Weston Hatchet Pow Slayer 2020-2021 Snowboard Review

  • Price: £496 / $649
  • Category: Freeride/Powder
  • Ability Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Size: 152
  • Flex: 7/10
  • Shape: Directional Twin
  • Profile: CamRock
  • Base: Sintered
  • New for 2020/21

Why we chose the Weston Hatchet Pow Slayer Snowboard: One of the best volume shifted snowboards we’ve ever ridden

Weston have been making waves in North America’s backcountry for quite some time now, but they’ve remained relatively unknown in Europe. No more, we say. This season’s new Pow Slayer Series is the Colorado crew’s foray into the weird and wonderful world of volume shifted powder decks. With the new series comprised of three solids and one splitboard, it’d be fair to say they’ve come out the gates swinging in 2021.

The Hatchet is the flagship model among the Pow Slayers and adopts a unique outline that could trick even the most discerning eye into guessing it’s a freestyle snowboard. Then again, you wouldn’t be entirely off the mark in thinking that. Popping pillows, backcountry backies and side-country spinning is exactly the kind of riding this board gets off on. It’s also the reason why this became the first snowboard to make it into our 100 selection this year. This is snowboarding for the soul.

“Popping pillows, backcountry backies and side-country spinning is exactly the kind of riding this board gets off on”

Starting with that size. Strapping into a 152 snowboard may bring back fond memories of the glory days when rental shop staff would size a snowboard to your chin while you wore big bro’s hand-me-downs and hitched a ride home in time for dinner. But make no mistake about the surface area on the Hatchet. It retains the same volume as many larger freeride snowboards by shifting that surface area widthways. The waist on the Hatchet measures in at an especially curvy 273mm.

What does that do? Well, it makes the snowboard as capable on the deepest days of the season as any swallowtail or directional powder hound, but gives you the added bonus of manoeuvrability and versatility to chuck the Hatchet into a butter, press, spin or simply just a few switch turns through the trees.

For a brand whose roots are firmly planted in the backcountry scene, Weston know that we’re not all chasing those life-or-death lines and that the stoke of riding a mellow gradient tree run or wide-open powder field can induce as many fist pumps and high-fives at the bottom, so long as you’ve got the ride tool for the job under your feet. The Hatchet epitomises this down to a T.

In terms of its shape and profile, it blends both directional and twin elements but, like the terrain you’ll find yourself in, the Hatchet doesn’t define itself by categories or labels like most other snowboards. The stance is centred on the effective edge, and there’s a good amount of camber running underfoot to give stability, grip and pop.

“To ride it in powder, you’d think the Hatchet was directional; to ride it switch, you’d think was a true twin; to ride it on groomers, you’d think it was made for the pistes”

That’s flanked by rocker sections on either side of the insert packs, especially in the nose of the snowboard. There’s also a very subtle taper running from its tip to tail. To ride it in powder, you’d think the Hatchet was directional; to ride it switch, you’d think was a true twin; to ride it on groomers, you’d think it was made for the pistes. You starting to get the idea?

What’s hidden from plain view also deserves its chance in the spotlight and Weston have introduced a unique carbon configuration known as ‘S-Weave’ into the Hatchet. Here, the tip-to-tail carbon stringers are woven between the core and the base, as opposed to being laminate flat onto the core. This essentially creates a three-dimensional stringer, supercharging the pop and energy of the snowboard. The rest of the core lives up to all the expectations you’d hold a premium powder snowboard, too – a lightweight wood core, rapid sintered base and responsive triax laminates.

It has the makings of a bombproof snowboard. For those who need any more reassurance, the Hatchet comes with an impressive four-year warranty. But you’re not just buying materials here, you’re buying into an ethos and a community of passionate, devoted shredders. The Weston crew continue to give back and enrich snowboarding in a multitude of ways. From grassroots programmes and backcountry education initiatives to proceeds from sales that get put back into the community and sustainable projects, Weston are choosing to do things their own way, and doing it with passion, style and stoke.

Tester’s Verdict

Rob McCreathWhitelines

“It’s quite a tricky thing to separate the conditions you’re riding a snowboard in from the performance of the board itself. I had the chance to ride one of the first Hatchets to come out of the factory during a trip to Vail Pass, CO, with the Weston crew. We were cat-riding and sledding on a pristine, blue sky day with cold, blower powder. We rode a mixture of pillows, bowls and open powder fields, dotted with trees. I’m pretty sure you could have put me on skis and I’d have still loved the experience.

Here’s the thing, though – I rode three different snowboards that day. The other two were super fun, don’t get me wrong, but the Hatchet was on a completely different level. Volume shifted, twin-ish snowboards have to be some of the most exciting and versatile boards to ride these days and, in my mind, the Hatchet is right up there with the likes of the Yes 20/20 or Bataleon Magic Carpet.

“Do I even need to talk about how well it floats? The nose looks like the snow-shovel I clear my driveway with”

It is so, so fun to ride. Both myself and Backcountry Mag’s Drew Zieff switched to the Hatchet at the same time and immediately the stoke jumped up a couple notches. Its stumpy, extra-wide volume belies the fact it’s incredibly agile in turns and can handle switch riding without a moment’s hesitation. The nose and tail are super pressable, but there’s a lot of energy stored through the camber and carbon additives, making it capable of stepping up to bigger features and more aggressive riding.

And do I even need to talk about how well it floats? The nose looks like the snow-shovel I clear my driveway with. I was actively trying to sink the front end at some points during the day and it felt like holding two negative ends of a magnet together – it just sprung back up to the surface every time.

Don’t worry – it rips on the pistes, too. I was actually really surprised at how quickly it went from feeling like a pow-specific volume shifted snowboard to something that would happily suffice as a daily driver for most riders out there. Don’t view this a luxury powder deck to add to your quiver; view it as your one-stop-shop for riding the entire season on.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the wood-veneer colourway, but the artwork from John Fellows on each of the Pow Slayer topsheets tells the story of Weston Backcountry so far. The idea of the Tiny House setting sail across the sea seems like an appropriate choice for their increasing fan base in Europe and Japan these days.”

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