Well, its been awhile since my last post, but I’m back and at least for the first part of the winter will be posting weekly updates. Its been a pretty hectic month getting ready for the season. I think this is the most prepared I have ever been before the lifts have started. The new shop has been great and it has afforded me the luxury of a curing booth for the decks and subs. After pressing they all go into this 70 degree room for another 5 days to insure the epoxy cures completely.
Although the recycled graphics from the last few years was fun I’m glad to be rid of someone else’s logo on my stuff. This season we’re looking at white, with some soon to be added stickers.
The sliding truck plates are black but other then that I’m pretty much sticking with the same design. Three hole locations and two height options with a quick release pin.
Black and green grip for the tops, with a built up tail option available too.
The subs from last season worked great but there is always a tweak that can push them even further. I reworked both the 145 and 135 forms for the better. I most excited about the 135 with the slightly longer base and lower sweeps to the nose and tail. Always looking for that short board that will float deep pow. The new subs are in white.
One great thing about the Chiller shop is that there is a great testing zone in the back. Just need a bit more snow to soften those landings.
The shop is clicking right along but the website is badly in need of a product page and that is next on the agenda. Expect more pics and prices next week.
Snow in the backyard, finally!! My new planet snowtools rake is amazing, thanks Cory!! The dirt mound promises lots of lines. Here’s a shot of Teig.
This shot of Max was taken before the big dump we got this weekend. There is now about a foot of light fluffy snow over a solidly frozen ground, which kinda hurts sometimes.
I’ve been wanting to try a deck mounted directly to the sub. This isn’t a new idea, lots of people have tried this but I wanted to see how different it would feel. There are 1/4 inch pads between the deck and truck. It pops surprisingly well and it actually carves hardpack ok on mellow slope. In powder there wasn’t much difference in the float but the low center of gravity is pretty fun and it is light. The top deck is only three plys thick which helps cut down the weight. I guess I was trying to simulate Wolle‘s set up a bit.
I’m having a lot of fun with the powdersurfs but I do miss the concave and tail that you have with bi-decks. Wolle‘s surfs have the channels on the sides which serve as concave. You still don’t get the pop from the tail of the top deck which I kinda like. I’ll be messing around with it some more this season I’m sure.
Tomorrow morning I load up and head out west. The van will be pretty full by the time we arrive on Friday. So far the roster includes, E2, Graham, Leavitt, FPS Adam, and Jake. We’ll be meeting up with Jordan, Katie and Allan at Snoqualmie then heading to Port Angeles on Fri via a couple of skatepark stops along the way, (as long as the weather cooperates.) Last year this trip worked out so perfectly it would be silly to expect the same this time around but who knows. The weather for Hurricane Ridge is forecast to snow 4-7 on Fri which is a pretty good start. I don’t think we’ll be getting the bluebird with the freshies like last time but that’s ok, just as long as it doesn’t rain like the year before. I’ll be demoing some of my stuff for next season. There will be three set ups of the 42 both with the 36″ top deck and 38″. Also I’m bringing a set up that I just pulled out of the press on fri. Its a brand new sub from a brand new form and I’ve only had a few days on it. I’m having a hard time describing it since it falls in between a snowskate sub and a powder sub. For the time being I’m calling it a mountain skate.
The mountain skate is a direct descendant of the 42″. It has the same side cut and taper although the width is about 3/8 wider. The insert locations and the deck mounting with respect to the tail are the same as is the sweep of the nose and tail. The goal was to make a sub that would handle just like the 42 but with a larger nose for off piste riding. It comes in at 51″ long, 8 1/4″ nose, 5″ waist and 6″ tail. This is not intended to be a powder skate but instead a snowskate that can handle powder, and most importantly steep terrain. One thing I’ve found though is it doesn’t really matter what you want a sub to do, it will ride how IT wants to ride. Last Saturday was my first test ride and that was just on groomers which it handled great, especially steep stuff. Its very easy to turn and the extra edge in front really digs into the carve. Yesterday though we got to test it out in some fresh pow.
Now with a length of 51″ and a narrow 5″ waist I didn’t expect it to slay the lower angle deep stuff but it did a pretty good job. The area that I was most interested in was steep tight terrain and in those spots it handled great. A smaller sub in steep terrain is a great match. You take a bit of the speed off which slows things down just enough to make good turns with out the feeling that your right on the edge.
All in all it was a great day and I learned a bunch about the set up. Its definitely still in the experimental stage but I’m excited about the direction that I’m headed in. This deck will be free to demo at Hurricane along with the 42″s so if your up there give it a try and tell me what you think.
We did get some footage of its maiden powder voyage, check out how low it rides in the snow, it almost seems like the top deck is throwing out a spray too!!
I saw an epoxy stirrer like this in a manufactuers shop and wondered why they didn’t clean it. Then after using epoxy I realized it was just a lot easier to let the excess drip off into a cup. It grows a little bit bigger with each press.
A modest sized stack of boards. It makes me feel productive when I see the almost ready decks but then I think back on how much time it takes and the productivity feeling kinda goes away.
Of course getting out in the pow makes you forget about everything…
Speaking about forgetting, I know I said there might be a Product page coming soon. I feel like I’ve just about got next years product dialed in and I want to post up all that I will be offering for next season. So expect something in the not to distant future and of course I will be bringing it all to Hurricane with demos to ride so you can always catch it there.
I knew this would happen, I build one subthen the craziness begins. You just keep asking, or others ask, “what would happen if…?” You keep tweaking flex and changing dimensions until you can’t remember what the original question was. But I’m not complaining, its really fun to be able to make skis to match your mid season whims. The latest ski is a true twin tip with center mounted inserts and a 5 7/8″ (150 cm) nose and tail. There are two sets of inserts which give you mounting options between 16 and 19 1/2″. We rode it today and it was a blast, unfortunately I have to send it to BARONTiERi cause it was his idea and cause he made a sweet Snowflake logo for me as well as all the work on the website and the ColorFool designs. I’ll be pressing a shop version asap though. Here’s a few before and after pics. The first one shows before the press and the second pic is after the top deck and sub have been cut to shape.
Today I loaded up all of my subs and took them to the mountain. It was a pretty heavy load but the goal was to try and ride them all, or at least most of them.
First though was to grab the 151 and head into the back-country to meet Eric and Cole, who already had four laps in.
After we were done riding powder we headed back into the resort for some groomer laps. We chose a fairly long run to test the boards on with both mellow and steep sections and ending with a lap through the boarder cross course. Eric and I switched decks after each run making sure that we both rode all the options. It was really informative seeing that each deck was set up a bit differently with respect to truck height and sub dimensions. Hopefully after some more runs like this on varied terrain I’ll have something to report but most likely I’ll just have even more questions to ask, which is fine.
I think I figured that the total driving time from Sandpoint to the Ralston Cup to be around 18 hours. Throw in some snowmobile shuttles, hiking donner pass, goofing around and you’ve got about twice that. It wasn’t a race to get there so having as much fun as possible on the way down seemed like a good idea. The fun started Friday morning when I met up with Graham, Jeff, Pidgeon and a snowmobile trailer. We headed up to Bogus Basin to see if we couldn’t get a few laps in before the big drive to Truckee. The snow was deep and the fog was thick but who cares when your making fresh turns. I grew up in Boise and rode Bogus Basin all the time. Unfortunately they don’t allow snowskates so we had to ride outside the area. Jeff has tried to talk the GM at Bogus into letting snowskates on the lift. The GM said he would pay for Jeff‘s gas to drive somewhere else to ride???? After three great laps apiece we dropped off the snowmobile trailer and Pidgeon, who couldn’t make the trip, and headed for Truckee to spend the night. Saturday morning gave us around 6 inches of fresh snow and with the help of our good friend Brad Krommenhock we got some shuttles in on Donner Pass before heading to south lake and the Bonser Pipeline. We got to Bonser‘s just before dark and just as Jommy landed a kickflip over the keg gap. There were a ton of people and the pipeline was going off. Scott Chapelle had rigged up a tree stand about 30 ft up in the air from which you could get a birds eye view of the party and quarter pipe.
I guess I forgot to get pictures of all the features but I did get Brian straddling the coping.
Jeff got us a room for the night that had a blow drier. I guess he thought he would ride better if his skate was blow dried before the comp. Check out his Chiller shirt.
I’m sure some people take snowskating comps seriously but most of us were just there to have fun and hang out with other riders. there is a lot of standing around and waiting which means there is always a flat ground session going. Jake here with a kickflip!
The course had two lines and tons of variations. Boxes, rails, tables big and small and lots of hips with a mini quarter right in front of the judges. It was great to see Sean Davis ride again, so solid on the boxes.
The tables were getting sent by a bunch of people but unfortunately Goblin wasn’t one of them thanks to a bad landing trying to transfer a huge gap between the last set.
The comp consisted of a slalom run and a slopstyle run. The slalom was pretty technical and required you to carry a lot of speed otherwise you crawled across the finish line. The slalom wasn’t something to take too seriously but I did kinda make the 45″ for just such an occasion. I rode it first and had a so so run. They weren’t shouting out times so its hard to know how you faired. I decided to take the 42″morning wood for my second run and it did so much better railing the corners and I felt like I carried a lot more speed through the course. After everyone had made it through the slalom we ran the slopestyle in the same order. Hanging out with a bunch of friends, watching each run and cheering everyone on is just the best. Jake was amazing with his taped open shinner and it was obvious that he rides on a much higher level then the rest. He won the whole damm thing, slalom and slopestyle, I’m not even sure who placed below him.
Chillerdecks donated the slalom prize, its great to have such a ripper owning one of my decks.
I entered the amateur division which had around 35 riders, the most of any group. We’re hoping next year they make a division for old guys so it breaks it up a bit more. I guess the 42″morning wood did a pretty good job cause I won the slalom and took home a Ralston Snowskate. I was blown away and so happy to have one of their new skates to add to my collection. It won’t be a hanger I assure you. I ride every board I own, it keeps me up to date on all the offerings.
After the comp was over we made a bunch of mob runs down the boarder cross course. Comps like this are really the only chance many of us get to ride with other snowskaters and its always a blast. People are gaping that’s for sure plus what other sport do you get to ride right alongside the best in the industry. Afterward there was lots of hanging out and visiting. Travis pulled out his Japanese powskate that he got from a kid in Japan. If you check out the Banff film festival this year you’ll see a segment of this board being ridden by the maker.
After the comp we headed to Bonser‘s for the after party and more riding. then a late night drive back to Brad‘s in Truckee. The next morning brought blue skies so instead of heading home we headed back to Donner Pass. Graham was feeling a bit sore so offered to just drive shuttle. We opted instead to hike some new terrain so he decided to come along and maybe just take some pictures.
We hadn’t hiked far before we came to a very picturesque cornice and all of a sudden Graham wasn’t so sore and tired any more. Both Jeff, pictured below, and Graham hit it a few times before Graham sent it big. Its really hard to take in such a great weekend and luckily we have pics and video to remind us how much fun it was. Thanks to everyone who gave us a place to stay, shuttled us around, and shared their beer. It was an amazing trip!!!
Wrapping up a few things in the shop then loading up the van and heading south to Boise to pick up a couple riders. Should be able to get some turns in the Boise foothills on Fri before hitting the road again for Tahoe. I promise to take lots of pictures and shoot lots of videos of the weekend (we’ll see if I keep my promise) and post it all here as soon as I get back. In the meantime here are a few shop pics of the new graphics, thanks BARONTiERifor the creative artwork!!!
Spending the holidays in Mc Call, Idaho. Yesterday I hiked Tamarack ski hill. Tamarack went bankrupt about two years ago. It was on path to becoming the next vail, (that’s what they thought anyways). It has a huge village that is almost completed. It won’t be finished anytime soon though as all construction was halted when the bankrupcy was filed. I hiked up about 1600 ft to the upper lodge which is also not finished. It looks done from a distace but when you get right up to it, things resemble a ghost town. It felt like being in some sort of sci fi flick where you are the only person left after some catastrophe. The quads were all there and the snow was sick but no people. The snow was really amazing, deep, light and fluffy. I was on the 125 cause down low it was 1″ of dust on this nasty crust and I wanted something I could control in case it sucked all the way to the top. At about a quarter of the way up though it got really good. The 125 got me throught the deep stuff as long as I kept my speed up. On some of the steeper rollers it was absolutely amazing. Looks like I’ll be going back on Sunday with a few Boise guys and some sleds to hit the area again. I’ll have the big boards this time and the camera too for verification. Anyways happy holidays, here’s a Xmas pic of the 36″ top deck and 45″ sub.
Over the years I have tried a lot of different options when it comes to chair lift straps. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this term let me explain it this way. Some resorts don’t want you to ride with a boardin your lap. You can ride the chair but the skate must be strapped to your foot. Your not required to ride with it so you take it off at the top. Reasons for this vary but center on insurance restrictions and definitions of foot passengers. So back to the strap issue, here at Schweitzer we use the strap. These have ranged in style from actual snowboard bindings carried in a backpack, to various styles of nylon webbing. All of these systems had there draw backs and were each a pain in their own special way. Even the very last version of my foot strap which was the easiest of all to deal with, got old. This new system though changes every thing and has symplified the process on several fronts. First being it’s cheap, free in many cases. Second it’s really easy to put on and take off. Third you make it yourself which greatly reduces liability. So here we go. First find an old bike inner tube, cut it next to the stem of the tube.
Then cut up the tube twice making a wide and narrow strip. The wide one goes around your deck, the narrow one around your ankle.
Tie the wide strip around the deck in between the trucks. The strip will stay in place when you ride. Tie the narrow strip around your ankle, not super tight but snug enough to insure it won’t come off. Use a square knot to insure it won’t come undone.
Put your foot under the board strap…
Stretch the ankle strap up and over your toe so that it captures the board strap. Your ready to load!
Remember, the ankle strap stays on your foot and the board strap stays on the board the whole time.
Working on refining my sub with some subtle shape and flex differences. Will be nice to ride the mountain on both set ups and compare how they handle. Same basic dimensions 0n this sub as the “spatula”.