Long-Term Review: Cardiff Snowcraft The Goat
Cardiff snowboards have been steadily building a good reputation in the snowboard industry. Their first offering, The Cardiff Snowcraft Goat was in development for over five years and has been through ten different prototypes. It is a lightweight hard-charging touring machine that we had the opportunity to test for over two full winters. It is the board I chose to ride on my ACMG Apprentice guide exam and has taken several core shots, a cracked edge, and still refuses to die and I refuse to stop riding it! Read on to get our full thoughts on the board.
- Material: ProCarbon and Enduro Models
- Length Tested: 166
- Designed in: Utah
- Country of Origin: China
Who is Cardiff Snowcraft?
To know Cardiff Snowcraft you first need to know Cardiff. No, not the Capital of Wales but a region of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. It was here that inspired Sam Bawden, the founder of Cardiff Snowcraft, to start designing snowboards. A long-time snowboarder Sam wanted a splitboard that climbed better than what was offered but was still able to tackle aggressive descents. Thus, the idea of The Goat was created. We think he’s designed a winner.
What is The Goat?
Goats, part of the genus Capra, are hardy animals that are known to be able to eat just about anything, live off of next to nothing, and climb wherever they please. Take this video of a family of ibex climbing a dam in Switzerland for calcium and other minerals for example:
With that in mind, we have a good idea of what kind of splitboarding the Goat is designed for. Climbing to get gnarly lines.
The Cardiff Goat, with it’s large radius sidecut holds an edge really well on hard-packed snow while both ascending and descending. The Goat is a Set-Back twin. This means it is nearly identical in shape both front and back but designed to be ridden with your stance slightly set back. The setback is 17mm / 1.7cm / 0.699 inches. So, your bindings should be 17mm back of center, yielding a slightly longer nose than the tail. This allows for more float in powder but also provides enough tail for hard back seat landings or for when you want to ride switch, or your chosen line requires you to ride switch.
What is The Cardiff Goat Made of?
All boards in Cardiff’s line come in two versions, an Enduro version, and a Pro-Carbon Version. We got the chance to test out both versions, but to be fair, we spent 99% of the time on the ProCarbon Goat. It’s just that good. Following is a breakdown of the design of these boards.
What is Enduro?
Enduro boards have a core made of a poplar paulownia mix with layers of carbon fiber in between. In Cardiff’s words, the carbon helps the core retain its shape, providing pop and edge hold, much longer than boards made without carbon. Enduro boards also feature Cardiff’s UNIwall; urethane sidewalls that help further dampen bumps and chatter.
What is Pro Carbon?
Pro-Carbon boards begin with a poplar and paulownia core as well. Then, vertically laid strips of aluminum, called TITANcore, act as dampeners. That makes the meat of the sandwich, the bread, is two full sheets of carbon fiber laid on top and below the TITANcore. This is what Cardiff calls the CARBONfiber100.
Shared Tech between Enduro and PROcarbon
There’s a lot going on in a Cardiff Snowcraft snowboard. By their account, decades of riding experience has gone into the design of this board as this is the first board Sam designed having gone through ten different iterations. I’ll attempt to break down the shared tech between Enduro and Pro Carbon boards.
Cardiff calls their top sheet ENDUROcap, not to be confused with the Enduro line. The ENDUROcap is a scratch-resistant dimpled top sheet. The Board I received has definitely shown some wear and tear on it, and it should, I’ve put 120 days on it and I got it when it already had 30 days on it. So, we’re now looking at 150 days of touring. I can’t fault a top sheet for having that many days and a few scratches. That said, like any top sheet out on the market, it will clump up with snow while touring in the spring. It is black after all.
Both the Enduro and Pro Carbon boards feature SPEEDbumps. These aren’t what you’d find in your local supermarket parking lot intending to slow you down. They are, in essence, a lighter version of magnetraction. Reverse sidecut bumps aligned with the bindings that add grip to tighter sidecut radii.
The next similarity between the Enduro and ProCarbon boards is BOARDERpatrol. All Cardiff boards have poplar stringer-backed sidewalls. This reinforces the edge while protecting the lightweight cores. Speaking of the edges of the board, all Cardiff boards have Urethane sidewalls.
Next on the list of naming conventions is HALFcamber. Half camber is, from what I can tell, a way to label early rise tip and tail. The Cardiff goat features 60% camber between the feet.
FLOATilla is Cardiff’s take on surface displacement. By making boards wider, they are able to make them shorter but still retain the same amount of float in powder as the surface displacement of the board is the same,
The Cardiff Snowcraft Goat features what they call PERFECTpivot 3.0. This means that in the middle of the camber is a small flat, if not reversed camber section. This creates a small pivot point between your legs and is intended to make the board turn easier.
Captain Hook + the Goat
It takes a lot to hold a splitboard together. The bindings do a lot of the heavy work but don’t discount the clips. Cardiff spares no expense here as they use Phantom Spinner Clips on both the tip and tail. The model we tested had Voile Tip clips that function just fine.
In the middle of the board, we get Phantom Hercules Hooks. You already know that we like these hooks because you’ve read our review, right?
I cannot see why you would ever want to change them, but if you did, there’s one thing to be aware of. The Enduro series has the Top mount screw while the Pro-Carbon has the through-mount. Other than how they attach to the board, the hooks function exactly the same.
How Does The Cardiff Goat Ride?
Now that we have the details out of the way, it’s time to talk about how this board rides. It is, after all, a snowboard, and even though the uphill walk boarding is fun, what we’re really after is the downhill.
Snowboards typically have a sidecut between 6 and 8m. This is a deep sidecut that allows for quick and sharp turns. The Goat has a rather large sidecut radius of 11.5m. That’s a drastic change from the norm but nowhere near how the normal large radius skis have of 15m or more. What this translates to is wider turn arcs but with much more confidence at higher speeds.
I found the Goat to be easy to turn in all situations despite what the large radius would suggest. Tight trees, open glades, and alpine terrain. Railing a turn on the board is great but bear in mind, with an 11.5m sidecut, turns are not going to be as tight and easy to come by unless you add more muscle. That being said, I never had a problem turning this board in the trees at all.
It holds an edge on ice really well compared to almost every other board I have ridden. Normally, on my way back from the backcountry I get nervous as I reach the point where Blackcomb’s “snow” becomes man-made. On The Goat, I feel more confident that I’m not going to suddenly lose an edge. This translates to steeper lines as well.
The only place I have a tricky time riding The Goat is on an out track from an area called Hanging Lake. It tends to become a gnarly, icy-bermed track that leads to the bottom of the mountain. At times, I feel like I catch the tail on a few of the sharpest corners but this is likely due to the length of the board rather than the sidecut. I can’t imagine what skiers on 190cm skis feel like.
This board has absolutely no issues floating in Powder. After all, it is 166cm in length and has a waist width of 270. This is a lot of board. What comes with a lot of board? A lot of surface area and therefore a lot of float. Add to the large amount of surface area, a set-back stance of 17mm and taper of 11mm and you know the goat handles almost any pow situation
As I have a steep front foot angle (30 degrees) I am not able to set my bindings back as far as I would like. If I had a more normal front foot angle of 18 degrees-ish I think I could move my bindings back and gain some more float. There is 11mm of taper that helps the tail sink just a little.
I still have to lean back a little to keep the nose afloat, but this is an all-mountain board, not a powder board. That should be expected.
Point this board at just about anything and it handles well. Rough chunder, sastrugi, icy man-made “snow,” it all get’s plowed through. Cardiff rates The Goat at a stiffness of 9. That sounds like a lot, but I found it to be the sweet spot for me. It was stiff enough to plow through most crappy snow but damp enough to handle the buck and provide controllable pop.
The base on the Goat, both Enduro and ProCarbon is incredibly fast. Combined with the same Dam Fast wax it allowed me to pass most skiers on flat tracks. This board moves. All new Goats now come with Phantom Wax High-Performance Treatment that should make the board last a little longer between waxes.
If a board is going to be named after the Capra genus, it better climb well, and the Cardiff Goat certainly does. It is nearly the stiffest board I have used which lessens the dreaded bathtub effect of softer splitboards when setting a track in deep pow.
Despite its single ski width of 135mm, it holds an edge well on icy traverses. I put this down to its large sidecut radius that allows pressure to be more evenly placed along the entire edge. There’s plenty of camber to help that edge to help the tip and tail stay planted in place.
The Cardiff Goat is also quite light. Throughout the day having a lightweight board on your feet will equal more power left for the downhill. The balance point of the touring bracket is well-placed. Kickturns with such a large ski area made easier thanks to the even distribution.
A special Note on Durability
There is a section on Blackcomb called the Chamonix Chutes. You have to repel 15m into the chute before putting your board on and slaying well, hopefully, pow. 2 out of 3 times I rode this line last year I slayed rocks. Hard. Yelling expletives both times thinking I had crushed the core or ripped out an edge and generally just destroying the most expensive snowboard I had ever ridden. I was wrong, both times.
One such core shot was right on the heel edge of the board. The Cardiff Pro Carbon Goat features edges that are welded 4mm into the core with a poplar backing. This helps durability significantly, and I tested that about as harshly as I could.
The start of winter 22/23 has been tough. In the space of two days of riding, I cracked the edge on the ProCarbon and took a massive chunk out of the base of the Enduro. As much as this is a testament to the shops where I had these boards fixed, they are still going strong!
These boards take a beating, not that I suggest you do that on purpose, but rest assured they can take it.
Bjorn Leines said this is the best snowboard he has ever ridden and I am in no place to argue with him. I would place it in my top three snowboards, ever. The very first run I did on the ProCarbon I started popping BS 180s on rollers. I was immediately comfortable on the board. It’s just stiff enough that it holds an edge well, flexes when needed but plows through crud, and provides enough pop for most freestyle needs.
Transitioning from edge to edge is exceptionally easy for such a wide board. I expected to have to think about edge transitions more than I do on this board, which is to say, I don’t. Occasionally, I find myself catching the tail of the board while riding narrow forced turns. I had been almost exclusively riding very powder-centric boards with next to no tail prior to the Goat and this could be my issue.
I would like to be able to push my front binding back a little farther but this would require the touring bracket to be set back farther and thus, likely, throw off the balance for touring. I only buried the nose on the Goat once in two seasons. It was waist deep and at most 30 degrees. I laughed as I wasn’t sure sinking the nose of the Goat would be possible.
Perhaps I am more of a powder hound than a freerider after all. Maybe I should be talking to Daniel LaRusso about getting a Crane, Cardiff’s more powder-centric board?
The Cardiff Goat is for anyone that wants a splitboard that performs well in nearly any snow conditions you can throw at it. It’s incredibly durable, holds an edge really well in all snow conditions and has the fastest base I’ve ever ridden.
Who is the Cardiff Enduro Goat for?
The Enduro is for splitboarders that are going on shorter and more relaxed days. Perhaps you are just getting into touring and want all the benefits of the Goat Shape without the heavier price tag of the ProCarbon version. It’s also for riders that don’t want the more aggressive flex of the ProCarbon. The Enduro is for the rider that wants the sports car but is willing to make a small sacrifice to save on cost.
Who is the Cardiff ProCarbon Goat for?
The ProCarbon, there’s no secret if you’ve read this far, was my favorite of the two Goats. If you lean into it, it’ll push back with pop and edge grip and I loved that.The ProCarbon is lightweight yet built to take long term abuse. If you are going to be using your splitboard more than a dozen times a year or heading out on long days where weight savings matter, then the ProCarbon is for you. This is the STI of splitboards, built to go fast both on the up and down.
Who is the Cardiff Goat not for?
The Goat is quite wide so if you have a smaller boot this may not be for you. Though the Goat is certainly no slouch in the powder patches, If you exclusively ride low angle pow you may want to look at a dedicated powder board such as the Cardiff Snowcraft Crane.
If you are interested in learning more about the Cardiff Goat, head on over to Cardiff and check it out!
If you are still confused about what a Goat is, watch the following video so you at least know the difference between a Goat and a Sheep. You’ll thank me later and hopefully have a laugh too.
Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with a free sample of The Cardiff Goat. This in no way affected our opinion and review of the boards.