Euro Carving & hard boots: next big snowboard things
People often ask me, “Hey, The Snow Gauge, what’s the next big thing in snowboarding going to be?”
My standard response went: “Go away heathen snowboarder – I don’t care because I ski”.
Now I can actually reply with a face straighter than what their binding set-up is about to be: Euro Carving.
That’s right my snowboarding friends. Pack away the softails and your triple corks because things are about to get hard all over again!
The Euro Carve. The Uber Carve. The Ultra Carve. Call it what you will but I am making the call early that it is going to become huge.
Thought to be confined to the mid 90s, Italians and Austrians that couldn’t make it in alpine skiing and some dud event at the Winter Olympics, the Euro Carve is now at the cutting edge (pun intended) somewhere elsewhere in the world: South Korea.
I’ve spent much of the past two weeks at the Winter Olympics host region in Pyeongchang and let me tell you it’s bigger than kimchi, Korean barbecues and cutesy socks combined.
It seems like every second person there is Euro Carving. And those that aren’t clearly want to. Sometimes until 5.30am under floodlights.
From Bokwang Phoenix Park (“The Wang”) in Pyeongchang to High 1 in Gangwon-do there’s more carving going on here than at an Argentinean abattoir.
Honestly, I haven’t seen so many snowboarders in hard boots since the Zeke Steggall appreciation day at Perisher back in ’97.
And if you believe it’s just a fad consider this. First of all, South Korea is very much a country at the cutting edge – think Samsung, Kia and LG. When they go hard at something the world tends to notice.
Secondly in the next year Pyeongchang will be the centre of the world when it comes to snowboarding for a few weeks. If something is big here it will eventually go bigger in ‘boarding meccas such as Laax, Mammoth Mountain and Mt Selwyn.
Sure, the fact they groom more here than the Marist Brothers helps, but there’s also a third, more global factor.
While a number of US resorts have enjoyed epic powder this season, all the experts tell us this is an anomaly and we’ll be facing many years with less than ideal snow conditions. To my way of thinking that paves the way for the full international return of the Euro Carve and its associated arm-dragging antics.
I mean why go on tiresome trips to the backcountry on the off chance of getting a few pow turns when you can lay one down on groomers first thing – almost guaranteed?
“The closer you get to the 49th parallel the closer your bindings should be to 49 degrees,” offered my South Korean travel companion and snowboard photographer to the stars, Dan Himbrechts.
Wise words indeed.
So it’s time to harden up and face the facts my snowboarding brethren – you need to start living on the edge again. Because if you don’t that’s just freestyle.
I’ll see you at the PGS!