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Whitelines Test Team

Couloirs and Croissants – testing out in Tignes. Photo: Jordan Tiernan

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s much as we love riding snowboards, there are simply too many models on the market for our editorial crew to be able to try them all. That’s where the Whitelines Test Team comes in.

We have scoured the contact book to recruit a small army of experienced riders – including ex-pros, snowboard coaches, instructors and guides, retail staff, and lifelong shredders – to help review the latest kit for our Buyer’s Guide.

Many of our team live full-time in the mountains; others attended one or more of the industry demo events throughout the winter; all of them share a burning passion for snowboarding and many years of mountain knowledge.

“When you’re reading a gear review – especially snowboard kit – it can help to know a little more about the person who tested it”

When you’re reading a gear review – especially snowboard kit – it can help to know a little more about the person who tested it. What’s their riding style like? Are they a similar height, weight and foot size? What gets them stoked on riding?

Ultimately, buying any snowboard gear is something of a subjective purchase, so anyone dispensing advice should ideally be on your wavelength.

With this in mind, scroll down for a brief introduction to each of the riders on our team.

James Blogg | Ed Blomfield | Jon Bird | Mike Brindley | Holly Burns | Alex Cheshire | Dave Crozier | Joy Dutch | Andrew Duthie| Owain George | Katie Hill | Will Hughes | Luke Hulme | Rhys Jones| Tarun Knapp | Ed Leigh | Stephen MacLean | Paul Mathieu | Corinne Mayhew | Rob McCreath | Stevo McDonald | Neil McNair | Malcolm Moore | Stella Pentti | Ryan Van Kesteren | Beth Wakeling | Keith Wood | Paul Wool

James Blogg

Snowboard Instructor, Ultimate Snowsports

  • Snowboarding since: 2001
  • Height: 5’10″ (178cm)
  • Weight: 12st 8lb (80kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 11

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Spin. Butter. Slash.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Gigi Ruf – effortless style!

What were your season’s highlights: I got to do a lot more splitboarding and had some cool trips to check out some other resorts around Europe which was rad.

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Ed Blomfield

Editor-At-Large, Whitelines

  • Snowboarding since: The dawn of time
  • Height: 5’11” (181cm)
  • Weight: 13st (82kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: UK 9.5

Who’s your favourite rider and why: David Benedek. In his pomp he slayed it all – powder, pipe, park, piste, street – and still found time to push the creative envelope. Plus, he’s just a super nice guy.

First ever board: 1996/7 Lib Tech Jamie Lynn 153 – the one with the girl and the guitar on the tail. I bought it from Rollersnakes in the spring sales and was soooo stoked on it.

Only trouble was the fragile cap construction, and I managed to delam it at some point. I swung a new one via the warranty which I was well chuffed with at the time, but now I wish I’d just kept it for posterity and bought a new one instead.

Board Preference: Something mid-flexing and stable that I can take from park to pow – basically, your classic ‘all mountain’ board.

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Jon Bird

Assistant Manager and Snowboard Buyer, LD Mountain Centre

  • Snowboarding since: 1996
  • Height: 6’2″ (188cm)
  • Weight: 12st 8lb (80kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 10

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Solid, fun, relaxed.

Introduction to snowboarding: Started riding back in the early 90s on a plastic fantastic dendix hill, followed numerous seasons in the Alps and New Zealand..

First Board: A faded red Burton A board..

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Mike Brindley

Videographer, Whitelines

  • Snowboarding since: 2001
  • Height: 5’10” (179cm)
  • Weight: 10st 3lbs (65kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 8

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Overenthusiastic, occasionally inoffensive.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Sticking with Arthur Longo, side-hits to die for and effortless style.

What were your season’s highlights: Kuhtai splitboard mission, and all the other days before I broke my collar bone.

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Holly Burns

Snowboard Instructor

  • Snowboarding since: 2011
  • Height: 5’26” (167cm)
  • Weight: 9st (57kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 6
  • @holzburz

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Technical, Flowing, Fun.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Liz Daley, a true inspirational badass lady who encompassed everything I love about snowboarding and mountaineering in the mountains.

What were your season’s highlights: Getting 3’s off the medium kickers in Val, riding my favourite little tree stash home everyday and touring home to Les Boisses 1800 from Tignes from après one night with our headtorches!

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Alex Cheshire

Snowboard Sales, The Snowbaord Asylum

  • Snowboarding since: The dawn of time
  • Height: 5’8” (173cm)
  • Weight: 10st 7lb (67kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 8.5
  • The Snowboard Asylum

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Could be better.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Gigi Ruf and Marcus Kleveland. Because Gigi Ruf and Marcus Kleveland!!

What were your season’s highlights: Hiking crazy powder lines in Tignes last December. Balls deep in May at Hintertux. What’s up with the weather?

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Dave Crozier

Owner, Real Snowboarding

  • Snowboarding since: 1998
  • Height: 5’9” (175cm)
  • Weight: 10st 12lbs (69kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 8
  • Real Snowboarding

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Flowing, Aggressive, radical.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Everyone has their all-time favourite, but at the moment I’m really stoked on what Mons Røisland is doing with his snowboard. The recent edit he put up, chucking some no grab spins were so smooth and effortless. It has definitely given me some hectic winter buzz forsho!

What were your season’s highlights: The highlight of winter was filming a new Slice ‘n’ Dice for Nidecker Snowboards that should be out before the season begins. We did this edit in Samoens, France, with dirt, slush, bulletproof mornings and stiff coffee.

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Joy Dutch

Wordsmith, Whitelines

  • Snowboarding since: Yesterday
  • Height: 5’4” (164cm)
  • Weight: 7st 9lbs (50kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 4
  • whitelines.com

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Loosey goosey behbè.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Miyon Yamaguchi is my current favourite, girl’s got mad style.

What were your season’s highlights: Late night floodlit pow session in Russia with the Vans crew, freeriding with Xavier de la Rue in Chamonix, and of course Stella’s iconic fat scorpion in Hintertux.

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Andrew Duthie

Contributor, Whitelines

  • Snowboarding since: 1999
  • Height: 6’3” (190cm)
  • Weight: 13st 13lb (88kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 12
  • whitelines.com

Favourite rider: Keijiro Kasahara, aka Doggy. If snowboarding had a voice, it would be in Japanese with wonky subtitles.

First ever board: Generics Special, bought ex-hire from an Aviemore shop in May 1999. Currently propping up a wobbly bookcase beside my desk.

Board preference: Freestyle twin boards, sometimes with directional elements but usually true twin – and always wide. It’s good to have something to take to dry slope once its snow life is over.
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Owain George

Co-owner and Coach at TDC Snowboarding

  • Snowboarding since: 1998
  • Height: 6’0” (183cm)
  • Weight: 11st 6lbs (73kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 7.5 (small feet… small shoes)
  • TDC Snowboarding

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Steep-and-deep / slashes-and-sidehits.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: I can’t pick one! The original Forum collective really stoked the fire for me as a young snowboarder. The Resistance movie came out during my first winter season, washing pots in St Anton. After service each night we watched and re-watched that movie until the VHS burnt out. From Devun Walsh’s big backside 180s to Joni Malmi’s easy rail style, those boys got me and a whole lot of other snowboarders hooked!

What were your season’s highlights: Taking my dog, Griff, on his first splitboard missons.

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Katie Hill

Manager at Tignes Spirit Rentals

  • Snowboarding since: 2010
  • Height: 5’4” (164.5cm)
  • Weight: 9st 13lbs (58kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 5

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Off-piste powder charging.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Chloe Kim inspirational rider amazing skills.

What were your season’s highlights: Epic powder days.

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Will Hughes

Co-owner Dragon Lodge

  • Snowboarding since: 1991
  • Height: 5’6” (168cm)
  • Weight: 11st (69kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 7
  • @DragonLodge

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Big, fast turns.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Jamie Lynn – the master of style.

What were your season’s highlights: Riding the Fingers, in Tignes, at nighttime, with Dougie Crawford

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Luke Hulme

Tignes Spirit Snowboard Shop

  • Snowboarding since: 2016 (Surfer ventured to the mountains)
  • Height: 5’7” (173cm)
  • Weight: 9st 10lbs (64kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 7.5
  • @lukehulme

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Surfy Pow Hound.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: It seems a bit cliché but probably Travis Rice, his big mountain free riding knows no bounds. He really has pushed the limits of going mental in steep terrain.

What were your season’s highlights: Season highlights were ticking off some of Tignes’ biggest free ride lines!!

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Rhys Jones

Independent Snowboard Coach

  • Snowboarding since: 1996
  • Height: 6’2” (188cm)
  • Weight: 12st 8lbs (80kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 10
  • @SnowJonez

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Sidehits and Powder!

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Arthur Longo

What were your season’s highlights: The POW Banked Slalom out in Tignes was such a wicked event. Also scoring some end of season freshies at Spring Break.

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Tarun Knapp

Snowboard Content Writer – Surfdome

  • Snowboarding since: 2005
  • Height: 5″8 (172cm)
  • Weight: 9st 4lbs (60kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 7

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Always. Full. Throttle.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Ståle is a style king

What were your season’s highlights: Annual VT trip with my sisters

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Ed Leigh

Presenter / Commentator

  • Snowboarding since: 1990
  • Height: 6’1” (185cm)
  • Weight: 11st 11lb (75kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 8.5
  • @ed_leigh_

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Considered (slow), minimal (shit) and dynamic (arm flailing)

Who’s your favourite rider and why:  Gigi – the epitome of what is possible in an old body with a young mind.

What were your season’s highlights: Riding the deepest snow I’ve ever ridden in January in Austria.

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Stephen MacLean

Snowboard Sales, The Snowboard Asylum

  • Snowboarding since: 2002
  • Height: 5’10” (178cm)
  • Weight: 12st 12lb (82kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 8.5
  • snowboard-asylum.com

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Fast, Loose, On-going.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Mark McMorris, the Canadian Golden boy. Sorry for being cliché but I have to say it’s Mark, because of his inventiveness and style he puts into everything he does.

What were your season’s highlights: Pow days in May. Hell Yeah!

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Paul Mathieu

Marketing – Surfdome

  • Snowboarding since: 2000
  • Height: 5’10” (179cm)
  • Weight: 11st 1lb (70kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 8
  • Surfdome

Describe your riding style in 3 words: All Mountain Goat

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Hard to pick just one, but I think Danny Davis is probably up there. Humble, always a big smile on his face, super stylish, thinking outside of the box and creative. I’m excited to see him doing more big mountain stuff with JJ too.

What were your season’s highlights: Board testing at shop 1st Try in Austria & some decent powder sessions in les Arcs back in February before the wold stopped.

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Corinne Mayhew

Owner, Mayhew Snowboarding

  • Snowboarding since: 2006
  • Height: 5’8″ (172cm)
  • Weight: 9st 6lbs (60kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 6
  • Mayhew Snowboarding

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Surfy, playful and fun!

Who’s your favourite rider and why: This is a tough one.. from the girls it’s a toss-up between Anna Gasser for constantly raising the bar for women’s slopestyle, Christy Prior for oozing style and straight-up steeze, and Leanne Pelosi for shredding the most amazing backcountry lines that make me want to drop everything and get on the next plane to Japan/Alaska/Canada/anywhere with POW! Guys-wise.. I’ve always been a fan of Arthur Longo – man’s a magician when it comes to pulling tricks out of the bag so effortlessly.

What were your season’s highlights: This season was so much fun, packed with plenty of variety which is just how I like it! Teaching the local Grom Squad (aged3+) to link turns all the way down Palafour and take on its many side-hits was definitely up there, as was my trip to Krasnoyarsk in the heart of Russian Siberia, coaching for GB Snowsport at the Winter Universiade (University Olympics) and cheering on the rest of Team GB in their respective sports.

The Girls Who Ride event in March was a remarkable day where we pulled the local crew together and provided an amazing experience for the many female skiers and snowboarders in the area. Just as well we rallied the troops as 96 ladies turned up for coaching, dancing (to female DJs), free stash and a BBQ in the glorious sunshine.

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention taking a win in my back garden… literally riding the Fingers on the Tignes stop of the Freeride World Tour and walking away with the coveted golden statue! Not sure how I managed to fit it all in around teaching lessons to my lovely clients, sharing amazing adventures and memories with each and every one!

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Rob McCreath

Writer, Whitelines

  • Snowboarding since: 1999
  • Height: 6’3” (190cm)
  • Weight: 12st 3lbs (78kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 10.5
  • whitelines.com

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Inflatable tube man.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: It’s a toss-up between the Frenchies – Longo, and Victor de le Rue. Although Fin Bremner has the best shifty back 7 I’ve seen in my life.

What were your season’s highlights:  Birthday splitboarding in the sun and a quick beer stop in the refuge was about as good a way to celebrate as I can think!

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Stevo McDonald

Instructor, Guide and Owner, Whiteroom Snowboarding

  • Snowboarding since: 1998
  • Height: 5’11” (180cm)
  • Weight: 13st (83kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 7
  • Whiteroom Snowbaording

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Fast, steep, unsubtle.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Still Craig Kelly. My first decent board came with a Burton team video featuring CK charging through trees in deep powder and that was it, that was all I ever wanted to do.

What were your season’s highlights: An epic powder day in Sainte Foy when I thought my season was going to fizzle out due to injury. Hiked to the top of the Fogliettaz twice and had two life-affirming runs in snow so good my wrecked knee never felt a thing.

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Neil McNair

Owner, McNair Snowsports

  • Snowboarding since: 1988
  • Height: 5’6” (169cm)
  • Weight: 10st 12lbs (69kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 7
  • @mcnairsnowsports

Describe your riding style in 3 words: The turn guy.

Who’s your favourite rider and why:  James Stentiford. Because he’s much older and still makes me jump off lots of stuff I would normally pussy out on.

What were your season’s highlights: Providing stoke and facilitating radness with many great people worldwide. Every shred day is a highlight.

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Malcolm Moore

Snowboard YouTuber and Instructor

  • Snowboarding since: 2007
  • Height: 6’1” (187cm)
  • Weight: 13st 5lbs (86kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 11
  • @malcolmmoore

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Always having fun.

Who’s your favourite rider and why:  Arthur Longo. His insane ‘Side Hit Euphoria’ videos on YouTube are awesome inspiration. Whilst watching pro riders tackle crazy lines in Alaska is impressive, watching them tear up your local ski resort is far more relatable!

What were your season’s highlights: Every day that the lifts were open before the world turned upside down… I won’t take those days for granted again!

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Stella Pentti

Writer, Whitelines Snowboarding

  • Snowboarding since: 2013
  • Height: 5’8” (173cm)
  • Weight: 9st 13lbs (58kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 5
  • @stellajohannna

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Fast, fun and surfy.

Who’s your favourite rider and why:  Instead of naming one single person, I’m going to name two snowboard clips that really capture the essence of what I love about snowboarding: GLUE and Yearning for Turning by KORUA (all of them).

What were your season’s highlights: As the season got cut short, I’d have to say that Shops 1st Try this year was pretty epic – good crowd, great conditions and plenty of new boards to try out.

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Ryan Van Kesteren

Creative Director, Whitelines

  • Snowboarding since: 2012
  • Height: 6’2” (188cm)
  • Weight: 13st 8lbs (83kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 11
  • Whitelines.com/

Describe your riding style in 3 words:  Pretty average, really.

Who’s your favourite rider and why:  Danny McCormick, every time. The boy oozes steeze.

What were your season’s highlights:  Riding some steeper lines on the Bataleon Omni out in Tignes was a pretty epic – made all the scarier by carrying all the film kit on my back.

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Beth Wakeling

Shredder

 

  • Snowboarding since: 2010
  • Height: 5’4″ (163cm)
  • Weight: 8st 9lbs (55kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 5
  • @bwubs

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Adventurous, Fun, Surfy.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Torstein Horgmo for his effortless style and creativity.

What were your season’s highlights:  Early morning tours for the fresh stuff really paid off a few times this winter. Heading out with friends I trust and working hard for just one epic line is one of the best feelings for me. I spend most of the winter searching for experiences like that.

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Keith Wood

Owner, Lift Ticket Snowboard School

  • Snowboarding since: Before you were born
  • Height: 5’7” (168cm)
  • Weight: 11st (70kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 7
  • whitelines.com

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Gay ona tray.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Craig Kelly – pure snowboarding.

What were your season’s highlights: Tignes Banked Slalom was a blast.

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Paul Wool

Snowbaord Workshop Technician

 

  • Snowboarding since: 2001
  • Height: 6’1″ (185cm)
  • Weight: 12st 2lbs (77kg)
  • UK Shoe Size: 11
  • whitelines.com

Describe your riding style in 3 words: Aggressive, Arrogant, Abrasive.

Who’s your favourite rider and why: Matt Cummins and Shaun Farmer.

What were your season’s highlights: Blasting through the trees on the Nidecker Mosquito after a 2 foot dump (of snow).

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