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When it comes to choosing a snowboard, the possibilities are seemingly endless. There are so many thousands of variations of models with all kinds of technical variations - where do you even begin?
Our advice would be to start thinking about what you want your board to do. What do you like riding? What's your ability level? How much do you want to spend? Then get on the research. This is where our 40 Top Snowboards comes into handy. Taken from the Whitelines 100 issue, the Snowboard Buyers' Bible, this is a list of what our experts judge to be the best 40 boards on sale in the UK this winter.
The boards in this list were picked by the Whitelines team, based on the feedback and comments we received from the hundreds of riders of all ability levels (from pros and shop monkeys to members of the snowboarding public) who attended the Snowboard Spring Break event last May. Over the course of the week these testers wrote over 1,250 reviews of around 500 bits of snowboard kit, including 350 boards from 30 manufacturers, so there were plenty of voices involved!
Over the course of the week our testers wrote over 1,250 reviews of around 500 bits of snowboard kit, including 350 boards from 30 manufacturers.
We combined these opinions with technical information from the brands and the Whitelines test team's own expertise (the four of us have over 60 years riding experience combined) to create our detailed and in-depth reviews. There are no bad boards in this list (it's a top 40, so there bloody well shouldn't be!) but each has its particular strengths, and some will suit different ability levels and riding styles better than others. We can safely say however that all the sticks we've picked are awesome. If you pick one of these that we've said will suit your level and style, you're basically guaranteed a good time!
Better still we're giving away one of these boards (the latest Ride Buck Up) for free! Have a look here to find out how to win it.
Scroll through the boards using the numbers below or click on each name to jump straight to the review of a particular board. NB. The boards are presented on these pages in alphabetical order - this ISN'T a countdown from 40 to 1.
[part title="Amplid Pocketknife"]
AMPLID POCKETKNIFE SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Amplid Snowboards is the brainchild of Austrian former pro Peter Bauer. Back in the 80s, Bauer was one of the earliest European adopters of the new sport of snowboarding, and went on to win the World Championship (which at the time consisted of slalom racing and halfpipe) in 1988. He started making his own boards under the Amplid label in 2005, and the brand has gone from strength to strength ever since.
The Pocketknife is a brand new board. It features an interesting new technology Amplid call “Jekyll & Hyde geometry". They’ve extended the effective edge right out to the nose and tail, to bring almost the whole rail in contact with the snow. This has enabled Amplid’s engineers to take material off the tip and tail of the board to create that snub nose and tail shape, making it shorter, lighter and reducing the swing weight. Shorter, lighter boards are obviously great if you’re into riding rails, which is exactly what the Pocketknife is designed to do.
Amplid have further enhanced this new model’s jib credentials by adding their ‘Hybrid V’ profile. Refreshingly, in a world where everyone claims their profiles are unique and revolutionary, Amplid freely admit “we’re not the pioneers of this technology but we rode it and liked it so we designed our own version". The soft flex of the board works in conjunction with these two technologies to give it a playful, jibby feel that really impressed our testers, who said it was “super easy to spin" and “perfect for out and out freestyle". Of course if you’re looking to ride a lot of powder, a shorter board won’t help you at all, but if you want a pint-sized park slayer, the Pocketknife is it.
Have you ridden this board? Got any comments that your fellow riders might find useful? Please add your reviews below.
[part title="Apo Dragon"]
APO DRAGON SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Apo is a brand with a history almost as long as snowboarding itself. Founded in the 80s by Regis Rolland, one of the first Frenchmen ever to step on a snowboard, the company was originally called Apocalypse Snowboards, after the ridiculous Apocalypse Snow films in which Regis starred. In the 90s its name changed to A Boards, before changing once again to Apo in 2003. The company has always been hugely popular in its native France, where Apo boards are standard issue for the local snowpark rudebwoys in most resorts. Until recently however it sometimes struggled to gain traction outside of Europe. However a recent influx of investment has seen Apo expand its range massively and snapped up big name North Americans, like slopestyle specialists Sage Kotsenberg and Spencer O’Brien, and backcountry king Eero Niemela to rep its kit.
The Dragon is definitely an Apo board built for this new school generation. It’s aimed squarely at park riders like Kotsenberg, with a mid-stiff flex that enables it to tackle both rails and decent-sized kickers with ease. The rocker profile shape makes buttering and pressing easy, and the tighter-than-normal sidecut radius (which Apo call the ‘freestyle shape’) means it turns quickly and easily. The core is poplar, so pretty standard, but they’ve mixed basalt in with the fibreglass weave to help keep the weight down. Nothing in this board is mind-blowing technologically speaking, but it’s a perfect combo for anyone with more than a passing interest in the park. Given that it retails at £340, it definitely deserves its spot in our top 100.
APO DRAGON SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
Have you ridden this board? Got any comments that your fellow riders might find useful? Please add your reviews below.
[part title="Bataleon Evil Twin"]
BATALEON EVIL TWIN SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
The launch of the Bataleon Evil Twin in 2003 really shook up the world of snowboard construction. While Bataleon’s entire inaugural range boasted their revolutionary Triple Base Technology (TBT), it was this mid-flexing all-rounder that really popularised the profile shape. The idea behind TBT, that lifting the edges of a snowboard at the nose and the tail would make them harder to catch, was both incredibly simple and impressively effective. The reverse camber (or rocker) boards that emerged onto the market a few years later were based on this same principle and proved to be enormously popular.
But while these initial rocker profiles, produced by Lib Tech and K2, went on to be imitated by almost every other brand out there, no-one has copied TBT. Why? Well, because unlike Lib Tech’s banana or K2’s rocker shape, Bataleon patented the technology, giving rise to a sort of Apple vs. IBM scenario. So while rocker tech took over the world, TBT was mainly appreciated by a smaller group of aficionados who, like Apple-fanatics, were almost cultish in their devotion.
Ten years later and TBT’s popularity has spread, but the Evil Twin remains the flagship stick for Bataleon and for the technology. Designed to suit everyone from the piste-cruising intermediate to the dude hitting the pro line in the park, it’s an all-round freestyle beast. Bataleon claim they’ve “softened the core" since last year, but this still feels solid and snappy underfoot, with none of the skittishness in a straight line that you might associate with a soft board. It’s got a sintered base that they describe as “fast as fuck" and (contrary to what you might think with its raised edges) we found it held an edge impressively well on icy inclines. Like Apple’s iconic computers this is a classic that keeps getting better.
BATALEON EVIL TWIN SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
Have you ridden this board? Got any comments that your fellow riders might find useful? Please add your reviews below.
[part title="Bataleon Global Warmer"]
Launched last year, the Global Warmer has an unashamedly un-PC, un-environmentally-friendly construction – hence the name. Traditionally rail boards are made cheap and disposable, with inexpensive materials, extruded bases and plain wood cores. With this, Bataleon decided to make the best high-end park-and-rails board money could buy, catering to the park rider who actually wants quality and can afford to pay a bit more for it.
Unfortunately, the most effective materials going – carbon, fibreglass, polyurethane – are not necessarily the most environmentally friendly. But rather than try and hide this with a ‘greenwash’ of marketing they decided to make it and be damned, regardless of the cost to the planet. This stick is essentially a two-fingered salute from the snotty park rats to the bearded freestylers of this world.
Bataleon have enhanced their ‘Core core’ with carbon stringers running horizontally either side of the bindings, which help transfer your weight to the contact points more effectively. This makes the board quick edge to edge, and (according to one tester) “super easy to carve". The Global Warmer has ‘Park TBT’ with a relatively wide central flat section, making it stable in a straight line, and easy to lock onto rails.
Despite the relatively soft flex, we found it remarkably snappy when it came to ollieing, giving it a playful feel perfect for messing around on the side of the pistes. The sintered base means its no slouch in a straight line either, so it’s perhaps no wonder that Whitelines’ online editor Sam considered this his “favourite board on the test".
BATALEON GLOBAL WARMER SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Bataleon Whatever"]
BATALEON WHATEVER SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Like the Evil Twin and the Global Warmer, the Bataleon Whatever features the brand’s patented Triple Base Technology (TBT). The base at the nose and the tail of the board is divided into three lengthwise sections, with the outside sections angled upwards. This means the rider is less likely to catch an edge which (as the popularity of rocker boards has shown) is something that riders of all stripes, but particularly rail riders and beginners, can appreciate.
The advantage of TBT over rockered snowboards is that Bataleon’s technology can be combined with a conventional camber shape, so boards like the Whatever still have all the pop associated with conventional camber. As with any profile variation TBT has its critics. But for every rider who doesn’t enjoy the feel, there are probably ten more who swear by it, and will preach almost religiously about its benefits.
If you fancy joining the ranks of the believers and you’re looking for an intermediate all-rounder, then the Whatever (so called because you can ride “Whatever" on it) may well be your saviour. Its relatively soft flex and slightly directional shape makes it easy to turn and butter, so it’s great for learners. There’s still enough snap in that camber profile and the ‘Core core’ that you can hit medium-sized kickers with ease too.
The base is extruded, so it’s not the fastest, but it’ll take a proper punishing before you have to repair it so you can hit rails and boxes without fretting too much about damaging your precious. It says a lot about this board’s qualities that this year’s awesome South Park-themed graphic is merely the icing on a very tasty cake.
BATALEON WHATEVER SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY TSA
[part title="Burton Custom Flying V"]
BURTON CUSTOM FLYING V SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
This is the best-selling snowboard of all time. The reason for this is relatively simple – the Burton Custom appeals to a very broad spectrum of riders. Launched as the first ever “all-mountain" snowboard back in 1995, it was built to handle all terrain types, from deep powdery pillows to the sculpted ice of the halfpipe and everything in between. In the 18 years since the Custom has proved that the “all-mountain" tag is not mere marketing hype – it’s been loved by everyone from piste-cruising weekend warriors to big-hitters like Burton’s Mikkel Bang.
This latest, greatest version of the board features Burton’s high-end ‘Super Fly II Core’, which they’ve tailored using a tech they call ‘Squeezebox’ – this means it’s thicker in places where you need extra ollie power and thinner where you don’t to help reduce weight. For the coming season, they’ve also added what they call ‘Carbon Highlights’ stringers that add extra stiffness. This hasn’t changed the feel of the board radically – it still feels solid and stable underfoot – but it does add a bit more snap to the flex. This is not the easiest board to butter on by any means, but pop an ollie and you fly!
A directional twin shape with a slightly longer nose and a setback stance means it floats easily in powder, and it’s rapid in a straight line too thanks to its sintered base. The combo ‘Flying V’ profile with its lifted contact points makes this relatively aggressive stick slightly more forgiving, but there’s an even more solid, stable camber version too. What with all the different length options available it’s little wonder this versatile beast was one of the first boards we picked for inclusion in the Whitelines 100.
BURTON CUSTOM FLYING V SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
Have you ridden this board? Got any comments that your fellow riders might find useful? .ukPlease add your reviews below.
[part title="Burton Lip-Stick"]
BURTON LIP-STICK SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Burton were the first brand to start making women’s-specific snowboards back in the day, and their 2013-14 range looks to continue this tradition of innovation. The Lip-Stick, a mid-range freestyle-focussed board, is a case in point. Although this board has been a part of their line for a few years we (and our test team) can safely say it’s never been as good as this. We’re not just talking about its cosmetic appearance here, although appropriately (given its name) the Lip-Stick has always featured some of Burton’s strongest graphics, and this years’ by veteran Italian photographer Massimo Vitali, are no exception. No, it’s what’s going on underneath that tranquil beach scene that really grabbed our team’s attention.
The combination of a mid-soft flex and a true twin shape means this is great for messing around on the side of the pistes and buttering around. But while the word mentioned most frequently in conjunction with this board was “fun", we were also impressed by how stable it felt in a straight line – a function of its largely flat profile. There’s also a decent amount of pop thanks to Burton’s ‘Hi-voltage Jumper Cables’ – essentially v-shaped carbon stringers that radiate outwards from the bindings towards the tip and tail, making them more rigid.
All of this means that the Lip-Stick feels much more solid than you might expect from a board with that kind of flex and it was comfortable carving at high speeds in a way that many intermediate women’s freestyle boards aren’t. If you’re into your freestyle but want to cruise too, you could do a lot worse than using this lippy.
[part title="Burton Parkitect"]
BURTON PARKITECT SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
2013-14 will be the Burton Parkitect’s second season. It comes carrying quite a rep, with both jibbing Jeremy Jones, an old hand, and Zak Hale, one of Burton’s new generation of rail riders, both proclaiming themselves fans. As you’d expect from a board with that kind of backing, this has a strong freestyle focus, with a whole range of features designed to make park riding a piece of piss.
Like the vast majority of freestyle boards this has a true twin shape and a medium flex, and a fairly wide waist for extra stability. It also boasts their ‘squeezebox’ technology, with the bits of the core around the bindings made thicker than normal to add extra pop. Unlike the Burton Custom though, the Parkitect has ‘off-axis squeezebox’, meaning the thickened sections are at asymmetric angles of +15 and -15 degrees. The idea is that this mirrors the typical park riders’ duck-footed stance, so the thickened sections will be as effective as possible. Burton have also made the ‘frostbite edges’ asymmetric on this board, setting them at similar angles. These are the bulges underneath the bindings that give extra edge-hold. This of course means that shredders who don’t like duck-footed stances will struggle to get the most out of this board. But the off-axis tweaks are definitely popular with the its target market – our freestyle loving testers rated the board’s “excellent edge grip" and said it felt “powerful and snappy".
Interestingly while the camber profile gives the board plenty of pop, our tester said “you’d have to know what you’re doing to take this on rails – it’s not a noodly rocker board by any means." The trade-off with that is of course that this is stable enough to straight-line into serious-sized booters. The graphic apparently shows groupies gathering round you after you’ve stomped said serious-sized booters.
BURTON PARKITECT SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Burton Trick Pony"]
BURTON TRICK PONY SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Burton don’t launch new models lightly, so when they do it’s worth sitting up and taking notice. Especially when the new model in question is as eye-catching as this one. We’re not talking the graphics here obviously – in fact, the graphics on the Trick Pony are about as plain as they come, with simple colours on the topsheet and a largely featureless black base. No, it’s the shape that makes this board stand out – that pointed tip and tail are definitely unusual. Burton have basically taken the kind of tapered nose that helps freeride sticks float so well in powder and put it on a more freestyle focussed, twin-tipped board. The theory is that you get freeride-style float in powder even when you’re riding switch. Unfortunately we weren’t blessed with the kind of powdery conditions needed to put this theory to the test, but the fact that John Jackson, Mark Sollors and Jussi Oksanen, three of the best backcountry freestylers on the planet, have been riding this in the BC backcountry would suggest it works pretty well.
We rode the board in spring conditions and found that the raised nose and tail also help cut through slush, while the flat base under the feet and the mid-stiff flex meant it felt solid at speed. The ‘hi-voltage jumper cables’ (Burton’s word for carbon stringers) near the tip and the tail give this a nice snappy ollie. Although this isn’t the easiest board to butter, you could definitely take it off kickers and if you’re into charging both off-piste and on, this is a great option.
BURTON TRICK PONY SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Capita Defenders of Awesome"]
CAPITA DEFENDERS OF AWESOME SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
When you call a board the Defenders of Awesome, you’re definitely making something of a statement. Thankfully, this high-end freestyle stick from Capita has the spec and performance to back that statement up. Which is just as well, because it also has to justify one of the most eye-catching graphics of the year – there are Jackie Brown-style chicks with guns on every different length. Introduced into the line for the first time last year, the DOA won a whole host of awards in its maiden season. Understandably, Capita’s tech guys have decided to subtly tweak the board for the 2013-14 season, rather than tampering with a winning formula.
Interestingly, one thing they have changed is the core. The previous year’s ‘SS Select core’ has been switched for one made of more sustainably grown wood. But the wood in question is still poplar so the flex and feel of the board is largely unchanged. The profile on this board is also the same as the previous season’s model. It’s a hybrid, with camber between the feet and a bit of reverse camber towards the tip and tail. This is a solid, chunky ride with the relatively rigid flex, meaning it powers through slush and crud without batting an eyelid. The powerful core is stiffened further by carbon stringers that run the length of the board, meaning that it really fires you up in the air when you pop.
Like last year’s DOA, it’s excellent for tackling kickers and for hooning it down the piste at Mach 10. If you like going big and you’re man enough to handle it, it’s an awesome freestyle stick.
CAPITA DEFENDERS OF AWESOME SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Capita Horrorscope"]
CAPITA HORRORSCOPE SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
This has been one of the best-selling boards in Capita’s line for a few years now, largely due to the fact that its playful and easy to ride and yet still has enough to keep more advanced shredders interested, especially if they’re into jibbing. It also probably helps that it comes it at a very reasonable £300, meaning you won’t have to re-mortgage your house to buy one.
The core of the board is made of something Capita call ‘wood-derived technology’ (or WDT). It’s built out of ‘wood composite’, using a process that Capita have patented. It may not provide the snap of say poplar, but it’s perfect for a soft-flexing board like this one. It’s also lightweight and crucially, it’s cheap to produce, helping keep the cost down.
The profile is Capita’s ‘Urban Flat Kick’ which features a flat section between the bindings that kicks upwards around the contact points meaning it’s quite difficult to catch an edge. There are no carbon stringers, but Capita have added what they call ‘Anchormat’ underneath the topsheet which reinforces the tip and tail and stops them de-lamming. This makes the board perfect for jibbers and beginners who need something that can take a few knocks without shattering. The soft flex and that ‘flat kick’ profile make pressing a dream, and the lifted contact points mean it’s difficult to get hung up on rails. The same characteristics make turning easy and mean novices are less likely to scorpion.
The best thing about this board though is the graphic, which like last year’s is designed by British artist (and former pro snowboarder) Jono Wood. It features hot, powerful-looking women with laser-beams shooting out of their eyes!
CAPITA HORRORSCOPE SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="DC PBJ"]
DC PBJ SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
While it’s hardly surprising that a skate brand should make a quality jib board, the enduring popularity of DC’s PBJ (Park Board for Jibbing) is still impressive. To a large extent, its continuing success is due to the fact that it’s not over-complicated. DC realised that you don’t need some hyper-tech-enhanced space-age super-stick to ride rails or jib around the park. In fact, it’s much better to have something that’s super-simple and cheap to manufacture, so jib kids can actually afford it. DC have also always made the PBJ admirably tough, so it can take the kind of punishing that rail ridres dole out on the regs.
It’s got a wood-reinforced ‘astro core’ that gives it a soft, buttery flex – perfect for pressing. Around this they’ve wrapped a standard bi-axial fibreglass weave, and finished the whole lot off with a cheap, durable extruded base. In previous years the DC have flirted with a variety of different profile shapes for the PBJ, but this season they’ve decided to go back to tried and tested camber. This means it’s got a decent amount of snap for a soft board, and you can still pop a decent ollie. The four contact points also help you grip the snow nicely – we found it more stable and better at carving than you might expect.
But while you can take it all over the mountain, this board’s really at its best in the park. Or on the beginner slopes, as the same easy flexing feel (and cheap price) that appeals to jib-kids will suit novices too. The graphic, a series of naughty nuns, probably tells you most of what you need to know about it – snotty park rats will love it, bearded freeride types less so.
DC PBJ SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="DC Ply"]
DC PLY SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
The first thing you’ll notice about this year’s DC PLY is the graphic – the skate brand teamed up with renowned Californian artist Jeff Soto, who created the series of mythical beats which adorn the different lengths of this year’s board. Each creature represents a different element – earth, wind, fire, water – and they bring a healthy dose of surrealist cool to the otherwise plain topsheets.
Underneath the topsheet, DC have kept this board fairly simple, although there is a bit more going on here. The heart of the board is a poplar ‘stratus core’ which offers a decent amount of pop and gives the board a mid-stiff flex. Combined with the ‘lock and load camber’ shape, which effectively becomes flat when ‘loaded’ with a rider’s weight, this helps the PLY hold an edge nicely throughout the carve. The ‘lock and load’ profile also provides a nice platform for ollieing and pressing, making this a great freestyle board.
As with the PBJ the base is extruded rather than sintered. But while it’s not the fastest on paper, our testers weren’t struggling for speed, even in slushy conditions. Several of them also commented on how stable the board felt underfoot, which is not necessarily a given with freestyle focussed boards. The thing that really cemented its place in the Whitelines 100 though was the price. As with the PBJ, its simple construction helps keep the price down, but whichever way you look at it £260 is ridiculously reasonable price for a twin-tip that’s comfortable on pistes, rails and kickers.
[part title="Drake DF2"]
DRAKE DF2 SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Drake first burst onto the snowboard scene with bindings, which quickly earned a reputation as some of the best on the market. A few years later they launched a board range, which they’ve been building on ever since. Their team is small but screams quality, with freestyler Victor de le Rue (not to be confused with his big mountain loving brother Xavier) and X Games gold-medallist turned-powder-Jedi Antti Autti leading the charge.
The DF2 is Drake’s mid-range freestyle stick, aimed at intermediate riders who spend a fair bit of time in the park, but also enjoy piste cruising. It features what Drake call a ‘triple rocker’ profile. Reverse camber between the bindings makes it easy to manoeuvre and playful, while camber underneath the feet helps to mitigate the unwanted skittishness that can sometimes affect rocker boards. This combo profile is complemented with tip to tail carbon stringers, which add a bit of extra snap to the ‘premium pop’ poplar wood core.
This combination must be doing something right, as our testers were suitably impressed by the ollie power this board offered. While it’s not as stable at speed as a traditional camber stick, they also said it had “great forgiveness" and overall felt “mint" – which is a ringing endorsement if ever I’ve heard one. The base is extruded rather than sintered, but unless they’re hitting the pro-line regularly your average park rat probably doesn’t need a super-fast base, and the cheaper to produce base helps keep this well within the price range of most intermediates. If you’re getting into freestyle and want something that’ll keep you going until you get to “officially shit hot" level, this is well worth a look.
[part title="Endeavor Boyfriend"]
ENDEAVOR BOYFRIEND SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Endeavor describe the Boyfriend as a “no nonsense, take no prisoners park dominator". Take a look at the spec, and it’s easy to see what they mean. It’s a true twin for starters, which makes riding switch easy, and its combo profile is tailored to offer a perfect combination of the poppiness of camber with the catch-free feel of rocker. There’s camber between the bindings, while the contact points near the tip and tail are lifted, making them snag on rails. The poplar wood core is made softer than normal so that women, who are generally lighter, will find it easy to butter and press. Carbon stringers down the length of the board adding a bit of extra power, but this is still designed more for jibbing than charging around the pistes.
That said, if you do choose to go fast, there is rubber in the sidewalls which helps cushion you from lumps in the piste and reduce chatter at speed. One of our testers remarked on how responsive the board felt when carving, an unusual comment for such a soft board. The base of the board is extruded, so it’s not super-tech or super-fast, but then you don’t really need that for a board designed primarily for freestyle. And make no mistake, although intermediate piste cruisers will probably love the soft flex and easy feel, it’s the park where this board is most at home.
If nothing else that badass bird-flipping graphic, designed by Mexican artist El Grand Chamaco, should tell you that the kind of woman who rides this stick is not the kind you wanna mess with.
[part title="Endeavor Color"]
ENDEAVOR COLOR SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Endeavor Snowboards have been going for more than a decade now and the Color has been a staple of their range for most of that time. A soft, jibby board, it’s long been a favourite with the kind of Whistler park rat who loves this Canadian brand. For proof of this board’s quality in this area you need look no further than Whitelines’ jib-loving online editor Sam Oetiker. Having done two seasons in Whistler himself, he’s been riding one of these for the last five years and loving it. So what is it that makes the Color so good?
Well, there’s the flex for starters – the poplar core and bi-axial fibreglass weave give this a soft, buttery feel, making it perfect for pressing on rails or jibbing down the piste. This flex is combined with a reverse camber profile that lifts the contact points making it tricky to catch an edge and giving the board a forgiving feel. That’s not to say it’s a complete noodle. Endeavor have thrown some carbon strips into the mix to add a bit more pop, and there’s enough ollie power in this to have fun with. The comment that cropped up most regularly amongst our testers was “playful".
Essentially though this is still a very soft board. That, combined with the extruded base, means it’s never going to be the best for hooning it down icy steeps at a million miles an hour. But if you’re looking for a park and rails board that you can push your freestyle skills on, the Color should definitely make your shortlist.
ENDEAVOR COLOR SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Flow Quantum"]
FLOW QUANTUM SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Flow made their mark on snowboarding with the launch of their revolutionary folding highback bindings back in 1992. They started producing snowboards about a decade ago and since then have earned themselves quite a reputation, thanks in no small part to the efforts of team riders like Olympic medallist Scotty Lago. The Quantum is in fact Lago’s board of choice, and he’s apparently had a lot of input in choosing its design and spec. As you might expect this is a high-end pipe and park board, but it’s also perfectly capable of handling itself in powder too. After all, as well as winning that bronze pipe medal in Vancouver, Lago also had one of the standout parts in The Art of Flight.
The camber profile and the core, which is Flow’s lightest and strongest, are covered with an unusual quad-axial fibreglass weave, giving the board a stiff, snappy flex. This means it has shed-loads of pop, which of course is what Scotty needs when he’s busting as high as possible out of the ol’ U-ditch. The flip side is that unless you know what you’re doing, you’ll struggle to get the most out of this board. It’s certainly not one for beginners or for the faint-hearted.
Advanced freestylers will love it though, and that rigidity has other advantages besides the pop – this board feels super-stable at speed, and blasts through slush and crud as if it wasn’t there. Think of it as the Dodge Viper of snowboards: powerful, chunky and fast but not without style or charm. Lago has chosen a suitably manly graphic to go with this most manly of boards, with a huntin’ and shootin’ theme inspired by his favourite off-snow past-time.
[part title="Gnu Park Pickle"]
GNU PARK PICKLE SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Gnu’s Park Pickle, like much of what comes out of the Mervin Factory just outside Seattle, is more than a little odd – at least on paper. Like the Lib Tech and Roxy boards that are made alongside them, many of Gnu’s sticks feature ‘banana technology’ – with a rocker profile that gives them a loose, playful feel. The Park Pickle (like all Gnu boards) also features ‘magne-traction’ - wavy edges that act like a serrated knife blade to increase edge hold in icy conditions, and mitigate some of the ‘washout’ effect that raised rocker contact points can sometimes cause.
But while all that tech is strange enough, what makes the Park Pickle truly weird is its asymmetric sidecut – the radii of the toe-side and heelside sidecuts are different. Why would Gnu do that? Well according to them it actually makes perfect sense. The movement of a toeside turn is very different to that of a heelside turn, and the way your weight is distributed along the length of the board is also different, especially if you ride duck-footed as most freestylers do. So rather than make both edges identical, they’ve tailored each to the toes and the heels respectively.
While it sounds odd to start with, it actually really works – this board holds an edge surprisingly well for a freestyle-focussed twin tip and carves nicely. It’s got a relatively stiff flex thanks to its high-end aspen core, giving it tons of pop. But its profile shape means it’s still quite easy to butter and press. If you’re an intermediate to advanced freestyler looking for an all-round fun ride, you could do a lot worse than embracing the oddness.
GNU PARK PICKLE SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Head Evil I"]
HEAD EVIL I SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Head are one of several brands making a foray into the realm of experimental shapes this season, as this Evil I shows. The nose and tail of this board both feature cutaways, a shape that they call Hammerhead. This might be counter-intuitive if this board was designed for powder, as the nose would drag and get buried more easily, but on a jib-stick like this one, it makes sense. What’s the point in having that extra weight when the tip of your nose is nowhere near the snow anyway? But the unusual shape isn’t the only thing that sets this board apart.
While many jib boards are simple, low-tech affairs, this one has a surprising amount going on underneath the topsheet. There’s the core, which features bamboo mixed in with the poplar, again to help keep the weight down. It also features ‘intellifibres’, which channel energy generated at the edges of the board when you turn and use it to stiffen the board’s flex, helping it to hold an edge better. It does have a simple, extruded base however, so it’s not that quick in a straightline, but that’s not really what you need when you’re pissing about in the park. In fact, for freestyle the reverse camber profile and soft flex of this board are perfect. It’s playful, easy to ride and makes nosepresses ridiculously easy.
It’s little wonder then that Head’s rail-riding whizz-kid Alex Tank picked this to be his pro-model – the picture on the topsheet is apparently the symbol of his crew, called the Attage Tank.
[part title="Jones Hovercraft"]
JONES HOVERCRAFT SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
In its four short years of existence Jeremy Jones’ snowboard brand has established itself as one of the leading freeride board manufacturers in the world. To a large extent this is down to Jeremy himself, whose reputation as the finest freerider or his (or arguably any) generation has certainly done nothing to hurt his company’s reputation. But the company also owes a lot to the folk at the Nidecker factory, where the snowboards are manufactured. Their willingness to experiment with new shapes and technologies while still producing the boards at seriously competitive prices has played a large part in Jones Snowboards’ success.
The Hovercraft is a great example of these two factors working together. Allegedly inspired by a visit to Japan, where he was impressed by the crazy shapes built by the garage brand Gentemstick, the board features a massive spoon-like nose which, because of its width, floats as well as a much longer normal nose would in powder. This is combined with a swallow-tail and a setback stance which ensures that nosing under in the deep stuff is near impossible.
But while this board is obviously great in powder, what impressed us the most was just how well it handles on the piste. Whitelines editor Ed Blomfield borrowed one of these for a trip to Japan last season, but kept riding it long after he’d left the epic powder of the land of the rising sun behind. He said “It’s awesome on piste and super-stable at speed. It’s got a snappy flex too so you can get a decent air out of it. I was loving popping methods off little side-hits." If you’re not fussed about rails and want a board that charges hard and then really excels on pow days, the Hovercraft may well float your boat.
JONES HOVERCRAFT SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="K2 Happy Hour"]
K2 HAPPY HOUR SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
K2 have been building snowboards since the late 80s and alongside their sister company Ride are now one of the biggest brands in the world. They have a focus on backcountry that comes from both their heritage as a freeride ski maker and the location of their headquarters near the powder mecca of Mount Baker, but they also make some damn fine freestyle boards. The angular Happy Hour, ridden by skinny-trousered, black metal-loving Norwegian jibber Danny Larsen, is a case in point (no pun intended).
This board has been turning heads since it was first introduced back in 2010. And while the unusual shape garnered a lot of the initial attention, it’s the board’s performance that has gone on to win it acclaim from both ordinary riders and industry experts in the years since. The board is designed primarily for freestyle, but not necessarily park-based freestyle. A relatively stiff flexing core has been enhanced by a strip of carbon down the centre that K2 call an ‘ollie bar’. It’s cambered in shape, giving it a natural springiness that helps this board pop high and hard. This year K2 have switched the flat base for what they call a ‘lifted baseline’ profile – essentially a flat profile that’s raised slightly off the snow, giving it some of the springiness of traditional camber. There’s also a high quality 4000-grade sintered base which makes the Happy Hour quick.
We were certainly impressed by its straightline speed. It felt stable and comfortable on medium-to-large sized kickers too. Although beginners might struggle with the mid-stiff flex, intermediate and advanced freestylers will love it. As one of our testers said: “This doesn’t just give you an hour of happiness, it gives you the whole damn day!"
K2 HAPPY HOUR SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="K2 Slayblade"]
K2 SLAYBLADE SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
When it was first introduced in K2’s line, the Slayblade faced a tricky task. It was designed as the successor to (and the replacement for) the legendary K2 Zeppelin, one of their best-selling boards ever, so people were predicting big things. Four years later and its obvious that the Slayblade has more than met expectations. It’s now a brand in its own right, and having carried Britain’s best halfpipe rider Ben Kilner all the way to the 2010 Olympic semi-final in Vancouver, it will be doing the same this season in Sochi.
This board has been tweaked slightly since last year. This year’s model is built using “full hybridtech construction" a process that makes the sidewalls more efficiently and uses less material, making the board lighter overall. The profile is also different, with K2 opting to swap the previous completely flat incarnation for a ‘lifted baseline profile’. This raises the flat central section of the profile above the level of the snow slightly, giving the board increased snap and pop. The core is made of bamboo, which as well as being more environmentally friendly to produce than a classic hardwood core, is also lighter.
All in all this combines to make the Slayblade the perfect package for pipe riders like Kilner who need something lightweight, snappy and responsive. Our testers unfortunately didn’t get a chance to try this on a halfpipe, but we did find that the qualities which help it excel in the U-ditch also make it great on kickers and help it carve really well. If you’re an advanced freestyler, and/or looking for an all-mountain alternative to the Burton Custom, then put this on your “must try" list.
[part title="K2 Turbo Dream"]
K2 TURBO DREAM SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
The Turbo Dream is back in K2’s 2013-14 line by popular demand. With its directional twin flex, snappy pop and natural float in powder, this all-mountain directional twin has won fans the world over.
At the centre of the board is K2’s ‘WH3 core’ which combines hardwood with two central strips of urethane-wrapped ‘honeycomb’ material that help reduce the weight of the board without effecting its flex. There are carbon strips radiating out from the bindings towards the tip and tail of the board to add extra pop, something K2 call ‘carbon array’. All this serves to make the board fairly stiff, which helps it hold an edge in icy conditions, and stops it from feeling skittish at speed. The profile on this board is largely flat, but rises up towards the nose and tail, lifting the contact points slightly and making them harder to catch. The tip and tail feature something K2 call ‘Tweekend’ technology, a large, lifted area that helps this board power through powder. A slightly setback stance and a directional twin shape add to its abilities in the deep stuff.
While we didn’t get to test this year’s Turbo Dream in new snow, we know from previous models that this eats freshies for breakfast. On piste, our testing team were impressed with how sturdy this felt, and with the snap from the relatively stiff core. Whitelines editor Ed Blomfield said it was “very good at speed, held an edge well and absorbed heavy landings." A solid choice for the rider who wants a beefy all-mountain board.
[part title="Lib Tech Skate Banana"]
LIB TECH SKATE BANANA SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
It’s no exaggeration to say that this one Lib Tech model has done more to revolutionise snowboard construction than any other board. Introduced for the 2007-08 season its ‘reverse camber’ shape turned received wisdom about profiles on their head – literally. Soon every manufacturer was releasing their own variation on the banana profile shape, resulting in the plethora of different types on the market today. While Lib couldn’t actually patent the idea (as some boards back in the 80s had been built with reverse camber profiles) their re-introduction of the technology to the world of modern snowboarding did reap some benefits – according to the Seattle Times the year the Skate Banana was introduced, Lib Tech experienced an 81% increase in sales. The board is still their best-selling model to this day.
Unsurprisingly, given that the board is already so popular, Lib have tweaked the Skate Banana this season rather than altering it drastically. As well as the titular banana tech it also has ‘magne-traction’ - a technology that Lib Tech did manage to patent. This means that rather than being a continuous curve, the edges are slightly serrated like a breadknife, which helps them grip in icy conditions and makes carving (which can sometimes be a sketchy experience on a rocker board) feel more solid. Lib put stiffer birch wood along the edges of the core to add extra snap along the sidewalls, meaning this pops nicely when you’re spinning.
To ride it feels playful enough for jibbers and forgiving enough for beginners, but there’s still enough power in the flex to pop a nice ollie. As Whitelines deputy editor Tristan Kennedy put it: “Lib Tech have smashed it once again. Honestly, unless you’re a die-hard powder hound or a lycra-wearing racer, you can’t help but have fun on this board."
LIB TECH SKATE BANANA SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Lib Tech T. Rice Pro"]
LIB TECH T. RICE PRO SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you can’t have failed to notice a Jackson Hole native by the name of Travis Rice. Having exploded onto snowboarders’ TV screens around the world with his opening part in the Absinthe classic Transcendence at the age of 18, Travis went on to redefine the parameters of what is possible on a snowboard. He won every major contest going (US Open Slopestyle, Air & Style, X Games Slopestyle and Big Air). He filled countless individual parts, and later entire movies (That’s It, That’s All and The Art of Flight) with riding that was bigger, burlier and gnarlier than anything anyone had done before. And he created a contest series (Natural Selection, Supernatural and Ultranatural) that many believe will change the face of competitive snowboarding.
This is the board that he’s done it all on. It’s a stiff-flexing true twin with what Lib Tech call a ‘C2BTX’ profile. A variation on their ‘banana’ shape, this features camber underneath the bindings which (along with the magne-traction, represented by the ‘TX’ in the name) helps the board grip better on icy steeps and gives it a more snappy, responsive feel than conventional banana. The topsheet is made of one of Lib’s more madcap inventions, a polymer made of beans. Apparently it’s more environmentally friendly than conventional petroleum-based plastics.
As you’d expect, the board feels solid and powerful to ride. It’s never going to be the easiest board to butter and novices will struggle with the stiff flex, but it’s incredible at speed and has pop in spades. Interestingly the 161.5 and 164.5 models have a more pointed nose and tail shape better-suited to deep powder, while the shorter lengths have a blunt nose that’s easier for freestyle. Travis apparently switches it up depending on the conditions.
[part title="Lobster Jibbaord"]
LOBSTER JIBBAORD SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
The Lobster Jibbaord (and no, that’s not a typo, that’s how they spell it) was one of two models the brand released when it sprouted fully-formed from the twisted minds of the Helgason brothers two years ago. It’s sold impressively well since, and become a firm favourite among dome kids, park rats and street rail riders. Some of its success can undoubtedly be attributed to the fact that Eiki and Halldor Helgason are probably two of the most talented (and certainly two of the most popular) snowboarders on the planet right now. Their Helgasons.com blog, their award-winning video parts and their “don’t give two shits" attitude has won these Icelandic lads fans from all over. But it’s not just the company’s founders that have made this board popular.
Like all their models, it’s made in the same factory as Bataleon boards, and it features Triple Base Technology, which the Helgasons licensed from the Amsterdam-based brand. This means that the edges and the contact points are lifted, making them harder to catch on rails or when buttering on the piste. This has obvious advantages for jibbers, but also means this board is supremely easy to ride, and would suit most beginners too.
Elsewhere the board is fairly simple technically speaking – it has Lobster’s ‘flex core’ and a fairly standard bi-axial laminate. They’ve beefed up the rails though, giving it ‘hammer edges’ which are reinforced to withstand repeated contact with concrete and metal. Our test team found the flex on this board super-soft, which made pressing almost comically easy. And while that means this doesn’t feel particularly stable at high-speed, if you want to get tech on rails like Eiki or just piss around like Halldor, this is a great option.
LOBSTER JIBBAORD SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Ride Buck Up"]
RIDE BUCK UP SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Ride is one of the best-respected snowboard companies around, with a heritage that stretches back more than 20 years. Over the years their boards have been ridden by many of the sport’s legends including Jeff Brushie, who they somewhat controversially poached off Burton in the 90s. These days their Seattle base is HQ to an equally stellar bunch of modern pros including powder Jedi Jake Blauvelt, Japanese wunderkind Yuki Kadono and the man many are tipping to win the first slopestyle gold medal at the Olympics, Canada’s Sebastien Toutant. He’s been described by none other than Team GB’s coach Hamish McKnight as “probably the most technically proficient snowboarder in the world at the moment", and won pretty much every contest going in the last few years. This is his pro-model board.
As you’d expect from someone who spends most of his time in the park, Seb’s board has a mid-soft freestyle flex and a true twin shape. To this, Ride have added their ‘hybrid twin’ profile, which features ‘micro-camber’ between the bindings, with a slight rise towards the tip and tail to make snagging on rails and scorpioning more difficult.
While the Buck Up isn’t quite as comfortable in powder as the slightly stiffer Machete GT (it doesn’t have as much lift at the nose for starters) you can still ride it in most conditions comfortably, and our test team loved the way it felt on the piste as well as in the park. As such, it would probably suit intermediate riders as well as those who (like Seb) are looking to nail their next triple cork.
[part title="Ride Buck Wild"]
RIDE BUCK WILD SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Last year’s Buck Wild was one of those boards you saw everywhere. To a large extent this was thanks to its eye-catching base graphic which delivered a playful taunt to people with the message “I’m having more fun than you". Unsurprisingly a lot of folk latched onto the idea of Instagraming the base or sticking it on Facebook just before a particularly good powder line, or after a great day in the park. Nothing beats the feeling of making your mates jealous on social media eh?
Having said that, even without that amusing graphic, we reckon this board would have been pretty ubiquitous because it’s relatively forgiving and easy to ride, but still versatile enough to handle high speeds and sizeable kickers. In fact the UK’s Billy Morgan stomped his first backside triple cork on the monster booters of Breckenridge on this exact board. The carbon stringers or ‘pop-rods’ inserted into the core give this a lively, snappy flex of the kind you need to clear big kickers and the profile, which is largely flat, provides the stability you need to gather speed on the run-in without the board feeling sketchy or skittish. At the same time, the slight lift around the tip and tail contact points means that the edges are quite hard to catch, something that intermediates will definitely appreciate.
The general consensus among the test team was that the flex was slightly too stiff for this to be considered an out-and-out jib board, but for all-round park and piste shredding it was awesome. In the slushy conditions of the board test week, the words that cropped up most often in the reviews were “playful" and (perhaps appropriately) “fun".
RIDE BUCK WILD SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Ride Machete GT"]
RIDE MACHETE GT SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
If Ride's Machete is their Ford Mustang, then this beefed up version is the Shelby Mustang GT500 - the car Nick Cage steals at the end of Gone in 60 seconds. It's a powerful, versatile beast. An all-mountain twin tip with a slight freestyle bias its mid-stiff flex, fast base and combo profile shape help it handle pretty much any terrain type going.
Ride take great pride in the various profile types that feature on their boards, and the ‘hybrid lowrize’ featured here is no exception. We recently quizzed Ride’s head snowboard engineer Paul McGinty, originally a dryslope-riding Welshman who now lives and works at their headquarters in Seattle, on the subject. “We put two years of development put into refining the concept of what camber is and what rocker is," he said. “We looked at why one is better than the other for some things, what the deficiencies of each are and how we can best combine the two."
As you’d expect from someone with a background in aerospace engineering, their research was very thorough and their results very specific. They developed various combinations for different terrain types and snow conditions. The multipurpose hyrbrid lowrize profile on the Machete GT has what they call ‘micro-camber’ between the bindings with rocker towards the tip and the tail which raises the contact points slightly. The idea is that you get the catch-free feel of rocker without sacrificing the natural poppiness that comes with a camber shape. Strings of carbon near the sidewalls of the board (something Ride call ‘pop walls’) add further ollie power making this great on kickers.
Our testers also found it felt sturdy at speed, and while the raised contact points don’t carve with the precision of a racing board, they help with float in powder. An excellent all-round performer.
RIDE MACHETE GT SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Rome Mod Rocker"]
ROME MOD ROCKER SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Rome Snowboards was founded in 2001 by a couple of ex-Burton employees who were disgruntled with what they saw as the “corporatisation" of snowboarding. Despite having grown into one of the biggest and most successful snowboard brands in the world, they’ve somehow managed to keep their anti-corporate rep largely intact, and continue to take a pretty punk rock attitude to snowboarding. As well as sponsoring heavy hitters like LNP, Stale Sandbech and Bjorn Leines, they also have arguably the best (and definitely the most Scottish) team in British snowboarding. Angus Leith, Danny McCormick, Jesse Smith, ‘Disco’ Stu Gairns, Dom Harington, Scott Penman and token southerner Cody Hierons all rep their kit.
The Mod is Rome’s flagship freestyle board, and it’s long been one of the most popular models in their range. The camber version of this board is available in longer lengths (up to a 162) and aimed at who want to take it in powder or charge seriously fast. This rocker board is more freestyle-focussed. That’s not to say for a second that’s it’s low tech. It’s got a high-grade sintered base that’s super-quick and ‘impact plates’ under the bindings that are made of Kevlar (the same stuff they use in bulletproof vests) to help absorb heavy landings.
The profile, despite being described as rocker, is actually flat between the bindings with a rise at the tip and tail, so although it’s more forgiving and easier to ride than the camber version, it’s still pretty solid at speed. The flex – bolstered by Rome’s ‘hotrod’ carbon inserts – is pretty stiff, making this a great board for all-mountain cruising as well as proper park sessions. Our test team agreed that it was probably too stiff for jib purists, but loved it as an all-round freestyle machine.
[part title="Rome Shiv"]
ROME SHIV SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Rome have developed a reputation for producing some of the best soft-flexing rail boards around and their 2013-14 line includes a lot of jib-specific sticks. The Shiv is just one model in a range that includes the Boneless, the Butterknife, the Shank and the Hammerhead. All of these are damn fine jib-sticks, but we chose the Shiv as the pick of the bunch for a number of reasons.
The first is simply the price. This is the least expensive board in Rome’s line, and at a mere £240 is well within the reach of its target rider-type: Penniless young jibbers. The second is the interesting tech which Rome have (somehow!) managed to pack into the board for that price. There’s the ‘skate core profiling’, where sections of the core are made thicker where you need extra power to ollie, and thinner where you don’t. There’s the ‘no hang-ups rocker’ profile which not only lifts the tip and tail, but also lifts the edges towards the tip and tail, making the contact points damn-near impossible to catch. And there’s the ‘butter out’ transition zones between the effective edge and the nose and tail which are longer than normal, making buttering easier.
All of this adds up to the third reason that we picked this board for the Whitelines 100 which is that it’s ridiculously easy to ride and just damn good fun. OK so it didn’t hold an edge as well as a freeride stick, and it was too soft to be solid at high speed, but for sheer piss-about playfulness and jibbing ability, we found this is very hard to beat. If you’re a jibber, a beginner, or just a freestyler on a budget, have a look at the Shiv.
ROME SHIV SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Roxy Ally"]
ROXY ALLY SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Roxy was the first women’s-specific boardsports brand, and is still the world’s biggest. When they launched their range of boards in 2003, the brand brought years of experience in tailoring their products to women’s needs to the table. Wisely, they decided that when it came to hardware, that women’s needs would be best met not by a factory in Asia, but by Mervin Manufacturing whose plant is just outside of Seattle. The company, which makes Lib Tech and Gnu boards, had been bought by Roxy’s parent company Quiksilver in the late 90s, and had a well-deserved reputation for making some of the best snowboards in the business.
Ten years later, the decision to have their boards built by the madcap geniuses at Mervin looks like the best one Roxy ever made. As well as benefitting from Mervin’s revolutionary banana technology and inventions like ‘magne-traction’ each Roxy board is handmade alongside Libs and Gnus. No wonder these sticks have won so many awards in the last decade. And that’s just the boards themselves – never mind the Olympic medals that Torah Bright and Kjersti Buaas have won on them. This model, the Ally is in fact Kjersti’s board of choice. A directional twin with a mid-stiff flex it’s designed to handle all-mountain cruising and pow-shredding as well as the big kickers and icy pipes Kjersti rides.
Our test team were impressed with the combination of the banana profile, which makes it feel forgiving, and the wavy magne-traction edges whichhelp it grip on ice and hardpack. The general consensus was that if you’re an intermediate or advanced rider who likes a bit of everything, the Ally is your friend.
[part title="Salomon Assassin"]
SALOMON ASSASSIN SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Salomon have been making snowboards since the late 90s, so have plenty of experience when it comes to launching new products. Which means the Assassin, the latest new board to join their line, is probably going to be a big seller. It helps of course that they’ve come up with a simple formula for describing how it feels which involves combining two of their most popular models: “Villain + Sick Stick = Assassin". But what’s really going to sell this is the fact that it’s a versatile all-mountain board that’d suit most terrain types and conditions.
At the centre of this board is a snappy, responsive core made of aspen rather than your standard poplar. Salomon have shaped this specially, milling out bits of the core so it’s thicker along the length where you need it to pop an ollie, and thinner where you don’t. They’ve also added carbon stringers which run to the tip and tail of the board, as well as bamboo rods. They call this the ‘popster eco booster’ core, and it gives the board a lot of ollie power while not weighing much at all.
There’s other tech in the Assassin too, like the ‘equalizer rad’ sidecut, which rather than being a continuous curve, is divided into sections creating extra contact points along the edge which means extra grip. The profile is a combo, but actually feels similar to regular camber - the board is reasonably solid at speed, and holds an edge nicely. One typical test report said it was “totally stable so great for cruising down runs and landing off big booters." Our man went on to add: “The Assassin is a perfect choice for an all-mountain board for any rider with a more freestyle focus."
[part title="Salomon Sabotage"]
SALOMON SABOTAGE SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
The Salomon Sabotage has been British rider Jamie Nicholls’ board of choice for a few years now. Perhaps unusually for a top pro, he prefers to ride one board for almost everything, from slaying street rails in Quebec or err… Leeds, to poaching pow laps in between his competition runs (the cheeky bugger). The fact that this one board can handle all of that says a fair bit about its versatility. Yes it’s a park board, but it’s one you can ride elsewhere too.
Like the Assassin, Salomon have used aspen for the Sabotage’s core, and they’ve tweaked it in the same way, with beefed up sections along the length where you need it for ollie power. This also features the brand’s ‘royal rubber pad’ dampening, which helps absorb vibrations at speed and soak up heavy landings – pretty much essential if you’re going to hit the kind of kickers Jamie does. The profile is a slight variation on camber (it has a flat section between the feet) which gives the board a responsive feel – shift your weight onto your toes and you can feel the contact points biting in in a way you can’t on some rocker boards. It’s also pretty stiff.
While that’s great for hitting Nicholls-sized rails, for us mere mortals it’ll be a bit too stiff to butter onto boxes. The upshot of this is that it’s stable at speed, and our test team had a lot of fun hooning it down the piste without a wobble in sight. In their comments they mentioned “power in and out of turns" and the “stability on the edge when carving" as well as its ability to handle big kickers. If you want something that carves well, and handles big kickers easily, give the Sabotage a go.
[part title="Salomon Villain"]
SALOMON VILLAIN SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Alongside his friend and fellow Quebecois LNP, Albertan Jed Anderson and American Ethan Deiss, Louis-Felix Paradis is right at the forefront of the modern jib movement. He’s been an exponent of the tight-trousered, narrow stance style for a few years, but it’s his tricks more than his appearance which have turned heads. His insanely technical combos, his innovative choice of spots and his habit of stringing tricks together in his video parts, skate style, has earned him a lot of fans amongst the rail-riding fraternity. The Salomon Villain is his board.
As you’d expect from a jibber’s weapon of choice, this is a true twin, with with a combo profile that lifts the contact points slightly, making them harder to catch. Louif has however elected to have camber under the bindings, giving this a more responsive feel than a conventional rocker board. It features Salomon’s specially sculpted ‘popster’ core, which is thickened specially in certain places to add extra ollie power, and their ‘royal rubber pads’ which help absorb the impact of heavy landings.
The flex on the Villain is soft, rather than totally noodly, which means that you can quite happily cruise around the piste at a decent speed without the board suffering from speed-wobble – not something you can say about every jibstick. The flipside of this of course is that it’s not as easy to press or butter as super-soft boards, but if you’re hitting medium to large kickers and bigger rails – like Louif – you’ll appreciate the extra rigidity. All in all, this is a great park and rails board, with a damn cool graphic to boot.
SALOMON VILLAIN SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
[part title="Signal Omni Light"]
SIGNAL OMNI LIGHT SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Signal is one of the best-loved companies in snowboarding. Set up by ex-pro Dave Lee in 2004, the brand builds all its boards at its own factory in Huntington Beach, California, making it one of only a handful of manufacturers to make everything in the US. While this obviously wins them patriotic points with the American market, it also means every Signal board is built by genuine snowboard enthusiasts. Keeping things in house has also allowed them to create one of the most popular webisode series’ in snowboarding – Every Third Thursday. Once a month the ever-smiling Dave Lee and his factory crew dream up a crazy concept board and build it – highlights so far have included one made entirely of glass, a board with an iPad embedded and one with a paintball gun on the nose. They even built a special darts themed board for UK Signal rider Jonny Russell.
The Omni (so called because it’s designed to ride everything) has been part of Signal’s range for a long time. It was in fact one of the first boards ever to feature a combination of rocker and camber in the profile. This combination of camber between the bindings and rocker at the tip and tail is called ‘wavelength technology’. Combined with the mid-stiff flex, it gives the board a healthy amount of pop, but means the edges are more difficult to catch than on a conventional camber board. So while this is no noodle, it has a forgiving feel which makes this a good option for intermediate riders. We were impressed with how it handled on the piste and on kickers. As one of our test team put it “this is a perfect all terrain board for progressing riders."
SIGNAL OMNI LIGHT SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
BUY THIS BOARD AT: snowboard-asylum.com
[part title="Slash Happy Place"]
SLASH HAPPY PLACE SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Slash is the board brand launched by Austrian superstar Gigi Rüf in 2012. Despite his Peter Pan perma-kid demeanour (and the fact that he doesn’t look a day over 16) Gigi is in fact 32. And after years of riding other people’s boards, he eventually decided it would be cool to set up on his own. The boards are built in the Nidecker factory in Switzerland, the same place where Yes and Jones boards are made. Their popularity since the launch last year (no doubt boosted by Gigi’s victory on one of his own boards at the Red Bull Ultranatural) seems to have vindicated Gigi’s decision to go it alone. And with a team that now includes Johnnie Paxson and South American sensation Manuel Diaz, Slash feels like a brand that’s going places. Happy Places.
This board is their mid-range freestyle stick. It’s got a relatively soft flex that makes buttering and pressing easy, and a combo profile that features camber between the bindings and rocker at the tip and tail. This means you get most of the natural pop associated with camber, but still have the easy, loose feel of rocker’s raised contact points. The core contains no fewer than three types of wood – hence why it’s called the ‘Snap, Crackle and Pop’. Alternating poplar and beech stringers are reinforced at the tip and tail with strips of spruce. These alongside the ‘sweet spot’ carbon bars, add extra pop where you need it.
Our test team enjoyed this in the park and on the piste, and the general consensus was that it’d handle most things well. It’s basically a mid-flexing, freestyle-focussed board. And while the shape is eye-catching and unusual, we didn’t find it made a massive amount of difference to how it rides - though they will make your nose and tail grabs look way cooler.
SLASH HAPPY PLACE SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY TSA
[part title="White Gold Flyer"]
WHITE GOLD FLYER SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Legendary Whistler pro Kevin Sansalone is a busy man. Far from taking it easy and putting his feet up when he retired from full-on pro-dom, he’s started his own film company (the highly respected Sandbox Films) launched a helmet brand (also called Sandbox), and this season is putting out a full range of snowboards. Apparently Kevin had been making his own powder guns and selling them to friends from his garage for a few years – the name coming from the Whitegold area of Whistler where he lives. But last year Bataleon approached him about taking the project to the next level, and collaborating on a freeride-orientated line to complement their freestyle sticks.
Their first range consists of three boards, all of which feature Bataleon’s signature Triple Base Technology. This means the edges of the board are lifted, making them harder to catch. Of the three, the Flyer is apparently the most freestyle orientated. But make no mistake this is not a park board. The poplar wood core is reinforced with ultra-light Paulowina wood, and overlaid with carbon beams designed to add torsional stiffness. This helps the board hold an edge better on hardpack and ice. On days when the powder is Whistler backcountry deep, the ‘backseat inserts’ will allow you to drop your bindings all the way to the back without losing any carving ability or control. Sansalone himself told us his boards are “versatile and able to ride all conditions" and we have to say after trying this out we’d agree with him. Yes, this would definitely excel in powder, and if you’re into backcountry freestyle it’d be great. But it was also perfectly at home on icy morning corduroy and the slushy afternoon conditions we tested it in. A worthy inclusion in the Whitelines 100.
WHITE GOLD FLYER SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES
BUY THIS BOARD AT: snowboard-asylum.com
[part title="Yes Basic"]
YES BASIC SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
Yes is the board brand that rose phoenix-like from the ashes of Burton’s UnInc team. When Romain de Marchi, JP Solberg and DCP, three of the best-respected riders in the business unexpectedly found themselves laid off by the Big B at the same time, they banded together and started their own company. Nearly half a decade later, it looks to be the best decision the three of them ever made. Built in the Nidecker factory in Switzerland (the same place where Jones and Slash boards are made) every line of Yes snowboards so far has earned plaudits from the industry and the allegiance of ordinary shredders around the world.
The Basic was one of the first boards the three musketeers launched, and is still one of their most popular. A freestyle-focussed all-mountain ride, it has a relatively soft, forgiving flex. The profile features camber between the bindings and rocker towards the tip and tail, helping give it a bit of a looser feel and allowing it to float better in powder. Yes have made a very interesting tweak to the shape of this stick this year too. The stance is centred and the sidecut is identical at the tip and tail, like on a twin. But they’ve shaped the tail ever so slightly differently, removing a bit of volume so that (as they put it) “it floats like a directional in pow." The base on this board is extruded so it’s not the fastest, but then it’s not the most expensive either.
Our test team reckoned it would suit beginner and intermediate riders as well as more advanced freestylers, and were super-impressed by the value for money on offer here. “The only thing Basic about this board is the price" ran one typical comment.
YES BASIC SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY TSA
[part title="Yes 420"]
YES 420 SNOWBOARD 2013/14 REVIEW
There’s only one length of the 420 available, a super-short 146. And yet this isn’t a board aimed at women or children, so what are they thinking? Well, the guys from Yes Snowboards decided to really push the boat out and develop something truly revolutionary. The inspiration for the shape, which they themselves describe as “weird", is a style of surfboard known as the fish. These pack maximum volume into a shorter length, allowing for fast and manoeuvrable turns even in small waves. The Yes boys decided to experiment with this same principle on a powder board, adding width instead of the usual extra length.
It definitely feels weird the first time you strap into one of these, not least because your toes are nowhere near the edge. But actually our test team found that this crazy shape really works and far from turning like a tank, it’s nimble and fun as well as floaty in pow. How have Yes done it? Well, they’ve combined the super-wide waist with a super tight sidecut. Whereas a regular snowboard might boast a sidecut radius of 8m, the 420 is more like 6m. The result is (as Whitelines editor Ed put it) “this has mad float, loads of stability and crazy carving ability." Combine this with the responsive flex generated by the half-poplar, half-paulownia core and the flat profile, and you have a board that’ll have you grinning like an idiot on piste as well as off. Come to think of it, that’s probably why they called it the 420.
YES 420 SNOWBOARD 2013/14 - VIDEO REVIEW - BY WHITELINES