Well that was an interesting experience, a snowbaord that is split down it’s length held together by a couple of hinges all supported by a couple of special riser plates that your normal bindings attach to. 90 minutes after pickling up the boards all 5 of us finally got our gear put together and up the hill we went. The first problem was how to negotiate the lift with the huge backpack I’d been handed containing shovel, rescue transceiver, pole and other various bits. It was like carrying a small child, not falling off the other end lift was tricky.
The it was a ‘quick’ board down the run so we could get used to the feel of them. They felt bad, real bad. We’ve been assured they work great in powder but on this trial run down the piste (or groomer in local langauger) I managed approx. 10m before catching an edge. These things are very twitchy, you have to change your riding style to that you’d use on ice i.e. take it gingerly. Riding flat board down a cat-track is a nightmare, it’s forever grabbing an edge trying to spit you off. I did so much arm flapping that I looked like Orville. One of our party nearly wound up in the trees when it caught unexpectedly and ran him round in a rather sharp wheelie to the right. You should have heard the skier directly behind trying to avoid running over his head.
Another lift up and board half way down a run and it’s time to split the boards to make them into fat skis. Then attach skins to the underside (like strips of carpet with glue on one side to hold it to the board) and we’re off hiking back up the hill. Everyone passing down the run giving us the "who are these idiots, don’t they know there’s a lift they could use" look. Now I know what the X-trainer in the gyn really should feel like.
We didn’t do too much, just zig-zagged up the hill for about an hour making very specific turns to ensure we didn’t just slide down backwards. Then the final board back down the hill, at which point I learnt not to try and jump these things if you’re not landing on powder.
Still, at least we’re prepared for our back country hut trip in a couple of weeks time. Back to nomal boards next week.