- Price: £380 / €490
- Sizes: 147, 150, 153, 155, 155W, 158, 158W
- Flex: 6
- Profile: Hybrid Camber
- Shape: True Twin
Snowboards come and go, but some have a name that rings out so strongly, you can pretty much guarantee it’ll be around for many seasons to come.
The Salomon Villain is a case in point; the brainchild of Quebecois rail machine Louif Paradis, it’s as much of a modern classic as any freestyle board you’d care to mention.
The Salomon Villain isn’t in a rut, though - far from it. For 2017/18 it’s had a bit of an overhaul, starting with the shape.
Naturally it’s still a true twin, but the tips have been blunted a little and the effective edge extended. The nose and tail width has also been refined for each size in the range.
These may be minor tweaks, but they all adds up once you’re riding.
It’s also been given Salomon’s ‘Quadralizer’ sidecut; a short, straight section of edge at the waist that blends into multiple radii as you progress out towards the nose and tail.
If you want to ensure your edge is dead set before launching a 270 on, this won’t disappoint. It feels great when you’re just razzing the piste between park sessions, too.
"If you want to ensure your edge is dead set before launching a 270 on, this won’t disappoint"
The care that’s gone into constructing the wood core ensures that this is as strong as an ox, capable of withstanding a monster gap-to-rail one minute and a harsh knuckle the next. Then when you’re ready for the next leap of faith, the core’s varying thickness ensures you have bucketloads of pop ready to be unleashed.
"The Villain isn’t just for the lunatics amongst us, but those who like to push the boat out in the streets will be more than satisfied with its performance and longevity"
The Villain isn’t just for the lunatics amongst us, as its mellow flex makes it a fun cruiser at slower speeds and on smaller features in the park, but those who like to push the boat out in the streets will be more than satisfied with its performance and longevity.
For the graphics, Louif has kept things Quebec, with Montreal’s Laurent Grislain updating the Villain’s running theme for a new season. You’ll also find that on one of the Salomon District binding’s new colourways, so if you’re looking for a new freestyle setup then that’s a pairing worth considering.
“I’ll admit, I’m no Louif Paradis, so his board of choice was never going to get a serious street workout in my hands. But in the end, it proved so much more than a niche jib stick.
"Poppy as hell, easy to spin, and nimble underfoot - the Villain is a freestyle beast"
The Villain might be soft – really soft – but it is seriously quick edge-to-edge and carves nicely thanks to a hybrid profile that’s essentially a mellowed out version of camber – there’s no weird skitching about like you get on some rockered jib boards. Salomon offer some of the fastest bases in the business, and this was no exception; you won’t struggle to keep up with your piste-charging mates on this thing.
When you get to the park, though, it kicks serious ass. Poppy as hell, easy to spin, and nimble underfoot - the Villain is a freestyle beast. OK, it buckles a little at face-melting speeds, and it’s a little short in the nose for the powder monkeys, but if pressing rails and getting radical off kickers and side hits is your game then look no further."
Louif Paradis - Team Rider, Salomon
"I got to work with Salomon on the new Villain refresh this year, giving it a new graphic, a new shape, and some upgraded tech.
I ride a lot of rails and different type of terrain within the streets and the mountains, and I think this board is pretty east to get familiar with, having a lot of pop and response while being really playful and easy to manoeuvre."