Getting the Right Powder Board – the Capita Charlie Slasher

So I’ve picked up Capita’s Charlie Slasher snowboard – it’s my first, dedicated powder board. It’s gonna be a while before I get to ride it, so here’s a quick review of the things that I was looking for floating in the deep stuff:



Longer board. Pretty obvious really – a longer board should be better for keeping the nose above the snow. In this case, the Charlie Slasher is 158cm, whereas the Lib Tech Travis Rice that I normally ride everywhere around the mountain, is 153cm.

Setback stance (default). The best powder that I’ve ever ridden was back in 2008, in Fernie. A meter deep at times, and probably then some. Back then I was riding a 155cm Nitro T2, a true twin. It wasn’t ideal to say the least. Sure, I could set the stance back myself, and that helped, but for a dedicated powder board, I wanted the default positions to be set-back. For the sidecut and flex of the board to be designed around having a longer nose than tail. For the Charlie Slasher, the default stance is 1″ setback.

Directional shape. Following from the setback stance, for use in deep snow, it makes sense for the nose to be wider than the tail, as that will encourage the back of the board to sink while the front rises up. With the Charlie Slasher, the nose comes in at 2cm wider than the tail.

Rocker design features? Reverse camber/rocker/banana tech – these weren’t things that I was looking for specifically in a powder board, it was the first three items above were the key criteria. However, there are many examples out there suggesting that a rocker design is good for float. If the nose bends up, rather than down as with a traditional camber, that will help to keep it above the snow. With the Charlie Slasher, the front portion of the board has a rocker design, whilst the back of the board is flat; it’s called flat kick, designed to be more stable in powder.

A closer look at the Capita Charlie Slasher Pow

When you look at the Charlie Slasher it’s clear that the nose is wider than the tail – it’s got a tapered, directional shape; it’s also clear that the nose is longer, and rises higher than the tail – giving it some nice scoop.

What I wasn’t sure about, was how evident the reverse camber for the front of the board would be, and similarly, how flat the tail section of the board would be.

I’ve taken a bunch of photos – and wasn’t really satisfied with any of them. Following at the best of a bad bunch – I probably should have put the board on the edge of a table…

With the Charlie Slasher, the front portion of the board does have a rocker design, but it’s slight. The rear portion, from the binding inserts to the tail is flat. These two photos kind of show that…



Nose



Tail

Riding switch in powder

Riding switch is something that many snowboarders aim to make second nature. But what about shredding the pow? When you score a good powder day, are you thinking “I’m gonna ride this next line switch, I need the practice, ready for when I’m taking off and landing switch”?

For some, the answer might be yes, but for most, I’m betting it’s no. For the average snowboarder, good powder days are few and far between. When you get one, you’re charging through the deep stuff, trying to slash the pow for a face-shot, maybe looking for a feature to drop – just enjoying the feeling of riding in fresh snow.

It’s not like being on the piste or in the park, which is the terrain for 95% of your snowboarding, where you’ve got the time and motivation to perfect your switch riding. When you do get a powder day – you want to ride it at your best, which probably means riding in your regular direction.

And this bothers me, a little. As you can see above, everything about my choice of powder board is directional. It’s designed to ride forwards, not backwards. That’s the exact opposite to my overall view of snowboarding. I usually opt for a symmetrical setup: twin board, twin stance, +15 and -15 angles, and try to spend half of my time riding switch. I want it to be the same in both directions.

And I can ride switch in powder, reasonably well. As long as it’s not too deep. 18 inches of fresh and I can make some nice turns, switch, on a twin board…

But the reality is, I’m not good enough to ride a shorter, twin board in really deep snow. I’m also not good enough to need to land 540s in powder, because I can’t do them in the park anyways. So for now, I’ll keep my switch-principals to the piste and the park, but for the deep stuff, I’ll look forward to riding a directional board that’s gonna float like a rubber ring.

What’s your take on riding switch in powder?

A recap of the other boards

If you’re interested in the other boards that I was considering when looking at a dedicated, powder board, here’s the list of posts:

2 Comments

  • Reply February 2, 2011

    Alf

    I think you made the right choice – but the party shark version would have been funnier

  • Reply February 3, 2011

    Gavin

    Cheers Alf!

    When I first looked at the Party Shark I thought: it’s cool, but I’d rather go for the more vanilla, Charlie Slasher.

    As soon as I ordered the Charlie Slasher, I though: damn, I should have checked if they could get the Party Shark in, it’s so cool.

    It’s like they say – you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone, in this case, the option to pick either 🙂

    Cheers, Gavin

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