I'm still fairly new to the sport, 3 years now, and still find myself struggling in deep powder conditions. I've decided to up my game and am heading out shortly to buy a used 173 snow board. My current Ride 161 does great for fairly packed or icy conditions but seems pretty useless in Powder. Being 220 pounds light I still feel this will not be enough. I have a crazy idea for those deep powder days which I seem to get a fair amount of on the Grand Mesa Colorado. Has anybody ever tried a wake board on Snow? I have an old garage sale special and am thinking of strapping on some old bindings and giving it a go. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I think a few people have tried more surface area boards like a wake board, surf board but they tend to be short, with not enough rocker in the front or rear. Looked more like a i did it for a 100 yards but I wouldn't do it much longer then that kinda thing.
I think the big thing with powder is a reverse camber board has a leg up on powder but worthless on icy packed conditions, Get more power out of the kite by looping more or rig bigger then you think you should. with more speed it will pop you more to the top and you need too lean back way back. Its still exhausting a little bit, but much more comfortable if you are lit and leaning. Don't let off or the tips will drag you under to a stop.
Deep snow is similar to water in resistance to get going. With water and deep pow once your going its not a big deal. Also keep your kite a bit higher in the sky to create a bit of lift while moving. Use hills to your advantage and relax on the way down.
I would look for a board that is wider they can be harder to find. A 173 is getting out there for length and hows your stance setup? I found that on my boards I switched to the furthest out stance holes ducked at 15 degrees works best. At first you'll feel serious burn in your quads once you get used to it, its magic in what you can do with spins turns, lean etc. the best example of stance is stand close together and have some one push you from the side. the further your stance the more impossible it is for them to get you to move.
There are some new boards that have come out over the years that are serrated I was told they are great in all conditions and track exceptionally well (haven't tried them). I tried the reverse camber and was loving the deeps with it but on ice or hard pack it was useless.
Another factor to consider is the tune on your board. Are you running the right temperature range wax? Is the base clean and structured for the type of snow you're riding? Even if you have the ability to create float, you won't if you can't get planing speed because you're experiencing too much friction.
A board with a good tune and right wax makes a world of difference.
Hardwater Kiter wrote:A board with a good tune and right wax makes a world of difference.
This is spot on great information. Often overlooked and really makes a big difference.
I hot wax almost every session and try to match temp to wax. I can burn off wax in just a few hours and you will know immediately that its gone when your not as silky running through the snow. Sometimes you can feel like your on velcro and super sticky . I found powder won't burn it as fast as icy hardpack and those spring days can get really tough to stay in tune with the conditions as they change from morning to afternoon.
My issue is keeping the wax on for an entire session. you'll know when you look at the end of the day and your base starts turning hazy white usually on the heel edge. white bases are hard to see but darker colors its obvious when you scorch the wax off from having a blast.
I used to scrape an polish but noticed it burned through even faster so now i just scrape tips and leave the heel as thick as i can and try to just take off the high spots to keep it smooth but leave enough wax to make it through the day. I doubt this is correct but having wax is better then no wax.
If you trash boards like I do it might help to get a base grind once a year if you have lots of scratches or deeper grooves. I use way too much ptex and base welds from weird objects in the snow.
I don't think it matters what size snowboard you have, that's just personal preference. It is fun to have a banana board on a powder day but not critical. As mentioned above check your waax. If snow is sticking to your board you aren't going anywhere. Snow kiting tend to wear off the wax on the bottom of your board faster than snowboarding because we have pressure on our snowboard all the time. It's nice to carry one of them rub on wax sticks with you in a pocket, so if your snowboard goes dry and you are stuck you can put some more wax on your board and at least get back to the car. first things first make sure your wax is good!
Last edited by edt on Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Thanks for the suggestions. I picked up the 173 last night. Good price used but did not think to check camber. Also waxing did not pop into my head so thanks for the advice. I'm switching bindings today and will wax that base up and I think leaving the heel area heavy also a great suggestion. I know the velcro your talking about and it was not a problem Last Sunday, I just could not get up and stay up even though I was lifted several times. I'll keep an eye out for an even bigger Board and look to width also. Does any one have experience with split boards my main concern being, how hard is it and how long does it take to switch from board to skies. My fear of course is to be in a situation I have to walk out. In that 30" of powder how long would I struggle to get the board switched. 1/2 hour could be bad. 5 min awesome. I have no experience and nobody I can ask.
Hey Edt I have heard that eastern and by proxy Michagan snow is very moist. Try getting up in 34" of powder and you might kind of figure out my problem. On the other hand I would love to try kiting on one of the lakes you have a few of up there. Spent many summers near Tawas city.
I've hit close to 50mph in deep powder on a frozen lake, once you get going really fast you start to float on top of it instead of through it, and you can also get some serious board wobble. If riding hilly terrain getting good at kiteloops to pull yourself up is pretty important. I use a narrower centered stance (more comfy on the knees) but 15 degrees duck on each side as mentioned seems to be the sweet spot. As mentioned waxing is extremely important, it is easy to burn it all off the heel side in one session. I've got lots of boards, burtons, rossignol, jones... the powder specific surf style ones are pretty much useless for riding switch. So far my favorite overall board is the Jones Ultra Aviator (discontinued) with a centered duck stance, but the Jones ultra mountain twin is pretty much the same board, camrock profile works well either direction in all conditions, and the mellow magnetraction (serrated edges) have great edge hold on ice. Based on specs I think some of the YES camrock boards would work well too. The burton flying v boards work alright with a centered stance, I also used a custom x for a bit, but they both lack magnetraction so the edge hold isn't as good as the Jones boards on ice and their frostbite tech doesn't grip as well. Now bindings also help with edge hold by pivoting around the center bearing and putting more pressure near the edges through the little rubber bushings, I really like the overdrives but they are expensive. Never been on a banana board and have no desire to ever try one as I ride resorts with the same setups and like to carve euro style sometimes haha.
i've been out west a few times. fantastic. Our snow is such garbage most would not even bother. It's like 50% rocks 40% ice 5% sand and 5% snow. We do get perfect deep powder days here but like . . . once every two or three years.
Optimizing wax, wider board, wider stance are all good ideas but deep powder is just really a problem, more so in that we get so turned on by it because it's the best for downhill but really it is a mismatch with a snowboard. Think about how a snowboard works downhill, it's carve, flatten, carve. Speed gets built when flat and burned when carving. So then think about it with a kite - all "carve" or not really carving but on edge. No chance for the board to shed it's snowload, kind of an inefficient angle needing to be maintained in order to hold edge and upwind. For me the most frustrating bit is the angled nose stuff which is specific to kiting - if you are on edge the rail has the ability to cut down into the snow sideways in a way that is hard to correct and leaves you perched up in the air with your nose jammed down in the base.
I've used different boards and stances, including reverse camber reverse sidecut, a 155 and 136 snowboard modified to work as a strapless snowskate and various standard shaped boards and none of them made deep powder better then medium powder over a firm base or any firmer surface. I almost think that when it comes to kiting in really deep powder someone should go back to the drawing board and consider things like unstuffable surfboard kind of rails or deep concaves or something, I don't know just tossing it out there. If it was actually a dedicated all deep powder board you could start by getting rid of the metal edges and make a pintail for better release.
The market for kite specific snowboards has been kind of marginal and the market for a deep powder specific board would never be touched by a sensible producer but it would be cool to see what a innovative designer like OR would come up with.
The fact that it's got to go backwards is a problem too - that's where that wider stance kind of works but kind of doesn't because it puts your back foot in a better position to float and drive the board but the thigh burn is intense. Again, think about how you would place your bindings if you were going to spend a whole day going downhill in deep powder - and you can't because you have to ride switch half the time. That's why I (and noone else on this forum) kind of think strapless directional would be the coolest. You'd have to come up with some kind of serious in-depth wax system for the deck though that sheds snow but gives grip.
Reverse camber gives a nicer sensation but I don't know if it reduces drag, I actually feel like I'm asking the board to go slightly uphill at low speeds. It's a little brutal to have to keep your speed up so much, way more work than water.
I don't know if the serrated edges are going to help, I think those are a crud cutting device.
I carry some liquid glide wax in my kite bag, not super expensive and works in a huge range of temps. Quick to put on, I do it before every session and sometimes during.
I also use a splitboard - it's pretty quick to swap out, like minutes and your hands can stay in your gloves. The skins can be kind of a problem as far as sometimes leaving goob on the board or being hard to seperate. Surely got my moneys worth out of it as I've had to ski out a few miles at times.
One other deal that wasn't mentioned is your purchase point. With all the drag your center of tow or resistance or whatever is getting moved down lower, to like upper thigh maybe. The lower the hook is the better to transfer kite energy to the board instead of soaking it up with the body.
One simple solution I'm going to try to make happen this winter - skis. I'm a shitty skier but when it's deep powder the ski guys in my spot are outfunning me for sure.