2020 Chamonix Chemin Review
Hey, all. As some of you know, The House started slinging their own "shop" brand boards last season. Most of them look like shit, but the Chemin caught my attention. I found some info on EZ about it, but no real reviews other than what's on The House's site. So, I wanted to do a review for all of you good people after I picked one up out of sheer curiosity (and the fact that it's only $260). We had a huge storm come through in Oregon and I was able to take it up to Ski Bowl and put it to work.
Here's some about me and the setup for reference:
Bindings: 2018 Salomon Defenders
Boots: 2020 Adidas Acerra
Conditions: 14" of fresh, with another 12" from the day before and consistent snowfall throughout the day. Waist deep in the trees. If you've never ridden the upper bowl at SB, it's steep and full of cliffs, lips and side hits.
I picked up the 156. Debated the 149 and could've gotten away with it. Some other members have figured out that this board is made by Playmakers (Nitro, some Romes, etc) and that it's eerily similar in shape and specs to the Sims Solo deck from Japan. I'd agree.
|Effective Edge (cm)||99.2||106.2|
|Tip Width (cm)||30.6||31|
|Tail Width (cm)||28||28.3|
|Waist Width (cm)||25.9||26.1|
Shape/Profile: Super directional, tapered (24mm) pow board. So. Much. Nose. It has that stubby tail meant for turning off your back foot in the deep stuff. Its claimed sidecut radius is gigantic, and if it's actually that huge then it isn't there for long. Seems to me like the shape forces a progressive sidecut of sorts. It has minimal backseat camber and is nearly flat. The nose rocker is also really flat and reminds me of a groveler in surfing that uses flat rocker with forward shifted volume to catch more waves and generate speed. As Guf said in his video, it floats instead of pushing or shoveling through the snow. Tons of setback and no reference stance, so I just went with the center inserts.
Flex: I found it to be fairly stiff. I'd say the claimed 8/10 is conservative, probably more of a 9/10 when I compare it to my National, First Call, Mercury, and Maelstrom. it definitely stiffens up in the tail. I was nervous about backseat landings, but the sheer volume of the board and tail stiffness kept me (surprisingly) upright on the drops. Pow butters were locked in and easy thanks to that nose. Once you get back onto a groomer, buttering is damn near impossible and the same goes for ollies. Then again, you're not buying it for that. In general, I don't think the board needs to be as stiff as it is. Maybe the 149 for my weight range would help with that some, but it's just a beefy board. I'm sure a bigger dude could manhandle it better.
Stability/Dampness: The stiff flex and sheer weight of this thing made it plow through the bumps and chunder that accumulated toward the bottom of upper bowl. It wasn't concerned with any of that stuff and felt really stable. You'd think that huge nose would be flapping around, but the stiffness kept it tame. The snow was soft, so it was hard to notice any weird vibrations or dampening issues. Not really a board for cruising at low speeds.
Carving/Turning: If it wasn't obvious, you drive this thing off your back foot like a shortboard in the deep stuff. It's fun and with the gigantic nose keeping you afloat, you can throw tight slashes and recover quick without worrying about sinking. It was fast off the tail and I couldn't help but feel like a badass every time I slashed my heelside and broke through the whitewall. On groomers, it feel decently locked in and wanted to lay big, wide open trenches. That sidecut, waist width and my 10.5 boots let me lay over my carves, and all things considered is still felt responsive edge to edge and sprung out of turns adequately. Not a daily driver by any means, but it was still fun with the fresh ran out.
All in all: This thing is well worth $260. No question. I would love if they shortened up the nose and softened the flex, but it does what it's meant to do in powder. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try and help.
PS: I'm not super new, but my account got deleted a month back or so.
Thanks for sharing. Cool board. I used to ride a Furberg that had 18m sidecut - worked well in Alaska and for steep & deep. The big thing turning me off in this one is the reported stiffness but I'm heavier so maybe it could be perfect for me.
Side note: I can't even think about keeping my bike(s) in the kitchen - respect!
It's pretty stiff, but worked well in pow. Definitely some play further out in the nose, but yeah, it's a beefy board! And the perk of living in a studio is that my kitchen is my living room is my bedroom is my bathroom 😎
It feels heavier than my Mercury 57, for sure. Slightly heavier than my First Call 51. I didn't notice it much while riding, though. Turns off the tail and edge-to-edge on groomers were surprisingly nimble and responsive for what it is. If you snag the Route, I'd get the 162 for your weight. The 162 also has a slightly mellower sidecut than the 157's 6.9.
It was so good! No traffic, even after getting a late start. Snagged one of the first chairs and then everyone cleared out by 11. Meanwhile, it was dumping so hard that I couldn't find my lines from the previous run. Cliffs are fully filled in now.