Everything you’ve always wanted to know about the chiller 161. I believe that there isn’t a single powder skate that can do it all. We’ve chosen to ride without bindings and thus give up the one board quiver. For dedicated snowskaters who never strap in this is just a fact of life. Being able to swap between subs to maximize control and float is the key to having fun, at least where we live. The 161 is designed for deep conditions but not be a train wreck to control on groomers. I pressed the first 161 in the fall of 2012. I rode it a few days and then gave it to Cole. To me it seemed like too much work to control when you were out of the pow. I then pressed myself a slightly narrower one, almost matching the chiller 145 in waist width. This board, I felt, would not be so hard to control on hardpack but still have the length for deep days. I’ve ridden my narrow 161 for the last few seasons and it has been a great board. But on the few occasions I have traded with Cole or Eric for a lap its hard not to want that extra float, which translates to speed and control. Waist width seems to be a more influential dimension then board length when it comes to float. But waist width also controls leverage.The wider the waist the lower the leverage. Board length also helps with float and doesn’t change leverage as much. But adding four inches of length won’t have as much effect on float as adding 1/2-in. to the waist.
On Monday, we awoke to 10 inches of new snow over a soft snowpack. I went to the shop and grabbed the last 161 on the rack. It was time to deal with this sub and figure out how to control it. I’ve been relying on Cole and Eric’s opinion of this board, (which they love), when describing it to people interested in buying one but nothing is as good as experiencing it for yourself. The theory is, when it dumps and you grab the 161 then you most likely won’t be dealing with hard pack. But this is just a theory and we have all had days that started great but then got more difficult as conditions changed or runs were tracked up. Monday was great and the sub was easy to control on and off the groomed runs. I didn’t run into hard to control conditions unless I got down really low in elevation and hit warm snow. I have to move my feet around when transitioning from pow to hardpack to maximize leverage but once you find the sweet spot your good to go. It really is a temperature thing. On Wednesday we rode all day all over the mountain from windswept ridges to tight trees and the 161 was easy to control all because the temps stayed cool. Every day is different in the mountains. You can’t take for granted that a run you slayed one day, will be just as easy to dominate the next. Sometimes you have the right board, and sometimes you don’t. Flexibility is key to having fun.