What’s it like working in the terrain park?

This is my second season working in the terrain park. I love it. I also briefly worked in the terrain park at AZ snowbowl back in the late 90’s before there were rakes!

So if you are thinking of working in the terrain park at a ski area then this is for you. You’ve got options for lots of different jobs, but is the terrain park for you?

Who is this job not for?

If you don’t ride the terrain park and you don’t think you’d like building features and taking care of them then it’s not for you. If you just want a job to get a pass well there are a lot of other jobs you could do like: rentals, waiting on tables, instructing, grooming, mechanics, janitor, hr, lifty, etc.

I’ve done instructing, rentals (2-3 seasons) and waiting on tables. All of them provided time where I could usually ride daily. If you got a night job you could ride all day.

At the beginning of last season at Cannon I had a job in rentals and my boss told me I wouldn’t be able to ride as much as the previous year because of school camps or whatever and in my mind I was like no way. I do this because I love to ride and no ride break sounds lame.

So I quit and moved out west and found a job working in the terrain park where I wanted to be anyways.

So…

  • If you don’t ride the terrain park then don’t work there.
  • If you are not stoked on it then don’t work there.

If you don’t ride the terrain park then you won’t care about the work that you do because you are not a user. If you hit these jumps and features then you will care and want them to be smooth.

I am surprised that where I currently work some of the guys are not that stoked on the work or riding the park.

What?

They seem a bit jaded and lazy. I don’t get it. You work at a great mountain that’s totally beautiful with a good park too and you don’t like it? Probably not for you. Fortunately this year I got a boss that knows what’s up and does good work. We’ve got groomers that focus just on the park.

Last year that wasn’t the case. At Lookout not one of the groomers cared about the park. None of them rode it and getting them to do anything other than groom around all the features was difficult. They would cut out the sides of the landings when passing through and never actually groomed the landings.

You need a dedicated crew for that someone who cares.

This year is a different story we got a good guy in charge, but some folks (rakers) that have been here a long time hanging around that just don’t care that much.

Duties working in the terrain park:

  • Open and close the park
  • Place signs
  • Open and close ropes
  • Set up fencing
  • Carry tools sometimes when riding
  • Raking features (this a big part of the job)
  • Patrol park
  • Block off jumps and call patrol when needed
  • Teach people common sense like clear the landing when you fall and don’t put your ski’s on on top of the jump
  • Radio when needed
  • Set rails and boxes
  • Set brushes or whiskers or paint edges of jumps
  • Test features
  • Rake! Keep jumps and features smooth

I like making jumps

Even when I am not working in the terrain park I tend to find myself building jumps. A few seasons back I built a little park with some shovels on the hillside in the farmcountry. It was fun.

There are a few clips of it in this video:

Snowboarding 2022 at Lookout pass’s terrain park

This past winter I worked at Lookout Pass ski area in Idaho. I worked in the terrain park and it was one of the better jobs I’ve had. Digging in the snow and making jumps is something that I would do even if I wasn’t working like I made this earlier post called Cannon Kicker.

So getting paid to do it was even better. Lookout pass is an area in northern Idaho that get some of the most snow in Idaho. Somewhere around 400 inches a season. The snow was on the wetter side kind of like the PNW. The weather was kind of mild. It didn’t usually get that cold.

But enough with the weather. That’s boring. You can look those things up. Here’s a video I made with some clips from the season.

So last season 2021 was my first season having a pass since 2002. Yeah a long time. And in between 2002 and 2021 I might have done some snowboarding in my parents backyard hiking up some old logging trails and a few times elsewhere.

But it’s coming back. I feel like my riding has improved since starting up last season. And it’s been fun too. I can’t believe I stopped for so long. COVID came along. I was living in Japan and that wasn’t going so good so I came back to the States and started up working at the ski area which was fun.

But the west is the best as far as snow goes in the USA. So I went to Idaho where I wanted to go. In fact I lived in the small town of Wallace just down the road.

Giro Emerge helmet review

This is a review of the Giro Emerge helmet. Here is a video I made about it.

I stopped snowboarding for a long time like 15+ years or so and then started again last season. One thing that changed in all that time is that way more people wear helmets.

I actually wore a helmet for a little while back in the late 90’s after a head injury, but it just kind of annoyed me and very few people wore them then. This one is not so annoying and if you wear it everyday it just becomes a habit..

If you catch your heel edge a couple of times you might consider getting a helmet too. I had a couple good ones where I was practicing switch backside 180’s and caught my heel edge which means your head is going to slam into the snow.

So then I started to borrow helmets from my work at Cannon until I bought this one.

The helmet…

Works fine. It’s a MIPS helmet…

What does that mean?

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. Called a slip plane, the interior layer, frequently yellow, allows for 10-15 mm of rotational movement between the head and the helmet in the critical 10-15 milliseconds after an oblique impact. This reduces the rotational forces exerted on the brain during impact and, presumably, reduces brain injury relative to the same helmet without MIPS. – source

I didn’t notice at first but there is a layer in there that will move.

It works fine for me. Is slightly larger than needed but I tightened it up wearing a bavaclava (also adds warmth) and added some sticky foam pieces on the inside.

My head is kind of skinny so looks a little big on me. It’s not quite as low volume as I’d prefer, but the chin strap is better than the Bern helmet I used to use and you can take off the ear pieces if you want.

They have many different colors that you can choose from.

Learn more about the Giro Emerge helmet here (and read more reviews too).

Cannon Kicker

These are some side hits and jumps that I made at Cannon Mt. ski area in NH in 2021 and a few backcountry farmcountry ones near where I live in Monroe, NH.

Sometimes you just see a spot like ohh, there’s a jump there if you dig it out or pile up some snow. And sometimes the snowcats will take them out when they widen trails. Of course side hits aren’t in the middle of trails like terrain park hits, but normally on the sides and out of the way.

But by the time you go looking for these or even find this post they could be long gone because conditions change everyday.

Tuckerbrook side hit

Here’s me hitting a side hit I built.

Last season I made a few side hits in Tuckerbrook. This one which was off the side and near the top of Fox tail was one of the better ones while it lasted.

Like another mentioned here it started off as a snowmaking whale on the side of the trail. But I chiseled out a take off one day when the snow was soft and enjoyed it for a few days before it turned to ice.

Tuckerbrook is rad.

It’s the beginner area, the lift is slow and the runs are short. But there are a few fun blue runs, some rollers, banks and the snow tends to stay nicer here than the upper mt probably cause it is less steep, less windy and gets less traffic.

I worked on a few hits on Turkey trot, Bear Paw, Fox Tail and Deer run in early 2021.

I even sort of made a cool gap between Fox tail and Bear paw late season. There’s an area there that with enough speed you can jump from Fox tail over some pipes (hopefully covered in snow) and land on the side of Bear Paw. I had to shovel some snow in the landing to make it smoother and you have to ollie hard off the side off Fox tail. I was a little sketched out but knew I could do it. And I actually recorded it but when I went to play it back the camera phone had shifted while recording and I lost it ;-/.

Spookie hit

This one is on Spookie. It’s a snowmaking whale that seems to be sitting there and it originally had a straight wall of ice on it carved out by the snowcat which made it not hittable but I saw the potential and cleaned it up.

Snowcats up there often leave these icy walls on the sides of some trails and that is kind of dangerous and ruins any jumps or wall riding on the side of the trail – at least at Cannon. You can hire me to go in and smooth them outˆˆ.

It was/is a big block of ice and I first went in there with a shovel and tried chipping away at it to smooth it out and no way. Then the next day it heated up softened (when I took the pic) and I went back.

I was debating carving out a groove to hit it like a hip but just ran out of time. I smoothed out the wall and transition to make it more approachable. It has more potential to work on it. At the moment the best way to hit is like the line you see above if you look closely.

But it’s often very icy so beware.

Started making a hit above it too so you could hit it along the tree line pointed towards middle ravine, but that needs more snow.

Taft slalom hits

Taft slalom is my default choice trail off the top of Cannon. Upper ravine is nice too especially when the snow if good because you can carve those fun turns like a bordercross trail.

But I tend to stay on the sides of Taft. And you can hike out to the Saddle when the snow is good.

Here’s a fun hit especially when the snow is soft.

You got to zoom in on this one to see it.

It’s on the left before the second snow gun. I saw the spot and was like oohhh. Took my shovel there and piled a little more snow and tried to carve it out better but there’s a lot of ice in there and my plastic shovel couldn’t do much. So I kept hitting it and eventually carved out a take off.

One surprising day I went up there to find 3-4 inches up there and some wind drifts along the left side there and it was good and had a nice soft landing. It was sketchy though because if you zoom in there was a branch sticking out into the trail and you had to point it between the stick and snow gun to land right.

But luckily someone cut that stick out and fortunately did not take the jump out so it’s safer and better.

Farther down on the left of this trail is another sidehit that’s fun but I didn’t make except dig out a rut and some ice in the take off. I didn’t take a pic of that one though. It’s just past this one to the left on that last roller before Taft flattens out towards the saddle.

Tramway hits

This one to the left already lost it’s glory as it hardly exists anymore. The snowcats had built up an icy pile of snow on the side of a little roller there and I thought that would be a good place. Then it snowed and I went in with my shovel and made a nice smooth take off on the day of the pic. It’s between the 1st and second tram tower.

This one is also on Tramway below the other but near the 2nd tower shown in the previous pic. There’s a bank there on the side and you can drop off it and into this gully and shoot back on the trail.

It was kinda there but I went in with a shovel and chiseled it out and made the take off cleaner although last time I saw it it wasn’t looking very good.

Imagine a new kind of “park”

It’s my dream.

Normally a terrain park is on a separate part of the mountain.

But what if the park was all over the mt?

I mean it kind of is already, but what if you built a sidehit here, a berm there and a hip over there? What if you just enhanced some of the natural features already there?

But someone might say that’s dangerous. Well, it depends on the feature and where you put them skiing is dangerous already and if you mark the hits off with signs and put them out of the average skiers way then you’re probably okay.

Some people like to ride the whole mt. and in safe areas on the sides of trails or where there is space you could hire me to build side hits with a shovel and basic tools;-).

It could be a new kind of park. You could be first to the marketplace with this kind of park^^. You could put some signs there next to features to warn people and hire me to make them (with my degree in fine art I could guarantee that they will stand outˆˆ!).

If you want to see some awesome non-terrain park sidehit jumping check out Arthur Longo’s side hits series… I recommend #3.

Of course most of us including myself don’t ride anywhere near his level. But here are a few more side hit jumps I made.

  • Frontside 360 melon grab (tap, lol) off a side hit I made 0:07
  • Frontside 180 tail grab off a side hit I made 0:22
  • Indy straight air 0:37
  • Mute straight air 0:32
  • Backside 180 mute off a big park hit at Cannon 0:42
  • Switch frontside 180 stalefish off a little kicker I made in the farm country 0:57
  • Backside 180 mute off a little kicker I made in the farm country 1:05

Bill’s hill

“V” marks the melting jumps I built

A neighbor and family friend down the rode let me build some jumps on his hill. Some you can see a bit in the video above towards the end. They were melting down and this was one of the last days there. I would go there on days off and hike them.

This hill actually had a rope tow on it way back in the 60’s. There is also some steeper terrain up in the trees you could do if it ever snowed enough. You could get 500 vertical ft here with a rope tow up into the trees.

The opportunities that I missed

I was watching a video the other day by Jon Jondai. And it was quite interesting.

And the message that I took from this video was to challenge yourself more. And I woke up this morning thinking I have missed a lot of opportunities because I was scared.

A little over a year ago while I was still in Japan I got an offer for a job at the time teaching English in Japan as an ALT teacher in Fukuoka. I contemplated it as I had no other options really at that time, but I said no because I felt over experienced and that they should pay me more than the average new teacher given my experience.

I was also out of money at the time, but decided to quit Japan and come back to the States to live with my parents. It’s easy (sort of) to do that.

It’s free for me. But I’ve done it before and I don’t think it’s very responsible or independent for me. Do I feel I missed a big chance because I didn’t take that job?

No, it’s not something I really wanted to do, but I missed a chance to independently get myself out of a bad situation and make some money.

Of course who knows what would have happened if I did start the job…

More recently my dreams have been delayed

More recently over the last 5 months I’ve been looking for a step van to convert into a living space and use as a creative medium for my artistic interests. I’ve spent a lot of time researching it and looking for a certain kind of van.

Given my location and the kind of step van I want (diesel w/ a 10-11ft cargo area) and price that I want I have had few options.

I could blame the market or the things I just said, but there were some chances.

There was one in Maine that I saw back in June I think and contemplated (’87 Chevy P30), but the steering was messed up and it was old. It ran though and honestly I could have gotten it and fixed it up, but I was scared.

Like in Japan I was scared to change my situation. To get a job. This time I was scared to take a chance. It’s true it could have turned out to be a dud or have problems, but it would be months before I would find another option.

The next chance

I found another in Oklahoma in August. This one was newer (a 2003 p42), but actually had worse rust underneath than the one in Maine. I sent a mechanic there to look at it for me and he said it would be a “project”.

I talked with the owner many times and made an offer. Well, actually I just said what the mechanic said which was “I would only pay about $3000 for it”. He was asking $5000.

After that I called back and he said he sold it.

Certainly it had problems and I feared the rust might be so bad that it couldn’t be repaired. I could of went there and saw it but I didn’t. I was stuck imagining the worst case scenario vs. the best.

Which as I understand it is the problem of a pessimist. Am I a pessimist? I’d like to think not, however I remember reading a quote not long ago that said something like (paraphrased):

A pessimist imagines the problems in any given situation and an optimist imagines the possibilities in one.

It’s possible it was too far gone, but possibly not.

I won’t know.

You’re going to fail. The best athletes in the world fail. They lose. They miss the shot. Michael Jordan missed many game winning baskets. The best baseball hitters only hit like 30% or so of the time.

What I lost?

I lost time. Now it’s October and I still have not a step van. The goal was to convert it and move out west with it. I have been very excited about this and been researching it extensively.

But am I out of time?

Nearly. It’s not impossible until the season starts and I am still here. The chance of using this place (my parent’s home) to build it out is almost gone though.

Other options I missed

I missed probably a hundred beautiful women over the years that I could have met or could of had a date with if only I had made a step towards them and opened my mouth.

Sure, I know a lot of them would have said no.

Sometimes I did step forward, but more times I didn’t because…

Fear will make your life really boring.

Fear is what has held me back from all of these chances. It never goes away. It’s like my judo teacher always said, for every competition you do you will always get scared.

It’s true.

In the States I did 3 jiu-jitsu (BJJ) competitions and I probably would have done another 3 if I had more guts. It sounds simple and the act of showing up is, but the act of competing in a fighting tournament…

Basically it’s a fight and of course there are rules, but it can be nerve wracking weeks up until the moment the comp starts and then the fear is pretty much gone and you are in the moment.

I did 2 judo competitions in Japan and that is how I got my black belt.

I faced my fears.

Every single time I competed I felt better after. Sure, sometimes I lost or was frustrated, but I did not regret it.

Like someone else said…

You rarely regret things you do and you often regret things you don’t.

Now I am pissed off because the summer is gone and I have no van to drive out west with. Sure, I may just go out west without a van, but then I am dumping money into my landlord’s pockets vs. being independent and having my own place.

And despite the poor buyer’s market or lack of options it’s still my fault.

I could blame others and I have, but really it’s my fault. So there will be more options in the future, but the time I am missing by not taking a chance…

And as Jon Jondai said above it’s more fun to take chances. You’ll lose some, but there’s always something to learn.

I got promoted to judo black belt (shodan)

On January 2019 I went to Japan to live and train judo/bjj. Finding places to train BJJ was no problem. There were 6 or 7 places where I could train and I ended up at a place called Axis.

But judo was a different story. I found 2 places in the city for training judo. I picked one that seemed to be a little more friendly and probably because they were a few other foreigners there.

They helped me get a cultural visa to stay in Japan.

And they recommended I do the shodan shinsa test. Which was a competition to get a black belt. Shodan means 1st degree black belt.

So I did that 2 times and accumulated 2.5 points which is only .5 of a point away from having enough to get a black belt.

Getting a black belt in Japan vs. the USA

I had a green and a brown belt in the USA prior to going to Japan.

In SF city college it goes: white-green-brown-black and I think in brown you have to get a couple of degrees.

In Japan it goes white-black.

As far as I know for adults there are no colored belts. Sometimes children or teens may have colored belts.

In CCSF you basically sign up to get promoted and then you do a demonstration of throws and a written test. You don’t have to compete.

In Japan you have to compete. You have to accumulate enough points. If you lose once you are out. If you win you get a point. If you tie you get a half of a point but you are out. If you lose or tie then you have to wait until the next competition.

If it’s your first comp. then I think you need 4 points total but after your first comp the number goes down to 3 points and even after you get the points you have to do nage no kata.

COVID cancels the competitions for black belt

So I missed 2 competitions in Japan because they were cancelled to covid. So the budokan (local martial arts center) in Fukuoka sent a letter out to the dojos and said if you think you have someone with enough points that you would recommend for black belt then so be it.

So my dojo recommended me for black belt and that’s how I got it. From that point until I actually got it took probably 7-9 months because of covid affecting shipping.

Related:

Genomelink.io & why I don’t recommend them

Genomelink.io is a company that offers DNA testing services. I uploaded some raw data to them and then after a few weeks decided I didn’t want to use the service anymore.

So I didn’t find any easy instructions on how to cancel and sent them an email on July 1.

Sent: Thursday, July 1, 2021 8:57 AM
To: info@genomelink.io <info@genomelink.io>
Subject: Cancel
Hi˜
I’d like to cancel my plan and how can I download what I learned or can i?
Ian

I waited a couple of days and did not receive a reply so I tried again.

Sent: Saturday, July 3, 2021 5:47 PM
To: info@genomelink.io <info@genomelink.io>
Subject: Cancel
I’d like to confirm that i won’t be charged again. please respond.

Again no response.

So I assumed maybe they went ahead and cancelled it. Then on July 15th I get a receipt for $14.


 

I’ve since sent probably over 10 emails to that above address that have not received a reply.

How to contact genomelink.io?

info@genomelink.io doesn’t work. Or at least it haven’t been between July 1 and today July 20th, 2021. And I couldn’t find any other emails or phone numbers where you could actually speak to someone.
And that’s pretty much the only email I could find.

I have tried to contact the company AWAKENS that supposedly owns it in Berkeley by sending a letter. I went to the company ‘team’ page and searched for emails and no luck.

What kind of company doesn’t reply to emails?

When you sign up there is either a year long or monthly option and I did the monthly, but now it looks like they are going to keep billing me.

I contacted my bank and they gave me some phone# of the visa that was supposedly Genomelink’s but I called it and it was totally unrelated.

My bank is trying to track them down now.

This has been a big hassle and waste of time trying to track this company down. Definitely don’t recommend.

Thirtytwo TM-3 snowboard boot review and why you might want a TM-2

This is a review of the Thirtytwo snowboard boot TM 3 model. Push play on the video to learn more.

It’s a pricey boot. My previous boots were old Burton Driver boots and these ones sounded good so I went with these.

They are rated a 4-6 boot in stiffness. And I thought they felt super stiff when I first rode them. In fact I only rode them for 2 days.

Why only 2 days?

Because they expanded a bit and started to feel loose. So I want to get the shorter size. Last boots were a 9.5 and these were a 9, but actually I want to get the 8.5.

Watch the video for more details.

Features:

  • Recoil flex control
  • True half sizes
  • Performance Rubber Outsole
  • Performance backstay
  • 3D Molded Tongue
  • Elite Internal Harness
  • Tongue Tension
  • Articulated Cuff …
  • INTUITION FOAM LINER
  • 100% Heat Moldable
  • STI ENERGY FOAM
  • High Rebound Cushioning
  • PRESSURE PAD
  • Alleviates Internal Lace Bite
  • HEAT VENT
  • Breathable Shell
  • ADAPTIVE ARCH SUPPORT
  • Interchangeable Arch (see below for more)
  • HEEL HOLD SYSTEM
  • Customizable Fit
  • POWER CUFF
  • Adjustable Support

Pros and cons

  • Pro-customizable
  • Pro-seem fairly durable
  • Pro-stiffness is good and customizable
  • Pro-responsive
  • Con-heavy
  • Con-bulky
  • Con-pricey

Probably fits normal to thicker ankles and feet better

If you have skinny ankles and calves you might not want this liner or boot. Here’s why…

  1. The eyelets around the ankle have frayed on my boots because I am pulling them to the max so they are touching and getting stretched.
  2. The liner and the velcro at the top is maxxed out on one foot so it’s not sticking to anything
  3. Despite my toes being slammed into the front there is excess space around the foot in places.

…Update 2023 on the TM-3 and why I won’t buy it again

So at this point I’ve put around 130 days on them and I can say that they have held up well. There is some fraying of stitches near where I rest my board on my left foot and they eyelets around the ankle are fraying and I put some ducktape on that.

But I wouldn’t buy these again. Over the year or so I’ve had foot pain, bruised and black toes. The 9 was too big and the 8.5 is incredibly toe jammed yet still had excess space around the foot especially above the forefoot. I have skinny ankles/calves and one boot liner I couldn’t tighten enough with the velcro on the top of the Elite liner.

If you have thicker ankles feet then these might fit you better.

Currently I am considering a TM-2. That’s got a different liner and is more popular and cheaper than the TM-3.

Learn more about the TM-2.

Union Force vs. Strata snowboard binding review

So I was obsessed with researching bindings and was primarily focused on getting the Strata, but then I saw the 5 pack Force binding and it caught my eye.

I decided to buy both the red 2022 Union Strata and the 2021 limited edition “5 pack” Union Force binding. Ohh and before I get into it I will mention changes for 2023 and there will be links on the bottom of the page for more info on those.

Union Force snowboard binding review (vs. the Strata)

This is a review of the Union Force snowboard binding compared to the Strata. This is actually a limited edition “5 pack” model from 2021.

Of course you must be wondering…

How does this 2021 model compare to the 2023?

The highback and baseplate appear to be the same except for a different colorway. The ankle straps have been updated to the Exoframe 4.0 Ankle Strap. And the toe strap to the TS 2.0 Rhombus Toe Strap.

Learn more about the 2023 Union Force  or the 2023 Union Force pro with Exoframe 5.0 ankle straps, TS 4.0+ toe straps, and the all new Magnesium S1 ratchets.

2022 Union Strata snowboard binding review

This is a review of the 2022 Union Strata snowboard binding. I rode this binding first.

The 2022 model did not appear to be any different from the 2021. The only visible difference I could see was that the word “Strata” was not on the highback.

The 2023 Strata also does not appear any different than the 2022 except for a different color way (acid green, black, white, orange).

The straps, highback (no holes in 2023), baseplate and buckles appear to be the same as 2022.

The one I got in the video above was the team highback.

What did I think?

I tried the Strata first. And it was definitely different feeling at first and a bit painful underfoot at first. Perhaps it was the mini-disk or my boots or whatever. It did feel more loose.

The footbed is wider and there was some extra space between my boot and the interior sides of the front part of the binding.

The Force was tighter fitting.

The Strata feels a little lower to the board and little more flexy. The Force feels a little more stiff underfoot (standard baseplate?) and responsive.

It’s a little more powerful and aggressive feeling to me.

The Strata looser. More casual. More barefoot feeling.

What I didn’t like

  1. One of the toe straps on the Force (despite being the same on the Strata) would slip off occasionally and had a funny sort of warp to it. A random imperfection.
  2. They are painted bindings and that stuff chips and scratches off easily. But perhaps most metal bindings are like that.
  3. The extra space in the Strata (the footbed is wide).

The Strata’s a little less adjustable. There is no adjustable toe ramp and the heel area is less adjustable. The Force is more adjustable.

If you like lots of forward lean then the Strata has less cause you can only adjust it so far (3 settings I believe), but it’s more of a “freestyle” focused binding as they say so many may not want much.

And the Strata forward lean adjustment isn’t as easy to adjust but most people don’t fiddle with that much so it doesn’t really matter.

The Force is more of an all mountain binding. But whatever binding you get you can ride it anywhere, don’t feel too limited by the labels.

I suspect the Strata would feel better for jibs, but I personally don’t jib much.

As far as shock absorption goes I think they are both good. The Force has a thicker softer area underfoot. The Strata’s isn’t as high and the material is more rubbery.

Holy highbacks?!

Both bindings are available with holy highbacks;-) if you like them – I don’t. But the holy highbacks were discontinued with the Strata in 2023.

According to one of the Union reps I was emailing the highbacks with holes are  a “tad bit softer”.

The Strata highback doesn’t really have any padding whereas the Force has a lot.

The Strata is a bit more minimalist. I like the asym shape though.

Other snowboard bindings I was thinking about

Other bindings I was considering/comparing were several Salomon shadow fit bindings and the Bent Metal Transfer. In the end I went with these two. Salomon’s kind of looked cool, I was tempted to try out their shadow fit, but being a ski company kind of turned me off a little;-).

The Bent Metals are cool. I like Mervin’s stuff (currently ride a Lib board (Banana Magic), but I went with the Union’s. Maybe they felt a little heavier to me or liked the design of Union’s better.

Older bindings I had were old Burton Missions. I’ve had a few Burton bindings and wanted to try something new.

Learn more about the 2023 Union Force and Strata

Update. One of my ankle connectors on my Force bindings began to crack so I contacted Union and they sent me a new one in like a week!

“…So, if you break, or even crack your baseplate or heelcup during riding, we’ll replace it for life. Guaranteed.” – Union bindings