2011 Snowboard Highlights
Well, I just got back from three straight days of testing 2011 Snowboards. I'm exhausted! I went through 32 boards so I will just briefly describe the ones that stood out to me.
First, a little about my experience and style. I have been riding for 5 years and am a freerider that likes to throw freestyle moves along the way.
These are the boards that I liked in descending order.
Burton Custom Flying-V: ICS, EST, Flying-V, a load of gimmicks right? Wrong. I went into the Burton tent expecting very little from them this year. Same old Customs, Custom Xs, blah blah blah. Oh was I wrong. The Custom Flying-V was easily the most fun board out of the 32 I rode. The rocker between and outside the bindings and camber underfoot is just sick. I love to bomb steeps every now and then and rockers have been giving me problems with edge hold and board chatter. The Custom Flying-V killed the steeps with great edge hold and very little chatter. On flats, the board was very playful just like a normal rockered board. The board also felt very poppy. Just load the nose or tail and up you go. Edge to edge control was almost effortless and the board had a very nice flex to it. Not too stiff, and not too soft. Needless to say, I am completely sold on the Flying-V tech. As for the ICS/EST? Not too much has changed. The screws have gotten a little thinner. I rode ICS boards with both EST and normal bindings. The ESTs do make a noticeable difference. The flex is affected positively and you do feel less shock on landings. The only negative thing I have to say about the Custom Flying-V is that it does still have slight board chatter on faster runs off steeps, but hey, that's why we have the Custom X right?
Lib Tech Banana Magic: This board was so much fun! I kind of wish I never got on it because it totally dwarfed the Skate Banana. Although I still love the Skate Nana, the Banana Magic is like a much lighter version of it. The board was nice and poppy and it is a bit stiffer than the Skate. The stiffer and lighter Magic makes bombing down the slopes super fun. And oh, the MagnaTraction. This was my first time experiencing MagnaTraction. Let me tell you, I live in Michigan and it works. The Magic shred the ice so hard that I made snowcones mid-run. The negative about this board is that it is stiffer so presses aren't as easy to perform on it. Great board.
Burton Hero: Well, it is pretty official to me. Burton doesn't suck lol. Although they do still have crappy ass boards *cough* Crash, Bullet, '11 Shaun White Standard *cough*. So here's the deal, I have size 10 boots and currently weigh 177lbs. They gave me a 156 wide with X-Large bindings. This board is doomed for an inaccurate review right? Not really. Even with bindings that didn't strap me down all the way and a board that was too wide, the Hero was surprisingly fun to ride. Even with the wide size, edge to edge was nearly effortless. I can only imagine how great the edge to edge control would have been in a normal width with snug bindings. The rocker on the Hero is nice and mellow (as per the V-Rocker norm) making the board playful yet stable on fast runs. The downside of the Hero is that it lacks a bit of pop. My nollies just didn't have that oomph.
K2 Turbo Dream: Well, the hype turns out to be mostly true. The Turbo Dream was a dream to ride. The rocker made catching an edge a conscious effort. Where I would have caught an edge with other boards, the Turbo Dream didn't. Remember when I said I dislike rockers for steeps? Well, the Turbo Dream has Harshmellow. It's not just good for dampening your landings, but it also greatly reduces board chatter. This board held it's edge and stayed mostly silent on steep, fast runs. Flats and kickers? Awesome! Buttering and pressing on this board was effortless. Popping off natural features was stable on the Turbo Dream. Negatives? Not really anything. I wish I was able to ride this one more.
I'm going to end it for now. I'll add more as I go.
By the way, I was really impressed with Rossignol. I didn't expect much from them, but the three boards I tested were all good boards. Taipan, One, and Angus. The One Magtek was my favorite for just pure bombing. The Angus was a more playful board to carve and butter on.