Back on snow for the first time this season at Wild Mountain and as a whole it was better than I anticipated. Read about the boards I demoed and what I liked and disliked about each of them.
Back on snow for the first time this season at Wild Mountain and as a whole it was better than I anticipated. I generally get out for the first time every year the weekend before Thanksgiving, it’s the weekend we have our first on snow clinic with Blizzard and is demo weekend at Wild. Meaning all the local board manufacturing company reps are there peddling their new equipment and giving you a chance to try it all out for free.
I only tried a couple of boards this year and wasn’t overly impressed with any of them. First up was the DC HKD (158 cm). 2008 marks the renowned shoe and apparel makers first foray into the world of snowboard construction and to be honest, it shows. The board itself was probably slightly to large for me, I would have preferred the 156 cm but they didn’t have any to demo. I found the HKD to be a little to stiff for my taste, especially considering the short runs at Wild where you don’t have the opportunity to make more than one or two big, fast turns. Although it was very quick edge to edge I felt that the board lacked flexibility in the key points of entering and exiting turns. Due to it’s rigidity it held turns at high speed very well, getting in and out of the turns however I felt like the board was fighting me. I know part of this is due to the 158 cm length, but I have a feeling the response would have been present in the shorter version as well.
Next up was the Ride Society (157 cm). The thing I remember most about this board was how light it was. This board felt more surfy than the DC, not as quick edge to edge, and slightly less edge stability in aggressive turns. To be expected though from a board that is designed with freestyle in mind. One thing I did like about this board was the pop. The Society is constructed with special Pop Rods™ running the length of the boards core which give it a lot of extra tail to tip spring. Great for ollies, and butters.
After the HKD and the Society I wanted to try out something a little more playful, both of the previous boards are at the high end of the each companies offerings. I wanted something that if I owned I wouldn’t be afraid to beat the crap out of.
I ended up on Rossignol’s The Mini (121 cm). This board is specially designed to allow adults to ride a very, very short board. I had been eying these up at the shop ever since they came out, and have always wanted to take one for a ride. It was a blast, and overall rode better than I expected.
My first reaction after putting the board on and getting on the lift was “there is no f*cking way this is going to work”. I was pleasantly surprised however at how well it held a turn. It felt almost like riding a full size board. The shorter length meant that it didn’t handle as comfortably at high speeds, but at a cruising pace it was solid.
Solid and fun. Having this board on my feet was like transporting myself into my own personal play land. I wanted to jump and stop on everything, and did.
The biggest issue with the board comes from its virtual lack of a tip or tail. Many of the maneuvers you perform while riding (like a simple ollie) require loading up pressure on either end of the board and using the boards recoil as extra propulsion. Don’t try and load up the tail on this guy though, it will slide out from under you and leave you in a cartwheel in a hurry.
The Mini is certainly no replacement for a full size board but would be a fun one to pull out of the trunk for a chill afternoon now and then.
The last board I rode was the One Mag (156 cm) also by Rossignol. This board uses Rossignol’s new Magne-Traction technology evidenced by the zig-zag profile of the board’s sidecut.
The concept is that the distinct profile of the saw tooth like sidecut creates a more even distribution of pressure along the edge of the board. (Which is also to an extent the purpose of sidecut in general). On a traditional sidecut most of the pressure is pushed through your feet down to the board and outwards to the widest part of the board, the contact points on the top and tail, generally just before the snowboard curves back in on itself to create the curved tip. This means that there is less and less pressure on the edge as you move from the tip and tail contact points towards the center of the board.
Ideally however this pressure would be distributed evenly along the edge of the board, and maximized between your feet rather than outside of them. Magne-Traction tries to accomplish this, and the result is a board that once up on edge will hold on to just about anything, forever. And you can really feel it, especially on groomed or hard packed snow. No idea what it would ride like in fresh powder, but for the typically icy and always groomed runs we have around here it seems like a welcome step in the right direction.
On the other hand the One Mag wasn’t as quick edge to edge as I would have liked making it feel a little sloppy. Until you got it up no that Magne-Traction edge at least. I would really like to try out some of the other Magne-Traction boards as I think this is a promising idea.
Try out any new boards yourself recently? Got any suggestions on anything a guy should try? Although I’m not really in the market for a new board this year, it is always fun to keep up with what is out there.