It’s no coincidence that all of these innovators do their business in the backcountry. Attempts to apply radical new thoughts to everyday piste carving have given us such Dragon’s Den rejects as Dual Snowboards and the Bulldog Boardski – of which the less said the better – but the pow-hounds continue to pique our curiosity with genuinely good ideas. With or without bindings, they’re all looking for better ways to enjoy the fluffy stuff. As well they might; just as anything will ‘fly’ if you throw it hard enough, the variety of shapes that will get you down a powder field is almost limitless. If where you live is blessed with dump after glorious dump, you’d be mad not to want to mix it up occasionally.
Just as anything will ‘fly’ if you throw it hard enough, the variety of shapes that will get you down a powder field is almost limitless.
Take Venture, which now operates a dedicated R&D division called the Shape Shack. Based in Silverton, Colorado and described by founder Klemens Branner as a way of embracing “a bit of a mad scientist kind of approach, experimenting with designs that might normally be considered too wacky”, the Shack has the perfect testing ground for its creations. “We have the freedom to produce pretty much anything that we can dream up,” Branner explains, “and then we can walk out the front door and ride it right here in our backyard.” Powsurfing’s Jeremy Jensen agrees that location is a huge factor, and that you’ll only truly appreciate boards like his if you’re both willing and able to ride them where they’re best suited: “You need a [steep] slope and you need soft snow, and not everybody knows how and where to find this. It seems to me that most people want ease and convenience. Powsurfing takes more dedication and effort, but the payoff is great and that is what it’s all about. Once people taste the nectar they are hooked, but I don’t know if the mainstream audience would put forth the effort required to get a taste of that nectar.”
The founders of Venture Snowboards discussing their creations