Feb 15, NY Times

THREE miles into the Kootenay Range backcountry by snowmobile, I stood alongside 50 other riders, gathered at the bottom of a wide and untracked sub-alpine run. The mid-January snowpack was so deep in the Interior Mountains of British Columbia that the effects of logging were buried beneath 180 inches of powder — the downed trees, stumps and rocks all transformed by the bounty of snow into a snowboarder’s paradise.

The conditions were extraordinary, and the crowd included Travis Rice, a professional snowboarder and multiple gold medalist in the X Games. But on this overcast Saturday, the draw was the third annual Greg Todds Memorial No-Board Race, and the challenge was simply to get down the hill — without bindings.

No-boarding is a young sport that replaces traditional snowboard bindings with a knobbed polymer traction pad and a heavy-duty bungee rope, which transform a snowboard into a no-board.

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photo: A no-boarder executes a no-rope surf slash (photo by Jenna Low for The New York Times)