Monday, April 30, 2012

Board Exam: 2011/2012 Capita Charlie Slasher Snowboard Review

First off, I didn't demo this board. I got a good price ($240 after 40% off, late-season deal), so I bought it straight off. The difference with this board is that I rode plenty of other pow boards, so I knew what I liked and didn't like. Charlie is a good combo of the likes without most of the dislikes.

What the rep said: 
Take it straight from Blue.

Stats/Setup: I'm around 6'1" and 165# and I went with the 164. I generally strap Salomon Dialogue Boots (size 9.5) into Union Force SL bindings.

Conditions:
Everything, but this board was made for powder. You'll have a better board for other conditions. This is a quiver board. Not to be confused with a quivering broad.

First impression: Big and gnarly. I'm so stoked it just snowed.

Uh, it's the one on the left.
The Ride: I was lucky enough to pull the trigger on the Slasher just before one of the best pow days I've ever ridden at Mt. Hood Meadows. Knee-deep and sunny in Oregon just doesn't happen. Enough about my luck.

My biggest concern about the board was that it wouldn't perform in the trees. The combo of not much sidecut and a wide waist had me even more scared than the graphics. This video calmed me down. Then I took it into the woods myself and it lived up to the hype. Why? My guess is it's taper and enough torsional looseness to steer quickly. The nose rocker also aids maneuverability in powder's 3D world.

The true test of a powder board is its float and you know Charlie is on top of that. The 6mm rocker from the front insert pack to the tip, the 20mm taper and the overall width and surface area keep the Slasher cruising like a missile. Ride enough deep pow and drop enough cliffs and you'll eventually find yourself too far over the nose. It happens to everyone. Charlie has an answer for that, too. The two, 30mm-wide carbon stringers extending forward from the waist to the tip will bring you back where you belong. I'm not sure I've fully exercised these yet, but I've definitely had the nose sunk and not tomahawked. At the same time, I'm able to center my weight to a point where my back leg isn't nearly as tired as it normally is on a deep day. All of this on a board with a real tail that has power through turns and decent pop. A tail that buries trees and skiers alike in tsunami slashes.

Negatives about this board have to do with taking it out of its element. This is not an all-mountain, do-everything board. The only time you should ride it switch is when buttering. Short-radius turns on hardpack expose that shallow sidecut and wide waist and make it feel a little sluggish.

This board is not called Charlie Side-Slipper for a reason. Open it up and crank out bigger turns and you will be rewarded. If you have to ride it on hardpack, say between your favorite stashes, point it straight and rip it hard. Bury a skier and disappear.

Bottom Line: Pow-specific board with a freestyle feel. This should not be your first board, it should be your second.

Similar Boards: If you take this another step towards all-mountain it would look like the Ride Berserker. One more step and it's the Lib Tech Lando Phoenix.

For a limited time, check Capita for the full scoop.

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