Posted on Thu 17 Dec 2009 at 12:58pm
We had great snow last season in La Tania, so much so I was out on the fierce Gazex off piste chutes in the last week of the season. Unfortunately pushed my luck a bit too far and managed to put a crack in my Nitro Shogun 166, 6 inches long and parallel to the back edge. Time for a new board then …
Since the mid summer I had been looking for a new board and flitted between one idea and another. Did I want a long board again for hooning down pistes or a shorter one for spinning off little hits or something purely for powder. Then I started reading stuff about the banana rocker technology. You can ride a shorter board in powder due to the inverted camber – sounds good … Magna traction (wavy serrated side rails) cut into ice better – Hmmm .. yeah that might work Nose and tail presses easier due to the softer flex in the mid part of the board – to be honest you couldn’t get much worse than a stiff 166 board for that .. Ok, so I was sold on the tech … and the fact that after boarding for many years I was looking for a bit of a new thrill. I looked for a place to buy a T.Rice 157 for ages, but no one had one. Then by fluke saw one in a shop in Albertville that was having a 20% off promo ……. sold !
Val Thorens opening day 14th November 2009 Val T opened a week early due to great snow conditions. Should I try out my new board ? Could be lots of rocks … might wreck it …should wait for a couple of weeks in to the season for better snow … so obviously I took it .. along with my ski bunny – Andrea (Legs) from Snow Retreat. Like finishing with your old girlfriend and going out with a new girl who was younger and fitter and into music that you were unfamiliar with it was a bit daunting (the Na-nar not Legs). Would you get on with the new version ? Would you look like your dad at a rave trying to look cool ? Could you dance to the new tune ? Strapped it on and whey hey ! It was different alright.
Very fast on the turn – to be expected I suppose with the inverted camber and the fact I normally ride a big board. On the early morning hard pack of VT the magnatraction worked a treat, gripping and holding it’s edge better than anything I’ve ridden before. Crank it right over and the serrated edge cut right into the hard snow and brought it to a stop on a gentle gradient. 360′s of the edge of the piste – easy ! Over rotation if anything and no feel of catching an edge on landing. Nose press – I’m not good at them … but felt much easier than my old monster. But the big test (as far as I’m concerned ) – could I ride powder as easily on a much shorter board.
There was loads of untracked off piste off the top of Peclet gondola. About a foot deep and had settled. Headed off into it knowing that my bindings were set for piste and, prepared to lean right back … but not necessary !! This board just floated over it. Normally I’m like a dog with it’s leg up a tree even with my bindings set right back on the old Nitro, but now I was riding with an almost central balance .. brilliant ! Hope it’s the same for the deep January stuff off the top of Col de la Loze in La Tania.
By the end of the day I was loving the Na-nar, having taken a little while to get used to the new turning speed and balance position I found it fun and springy. It was even stable enough at the ultra high speeds it takes to keep up with Legs after she’s got a glass of lunchtime red coursing it’s way around her respiratory system.
Downsides – expensive – 540euro marked price in the shop (before the 20% discount), not too stable on marbles – but what is ? And it won’t euro carve – crank it over too far and the magnatraction digs in and the back end washes out – sorry one piece boys this ones not for you !
Hairy Phil http://www.snowretreat.co.uk