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who we are

Yuta Watanabe

Home Town: Whistler, BC
Local Mountain: Coast Mountains, BC

Splitboard Bindings: Carbon SL (medium)
Splitboard: Jones Carbon Solution 161 and 164, Jones Ultracraft 156

  • Stance: Goofy
  • Stance Width: 22 inches
  • Stance Angles: 24° and 5°
  • Set Back: Varies by board

Boots: ???
Pack: Jones 30L Airbag
Poles: BD Compactor @ 130cm
Skins: Likes skins that glide well

Binding of Choice

Carbon SL
$849.99

INNOVATE

Hello Yuta! How did you get involved with Karakoram?

 

Y: I met Tyler and Bryce first time was I went for the trip to Mt. shasta with Jones snowboards crew.

And one more time at sale meeting at bellingham. I was impressed their passion for progress their product and for snowboarding.

And I contacted to Bryce last spring, because I really needed light and durable split board binding for my trip.

Yeah so I’m really happy to be a part of Karakoram team.

 

Here is a question I asked Naojuki: The Japanese influence on snowboarding is amazing. There are so many top-level Japanese shredders who seem to be total masters of working with terrain the way nature intended it to be ridden; much the way a master surfer rides a wave. Can you say something about the Japanese culture that fosters this beautiful style of snow riding?

Y: It’s great to hear that from you, thanks!! I only can say that we love pow!! I am proud that we are having the best class pow in the world.

I have many favorite riders in japan. They all love powder and they are trying to be simple as much as they can.

There are some different style of riding each region in japan. I think its related to snow and mountain terrain or culture of each region.

different personality as well. thats interesting for me as well.

 

Splitboard technology has come a long way within the past few years. How do you feel that your own perception of the mountains and terrain has evolved along with the technology?

Y: My perception of the mountain is going deeper and further along with the technology of splitboarding.  Because of the technology growing with passion, I can push myself into radical terrain.

 

What is your favorite component to the design of the Karakoram Bindings? How do you feel they can become better?

Y: I like whole system of  Karakoram Binding. Easy transforming makes more time for shredding. And I like the little board clip as well. Now I can’t see a little crevice between board and board that it used be seen all the time and it made me a little nervous.

RIDE

How would you describe the experience of touring and riding in the Japanese Mountains compared to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest?

Y: When I was a kid I have been riding in Hokkaidou area and I have a little bit of experiences riding in Hakuba. In Japan, There is a lot of snow and it’s usually much lighter than coastal snow pack. Terrain is not so big and steep.  But there is a lots of deferent options in below tree like a little gully as a little half pipe. The distance of trees are perfect for shredding. Oh yeah, my favorite riding spot in japan is always in trees.

 

Riding massive lines in wilderness environments can leave a truly lasting imprint on one’s character. Have you had this experience? How did it change you?

Y: That’s true, I can’t have that feeling often but I had once when I ride Mt. Cayley North face. I was worried about snow when I was climbing the ridge. There was totally full of something I don’t know in my brain. But once I  dropped my snowboard into the face, It’s all disappeared. I only could feel the snow on the edge of my snowboard nothing else. After few second of riding, I was at bottom of the face. I don’t know it changed my life or not but I was full of thanks to everybody and anything.

 

What about snowboarding inspires your passion the most?

Y: Steep terrain! and Powder ofcouse.

 

Which turn has more meaning to you: Toeside or Heelside?

Y: Heelside. Because its more difficult and scary side when its icy and steep terrain.

 

You have an incredible method air. Any special tips for developing a solid method?

Y: Thanks a lot. but I never liked my method. It needed to be more twisted all the time.

Im always trying to pump more for easy grabbing and grab very well for good twisting.

 

Speaking of risk management, we’ve recently lost friends in avalanches. What do you feel is the most important factor in making sure you come home from the Backcountry?

Y: I always trying to tell myself  ”The mountain doesn’t go anywhere.” So I can try next time if It’s not the right timing.

 I think the most of dangerous situation is related to human factor. So I guess the most important thing is watching myself and stabilize or control myself.

 

Helmet or no helmet?

 Y; Helmet most of the time.

EXPLORE

What part of the process of human powered big mountain riding excites you the most?

Y: The view after climbing to the peak or after riding. I can feel small detail of mountain when I go there on my foot.

 

 

What would you say has been the most powerful splitboarding / alpine experience you’ve had thus far?

Y: 17days of trip to Mt. Clemenceau in Canadian rocky. We tried to hit the mountain and ride north facing ice wall without any air support. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it to the top but I learned a lot from the trip. 

 

How do you see yourself evolving and growing into the future? Where do you want to explore? Are there any specific mountain ranges you want to go to?

Y: I would like to spend more time for getting skill of Alpine climbing as well.  And I would like to explore the world !!

There are a lots of places I want to explore in canada like as Selkirk,  Bagaboos, Canadian rocky. And for future Norway, Chili or Argentine.

 

How bad is the bushwhacking in Japan? Do you guys have “Devil’s Club”?

Y: Yeah, I guess so. pretty bad.

 

Are there any poisonous snakes in Japan? How about spiders? I hate spiders..

Y: Yap there is poisonous snake in japan. but I don’t know about spiders. but should be there.


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