Published in Whitelines Magazine Buyer’s Guide Issue, Winter 2010-2011
It's a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.
It’s one thing giving you the specs, but you also need to know what the board you’re looking at feels like to ride. That’s where the annual Snowboard Test comes in. Taking place during the May ‘Spring Classics’ session, at the high glacial resort of Kaunertal, Austria, it is a chance for everyone in the UK industry– riders, shops, brands and media – to get together in one place and test out all the latest kit.
Kaunertal is the ideal testing ground for many reasons, not least their enthusiasm for hosting an invasion of over 300 Brits! It is high altitude, with consistent snow through the summer (essential since the new demo boards aren’t delivered until late in the season) and it offers a good variety of terrain - from freeride lines, cliff drops and natural features, to a leg-burningly long (and stupidly fast!) main piste; better still, it boasts one of the best snowboard parks in Europe, with a superpipe, pro line, smaller jumps and plenty of rails and jibs. Whatever type of board you’ve taken out, then, Kaunertal should offer a suitable run to put it through its paces.
Visitors to the test can try out as many snowboards as they like throughout the week, and on handing them back they fill out a review card on each one. These reports are then collated into a database, giving WL access to literally thousands of opinions in addition to all the feedback of our own team (any obviously biased reviews, such as those written by sponsored riders about their own brands, are discounted).
While you’ll struggle to find many test cards slagging off a board (not surprising when you think how much fun people always have when they’re snowboarding!) the reports provide an excellent insight into where a particular model excelled, or fared less well.
Every snowboard in this Buyer’s Guide therefore carries a three-part review:
This is a quote from the manufacturer’s catalogue. Usually a pretty dramatic declaration that this is the best board, like, EVER.
Whitelines’ verdict on the board, breaking down what all the technical spiel means, what kind of rider and terrain the model is suited to, and who should probably avoid it.
A direct quote from one of the test cards, chosen because it sums up the general concensus on how the model rode.