- Price: $670
- Category: All-Mountain, Freeride/Powder
- Ability Level: Advanced
- Size: 151, 154,, 157, 161
- Flex: 9/10
- Shape: Directional
- Profile: Camber
- Base: Sintered
- BUY DIRECT FROM YES
Banked slaloms are hot property these days, from the legendary Mt Baker event to the cult-favourite Tignes Banked Slalom. Look towards the top of the leaderboard and there’s a good chance the YES. Optimistic is the board of choice for many within the top 20. This is a supercar of a snowboard, built for banks, berms and turns.
No surprises that a snowboard built with highspeed arcs in its crosshairs is constructed with a fully directional shape. The setback stance, tapered outline, bulldozer nose and pin-tailed rearend look like a good chunk of the design inspiration came from a submarine missile. That’s kind of how it rides too – silent, fast, focused and deadly.
“This is a supercar of a snowboard, built for banks, berms and turns”
A full camber profile helps to keep the effective edge exactly that – effectively gripping and powering throughout the turn. Just don’t expect too much forgiveness. Full cambers are there to be ridden hard and won’t shy away from delivering the occasional edge catch if you aren’t on your game.
For those who demand maximum traction along the edge, the Optimistic achieves this without the need for wavy, breadknife looking sidecuts. By slightly pulling in the sidecut directly under the inserts, pressures is effectively redistributed to three key sections of the edge – in the nose, the tail and centre of the snowboard. The result is increased grip at all three phases of the turn.
“That 9/10 flex rating will certainly take some getting used to but will stand up to the rigours of those with particularly aggressive riding styles”
A Sintered True Base delivers the speed and performance you’d expect, although you may need to pay more attention to your waxing tech if you want to walk away with a podium place at the next banked slalom event.
The Carbon PowerDrive 2.0 core offers the weight : strength benefits of a poplar, paulownia and bamboo with a twist. Wrapping the two bamboo stringers in carbon creates a super responsive flex pattern at the initiation of the turn, which holds and stores energy throughout the carve, before launching you out the end of it. That 9/10 flex rating will certainly take some getting used to but will stand up to the rigours of those with particularly aggressive riding styles.
Clearly, the Optimistic isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s packed full of tech to deliver an insane ride all over the mountain. Consider this a final word of caution. If it’s making you envisage a trip to the hospital more than a trip to the wide room, consider The Y from YES. instead. A board that’s nearly identical in its design, but offering a more forgiving experience at a very attractive price point.