It hasn’t snowed in two weeks in Tahoe. Temps were in the 20’s in the morning. They stayed pretty cold all day. Heavenly did a nice job of grooming, but there was lots of ice under the broken up stuff… very fast smooth icy groomers. Kirkwood did a crappy job of grooming so lots more faster steeper ice there. I had a great time on the XL’s. The boards pack a lot of performance in a very small package. As a dedicated long board and short ski rider, I don’t like many short skiboards.
This one is different and a lot of fun. The boards felt so light on my feet. The ride feel comes very close to the Groove Taxis I used to have. However, it’s much more stable. The board’s ride feel is like no other board I own. The board is very easy to turn and control. It does not carve like a Sherpa or LE in that I could not lock an edge. It is very comfortable going fast down a run with the tips pointed sideways slarving or pointed straight down the run. I could do a hard hockey stop without any chatter on these runs. This is the kind of hard run the Sherpa would have chattered on. The edge is most easily engaged with pressure a little forward. I found it easiest to do this by reaching with a pole forward to initiate the turn. This would keep the tips alternating back and forth as I reached, but the tips would be consistently pointed down hill. If I skied more upright, the tips wander, but they don’t wobble at all. The short flat spot and rocker on this base does not let the edges alternately catch and release which usually generates the wobble on many skiboards skied flat.
This board would not wobble no matter how it is skied. I felt that grip is not huge, but there is enough there that I never felt like I was going to slide out. In some spots that were so steep and icy, all I could do was hang on. I never slid out today. I had no problem with tail support. There is plenty. On the short mogul run we did, I really liked how fast and smooth turn can be done on the XL. With all the ice, I expected more difficulty. With the soft edge, slipping over a mogul is very easy. This same edge though I think would make a skier used to a solid edge feel that they have not control. I don’t think a skier will like this board. I give this board a big thumb’s up. I can’t wait to ride it in good conditions. Kudos to Greco and Jeff for giving us another great board to ride.
Rider – Wendell Jeong – Expert Skiboarder
This was my first time riding rockered skiboards and immediately I felt comfortable with them. My first impression was this felt a lot more like I was “surfing” on the snow, initiating turns was effortless. I was pleasantly surprised and that the edges hold up very well for a wide library of turns, from slow to fairly high speed carves. They don’t pop out of turns, but this is to be expected without and camber to spring them out of turns, making them much more of a easy going kind of ride, even at high speeds.
They did not feel as cumbersome as other wide boards I’ve tried, holding up on ice better than I thought they would and easier to get up on edge thanks to the rocker. The interesting thing about the rocker is that the boards are always ready to be put up on edge and carve no matter the speed or conditions.
The combination of width and rocker is a dream in powder and soft snow, and they were easy to pull up over the snow when I felt I was sinking. They handled wonderfully center mounted in some light powder and even better set back when I hit deeper stuff, but I kept on wishing the tails were a little stiffer to give more support when the noses needed to be pulled up like drops or when coming into soft snow and crud, especially when riding them set back. I was falling back seat pretty frequently even after adjusting my riding. Their mid size makes them enjoyable in glades, able to pick tight turns in trees.
The rocker unfortunately doesn’t help much for skating around on the flats, and I felt the boards seemed slower to pick up speed than cambered skiboards.
For park I had to adjust my riding much more. These skiboards where not really conceived for park of course but I tried them out anyways. Without the pop of the tails take off on lips feels a little dull, I needed to pick up more speed to hit features and initiate spins. But once I adjusted it was an interesting feeling as if I was “surfing” off jumps and lips. The rocker on rails really was no fun, sloppy and easily falling off. But they are incredible fun to butter and press around on, never catching and edge when pivoting on the tails or nose.
If you’re looking for a powder board that doesn’t compromise too much on the rest of the mountain and if you’re into cruising around effortlessly these are wonderful. Best for freeriding down steeps, powder, and glades, and after mellow carves on the lower mountain back to the chair.
Rider – Jason Roussel – Expert Skiboarder Co-Founder of Skiboardmagazine.com