Turning’s cool again. Good news for everyone who’s too scared/shit/injury prone to hit the park. Actually, just good news for everyone, especially with the number of carving specific snowboards available this year. No longer the hard-booted, lycra-clad, estranged cousin of snowboarding, carving has properly returned to centre stage and now everyone can join the turn ’n’ burn revolution.
It seems like most brands out there have introduced a carving specific model to their line now. For some, it’s pretty much their sole purpose. Take the KORUA Shapes’ Yearning for Turning crew, or the Slice and Dice carving maestros at Nidecker Snowboards. They don’t seem to be in a hurry to take a lap through the rail line any time soon.
“No longer the hard-booted, lycra-clad, estranged cousin of snowboarding, carving has returned to centre stage”
So, what is carving and why’s everyone so hyped on it again? In its most basic form, it’s simply turning through the arc using only the sidecut of your snowboard, as opposed to skidding or using torsional rotation to turn.
With that in mind, there are a few specs to be on the lookout for when choosing a carving focussed snowboard. Obviously, anything with a sidecut and a reasonably sharp edge will have some capabilities of sliceing a clean line over the groomers, but to cut through the industry jargon, there are three things that will make a board primed for railing turns: a positive camber, directional shape and a reasonably stiff core.
Not every board in the list below features a full tip-to-tail camber, but it’ll still be the dominant profile for the board’s running length. The classic bend gives you increased stability, extra grip, and rapid response between the edges. Though not the most forgiving of profiles, for the carving purists out there it remains the gold standard for riding on the edge.
Be honest, if you’re in the market for a carving snowboard are you really that likely to be spending your afternoons in the park or spending half the day riding switch? A directional shape and sidecut are crucial for giving you rock-solid turn initiations and continued grip, through the arc and out the exit of the turn.
A core built with stiffer, stronger woods will inject a little life and dynamism into every turn, but it’s often the added materials that give a carving board its unique characteristics. Materials like carbon or kevlar feature heavily to increase snap and absorb some of the inevitable chatter you get at higher speeds, while some boards feature genuinely mind-blowing technology that nearly requires a BSc in Physics to fully understand.
After that, it’s up to you if you want to opt for a snowboard with extra width in the waist, an asymmetric or disrupted sidecut, or some nano-particle, supercharged, sintered base. While many of the boards below represent some of the most cutting edge technology and shapes in snowboarding, they all hark back to the good old days of the sport’s origins – they’re all about the turn.
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