Powder Stash: Vail – Friendly Tree (and powder) Runs

Posted: September 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Powder Stash, Resorts | Tags: , , | No Comments »
Some quick and easy tree runs near Midvail

Some quick and easy tree runs near Midvail

One of the things I love most about a mountain the size of Vail is I can almost always find somewhere with powder even if the rest of the mountain is tracked out.  Vail in particular seems to have two or three distinct snow zones which typically vary greatly in snow quantity.

So, when in doubt, keep looking… keep dropping into new areas.

One problem:  As we all know, not all clusters of trees are created equal.  Growing up in Colorado, my friends and I affectionately referred to some areas as deadly trees.  These trees were too close together, had too many fallen logs, rocks and other obstacles to enjoy riding.  So, I’m letting you know of a few places I’ve had good luck with in the past.

This first patch is just to the left of Midvail.  It doesn’t look like much on the map but has the advantage of being close to runs should you decide to bail on the power.  When you drop off the Mountaintop Express head down Springsville.  You can either drop in at Whistle Pig or Cappuccino and immediately cut into the trees to your right.  Inside you’ll find nice powder and friendly trees for a nice “run between runs.”

If you head down further and drop in near the top of Riva Ridge you’ll find a very long tree run crisscrossed with cat tracks allowing you to drop out at regular intervals.  If you’re hard core you can ride these trees all the way to Golden Peak.

Have fun, be safe and send us a note with your favorite powder spots and we’ll add them to the site!


Review: 2010 Ride Slackcountry

Posted: September 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Boards | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

ride slackcountryI first came across the Ride Slackcountry last March during one of those epic days at Mt. Hood Meadows. I rode up the lift out of Heather Canyon with a guy one a sparkly board with a huge grin on his face. I asked him about his board and explained that a friend of a friend knows a guy who reps for Ride and he’d gotten to take this board out for the day. “I’m definitely going to be riding this board next season,” he told me.

Ride takes a very different approach to powder riding with the Slackcountry than tapered boards like the Fish or the Snow Mullet. Rather than essentially cutting off the tail of the board causing the back of the board to sink down, the Slackcountry relies on a minor 3/4 inch setback and massive rocker. This means you can lean back effortlessly, lifting the nose of the board up to get the required powder float. The more traditional twin shape means this board will still be a blast to ride in variable conditions and will keep the freeride feel in the steep and deep.

Our thoughts: This is a beautiful board. Ride’s membrain top sheet allows them to make the board very light and give it a holographic sparkle that you won’t want to cover in stickers. I tend to prefer the surfy feel of a tapered board, but for those of you looking for more of a freestyle powder ride, the Slackcountry is a fantastic option.

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 161, 164, and 168.


Review: 2010 Libtech 1986 Snow Mullet

Posted: September 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Boards | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

LibTech1986SnowMulletBTXLibTech’s 1986 Snow Mullet blends the taper of a Fish with features of a freeride board to create what might be the ultimate all-around powder board. Do not be mistaken: this is not Libtech’s Fish – the Mullet is clearly it’s own beast. The Mullet has a slight setback an directional flex and Magnetraction to make the board grip on hard pack without worrying about a short tail washing out. Because of the more centered stance, you don’t size down the way you would on a Fish. Riders that want a big board can get one with a Mullet, and with the centered stance and Banana Camber, enjoy the more traditional powder riding with lots of float and the ability to carve powder like it’s pack and pack like it’s powder.

Our thoughts: I haven’t been on one, but I want to. The Mullet has a unique combination of features to make it sound like a board that can really rip in all conditions, and still bring that huge smile to your face on a powder day. Given the aggressive taper, I’m not sure I’d want a Mullet as my only board, but it should be perfect for those days with mixed conditions. The Mullet seems to be perfect for weekend resort powder days in the Northwest, where you’ll be rocking fresh stashes all day, but working hard to get to them as the slopes get tracked out.

Camber: The board has Banana camber between the bindings, which should definitely further the fun factor of this ride, but is flat from bindings to tip and tail to help maintain edge pressure when you need it.

Shape: The board has a 30 mm taper, but with 1.5″ of setback, it should still ride like a traditional board.

Sizes and Options: The 1986 Snow Mullet is available in a 156, 160, and 165, and 172.


Review: 2010 Burton Fish

Posted: September 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Boards | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

2010_burton_fish_ltdThe board that ignited the powder board revolution is back. For 2010, they’re taking the key features of the 2009 Fish and combining it with the premium options found on the Fish LTD.

The result is an incredibly maneuverable board with a very stable yet surfy feel. Because of the board’s shape, Burton recommends you actually downsize 3-6 cm when deciding what Fish is right for you. Fans of the board love the playful feel, though critics say that the board doesn’t give you the same ability to ‘carve’ on top of powder that you’d find in a larger backcountry ride.

Our thoughts: I’m not going to hide it. I love the Fish. This board takes powder riding to a new level. Because of it’s maneuverability, you can access powder stashes that most riders never get to, letting you farm a storm long after others have gone back to groomers. It’s definitely a powder-specific board. You don’t want to cruise hard pack on this ride, but we’ve found that the short tail and surfy feel can be a ton of fun on packed powder days. If you’re looking for a more all-purpose stick with many aspects of the Fish, check out the Molalo or SuperModel. But if you want a no compromises powder board for your best days, the Fish will do you no wrong.

Camber: The board has Burton’s S-Rocker, which is designed to increase float and help keep the nose up by lifting the tip of the board when force is applied to the flex.

Shape: The shape of the board has a 30 mm taper, the most in the Burton lineup, to help the tail to settling into the snow and the tip to keep from submarining. In case the pintail taper isn’t enough, they’ve given the board a subtle swallow-tail to decrease the surface area of the board’s rear. The result: no more rear leg burn.

Sizes and Options: The Fish is available in a 150, 156, and 160