Borealis Koi 2019-2020 Snowboard Review

  • Sizes: 152, 156, 160
  • Flex: 7
  • Profile: Backseat Camber
  • Shape: Directional
  • Price: £465 / €519

Japan, man. The cultural, freeride mecca of snowboarders the world over. Ancient forests steeped in mythical folklore. Single-seat chairlifts to quietly contemplate your affinity with the mountains. Revitalising onsens, tucked away in the foothills of dormant volcanoes. Lawson’s Fried Chicken.

You’d be forgiven for mistaking the Borealis Koi as the Jones Hovercraft, but more discerning freeride aficionados will recognise this (and the Hovercraft’s) Japanese inspired origins.

In the same vein as legendary snow surf shapers, Gentemstick, the Frenchies are paying homage to Hokkaido’s world-class powder. This is their answer to tight turns in the trees, open lines in the backcountry, and blade-like precision on the piste.

“It’s a rare thing when a snowboard comes along that doesn’t just handle but excels in two contrasting environments”

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This kind of shape has become synonymous with floating over the top of big, deep powder fields. The stubby, crescent-shaped tail drives down and takes most of the effort out of the ride, while that elongated nose rocker handles the rest. Lose yourself drawing lines through the Shirakaba trees.

Then, bring it back on to the piste and watch this zen-like wise old warrior go full-blown ‘Zatōichi’ in a supercharged, sword-wielding, blind rampage of fury.

By utilising camber underfoot, with additional ‘Sidewaves’ contact points along the edge, and ‘Carbon Power Beams’, supercharging the nose and tail of the board, the Koi’s piste credentials arguably outweigh its obvious freeride accolades.

Finally, a series of carbon and Kevlar dampening stringers, sandwiched between a bamboo top sheet and the ‘Nano Ultima’ sintered base ensure the Koi’s ability to keep performing long after your legs have stopped.

It’s a rare thing when a snowboard comes along that doesn’t just handle but excels in two contrasting environments. For rider’s looking to divide their time on the edge and in the deep, you might just find perfect harmony with the Koi.


Tester’s Verdict

James Blogg Ultimate Snowsports

“First thoughts were what a rad looking board! I really like Borealis, they make some unique looking boards and you don’t see too many of them about.

I feel like I didn’t get to ride this board to its full potential and only got the chance to take it on some late season slushier conditions. That said, I still really enjoyed it. The shape is super fun and with it being so set back the nose just kept above everything.

“The shape is super fun and with it being so set back the nose just kept above everything”

It’s also surprisingly soft, which makes the board feel quite agile and playful, and transitions between turns feel light and snappy. It’d really come into its own charging through some tight trees with fresh powder, as it’s combination of agility and float would really work great.

Definitely one to consider if you want a heavily directional freeride board that’s got the shape to carve and float well without feeling too aggressive.”

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