:

    1. I’ve got a Burton Fish for the really deep days – it’s basically a 170 cm board with 10 cm chopped off the tail. Tons of float, super nimble, and awesome board. Every day on the Fish is a good day.
    2. If you want something a little more “dominating”, check out the Venture Storm. I **loved** my time on this board (my daily driver is a Venture Zephyr, which is awesome but not powder specific). It’s got some taper but is still super stable in variable snow, ice, crud, etc. and feels really good at high speed. Ventures are hard to get ahold of at list price, much less on sale, but they do keep a list of blems and older models on their website at a pretty nice discount.
    3. If you want to stick with a Mervin board, check out the Snow Mullet. They aren’t making it in 2012 and might be hard to find, but people love’m. It has more of a tail than the FIsh + magentraction, so you aren’t going to give up as much stability on pack. Lib Tech is going to have a board in 2012 called the Birdman which will replace the Mullet. I haven’t seen one, but I hear it’s basically a long board with a short board’s sidecut, so it ends up with a super long nose and tail which will give it the same result as a tapered board but still have good edge control and tracking on harder snow.

    Hope that helps!

  12. 12 The Good Ride - Ride Slackcountry Powder Snowboard Review said at 12:43 pm on April 9th, 2012:

    […] Powderboard Reviews […]

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