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Q. Board for Dad and Daughter

"Buying a board is not like going and buying a high performance car that does everything for you."


I have an 8 year old daughter who will be starting her 4th or 5th year skiing (sad I can't remember which). I've boarded for the last 8 or 9 years (can't remember!). We're trading the skis in for a board this year and would like to know what boards you recommend for her age. I know I can buy some lesser name boards for less money. Is there a difference? I don't mind shelling out the money since she has two younger siblings to pass the gear onto. Megan is 4'4" @50 #'s She's very petite. Currently skiing on 120's ( I think).

I'm 35 and have boarded the last 8 years or so. I currently ride a K2 Union 159 wide board with...GASP HB clickers! Will my riding ability improve if I switch gear. I have a sz. 12 boot and think I could go to a regular board with ratchet bindings. I'm 5'11" @190 #'s. Any ideas or suggestions?

I'm looking for something to improve my riding in the park. Maybe it's me but I feel my wide board is to heavy and bulky in the pipe and over jumps. Maybe I'm just too old though! I just can't seem to get enough pop and rotation out it. Again maybe I'm to old and slow. I just need a magic board to help overcome all my deficiencies, got one of those in mind?

 Thanks, Joe.

Chris Yeaton, Rossignol Rep answers:

HI Lauren,

In response to your readers questions - he has given some really good information to start with. A Men's size 12, is pretty much the start of at least a mid wide board (25.6+ CM waist) if not a full blown wide board. The Conventional vs. Wide debate depends on boot used (size AND shape of sole), style of riding (angles used and angle of board to snow if carving deep carves or riding deep snow), Bindings (riser height) and many times will also factor in graphic and price (sad but true, many people would rather look good at home or in the parking lot with the wrong gear rather than coming down the mountain ripping on the right stuff).

I'm curious how strong/active/aggressive a rider is he? Does he work the board from tip to tail in every carve, does he just Cadillac into turns and stand on the tail? Can he Ollie? If he can, does he just lever against the tail and pop forward, or does he pull his knees up after he stomps on the tail and arc forward? This would let me know if we should look for an intermediate board that is softer and less demanding to ride well or if we are looking for a bronco for him to tame!

As you become a better rider, you ride faster and exert more force onto and through the board, so higher end boards are usually stiffer tip to tail (Flex) and tortionally (side to side) to handle the extra G's, plus come with better bases (Sintered-hard to resist friction/abrasion and absorbs wax for tuning more to conditions vs. Extruded -soft and wont absorb wax) to go faster and bigger. The price and graphic are not the only things that change for a "High End" board. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it can't bite you!

I can't tell you how many kids I have worked with over the past 12 years that have come into a shop and want "the best board" or a "Pro" model because it's "great" and allows the riders they see in video parts and mags to boost like they do. The same things that allow them to be PRO are going to whip your beginner a@@ black and blue. Buying a board is not like going and buying a high performance car that does everything for you (power steering, anti lock brakes, cruise control, air bags, cruise control with lights and wipers that come on automatically), but more like a hammer. The better you are at swinging it, the bigger you can go, and as you get better you will have specific ones for specific "jobs."

His years of riding would get him to at least a mid level board (flex, construction/shape and base material), with freestyle tendencies (most companies have a different definition of FS, so research what each company does to make it a freestyle board). The Union he is riding now is probably a little wide (slower edge to edge) and long for him (only by a CM or 2) for learning freestyle tricks, and the Clickers are not doing him a big favor. The Clickers work well with toe and heel control, but having the dexterity and control of the board from tip to tail was not their strong point. Going to ANY good 2 strap binding should increase his precision and control for trick sticking it.

Rossignol produces a couple of boards I would offer up for consideration. The Alias ($369 MSRP) is a mid level twin with a smooth, consistent flex (same riding in either direction), deep progressive side cut (makes a wide range of controllable turns), sintered base (for going fast and waxing to conditions) and Wood CK core (for good durability, liveliness and POP with a Carbon fiber strip running from tip to tail) coming in a 157 or 158+ (wider version) to choose from. The other choice, which is a step up in flex (dual tortion box construction to support the edges in carves, but not make the board a bear from edge to edge), is set back 1" and has a composite vertically laminated into the core to dampen vibration is the 'Wanted Man" ($399 MSRP). They both are made in Spain at our highly automated facility, and have a stone ground base finish to ensure quick glide.

I would choose an HC 1000 binding ($149 MSRP) to go with either one. Super Light, with an adjustable Heel Cup (center the boot on the binding and use the slots in the disc for your stance width), Toe and Heel "Puffy Pads" are adjustable and soft, 3D ASYM ankle strap for fit over your boot and compression hold without bite as you flex into it.

Boots are going to depend on your true foot size and shape, and should be tried on and walked around in. Try the XCT, and as many other different types as you can stand, as fit here is most important. Look for a good foot bed to put in them, as well, as it will help to support you feet better to prevent foot fatigue and pain. Pull all the foot beds out of the boots you try and compare them to a foot bed. You will see what I mean.

Your Daughter is a more basic fit. Look at the Mini Zena in a 120 or a 130 CM length (169 MSRP), and the binding will depend on her foot size, probably an HCR (79 MSRP). You may find one from last year on sale, with a different graphic and price. The 120 is more like a 1 year and hand me down, where the 130 is probably a 2 year board. Same thing with her boots, try on a few to find the best price/fit/sizing/look for you both.

Rossignol just did a limited release board called the "MINI", that is a 120CM full width deck that you mount your regular bindings on for learning freestyle tricks and getting comfortable spinning and rail sliding with before making the commitment of going FULL SIZE. This may be an option for her in the future.




OOPPSSSS. For some reason I thought the question was for a woman. At least that explains the size of person (I was really challenged by that). To break this down into a couple sentences,

Boards differ in Shape, Flex and materials. The better a board, the better (and more complex) the materials. Also, as boards get "better" they are stiffer and have more performance oriented shapes (standard transmission) vs. basic shapes (automatic). The board recommendations are the same, but with a guys 12, you would be looking for mid width or wide boards for sure!

Have a good one-


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