Ahhh, the first tour of the season. There's nothing quite like it.
We made a great escape to Whitewater this past weekend and spent the day touring up the Silver King side. Big storm systems that came through the past few weeks have really softened this place up. Great coverage, solid base and super deep turns. Oh, and of course, merino wool.
The first tour of the season always reminds me of how out of shape I am but lucky for me, I've got technology on my side this year. After hearing all the ranting and raving about the Spark R&D Splitboard bindings, I had to find out for myself.
Three of the four of us had never used the bindings before so we were pretty stoked to take them on a test cruise. People have been asking me all about them and what I thought so here is a quick little write up about my Blaze bindings.
THESE BINDINGS ARE AMAZING!
From the second I started setting the new bindings up they were smooth sailing. Everything fits nice and snug, the pin system is great and they are noticeably lighter than my Voile set up. Being so much closer to your board with their low profile set up is incredible, so stable when your skinning - no more feelings of toppling to one side or the other when you're stepping and sliding. Awesomeness!
Also, kick turns - easier than ever!
We stopped at the top for some majestic mountainy views and the change over is lightning fast, but I did notice that the aluminum base plates get so damn cold that the snow really clings on for life. I had to give it a pretty good scraping! (Also, note here that I am perfectly warm and uber comfortable in my merino wool layers and Frozen Laundry softshell hoodie!)
We hike a little higher and drop in to some open trees up the ridge. Not that ridge though, the one behind me that you can't see.
Immediately, I felt a huge difference in the stability between the inside edges of my board. With my original Voile kit, there was so much flexing between the split that it made it hard to control on hard pack. Some of the touring around here lends itself to ending up on the cat track at the ski hill and it's always a nightmare riding to the base on my split. I'm stoked to see how it performs when the hill is open!
(I'm also considering the karakoram clips to replace the ones I currently have)
The pow was deep and delicious and we barely hit any early season surprises. I found the board more responsive than ever. I have a Proior Khyber from 3 years back and it has never felt so light and poppy. Honestly, it feels like a whole new board to me.
So, if you're on the fence about this purchase, I say go for it! I didn't upgrade to the LT system and honestly I don't know that I would notice the difference but people seem to be stoked on them too! If you've got 50 extra bucks kicking around, upgrade, if not - Blaze!
Buy Spark R & D bindings from your local snowboard shop!
For more photos of our fun Whitewater adventure, check out our Facebook page.