I've been riding alpine snowboards for nearly 20 years. According to The Carver's Almanac people who purchase carving gear, like me, represent less than 1% of the total snowboard market.
In a way, that's sorta depressing. But in another way, it's also something to be really proud of and to celebrate. When you belong to such a tiny group, you stand out more. In the case of carving on a snowboard, you stand out a lot.
As a carver, when you see another alpine snowboarder on the hill, which for me is a pretty rare occurrence, you share an immediate bond with them. On the chairlift ride up, you share stories, swap tips and discuss techniques, then ride down together and do it all over again, together. Instant friendship.
Anyone who has ever ridden an alpine carving snowboard knows that it's a completely different experience than how a freestyle or freeride board turns, transitions and flows.
There's something to be said for burying a rail deep into freshly groomed corduroy and letting the board take full command of the turn. From that diving initiation to the fierce snap when your edge releases and slams you back onto the other side with precision, speed and power.
That feeling is completely addictive and it's what I miss most in the off-season.