This week at the NEWSR Stratton On-Snow Demos we rode a bunch of stuff coming out for the snowboards 2015 season. It was fun, non-stop riding, all day for three straight days. The first day was frigid temps, ice and death biscuits- typical East Coast fare. The second day was all snow with 10+ inches of dry, fresh coming down and continuing into the night. The third day was sunny and a foot of fresh snow to be slayed. Every rope on the hill was ducked and every glade was tore up proper. As Cathy mentioned in her post, it was not your typical “demo” conditions for around here, but it was insane fun.
These are my thoughts for each board- how they felt while riding them on that particular day.
Day One: cold, sunny, poorly groomed trails with lots of boilerplate ice.
Gnu Riders Choice
- Gnu Riders Choice 154.5: This board uses C2 PBTX A.S.S. Tech, which is rocker between feet and camber to the tip and tail with magnetraction. The A.S.S. stands for asymetrical-symetrical synchronization, which means it has a deeper heel side side-cut with a softer flex on the heel side and the toe side has a longer side -cut. You can read more about it here and here. This is a solid all-mountain board with medium stiff flex. It felt very stable at speed but still turns well at slower speeds making it ok for beginners. It had great pop off of jumps and flat rollers alike and it felt damp enough to absorb a lot of shock. The camber on the ends of the boards make it a solid all-mountain deck while the rockered middle was good on boxes and spinning off of jumps. Flex was on the stiffer side of medium- maybe a 6.
Yes The Basic
- Yes The Basic 155: The Basic is a true twin with camber through the middle of the board and rocker at the tip and tail. This board has pretty good edge hold and the mid-soft flex blends nicely with the clean radial sidecut. Yes uses what they call “underbite” tech on The Basic, which consists of shallow indentations on the edges at the toe and heel areas. This is the opposite of their “overbite” tech- bumped out toe and heel area- which is similar to Arbor’s “grip-tech”. The underbite helps the rider maintain a consistent arc through each turn. For a cambered deck (I am so used to riding rocker between the feet that camber between feels strange) I really liked how the board felt on both the heel and toe side turns- very buttery. I think it would be a great deck for someone who wants to learn on traditional camber or wants a killer park deck that can easily handle the whole mountain.
- Arbor Element 155: This is an Arbor “System” board meaning it has full rocker tip to tail and grip-tech edges (bumped out contact points at the toe and heel areas for better edge hold). This board rides similar to the Coda but with a softer core and more of a damp feel. The diamond shaped tips add some stability and float in powder, is what they say. The board felt great edge to edge and handled ice and chop no problem. It had less pop than my Coda but was more forgiving buttering around at slower speeds. The Element would be a great all-mountain board that you could take to the park for few laps. Good for just about anyone above beginner. The Roundhouse is the wide version of the Element.
- Homewood SOS 156: This is a stiffer, true-twin board with C2 (rocker between feet and camber to the tip and tail) that Homewood got permission to use from Mervin. The board does not have magnetraction giving it a different feel from Mervin and Niche C2 boards. It is fast and it definitely felt like a solid point-and-go board. I think it could have used some torsional flex as it felt a bit rigid at times. Homewood is an independent brand making boards in Bradford, PA and this is their second year in operation. This board would be awesome for intermediate to advanced rider who might only go into the park for the bigger jumps and to hit the pipe.
- Salomon Craft: The Craft is an all-mountain board rated as a 4 mid flex although it felt stiffer to me. It’s flat through the middle with camber under foot and rocker to the tip and tail. To be honest, I do not take to a lot of flat boards and this one was no exception especially with the camber and rocker in the mix. It felt unpredictable and awkward through turns and I had a hard time getting it to pop. That said, it might be a great board for someone who is familiar with this profile and knows how to work it.
Lib Tech Gateway
- Lib Tech Gateway 154: One of my favorite boards of the demos. Super fun to butter around on as well as blast away over hard pack. The board had a lot of pop and just a really great feel edge to edge. The Gateway is a collaboration effort between Mervin and Gateway Parks (a snowboard non-profit providing riding opportunities in areas where there otherwise would be none). The Gateway has BTX (rocker with magnetraction), medium to soft flex, and a true twin shape. This board, in my opinion, could be ridden by anyone wanting great mid flex-fun board that can easily handle blasting down the mountain full speed.
So there’s day one- a cold, icy, hard-packed day riding a wide variety of boards. Stay tuned for Stratton On-Snow Demos for snowboards 2015 days two and three where I finish up with the boards and move on to the bindings.