Every year we pack up for a week of riding and head off to a 3-day snowboard demo event. Sometimes we go to snow demos in Colorado, but the last few years we’ve gone to the Stratton Snowboard Demos in Vermont. It’s closer to us obviously, and it has a huge selection of product to try out. We get to talk with our reps about the new stuff coming up for next year and get recommendations on what will fit best in the shop. Then we take the gear out for a spin and give you some general info on what we thought about it. We’ll start out with the 2017 Lib Tech boards and Bent Metal bindings that I rode over the 3-day event.
We had a mixed bag of weather and conditions, unlike last year when it never stopped snowing. This year we had some sun, some wind and some deadly pouring rain- typical New England fare! That said, I was really impressed the boards and bindings I rode from all the manufacturers. I sort of concentrated on some of the new camber profiles that have been building up in the snowboard market since last year. I love how rocker tracks really straight, has a loose feel, and floats in powder. But I also love the snappy carving, edge hold, pop, and stability of camber. The companies have been working their engineers to come up with a bunch of shapes and profiles that give you a little bit of everything.
Lib Tech TRS 153
The TRS (Total Ripper Series) is a directional twin with a mid flex and the XC2 profile. XC2 is Lib’s second most aggressive profile with a shortened rocker section between your feet and longer camber areas under your feet to the tip and tail. The board was fast, lively with great edge hold and great pop off of jumps. I could butter the 153 no problem, as it was a little undersized for my weight, but it might not be as easy on a longer version, since board stiffness tends to increase with length. It was super stable blasting over chop and ice biscuits and held a good edge at speed on ice. I really liked how smoothly it snapped in and out of carves. The TRS is a glorious all-mountain freestyle and jump deck. It’s definitely on my short list for boards to add to my quiver.
Lib Tech Hot Knife 156
The Hot Knife is a directional twin billed as a mid flex (felt on the stiffer side to me) and C3 camber. C3 is Lib’s most aggressive profile with a slight amount of rocker between the feet that doesn’t even reach the ground. The camber extends to the ends of the board. Like the TRS, the Hot Knife has even more edge hold. Riding over the ice high up on the mountain was no problem. I felt the edges set and lock in but the board had enough looseness to release as soon as I wanted to transition. It had lots of pop off of rollers and jumps with the stiffer tail and nose. This is a board you can take out on steep, icy New England terrain and feel totally comfortable mobbing the hill and landing tricks and it rides just as good switch as regular. I would put the Hot Knife in the All Mountain and Freeride category.
Lib Tech Utility Knife 154
The Utility Knife is a true twin, mid to soft flex and a C3 profile. This board was a lot of fun in the park and cruising the mountain. It was lively but really buttery and playful with lots forgiveness when spinning even though it has the aggressive C3 profile. It popped like crazy off of jumps due to the camber and held a great edge. Also, because of the camber it can blast down the mountain and rip carves without washing out or chattering. It’s a great all-in-one type board for a wide range of riders.
Lib Tech Skate Banana 154
The Skate Banana has been one of Lib Tech’s best selling boards for over 10 years now. It’s a true twin, mid flex board with BTX. BTX is the least aggressive profile in Lib’s line, and it has the most rocker between the feet with flat to mild camber to the tip and tail. This is a board with enough stiffness for all-mountain riding but because of the big rocker section, it can butter, jib, and excel at freestyle tricks. The Skate Banana felt like coming home after a long trip- super comfortable and predictable while also being ridiculously fun. It has everything you want in park/mountain board including being very forgiving, but you can also open it up on the bigger sections of the mountain.
Bent Metal Logic Bindings
New for next year Bent Metal (also owned by Mervin Mfg.) will have three new bindings. I rode the Logic, which has a medium soft flex, one piece EVA ankle strap and Urethane highbacks. The baseplates are interchangeable and come in medium-soft, medium and stiff grades. The heel loops are adjustable and they have cube-style forward lean adjusters. These bindings are so comfortable I didn’t even realize they were different from my Flux RL bindings. They worked seamlessly with the TRS 153 and I never felt constrained of uncomfortable in the least.
I should also mention that another reason Lib Tech boards have great edge hold is because the Magne-Traction has been tweaked a little this year. They are putting the most aggressive serration in the middle of the side cut between your feet and it the gets mellower as it moves towards the outside contact points. This makes for great edge hold, smooth turning and easy tranistioning from toe to heel. For more info on 2017 Lib Tech boards head down to your local snowboard shop.