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What You Never Knew You Were Missing From Life on a Snowboard

Aaron Lebowitz of Soul Motion Snowboards and Alex Yoder, pro rider for Japan's infamous Gentemstick snowboard brand, explain the critical experiences and perspectives you might be missing from your snowboarding. Always ridden a twin? Never set both feet positive? Always thought a good day on the mountain was going harder, faster, steeper?

RELATED: 41" of pow and 40 funky shapes – the 2016 Jackson Hole Pow Wow in photos

Then Aaron and Alex will open your mind with new ideas from the Jackson Hole Pow Wow about how taking a page or two out of the surfing book will help you enjoy all the good moments, big and small, you might be missing by sticking with the conventional way snowboarding's always been interpreted. 

Good piece Ryan.  Like how it touches on expanding riding style, various types of board set-ups in one’s quiver and snow surfing versus switch riding.  If you follow the pieces Sam Morse did on TGR about me and my crew you know we are big fans of that Hattori Hanzo steal (Kill Bill reference) or in this case Japanese snowboard craftsmanship and the Gentemstick Snowsurf family, my Gentemstick of choice being the Big Fish.

The thing that stood out most in this video was discussing going with a narrower stance.  Particularly because I was affected by this in one specific case (which might make the bossman at TGR happy to know).  SO, at first look I was convinced Jeremy clearly jacked the design of the Gentemstick Rocketfish for his new Jones Storm Chaser board.  I was seconds away from dropping the cash on the Rocketfish and then the Storm Chaser popped up with almost identical specs to the Rocketfish at first glance with a bit more Rocker on the Gentem’s nose it appeard was the only difference.  However we get to Japan in January this year and I’m riding the Storm Chaser like a freaking madman the whole trip pretty much IN-LOVE with that board.  I switch off with my homie Fanon who has the Rocketfish to compare the two and instantly discovered the stance on the Rocketfish is very limited in the width and is closer together.  It made it a lot harder for me to control the Rocketfish than the Storm Chaser as I ride with a wider stance even on a 147cm.  I had to go back instantly to the Storm Chaser after about 3 runs. Credit to Jeremy on giving the option for a wider stance in the design of the Storm Chaser.  It is a big deal to have that option.  The Storm Chaser has become the queen of my quiver even in non-powder conditions it is so much fun to ride.

My only beef with the Storm Chaser is the tail started de-laminating after about the first 5 days on the mountain on it and I need to send it in for a replacement. Other than that both boards are awesome depending on your stance preference.  Regarding the article…. Until a person gets out and learns to surf deep powder on a swallowtail and loses the concept of riding switch and playing in the terrain park you won’t know what you’re missing.

My rookie mistake…. Getting to Niseko the first time I went and telling the guy at Rhythm Sports “I might want to ride switch so I’ll take the Juice-Wagon” when he was shaking his head saying “Dude, take e the Jones Hovercraft, please”.  End result of my hard-headedness…. Leaning back like Fat Joe with my front foot in the air just to keep my nose afloat in waste-deep powder thinking “SWITCH is not even a concept in this stuff”.  I lived and learned all in an instant that all this holds true.

    Eric! Good to hear from you and thanks for your perspective. I too (although am a relatively intermediate rider, this being my first season) had an easier time on the Storm Chaser than the Rocket Fish, although a coworker of mine who’s 6’2” and rides with positive angles on both feet loved the absolutely tiny Rocket Fish he rode. I had an easier time with the balance on the Storm Chaser and felt right at home, whereas it took me about 3/4 of the one run I did on the Rocket Fish (on chopped up snow and hardpack, mind you) to feel comfortable on that board. I believe in the possibilities of narrowing up the stance, but need to get there in my riding a bit more I think. At the end of the day, I think most folks new to these shapes will have a more enjoyable transition if they’re able to keep their stance the same (I rode a Gentem Hornet that had a wider stance and which I had a blast on), but I’m curious about narrowing up the stance farther down the line. Lots of interesting options - the guy from Soul Motion was telling me Taro Tomai sometimes rides 0º front and back foot!

These shapes are cool, but I would like more board makers to look at current ski design for inspiration than to surfing.

    An interesting thought, but I think Yoder’s perspective (that surf shapers have been experimenting with all kinds of shapes for decades, while skis and snowboard design has only really opened up recently) is a really interesting one. At the end of the day, too, I can’t say I know of many skis that really cater to the kind of across-the-fall-line, carving powder riding Aaron is talking about. That new swallowtailed Line Pescado might be the only thing. But standing sideways definitely changes how I feel I want to ride the mountain, versus always facing down the fall line as you do on skis.

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