Board Test: Wide Rides

Wide Rides Stop with the self-induced frostbite method, and forget about Chinese foot wrapping-that onlyworks when you’re young, anyway. The problem isn’t your feet. It’s just a matter of finding the right boardfor them. Whether you’re a ten-plus or a small-footer looking for big- board attributes, there are loads ofreasons to investigate a wider ride. Number one is that boot drag sucks. Bad. It’s impossible to feel thesensation of railing through a turn when the edge of your board is an inch and a half above the snow andyou’re bouncing along on the toe of your boot or the heelcup of your binding. Even if you’re not overlyendowed in the foot department, a wider board can provide more float in deep snow and allow you to ridewith less binding angle-feet can go straight across the board-if that’s how you like it. When purchasing big,consider the board’s waist width-the measurement of how wide it is in the middle-a good gauge of what sizeboots it can accommodate.

Wide boards start at around 26 centimeters, which can comfortably handle asize-ten boot, and go up from there. Tip and tail widths aren’t factors in sizing as much as they are in boarddesign and function. When you’ve figured out the correct width, choose a length based on your height andwhat kind of riding you plan to do-go longer for more stability, shorter for maneuverability. If you’re on thefringe, you may be able to find a regular freeriding board that will suit you; check out the Top 25 and Buyer’sGuide starting on page 92.

Wide-board offerings are growing each year. In their 2000 lineups, brands likeK2 and Burton actually have a selection of boards with the mega-metatarsaled rider in mind. In fact, almostevery major snowboard company offers at least one board in the dance floor-nightmare category, making itpossible to find not only a board that fits your feet, but one that fits your riding style, too. -K.H. BurtonCanyon 162 $460 Burton’s high-end wide ride-all the width, no sacrifice in performance. Also check outthe Floater and the moderately wide Fluid (Top 25, page 92). Waist width: 26.8 cm Also available in: 157,168, and 173 cm Elan Boulevard 158 $379 New for 2000, the Boulevard is Elan’s widest board.Parabolic sidecut makes it quick to turn, even for its width. Waist width: 26.8 cm Also available in: 148,152, 155, and 164 cm K2 Ultima 159 $499

A technological step up from the Fatbob-forefather of wideboards-the Ultima pairs some serious girth with K2’s piezo-electric dampening. K2 offers three other wideboard models, the Fatbob, Trucker, and the Double Wide. Waist width: 27 cm Also available in: 155, 162,166, 170, and 176 cm Never Summer Wide 159 $440 Based on the success of their Premier freeridingmodel, the Wide incorporates a carbon “V” in the tip and tail to get power to the edge. Waist width: 26.5 cmAlso available in: 154, 156, 163, 166, and 170 cm Ride Yukon 159 $480 The performance-ridingcharacteristics of the Timeless model (see Top 25, page 92) but enhanced for “big humans.” Ride also makesthe Fleetwood and the Mountain, which is slightly wide. Waist width: 26.6 cm Also available in: 164 and 169cm Sims Max 162 $375

A wide version of the Sims Enduro. The Max is a stiffer board to accommodatenot only bigger feet, but the added weight and power that comes with large riders (or riders who go large).Waist width: 27 cm Also available in: 157 cm