All photos by Matt Georges
After a successful inaugral event in 2015, Vans Snowboarding Days returned to Mayrhofen for another dose of shred.
As you may remember, Vans recently missed a season of production due to supply chain issues - something they refer to as their 'injury year'. And what happens when you get injured? You take stock, figure out what's important, then come back hungrier than ever. From seeing how well the brand have bounced back, and their plans for the years to come, it's clear they're keen to make up for lost time.
The 2016/17 line features new pro model boots for Pat Moore, Jamie Lynn and Hana Beaman, as well as the continuation of long-serving favourites like the V66 and HI Standard. There's also been some fresh new signings to the Vans team, and it's safe to say they've got strength in depth to rival just about anyone.
Most of them were present and correct when we headed for the hills - naturally, we didn't come all the way to Mayrhofen just to talk shop. Zac Marben, Benny Urban, DBK, Valerian Ducourtil, Rowan Coultas, Will Smith, Wolle Nyvelt and Kevin Trammer all made the most of the epic conditions, with Jamie Lynn charging out at the front all day.
Before heading up we nabbed ourselves a pair of the 2017 Vans Infuse Boa, which has had the Pat Moore treatment and comes in 'none-more black'... OK, with a dash of white on the sole. These are the Batmobile of the Vans range - that winning blend of tech, style and stealth - and you'll be stoked slipping your feet in these as they felt epic straight out the box.
There are a lot of fancypants bells and whistles on these top-end stomping shoes, but paramount in a boot are fit, heel hold and flex. The Infuse Boa excelled on all three fronts - at least for us; the foot is after all a very personal thing - and is stuffed with customisation options.
The best bit? The regular laces that are complemented by a Boa that enables you to crank down the heel hold to effectively zero, without needing tightness all over. The boot is fairly stiff, making it for those who like response, but you can customise the flex with tongue inserts to make it more mellow or more gnarly. In short: one of the best boots we've tried out in recent years that's built for the more advanced, demanding snowboarder.
As a Zac and Jamie jam session closed the show on Vans Snowboarding Days 2016, the 'injury year' seemed like a distant memory. Vans will be sticking around for a long, long time - meaning plenty of opportunities for you to try out a pair.