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Sticky Feet with Trapper Snowboards
Submitted by GetRadRevelstoke on Fri, 2013-03-08 12:24
How do you keep your feet on a Noboard? It seemed like a riddle to me so I consulted the local officials on the subject. I wandered over to Trapper Snowboards to chat with Greg Fortier and Tyler Riddell, both of whom I’m beginning to realize are a wealth of knowledge in these matters.
Greg pulls out a brand new Alpen Surf, just one of the gorgeous boards they make in the shop, and starts telling me about the history of snowboarding. It all started in the 1960′s with Sherman Poppen and Dimitrie Milovich who made the first snowboards, and riders rode with no bindings. Later on in the late 70′s Jake Burton won a competition while wearing bindings and they became the norm shortly after that. It was in 2001 when Noboard became the brainchild of Greg Todds, a snowboarding pro from Alberta who cut his teeth in Alberta's Rocky Mountains. After some time in the Selkirks, he wanted to take it back to the original idea. Now we’re riding bindingless and more soulfully again.
I wanted to make sure I got the details unbiased so I asked them both to submit separately a summary of their honest opinions on the materials. Greg chose a rating system and Tyler wrote a summary on his 3 favourites.
Unfortunately Greg Todds passed in an avalanche, but before he did, he left us with what I’m going to say is probably the best material you could hope for when you purchase your new Alpen Surf. ”This is the OG pad," Greg says as he pulls it out. The Original Gangster. Less money than bindings, this setup costs around $180, and comes in a pimped out box that makes me stoked just looking at it and I don’t even snowboard. It’s made from polymer rubber that’s designed to shed snow and ice, and provide max grip in cold environments. Peel off the red plastic on the back and put it on your board like a sticker that won’t come off because it’s 3M tape. It comes with a heavy duty bungee to hang on to. There’s a tether and sick carabiner so you can attach it to yourself with basically what I’d call a dog leash that recoils and extends so the board doesn’t pop back and slap you in the junk. The middle has a handle so you can carry that baby like a briefcase although I doubt Noboarding would ever feel like work. It is definitely the heaviest option and the most expensive, but provides the best traction by far out of all of these options.
Greg rates it:
Total setup price: $180
“My third choice is the classic and the “OG!”pad that started it all in the interior BC backcountry by legend Greg Todds and others its called the Noboard pad. It has amazing traction and is available on-line thru the company's website. Its a one stop shop as it comes with the pad which sticks onto your board with 3M tape that you simply peel off. A bungee style rope for stability and control in deep snow and rugged and rogue backcountry terrain. Also comes with a retractable leash so you don’t lose your board when you eat shit and become a snow man.”
The next option is a cool one and was developed locally. Nicolai Samson from Almond Manufacturing here in Revelstoke developed a setup to take out on a splitboard called White Wave Traction Pads. They slide on like oversized pucks just like your binding setup for walking. Put them on at the top and throw your bindings in your pack and you’re ready to get soulful. Say the conditions aren’t right that day for noboarding, slap your bindings back on and ride down strapped in. Perfect for unexpected backcountry situations if you ask me. Always be prepared. There’s an attachment for the bungee on these, and they feel tough. It’s a hard plastic that was molded in Vancouver, with final machining adjustments made to the bottom in Revelstoke along with adding in the set screws. Good traction, best setup for getting super rad in the backcountry.
Greg rates it:
Total setup price: $220-$240
Now for the do it yourselfers. There are a couple materials that they’ve found work, if you aren’t into spending the cashola for the above sick stuff. Buy a roll of this and you can keep your entrance-way free of dirt and grime. Or you can keep your feet on your board. Either one. It’s just the hard plastic with little spikes on the bottom to put under your office chair. Stick it to your board with some double sided 3M carpet tape and you’re good to go. Greg Ryan uses this material on his Proboards. This material is very very light. The tips of the little plastic nubs will break off though. Whatever, just peel it off and put on a new piece of your super cheap office carpet protector. Who cares about carpet anyways.
Greg rates it:
Total setup price: $75
“My second choice is the carpet protector material. Its cheap and easy to find well…”Out-side of Rev” that is. It is in most hardware stores in the Okanagan and beyond. The carpet protector which is now dubbed the “Ghetto Pad” works well in colder snow conditions but balls up in spring pow, but very light and you can really feel the bindingless boards flex pattern under foot.”
The next material Greg showed me is called Superglide Traction, material usually used for sled ramps. It’s a hard plastic, with grooves in it and little risers to grip your boots. This material is actually a bit more challenging to stick to the board, the bottom of the pieces need to be sanded down with a belt sander to make the bottom flatter to stick to make it happen. It looks like snow wouldn’t stick to it at all. ”I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s really grippy,” Greg says. Just hard to stick to the board. A kit costs $114 for 8 pieces 30″ long. Get a bunch and sell some to your buddies.
Greg rates it:
Total setup price: $95 (if sharing cost of a kit between 8 boards)
“My personal fave of all the traction options that I know about is a material that goes by the name of Superglide by Super clamp which is a sled deck ramp plastic material, it interlocks very well with Sorel (Caribou) boots that have a snowboard boot liner inside of them for added stability beyond their standard felt liner that is sold with the boots themselves.”
Greg also talked about Pow Shark, a company out of Leavenworth in Washington making bamboo boards. They use little metal set screws, the same that you’d see on the tops of bike pedals. The downside to this: it chews up your boots.
Ty talked about surfboard foam pads also being an option. “Some people have been dabbling in this stuff a bit. They usually take 2 separate surfboard pads and stick them to the board surface. They’re both set up opposite and opposing of each other so you have a back elevated kick and a front elevated kick for leverage and stability. Works good but is slippery in a lot of snow conditions.”
The go-to for boots in the area apparently are Sorel Caribous, rather than snowboard boots because they allow more ankle flex so you can keep your foot flat on the board. Of course, this would aid in keeping your feet on the material you just either paid money for, or spent your DIY time on. They run about $180.
“I’ve been riding bindingless boards for a few years personally, and i absolutely f-ing love it! Its a free feeling to be able drop that rope and be wide open in deep snow alongside friends. There are a lot of dudes out there that have been pow surfing for years now, and it seems to be gaining even more momentum with snowmobile affordability and other backcountry access technology to aid us into off-piste conditions that are ideal for No-shredding here in BC and beyond.” -Ty Riddell
Sounds like I’ve been missing out. Keep your feet sticky and your board right side up. Do it yourself or support local Canadian companies, but get back to basics. Get soulful. I think that’s what I’ve realized riding a Noboard is all about.
See this Article and photos by Tennille Barber from Get Rad Revelstoke, an online magazine
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