When it snowed 6 cm at Whistler recently, I tell you — my heart was in my chest. I CANNOT wait for this year’s snowboard season.
I’d like to do a mini preview of some of the cool snowboards that I’m super excited about this year.
Let’s start with Burton. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Burton. Sure, they’re the big corporation but I really do like the quality of their gear. Not to mention I’m super excited about going to Burton JAPAN in a month! (My work trip got pushed back unfortunately, until the middle-end of November).
This year Burton is introducing a new system called “EST” (Extra Sensory Technology). From Burton’s website, “EST™ stands for Extra Sensory Technology. Its focus on the ability to feel and read the snow is essential no matter where or what you ride. EST breaks free from traditional thinking, offering seamless flex and the purest connection between you and your terrain. This creates super natural feel, control, and response unlike anything you have ever ridden before.” Part of this is the mounting system on boards called “The Channel”. Apparently they’ve tried something like this before in the past, but it wasn’t super great. This year, The Channel is said to provide more flexibility in terms of your mounting angle and centering options. Not just that, but with the different footbed options available, it’s designed to help you “feel” the snow better. Who knows if it is actually any good or not. I guess we’ll find out once the snow flies! To find out more about EST and The Channel, go here on Burton’s site.
Burton’s Custom X Board is looking as good as ever in 2009. This popular board is well suited for All Mountain riding. It’s pretty much the “Do It All” board. Keep in mind that this board is stiff and geared for high performance. It also comes in a wider version which is pretty sweet for you boys.
The Malolo is a great board for both men and women, and it’s something I’m seriously considering getting. It’s got a powder tapered shape (toned down from the Fish), and it’s meant for powder but still should be able to handle the whole mountain. Terje likes to ride this board, and hey, can Terje really ever be wrong?
The Fish! Ah the Fish… a board I seriously want to get but everyone is telling me it’s not really worth it and it’s leagues above my skill level. They’re probably right. If I lived in Alaska, I would buy this board. But for icy groomer days at Cypress… no, definitely not. I would seriously consider this as a second or third board in my quiver once I get some more powder experience. We’re going catboarding in February and I have to admit that I’m tempted by this board for that sole reason… *sigh*. But as my friends say, why buy a board for just one day? An improvement to the Fish this year? The S-Rocker. Keeps your nose up a bit more in powder and increases your float. And the retro design is awesome.
The Burton Hero is something I would definitely consider if I was a guy. It’s a reverse-camber board (V-Rocker technology between your feet), basically ripped off from the popular Skate Banana last year, except with Burton’s solid base and core technology. I’ve been reading a lot of reviews on this board from early testers and it’s all good. If you’re looking for a board that’s sick in the park and on powder, I hear this is the best compromise for both worlds. Excellent for pressing and pop, not to mention the pressure distribution edges which is meant to help you carve, kinda like Libtech’s Magnetraction. I love the design on the Women’s Lipstick (the female version of the Hero), but I think I’d have to be more into the park to make it worthwhile. This is a late release board, so you probably won’t see it in stores until the end of the year-ish.
The ConDOM is another late release board, but is even more park-oriented than the Hero. When you stand on it, none of the edges of your board touch the ground. It’s got Zero Camber (basically convex all around) so you can make ridiculous landings on your tricks, and jib, butter etc etc… I have a feeling my friend Jay would like this board….
By the way, I just gotta put a picture of the Burton Love‘s in here, because DAMN! That’s a hot looking board. I don’t know if I’d look like a cool guy riding that board, but it would definitely be interesting if a GIRL was to!… hah. Apparently they’re all retro Playboy photos. Awesome!
Let’s talk a bit about Libtech. Aside from always being innovative, Libtech has got AWESOME designs this year in my opinion. Actually, I find the Burton designs (especially on the Malolo) to be WAY too toned down for my tastes. I don’t understand releasing bright funky clothing and then putting dull designs on boards… but ANYWAY. So Libtech’s got some great boards this year.
The Skate Banana… the board that started it all. This board just blew up last year; I started seeing it everywhere, and it was selling out in stores. Basically the pioneer of the reverse camber, Libtech’s Skate Banana made it possible to go from park to pow effortlessly. It’s designed mainly for park and tricks, but I’ve heard amazing things about it in powder. This board has won a whole whack of awards, and is definitely worth checking out.
Some other boards that are interesting from Libtech … the TRice board and the TRS BTX (Banana boards that have Magnetraction for sticking landings and carving), and the Cygnus X1 board (a premium board with pop and vibration reduction).
And you gotta love Rome Snowboards, from the guys who left Burton to start their own company. Rome’s also got new Reverse Camber boards this year (can you tell they are all the rage?).
The Rome Mod is a high-end twin, that’s well rounded with lots of pop (but still soft) and decent in powder. Friends tell me that it’s very stable and holds an edge well, but it’s a little bit of a pricey board. The Rome Artifact also looks good with the reverse camber, and has similar features to the Skate Banana or the Hero. Good for the park and the rest of the mountain, and designed for ollies and pop.
A small shoutout to Prior Snowboards, who make excellent boards at home here in BC, in Whistler. They also do custom boards! Definitely check them out. The Spearhead looks particularly interesting to me, especially since I’m looking for a powder board… I’m seriously considering them but I don’t really know anyone who rides them. Are they good quality boards? Will it hold up? How’s the construction?
Phew, that’s it for now. More on other 2008/2009 snowboard gear coming up soon!
(P.S. As I write this post, the Canucks whooped the Flames 6-1. Luongo was huge and holy crap, Hansen is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. Only team in the NHL with a perfect record w00t w00t!)