The Storm Chaser is a snowboard that redefined what was possible in the pow. Tip to tail rocker lifts the nose out of the deep giving you that super floaty feeling and making riding powder so much easier. Very short tail makes and it’s spoon shaped nose make the floatiness even more pronounced.
Just because this board has epic powder credentials doesn’t mean it is a slouch on the groomers. It has an insane sidecut and is actually pretty stiff making it a super fun carve beast. Getting totally horizontal to the snowpack on a perfect pitchy corduroy groomer is easy as pie and the G’s you can pull on this thing are insane.
The Mind Expander is Dan’s personal favourite. It also has all the rocker floating the nose up out of the snowpack making for 30 foot rooster tails on every turn. It is a super versatile board with a more or less twin tipped shape albeit with a slightly shortened tail. This thing also has a spoon nose and is a lot softer than the Storm Chaser.
The board is perfect for the pitchy deep tree runs of Tangram and the back bowls of Madarao Mountain. We found that in places like Seki Onsen where the slopes are super steep it wasn’t as stiff as we would have liked to hold the mountain so if you are riding very steep terrain (45 degrees plus) go for the Storm Chaser.
Jones recommends both of these boards should be ridden at significantly shorter lengths than a normal board but we love to float on Madarao pow so we more or less ride normal length. Dan at 173 cm and 73kg rides either the 154 or 158 Mind Expander and the 157 Storm Chaser (which is really way to big but oh so fun). Andy at 160cm tall rides the 150 Mind Expander. Japanese guests are going to prefer smaller boards because they are way lighter than us westerners so a 142 or 146 will be perfect.
Should you buy a board just for the pow? We get asked this question a lot. Most people have an all round board or a board for European, Australian, New Zealand or American conditions. It is definitely worth bringing those boards along to Madarao because not every day of a 7 or 14 day trip is going to be perfect as it is super fun to get onto a normal board for the right conditions. The cold hard fact is that one board can’t do everything. There is simply no substitute for a board with full rocker in deep pow but if you only come to Japan once every few years is it worth having one. The answer is yes for sure. The stoke of people who have the best day of their lives on snow is not something that can be easily measured. We have you covered though… At SnowbalL Chalet we have been collecting the Storm Chaser and Mind Expander quiver and we rent them out to our guests. Make sure you bring your own boots and we will set you up on the board of your choice. We are super flexible so if you decide to take it day by day that is fine. We keep our boards waxed and ready to go. Basically we just want everyone to have as much fun riding Japow as we do. The snow life is the only life after all.