what do you reckon? interesting to see new developments in the
shaping of boards ...
main thing that stands out to me re gliding on less surface area, is
that you sink down into snow so for an equivalent plan shape you could
have more surface area in contact with the snow. unless you stick to
I think it's completely bogus.
The whole idea is based around the following misconception:
"Snowboards have a strong sidecut, resulting in a number of problems
because the edgegrip is too aggressive at the widest parts of the
This is wrong due to the way it ignores the fact that a board flexes in
a turn. It's as if they are imagining an unflexed board tilted on it's
edge - of course such a board would have "too much edgegrip at the
widest parts of the board". But because boards flex in a turn, the
centre of the board gets pushed out towards the snow, thus equalising
the pressure along each the length of the edge.
So in a turn where the board is deeply flexed, this new design will have
very little edge grip as the nose and tail will hardly be touching the
snow. It's a hopeless design for carving a turn.
And then they say:
"The steel edges of the BATALEON board do not dig in as deeply or as
hard at the front and rear."
In which case I know that this board would be totally unsuitable for me.
It *might* be suitable for somebody who likes to skid their board
around on top of the snow, or for landing jumps, but for general riding,
or even in the pipe (where carving ability is important) it's gonna
What was I thinking?
It's the anti-Donek!
Read the "Advanced sidecut and flex" tidbit on Donek's site:
and then go read Bataleon's tech info.
They both can't be right -- or, they are trying to solve completely
different problems. And I suspect it's more the latter than the former when
I look at their spiel. They seem to look at edge engagement as something
bad and spend an excessive amount if time thinking about running flatbase.
That makes me wonder if they simply ride where it's flat, flat, flat, and
think of turning as "changing direction" rather than "what you do when
cruising on a snowboard". I know I don't have any problems whatsoever
maintaining speed unless I'm on flat ground. (On big alpine boards, I need
practice on *dumping speed without skidding* - just the opposite!).
Donek claims that *more* grippy tip / tail means less chatter, and Bataleon
claims that *less* grippy tip and tail means less chatter. All I know is
that when I want to carve, I want as much edge length as I can engaging the
snow with good amount of force. That doesn't happen by reducing edge grip
at the ends of the board, folks! (I'm also not saying that Donek's way is
the only way to accomplish this... a Coiler with a radial sidecut grips the
snow just as well as a Donek - albeit with a different ride - Coiler does it
by tweaking flex along the length of the board, and with dampening materials
placed in the right places.)
If they are right about less base contact with snow being faster, then how
come longer boards go faster than shorter boards? How come the top
finishers at "speed trap" events are usually the biggest people on the
biggest boards and not vice-versa? (I missed the one at Mt Hood this year
but I am definitely doing it next year, on the longest alpine board that I
own!) Less surface area means the rider's same weight is concentrated over
a smaller area, meaning more force per square unit (e.g, PSI) which would
tend to slow you down, no?
In any case I would demo one if the opportunity came up just to see if my
intuition about them is correct - that they are designed for use on flatter
terrain and that they don't like to be carved aggressively and are not
responsive on stepper terrain - but it looks like that would require a trip
to Norway so never mind - no offense to Norway but there are a few other
places I want to visit first (France, Switzerland, Austria, Chile, Japan,
all during their snow seasons of course)
Let's not confuse "new" with "good". Their design ideas are a steaming
load of crap IMNSHO.
Adding to what everyone already has mentioned, the these boards also
must be very slow edge to edge. I mean with the raised leading edges,
you must need to tip the board a LOT to initiate a turn (since
catching and initiating an edge are essentially the same motion, just
with the downhill/uphill edge).
I think the boards are designed specifically for freestyle taking the
properties of regular freestyle boards to extreme. Designed to run
straight, flat and fast easily with reduced chances of catching an
edge. Ideal features for park runs (which are groomed hardpack) where
you don't really make big carved turns, just a few short speed checks
and adjustments to line you up for the next terrain feature and then
running flat all the way there. The nose and tail remind me of the
OSin 4807's "boat hull" nose and tail and so might be decent in powder
- but still it seems like it would be really sloppy for freeriding.
The 4807 only has a "boat hull" nose... the tail is a flat fish-tail
(essentially one step less than a swallowtail). Looking at my 4807 (My
wife bought me one off eBay for my birthday - woohoo!) I am guessing the
boat hull shape will not make much difference... it's really the length, the
rise, and the softness of the nose that will make the most difference.
I dunno, might be good in powder with a more boat hull shape... but it
strikes me as a horrible design overall. I imagine the overall effect
would be similar to riding an extremely short board (think 90 cm
instead of typic 156). Doesn't sound like a good ride to me.
Also, try to imagine how something with this convex base is going to
flex... Or how sturdy those seams in the base are going to be next
time you boink a rock or rail hard.
Oh - forgot to add - these guys are silly enough to claim they have the
world's fastest snowboard - unless something has changed recently, the
highest speed ever clocked on a board was 125 mph, on a Voelkl RT 235cm
custom, made explicitly for the purpose of setting the record if I'm not
Taking under advisement that I know $#%@-all about freestyle... don't
you need some solid edge hold to generate spin off a kick or pipe
wall? Not to mention the ability to carve clean accross the pipe
transition to keep speed? I'd have doubts about these boards doing
well at that.
Your reasoning is sound, but unfortunately based on some incorrect
assumptions about freestyle technique. I will elaborate later on, but
the quick answers are:
1. You don't need or even want "edge" hold to do a spin.
2. With this board, you can still "carve" across the flat in the pipe.
As empirical evidence that the boards are more than rideable in the
park and pipe, check out the photo gallerys on the website. There are
photos of people spinning off a extremely large kickers and blasting
out of superpipes -- getting at least dozen feet of vertical aerial.
Going to the test pilot page you'll see several road gap jumps in
which the rider is at least 40 feet in the air (probably much more
than that but it's hard to judge).
Okay now onto my thoughts
===== SPINNING =======
It is a common misconception that:
a) you need a lot of grip on a spin
b) you need to use your edge to spin.
I think both these basically evolve from the incorrect focus on the
board itself. Just like how novice snowboarders believe they need to
torque and pivot the board to turn, novice freestylers think that the
key to doing a 180 or a 360 is physically spinning the board around
and following it with their bodies - and just like "novice freeriders"
they have it backwards - for a spin you "lead" with your upperbody
(shoulders) , which controls you lowerbody (hips) which "guides" the
So the key thing to spins is to be able to "cork," or pretwist the
shoulders by turning them in the opposite direction while approaching
the jump (while keeping the board going straight), and then initiating
the spin in the shoulders while keeping the board pointing and going
straight (occur a few moments before you enter the air), once the
shoulders are in motion you "release" the lock you have on the board a
moment before you enter the air and let the board "drift" to follow
your hips, which are following your shoulders. Watch the pros and
you'll see it, the shoulder/arms start first, then the hips and
finally the board starts spin a split second before takeoff (usually
on a relatively flat board).
All these motions are very subtle and smooth and so not much force
(compared to digging in an edge) is required the pre-twist and
initiate spin, what most people do is utilize the friction of the base
by "weighting" the board at the moment of angular acceleration or when
you start turning. This weighting technique uses the same principle as
when you "scoot" the board forward on shallow, slow terrain (you put
your weight on your front foot so that the base kind of "sticks",
swing your weight towards the nose. Once you are in motion, you
unweight the foot and let the board slide forward.
Once the body is in motion at a constant speed (no acceleration) you
no longer need that little bit of "friction" to "push" against and you
slide along. Doing this on a spin is a little more tricky, and you'll
see some people over do it and their edge will dig in a little, but
realize that they are in actuality trying to weight the base "behind"
the edge towards the center to gain some friction. Digging in your
edge tends to slow you down and interrupts the smooth flow of your
So as you can see, you want to get "friction" to "push off" for the
spin initiation on the base without touching your edges - which seems
to be exactly what these boards are good at with their upturned
leading and trailing edges.
=== "Carving" the pipe =======
A much shorter explanation here. Many people, in particular alpine
snowboarders, consider carving to be hard, clean, tightly arc'd turns
without skidding. However, carving is technically just getting your
board high up on its edge so that you makes a clean, pencil thin
trail. That is to say you don't have to make a hard tight turn. While
the Batteleon boards might be slower to initiate a turn (due to the
upraised leading edge) and they might be less stable in a tight radius
turn due to their reduced edge contact, the point is that these are
not really much of an issue is you just want to do a *extremely*
shallow arc towards the next halfpipe wall (almost straight).
Minor terminology correction, the middle of the pipe is called the
"flat", not the "transition." The "transition" is actually the curved
portion of the halfpipe that "transitions" from horizontal to
vertical. The top of the wall can be referred to as the "deck." So
when someone "decks" it means they flew out of the pipe and drifted
outwards so that they land on the top of the wall instead of coming
back in and rolling down the transition. The rider can also drift
inward (perhaps due to pushing too hard off the wall) and miss the
transition and fall all the way down into the "flat." At least, that's
the way I've heard it spoken.
So just like the Burton Dominant with the raised edge, I see the
Batteleon 3D as a park/pipe only board (although I would probably much
rather have the Batteleon than the Burton Dominant).
I guess I'm skeptical about this in the same way I'm skeptical about
those who "detune" their edges. I can't see why anyone would buy a
board of a particular running-length only to throw away part of that
length by blunting [and now raising] the edges.
As the site does suggest, you'll need a friendly Wintersteiger
operator if you're going to really try one of these.
I'm not sure they're entirely serious.
cheers guys - interesting views. good to see someone trying to
experiment rather than refine though. see what kind of impact they
make next year (if they're ever heard of again ...)