Rome Stale Fish 2020-2021 Snowboard Review

  • Price: £390 / $450
  • Category: Freeride/Powder
  • Ability Level: Intermediate / Advanced
  • Size: 148, 153, 157
  • Flex: 6/10
  • Shape: Directional
  • Profile: Directional Camber
  • Base: Sintered
  • New for 2020/21

Why we chose the Rome Stale Fish Snowboard: Because it’s Sandbech’s signature powder deck. Why d’you think?!

When Stale Sandbech turns up for the 2021 season with three new signature snowboards and a set of bindings, you pay attention. When one of them is a volume shifted, powder hungry party wagon, you pay three hundred and ninety of your hard-earned British pounds in exchange for the best decision you’ll make this winter. The Stale Fish is a cruiser on pistes, a crusher in powder and a knockout winner in our Whitelines 100 shortlist. Keep your two-metre distance and form an orderly queue, boys. This one ain’t hanging around.

The outline and size options are the exact same as the Service Dog, but the Fish ranks one higher on the flex rating scale, a few grams lighter on weight scales, and a couple clicks faster on the speedometer, too. Not to mention we’re big fans of this one’s graphics. Icey cold blue with that orange highlight that perfectly matches detailing in the Cleaver bindings. It could be a killer setup this winter. Just saying…

“When Stale Sandbech turns up for the 2021 season with three new signature snowboards and a set of bindings, you pay attention”

The StaleFish comes with a setback stance, 20mm taper and positively directional outline. There’s enough tail there to put the odd turn in switch, but it’s clearly primed for charging one way. There’s a wider than average waist width, but nothing as drastic as some short’n’wide volume shifted models on the market.

As a result, you can downsize quite substantially compared to a traditional freeride snowboard on this one, and it will still feel impressively agile between turns and maintain enough surface area to float in deep conditions. The reduction in heel and toe overhang also means you can get a lean on and crank out some high angle carves with a lot less risk of dragging out.

There’s plenty of similar shapes on the market, Rome aren’t pretending otherwise, but the unique Free The Ride Camber and Directional Diamond 3D nose helps to give the Stale Fish the edge… and the float, and the forgiveness and the versatility, come to think about it.

First up, you have a pretty solid dose of camber underneath the back foot and that not only helps with getting performance on the piste but provides some much-needed pop, stability and power transfer at the back end for a snowboard with a shorter tail, like this one.

“It’s channelling everything that makes Stale one of the most infectious riders to watch in a freeride deck primed to help us recreate some of that magic ourselves”

Up front is where the magic happens. Around the front inserts, the camber begins to flatten before shifting into a long, progressive rocker in the nose. That in itself would provide pretty decent float, but the 3D profiling at the ends, which significantly uplifts large sections of the side base, creates a profile that displaces snow as soon as it comes into contact with it and keeps the tip blasting up above the surface, no matter how deep it gets.

In the core, Rome have used a lightweight bledn of poplar and paulownia stringers and a combination of medium and stiffer flexing fibreglass laminates. More excitingly, though, they’ve also added a Bamboo Omega HotRod into the centre of the nose. New for this season, the bamboo rod is wrapped in a carbon housing to deliver impressive dampening and keep the front of the board powerful and responsive for precise turn initiation and high-speed stability. A common drawback of directional volume shifted snowboard is their handling at higher speed and choppy conditions. This little innovation takes care of both drawbacks.

Will we see Stale win X-games slopestyle on this thing? Unlikely. Will we see some air-punching, stoke inducing Gimbal God follow-cam edits of Stale charging on the fish this season? Man, we hope so. This isn’t a snowboard defined by world firsts and medal-winning moments. Instead, it’s channelling everything that makes Stale one of the most infectious riders to watch – both on and off the circuit – in a freeride deck primed to help us recreate some of that magic ourselves.

Tester’s Verdict

Rhys JonesTDC Snowboarding

This board was super fun! I rode it in spring slush on the Tignes glacier and it absolutely ripped. All I could think about was how good this board would go in some deep powder. Having said that, it still chargers on groomers and has got bags of life in it. Load up the tail and it’ll spit you out into your next turn.

It charged through the softer slushy snow with ease and felt really stable. I enjoyed the pop it has and it was great fun on side hits. If you want to lay some trenches it’ll do that, too, no problem. I did find the nose bounced around a bit at higher speeds, but that’s to be expected of volume shifted directional boards like these.

The shape is rad. That small tail and huge square nose will make it handle powder without a care in the world. I’m digging the graphics too. It’s softer in the nose and gets progressively stiffer the further towards the tail you go. Profile wise it has a large rocketed nose, flat under the front food and camber under the rear foot which makes it pretty lively. It’s got a stiffness rating of 6/10 and I would say that was pretty accurate.

There’s a lot of tech in here, too. Rome’s Free The Ride Camber, Directional Diamond 3D Nose and Bamboo Hotrods all keep the core super lively and stable in varied conditions. It’s primed for powder though, that’s for sure!

If you’re looking for a fun powder board you can tear around the place and have tonnes of fun on then this board would suit you. Who knows, it might even make you ride like Stale himself…”

“Stale’s powder slayer the Rome Stale Fish is, of course, designed for the deepest powder days. But it’s not a one-trick pony of a board, the shape and profile of the Stale Fish give a really good all-mountain freeride feel to the snowboard.

The camber is set back with a wide rockered nose tapering to the tail giving heaps of float and a free surfy feel in the powder. On the groomers and hardback the Stale Fish carves well and feels really stable, responsive and catch free allowing you to gun the whole mountain with confidence. The Stalefish is an all-mountain gun for the modern freerider.”

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