Cheetah Ultra Sports Whip F-117 Snowboard Carves Up Slopes and Wallets For $1,900

Illustration for article titled Cheetah Ultra Sports Whip F-117 Snowboard Carves Up Slopes and Wallets For $1,900
Illustration for article titled Cheetah Ultra Sports Whip F-117 Snowboard Carves Up Slopes and Wallets For $1,900

Dubbed the "Lamborghini of snowboards" by Cheetah, this $1,900 board is heavy on the hype until we can get resident rider and Editorial Director Brian Lam to test it out (*cough* winter reader meet-up *cough*).

If Cheetah is to be believed, the F-117 will do everything short of take off and do an Immelman Turn, thanks to a huge honkin' hole that runs down the center of the board. Says Cheetah, "the main purpose of the opening is to reduce the amount of surface which comes in contact with snow. Smaller surface means less drag, which translates into more gliding speed."


Then there are the supports, which would no doubt do Christopher Nolan proud with their nod to Batman's Tumbler. However, unlike the Tumbler, one thing this board cannot conquer is heavy powder, which the makers say one should avoid if you want to buy. A heli-skiing and boarding piece of gear this is certainly not.

The board is limited edition and available for preorder now. Shipping is expected to begin sometime this month [Cheetah Ultra Sports via Engadget]

[Blam: Not sure I buy this design. "Less surface area for more glide" is a principle that doesn't make sense for me on all conditions. I bet that thing will do alright on a groomer but will sink on powder. I like the fact that weight is placed directly on edges, for focused turning power, but depending on the rest of the geometry this board could be very twitchy. And while some makers are focusing on reducing the distance between a boarder's boots and the ground, this design clearly raises you. It might have the same type of instability you'd get from stilts, albeit to a lesser degree. Regardless, a lower center of gravity is your friend in this sport! But I'd have to test it to find out more.]

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I could see this board being of benefit to boardercross and slalom riders who prefer the raised alpine stance and hard boots, where you spend the majority of your time on one edge or the other on constantly groomed slopes.

However, one small modification could, in theory, make this powder board...

If they only run the hole for the back half of the board, instead of the full length, I would expect it to have the same effect as a swallow tail or tapered board, allowing the back of the board to sink in the snow while keeping the nose up. With the minimal weight of the board, it would feel like you were floating on nothing, but then it's most definitely a directional board in that guise.

I run a 158 Arbor A-Frame with Ride SPi bindings, though not alpine stance (-9R,+15F), and it is a seriously stiff setup. It allows me to keep an edge on even the most icy sections of Hunter and other east coast resorts where shorter or more flexible boards chatter too much and lose grip. But I also go west coast for the powder and I don't need to make any adjustments, except maybe move back the bindings one notch to save my back leg on super deep days when I don't intend riding switch. My whole setup, board, boots and bindings cost half the price of this board, so again, I have to say, it looks like a piece of kit for competition only..

(PS - NY winter meet at Hunter, Camelback or Windham - DO IT!)