Going against the Flow

I have been happily using Flow bindings since I first bought my own snowboarding equipment in about 1997. I always used to recommend them to people on the basis that they were so easy to use and comfortable and that these advantages made it worth persevering with the odd reliability issue.

Lately though I have suspected that my bindings were limiting my performance and I began to wonder if I should try straps again.

I have just returned from a week in the Alps riding some new bindings (Ride Tomcats) which I picked up in the TSA sale and the old Flows are going on eBay.

I noticed two striking differences with straps.

1. Absolutely no heel lift. This had always been an issue with my Flows, as the way the strap pulls down on the instep, holding your foot against the base plate, is just never going to be as positive as having a strap over your ankle pulling your heel in to the highback. Its like the difference between wearing shoes and boots.

2. Weight. I had not appreciated how heavy my old Flows (FL39) had been, despite being made of carbon fibre. The new Tomcats have an aluminium base and minimal design making the board feel much lighter in the air and taking the effort out of ollies (easier to carry too).

The straps are a pain to put on though and I don't buy any of that crap about strapping in being a ritual. its a P in the A but I'll be doing it from now on.

Russian heliboarding

Dave Roberts has an interesting report from a heliboarding trip in Russia's Caucasus mountains, be sure to watch the excellent video too.

14 March 2005 Russian heliboarding

Sussex snow

Sussexsnow in Ashdown Forest yesterdayMy good friend Sussexsnow took Winter Highland's advice yesterday. He sent this grinning picture from his phone while enjoying his local hill in Ashdown Forest.

He was not the only one taking advantage of the snow, he met three other riders on the hill and has posted some good photos.

I grew up in Sussex and it has long been an ambition of mine to ride the South Downs. This could be the weekend to do it but my faith was weak. I have a trip booked to the Alps instead.

4 March 2005 Sussex snow

Announcing Snowblogs

Regular readers will be aware that I am always on the look out for new ski and snowboard blogs to link to and I am happy to say that the list of blogs to the right has been growing steadily this season.

So I have finally got around to implementing an idea that I have been chewing over for a while, a ski and snowboard blog portal: www.snowblogs.net.

The site aggregates posts from a bunch of ski and snowboard bloggers, provides a forum, a blogging tool and feeds.

Like Snowgo, it is a non-commercial venture which aims to give greater visibility to the featured sites, help interested bloggers find each other and encourage would be snow bloggers to get started by offering an on site blog to every registered user. Enjoy.

OMG that is Steep

Brèche Nonne Evêque couloirPhil Ingle has a great photo story on his site showing his descent of the Brèche Nonne Evêque couloir in Chamonix.

Apparently it is a sustained 50º slope with sections up to 55º.

1 March 2005 OMG that is Steep
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