Like skis, snowboards are constantly being shaped, primed and customised for that optimum performance on the mountain. What’s more, snowboarders are often as picky about their decals as women are about their hair – it’s gotta look good on the hill, you know. So, that could be pink with cute cats on, or a gnarly ebony monster.
Check out the latest trends for 2012 …
SNOWBOARDS STILL ROCKING – from WTSS 2012, by Dave Watts
As with skis, ‘rocker technology’ has influenced board design, and most manufacturers now offer a platter of different board profiles, keeping traditional camber in the mix but offering rocker, a hybrid of both, and zero camber.
Some companies, such as K2, have completely eliminated camber from their line; this year K2 has developed its new Ollie Bar technology that places a camber-shaped carbon bar within the core of some of its boards to enhance their liveliness. This works to make some of its zero camber and rocker boards perform more like cambered boards in and out of turns, but offers better powder performance and a more forgiving ride.
Brands such as Ride and Capita are working with a more traditional camber profile, using enough to give the board explosive pop but also using a subtle rocker in the tip and tail to improve flotation and forgiveness. This can be seen on the Ride Berzerker, for example. Capita’s Totally F’kn Awesome and Black Snowboard Of Death use a similar construction but have a unique reverse sidecut section through the middle of the sidecut. This gives the board added bite through a turn, making it grip exceptionally well on-piste.
Other companies are also developing new sidecuts, most notably for this season Rome Snowboard’s QuickRip sidecut featured on boards such as the Agent Rocker and Headline. This effectively combines two sidecuts that create two mid-board contact points. At slower speeds the mid-section contact points engage, making it agile and playful, benefiting freestyle riding; at higher speeds the full running length sidecut engages to improve edge hold and stability – so it’s great at both high and low speeds.
With bindings, riders looking for maximum weight savings should look at Union’s Contact Pro and new SL. Other companies have focused on making bindings more customisable. The Rome Targa ‘Yes I can’t’ system includes three interchangeable canted pads for anatomically correct stance widths and different levels of nose and tail power, as well as three flex options on your ankle strap via removable EVA pads.
Burton has a new AutoCant dual density foam footbed which automatically settles your boot into a natural position regardless of stance width or angles for improved comfort and reduced fatigue.
GET THE ARTEC FACTOR – something for the novices, by W King
Looking for a budget board that suits beginner to intermediate levels? Artec has a selection that offers amazing value, including one with the cute factor: the ladies-specific board, the Venus. It’s covered in cute kittens, and very pink.
The Venus provides female riders with excellent response, enhanced edge control, and a smooth forgiving flex, which is just what you need to build confidence on the snow.
Much more in the masculine range is the Novus – sporting an array of technology in its decal. The board falls into the same category as the Venus, so a good starter-choice. The board features a directional twin tip shape, wood core and a smooth flex; and it is available in sizes 146 to 162.