Livin' the Highlife, all day... not just at the end of the day in the bar.
The new Highlife UL has had some major upgrades for 2012. The biggest change has been the new Hybrid All-Mtn Rocker.
All-Mtn Hybrid Rocker: New rocker profile for 2012 that has rocker on the nose and then is slightly cambered all the way back through the tail. The rocker on the nose is equal to what you find with the lowrize profile. There is a flat stable zone that is infused with a slight camber all the way back through the tail. I say slight camber as it's no where near the amount of camber you'll find in a traditional camber deck like the DH. It's more like the amount of camber a DH will have after it has around 30 days on it.
Along with the new Rocker profile the New Highlife UL also has:
So compared to the 2011 model, the new Highlife carves more aggressively, is a lot snappier with the PopRod 3.0, CA5 along with the linear carbon running from nose to tail in the UL Core. It is also a bit lighter compared to the 2011 model, not a huge difference but has definitely had some weight shaved off of it.
I've been switching back and forth between the Berzerker and the Highlife UL for the past 2 months or so. The biggest thing I've noticed with the new Highlife UL compared to the old one is the feeling under foot.
It is so smooth and damp... it's amazing how smooth it is. It doesn't matter what terrain I've taken it through; Powder, Groomers, Crud/Chop, Avalanche Debris, ice, etc... it is smooth through all of it. But the great thing about the damp feeling is that you aren't losing the lively, poppy, snappy, responsive feeling with the dampness. Many decks I've ridden are either so damp they kill
your feeling under foot or just aren't damp enough.
But you don't get that with the new Highlife at all. You still have a very responsive edge to edge feeling, the nose and tail are snappy as can be. One huge reason for this is that Ride has turned the PopRod 3.0 on the Highlife UL to a 45 degree angle instead of running them along the edges like they do in all of their other decks that have PopRod tech. It is slightly stiffer under foot with the linear carbon that runs from the nose to the tail, but it isn't over the top AGRO-STIFF like other decks that have linear carbon.
The float in powder is absolutely amazing too. The new rocker shape provides about 50% of that feeling. Just as I describe with the Berzerker the new rocker shape floats great, the nose stays up and the control you have steering the deck with your rear leg is unbelievable. Kind of like the feeling of riding a tapered deck in powder, but not limited by that shape when you want to ride switch, spin and land switch, etc..
But the other 50% of the feeling in powder is that smooth damp feeling I mentioned before. It has the smoothest, surfy feeling I have ever ridden in powder and is by far the closest feeling to actual surfing I've had on a snowboard. I've had that euphoric smooth surfy feeling in as little as 4 inches of snow and in 3 feet of powder a week or so ago.
The 2011 Highlife is a great deck and usually I'm pretty bummed when a company changes up decks that I like and I don't really see a need to change them. But the new Highlife UL takes everything that I loved about the old one and cranks it up a level. It's a great deck for that All-Mtn guy or gal that loves to rocket down the mountain at mach speeds, loves to drop cliffs, hit jumps, ride chutes/bowls/trees, & powder.
If you have any follow-up questions feel free to head over to my.ridesnowboards.com and check out the forums and fire away with any questions you may have.