We just got back from three days of demos at Stratton Mountain. Day 1 was a day after a powder day, so conditions were pretty darn nice. It was hard packed in spots, but for the most part, there was still plenty of snow out there.
What I got to ride bodes well for girls’ snowboarding for next season! Day one featured
- Arbor Cadence 151
- Arbor Swoon Camber System 151
- Gnu Klassy 151
- NOW Vetta Bindings
- Jones Snowboards Twin Sister 149
They were all ridden with my original NOW IPO bindings (size Medium)except where specified with the NOW Vetta bindings.
Arbor snowboards is always a favorite for us, and the Cadence is the same as it has been for the past three years. Arbor no longer considers it a park board, they have realized that girls who ride this board are taking it all over the mountain, and it is easy to ride in most conditions. Arbor’s Rocker System features the parabolic rocker that mellows from the center out and features Grip Tech, which give it extra contact points at the inserts. It’s a system that works in most conditions, especially given the east coast variables we so often encounter. It’s a fun, consistent, easy to ride board that most people who enjoy the whole mountain will like. You can take it to the park, in the trees, on the groomers, and through fresh snow, and it will be fun and dependable.
The Arbor Swoon featuring the Camber System is a whole new story for Arbor snowboards. The Camber System is basically the same as the Rocker System, just upside down. So it has camber between the feet that mellows out as you near the contact points, grip tech is still present, and it features uprise fenders which are a 3 degree angle at the contact points, raising them off of the ground, making it less catchy. This board was the one that scared me from this year’s demos (there seems to be one every year). It is a stiff, very aggressive board. It is for a rider better than I am. One run wasn’t enough time to really “get it”. But with so much else out there, it wasn’t something I wanted to spend any more time on. It felt twitchy and unpredictable to me, like the board was going for a ride and taking me along, rather than feeling like I was in control. In addition to tip to tail stiffness, it is also very torsionally stiff. Every year there seems to be a board that I just hope to make it back to the base without killing myself on. This was the board this year.
The Gnu girls’ snowboards are always favorites too (actually Mervin boards in general, which includes Roxy snowboards)! The Klassy is the C2 BTX board in the Gnu Girls’ lineup. Mervin considers the C2 profile to be the “perfect” profile. Generally speaking, I agree. It has rocker between the feet and camber outside and Magne-Traction providing extra grip on hard pack and icy ground. The Roxy Ollie Pop 3 years ago won me over with the C2 profile. The Roxy Eminence (also C2) has been in my quiver for three years, and through three other boards. I cannot part with it because it is still so very fun! The Klassy did not disappoint. It does everything well. It is playful, predictable, holds a fantastic edge without being grabby, turns easily, and is plenty stable. It has a mid flex that feels just right. There was nothing at all I didn’t like about this board.
NOW Vetta bindings…NOW is finally adding womens’ bindings….YAY!!!! Last year they introduced the size small IPO and they are using the same baseplate with a new highback featuring thinner, but wider padding, and new straps on the Vetta. The toe strap is fantastic (the one thing I didn’t like about this year’s small IPO). It caps the toe perfectly and doesn’t create any pressure. I put these bindings on the Klassy for a second run. Being familiar with the ride of the board, it would be easy to tell what the bindings brought to the party. Oh my goodness, what fun we had! It’s amazing how much more responsive the bindings are when they fit my feet. The Medium original IPO’s are too big, so I lose some of the effect of the kingpin skate technology, but I have loved those bindings since I first strapped them on my feet and have been riding them for 3 years despite that. These bindings added a whole new level of fun to the experience. I thought about turning and turned. The new ankle strap is interesting. It felt pretty stiff vertically in the middle, and caused a little bit of pressure at first, but I was the first person to ride these and it seemed to loosen up by day 2…that’s right, I went back for day 2.
Jones Twin Sister…this is a board I ride every year. That’s probably because the first year I rode it I really enjoyed it. In subsequent years it has been felt ok, certainly a nice ride, but it didn’t wow me. This year it wowed me! It is Camrock…camber between the feet and rocker outside, with mellow Magne-Traction. This makes it a great all purpose board. Last year it got a new film topsheet making it more responsive and lighter weight. This year it has new fiberglass reinforcements and oversized recycled edges. The fiberglass improves pop in the nose and tail, and it increases the longevity of the flex profile, so it should feel the same on day 100 as it does on day 1. I rode this with the Vetta bindings, so it was a little hard to tell at first if it was the board or bindings that I liked, but sometimes it’s just the matchup of board and bindings that works like magic. And these two are meant to go together. The word that comes to mind is “lively”. That’s how the board felt underfoot. Like it just wanted to go play! It was like a happy little dog that just wants to go wherever you want to take it and have some fun. Carving, stability, riding switch, and spinning around…all excellent things on the Twin Sister.
One of the things that struck me about this year’s demos was the presence of more women testing new equipment than in previous years, and at the same time, fewer women’s items to try. Many companies have fewer models for women than for men to begin with (which makes sense since we are still the minority of snowboarders), but even given that, many of the reps didn’t bring all of their models. And if they did, they brought one, maybe two sizes. Don’t get me wrong, there was PLENTY to keep me busy, and I tend to get a little distracted when I find something that is especially fun, but it was a little bit of a bummer that several of the boards I wanted to ride were not there.
Stay tuned for days 2 and 3…
Tags: girls snowboarding ri, arbor snowboards, girls snowboarding, gnu girls snowboards, women snowboards ri, gnu snowboards, arbor camber system, snowboards for women, now vetta bindings, girl snowboards ri