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Alta Snowboard Team custom board pt. 2

Erik with board
Erik of RAWR art with his masterpiece.

There’s nothing like flying on a board you designed.  I can’t say enough good things about the builders and everyone who had a part in the construction of this one-off custom snowboard.  After some experimentation and mad-science we have a first-edition, custom Alta Snowboard Team snowboard.  I personally designed this board based on my riding style and preferred dimensions.  Best part about it: it works.  It works great!  I have been wanting to get the Alta Snowboard Team name on a board but have been hesitant to just pay to have a custom top sheet thrown any old no-name piece.  I can tell you this board could be flat black spray-painted and I would ride it every day because it’s my favorite.  Bonus!: it has a sweet, custom graphic on the top sheet as well a die-cut AST logo-adorned base to match!  As I stated in part 1, I measured my own quiver as well as consulted a shop manual for reference to popular board shapes and dimensions.  I decided on a tapered, directional board with stiffness that would make most frightened.  SUCCESS!  305 mm nose, 255 mm waist, 295 mm tail, powder-point nose, blunt swallow-tail because I like the aesthetics.  Here’s something I didn’t even plan on: a non-rounded tail makes for easier standing/leaning of your board.  “Just set it…….and forget it.”  The board performs better than planned.  The powder shape, slight taper, and rear-set stance keep the nose up and out of the pow as well allow the tail to release when needed for a good slash.  When the snow isn’t deep, I’ve set the stance a bit more forward and am having a great time laying into some groomers and carving the heck out of this thing.  The slightly wider nose makes for a very responsive high-speed carver.  Also, the taper seems to work like cruise-control on big, high-speed straight-lines.  The nose floats, the tail sits down in the snow to catch every so slightly to keep the tail behind you.  No more necessary edge riding for fear of catching.  “Just set it………and forget it.”  Utilizing a full sheet of unilateral carbon fiber plus strategically-placed carbon stringers keep that board solid.  I find myself hearing a lot more wind noise without noticing I’m moving faster.  It’s that good.  The pop out of the tail is a bit difficult because of the overbuilt stiffness of it but that’s how we built it.  More freeride than freestyle but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been spun or inverted.  Stay tuned for a production edit and check out some players that helped make this board possible.

Thanks for reading,


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Alta Snowboard Team custom board pt. 1

I’ve been working with my friend Jay at Dirty Bird Boards to build my first snowboard.  Jay has been manufacturing custom skis and surfboards for the past couple years and recently made the jump to snowboards.  The shop may be close to home but that doesn’t mean this is backyard low-tech.  Jay works with space-age materials, a CAD-controlled CNC machine, and state-of-the-art press.  This is no joke.

When Jay told me we could order a custom top sheet for said board, I knew just who to turn to.  I’ve known Erik of Rawr! art for a handful of years, mainly through my comings and goings at a local dark, underground speak-easy.  He has has been producing some wild, bright, very original art for as long as I’ve know him  (I’m sure long before).  Here’s his process showing 4 stages of the top sheet art coming to life.ASTWIP copy

I’ve always enjoyed making things and the idea of doing it myself.  In the off-season, I started making surfboards on the Oregon coast.  After learning how to work with fiberglass, why not make a snowboard?  Finally, with the help of Dirty Bird Boards and Jay, that dream is happening.

Jay thinks the shaper/surfer relationship has a place in the mountains too.  Talk to your shaper?  Talk to your ski/snowboard builder.  Before we started, Jay and I sat down in his living room and talked about what I was looking for in this particular board.  Much like a surfboard shaper, the questions included: how I ride, where I plan to ride, and what conditions this board would be used in.  I then took measurements of my entire quiver of snowboards to get an idea of how to quantify the feelings of how each rides.  With the help of a secret manual in Jay’s possession, I also had access to the design process and measurements of a very large and well-established snowboard company.  Between my notebook measurements, my design intentions, and the secret book of specs, I developed my ultimate shredder.  This board will be a day-to-day resort ride for anything from ice to a foot of fresh.  I have some brief racing experience and that comes through in my style of riding.  More freeride than freestyle, this board is meant to go in one direction, fast and furious.  Vertical sidewalls, a 162cm length, a not-too-wide waist width, and double-carbon fiber construction will keep it stable in the hard pack and at high speeds.  A very directional shape, moderate taper, scooped-up nose, and blunt swallow-tail will all help when the snow gets deeper.  I’m excited for the design, the building process, the art and collaboration, and working with my friends.  I’m very excited to ride my own custom board and beyond that to provide feedback as a tester and further the process of design and board building.

Stay tuned for more of the process.  I plan to document as much as I can.



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Beth Wins Canis Lupus 2013

Beth on Course Photo: Vivian

In the competitive world of snowboarding, there are but a few events that incorporate bumps, twists, and tight turns down gullies set up with slalom gates. The Legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom is the most famous of these crazy races. Dick’s Ditch held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is another well known snowboarding race. Although not nearly as famous as the other mentioned slalom races, Utah has its own banked slalom race hosted by Canyons Resort known as the Canis Lupus.

This year’s annual Canis Lupus race was held on February 2, 2013.   ASTs’ very own Beth Weissman was the top ladies finisher. She was followed by her teammates Kaitlin Elliott in 3rd, Kara Doane in 4th, and Camilla Brown with a strong 5th place finish. We are ecstatic here in Little Cottonwood to have four of the top five finishers as members of the Alta Snowboarding Team.

The course is a 1/4 mile natural gully in which gates are set up for athletes to go around before continuing down the mountain course. These gates are not in easy locations to maneuver around. Beth described the course as rocky, icy, twisty, turny, and gnarly. Next, add five difficult gates and a bunch of snowboarders and you got yourself a competition.

Beth at starting gate

Beth won the Canis Lupus last year by beating AST member Laura Dewey by 1/20 of a second, which was the same margin she won by this year. Beth was able to shave some time off her run this year and described the highlight of the event as coming back from second to take first place. Furthermore she was delighted to keep the title in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Vivian Bengtson placed third last year and competed this year, but took a nasty fall. She is not discouraged and we will continue to watch her future progression.  She will be back shredding the first part of March.

Beth and Vivian smile for photographer
Corey Kopischke


Canyons Resort Facebook page has some nice photos from the event. Check them out. If you think you can ride a gnarly ditch race, enter next years’ Canis Lupus.

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Laura Dewey Wins Chamonix

The Alta Snowboard Team congratulates Laura Dewey for her top finish at the Swatch Freeride World Tour in Chamonix-Monte-Blanc on January 22,  2013.  Dewey had several setbacks on her journey to France, but her strong will and determination put her on top.

Laura at Chamonix

Laura’s first flight leaving Salt Lake City was delayed by an ice storm.  Her plane leaving from Washington D.C. was cancelled.  After being re-booked and barely making it on a flight to London she found out her bags were not going to arrive in time for the event.  Once she did make it to the World Freeride event she rented some boots, Tim Carlson lent her a Lib Tech board and she raced away to the event.  Literally she was running across Chamonix in order to make the start time.  Once on top of the mountain Laura knew what she had to do.  She said she felt relief and excitement.  She worked hard for this run and she was going to have fun and make her efforts count.  Despite all the obstacles Laura faced on her journey to the mountain, she had an awesome clean line linking four jumps and won the women’s snowboard event.

Laura’s perseverance despite all the setbacks makes her a driving force and inspiration to the whole team.  Laura is affectionately known as the ladies’ captain of the Alta Snowboard Team.  Her roots run deep at Alta and Snowbird, the Freeride community, and the river community. Most recently,  Laura’s international travels have opened a new door for her full of new opportunities and experiences. She now has good friends in France she wants to visit again.

Photo: Freeride World Tour

Laura qualified for the SWATCH Freeride world Tour based on her points from the 2011-2012 season and she will be competing next at Kirkwood, California on February 27, 2013.  The next international event Dewey will be competing in will be at Fieberbrunn Pillerseetal, Austria on March 9, 2013.

 Check out the Freeride world tour site for upcoming events, standings, and photos.  The site and the competitions are for both skiers and snowboarders.  One Love.