SIA 2015 Recap

Top 10 things I learned at the SIA tradeshow in Denver, CO this year:

1. Loaded is making snowboards! That evil genius company known for making longboards is now cranking out snowboards. The Alergnon is a brand new board from Loaded that has been years in the making. This board has a full length bamboo core that goes all the way to the sidewall and is made in the USA.

2. Never Summer has become a heavy hitter and offers a full line of snowboards. Enter the Funslinger, a new jib board that can throw down with the big park rats. Never Summer has really come into their own; the home town company had the busiest  booth at SIA and Denver and their Demo tent was jammed packed all day at Copper. It seems this awesome company is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

3. Camo outerwear is trending again this season. Camo never really seems to go out of style. The two companies with the best camo prints were iNi and Sugapoint.

4. You don’t loose by going green. iNi has great outerwear that uses recycled material and doesn’t carry a premium price. Not only is this company conscious about the materials they use but they pay close attention to every small detail!

5. Arbor – they aren’t just for old men. One of my buddies said this with a big grin after we demoed several boards over the course of a few hours. He was spot on too; they have new graphics, new shapes, and a new culture. Arbor is making a full line of killer boards for shredders of all ages and disciplines.

6. Flow is the new hard goods champion! Two years ago I would have thought I was crazy for saying this but I have come to the conclusion that Flow is my new favorite all around company that makes boards, boots, and bindings. For the traditional two strap guys, I’m sure your muttering under your breathe and  scoffing at this. I would have been too but don’t knock it until you try the hybrid strap.  Crank that sucker down and what you will notice is that you no longer have a pressure point on your ankle and things just got a lot more comfortable without loosing response.  Same goes for traditional lace guys, it’s time try BOA, it’s gotten a lot better over the years. Last but not least, the Maverick was top 3 in best boards I demoed last year at SIA. Flow is legit, period.

7. Taking a year off was good for Vans. After a one year hiatus to move into a new factory, Vans has come back stronger than ever with some great boots! Innovative technology like The Reach Around cuff strap and Internal Tongue Stiffeners not only caught my attention but they worked magnificently without any drawbacks or pressure points.

8. Rome has cranked it up another notch. I’ve always like rome boards but after the demo this year it’s clear they have taken all of their hard good to a new level. The Artifact Rocker and 390 Boss were in my top three for both categories.

9. Sugapoint and Yobs are the new kids on the block.  Sugapoint is the high styling Lexus version offering great tech. Yobs is the Toyota version that offers the best bang for your buck!  Best of all since they are still new to the scene, and thesnowbro.com is keeping you on the inside lane,  you aren’t as likely to spot someone else on the hill wearing that same jacket.

10. Switch it up, the change is good for you.  As you get older your style and preferences change, it’s ok to move on from your previous favorites. Try new brands and new technology, when you find something new that blows your mind its like a light bulb goes off in your head. Or maybe it’s going back to old shapes, places or friends that you haven’t shredded with in years that sparks that lightbulb for you. Either way I believe that change is good for people, it’s a lesson that I enjoy relearning now and again. So, I’ve decided I am going all in and getting some BOA’s next; I need a full rocker board in my quiver again; going back home to ride in CO and spending time with old friends and family is good for my soul.

 

GNU Hi-Five Review

The GNU Hi-Five is an asymmetrical reverse camber board with some loud graphics and an appetite for fun. I put it to test at Copper to see if this board was as captivating as it’s graphics and it did not disappoint.

Brand: GNU

GNU-HighFive-Colorado

Model: Hi-Five

Size: 153

Profile: Reverse Camber

Shape: Asymmetrical Twin

Flex: 4 (Pretty soft)

Pop: 8.5 (Lots of pop for a reverse camber)

Jumps: 8 (10 on the little stuff, 6-7 on big hits)

Jibs: 9 (Easy, smooth presses)

Carving: 8

Switch: 10

Feel: A lively, poppy, fun board.

Stoke Meter: 9

Comments: The GNU Hi-Five is a new all terrain freestyle model from Mervin Manufacturing this season. Right away I noticed the regional graphics on this deck, each one is a little outrageous and hilarious. When it comes down to it, snowboarding is about having fun, and these graphics deliver on that aspect!GNU-HighFive-California

The graphics aren’t the only regional aspect of this board. Each model has a special infused core with regional ingredients! The Cali uses Redwood, the Candaian gets Okanagan Doug Fir, the Ice Coast has Ash, and the ColoRADo boasts Aspen. Personally I think that’s really cool and gives it a bit of technical style and local love.

I think the GNU Hi-Five is very similar to the Lib-Tech Skate Banana, except that it has an asymmetrical sidecut. The heel side edge has a deeper sidecut and tighter radius, which allows for sharper heel side turns. Also very interestingly, GNU gave this board a softer flex on the heel side to also help get it on edge quicker. This gives the board quick edge to edge response while carving and makes riding switch effortless.

To help with that carving and quick transition is Smart Magne-Traction, an asymmetrical version of Magne-traction.  The Smart Magne-traction delivers multiple contacts points for maximum edge hold and grip. It also helps counteract the BTX reverse camber. A typical snowboard has two contact points but Magne-Traction gives you seven.

Magne-Traction-Technology

BTX reverse camber is shaped like a “V”. When you lay this board flat on the ground it’s going to touch in the middle and raise slightly upwards towards the tip and tail. It transitions to a flat or mild camber from the binding inserts out. This gives the board a surfy, catch free feeling that floats really well in powder.

snowboard-contour-btx-2

You also get premium UMHM sidewalls and a fast sintered base for durability and longevity. Finally if you care about snow and the planet you should know that Mervin Manufacturing is one of the “greener” companies. They are always looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and use renewable resources. If your just a red blooded, beer drinking, dirt bag who loves ‘Merica, than take pride in knowing your board was built by fellow knuckle dragging Americans with jobs (and probably guns since they live near Canada).

GNU-HighFive-Canada Opinion: Honestly, this board was in my top 3 favorites out of everything I demoed last year! I used to have a Skate Banana, which I compared this to. I loved my Skate Banana for buttering and cruising the resort but I would get rocker wash out any time I landed in the back seat. I thought that they improved the rocker washout effect with this deck. I also felt a little more stable straight-lining groomers on this board too.  I rode this board all over Copper and I was popping and spinning of everything in sight. It made the entire mountain my playground, even the mogul field.  153 is usually what I ride for a jib stick but this board had great float in powder even for being on the short side.

Hot Damn!

Hot Damn!

I ride switch a lot and this was the best asymmetrical board I demoed! I like that it doesn’t have a funny asymmetrical shape like other boards out there.  Also don’t worry about all of the asymmetrical talk etc. It’s not all that noticeable but it works. It makes carving effortless so you can just go rip and not over think it.

If you want a fun board thats quick,  poppy and great at jibbing but can still handle powder this is it! I would buy this board, it definitely deserves a spot in my quiver.

gnu-highFive-icecoast-title

 

 

Ride Rodeo Bindings Review

The Ride Rodeo Bindings were designed for hard charging park guys, but is that just a load of marketing bull squirt or will they really help you stomp tricks in the park?

Polar Camo

Polar Camo

Rider: Drew

Company: Ride

Model: Rodeo Bindings

Size: Large

Flex: 6.5

Response: 7

Straps: 9

Chasis: 7

Comments: The Ride Rodeo Bindings feature a number of tried and true technological features that have been in the Ride line up for years.  The aluminum chassis is the back bone of all Ride’s top end bindings. If you haven’t tried aluminum yet, do yourself a favor and put the poly carbonate down and strap in with some aluminum support. Once you do there is no going back! It’s light-weight, strong, and responsive. Next up you have the Stealth Highback, which has been softened since it was in the Alpha line up. The highbacks are fairly soft and offer good torsional flex for the park but have enough support to stomp landings. They are torsionally soft at the top but get stiffer as they go down.

The Rodeo’s also feature Wedgie Footbeds which are said to be better for your knees. Personally I haven’t really noticed a big difference, but my knees are already shot. My girl said she noticed a difference and the logic to them makes sense.

It’s the little things that make a difference and that’s what makes these bindings sick. The Astroglyde ratchets are super smooth and they do their job well. The asymetrical FlipSide heel strap is a nice touch since your taking your foot in and out of there every run. The ThinGRIP Toe Straps are a 3D rubber web, which in my opinion, are the best toe strap on the market. They are are comfortable, and securely lock any boot in place without crunching your toes or slipping off.  And don’t worry about loosing your hardware mid run; their screws and bolts stay in place, even if your riding 100 plus days a season.

Ride x Akomplice Colaaboration, rubber eb toe strap, and  Astroglide ratchets

Ride x Akomplice Collaboration, rubber web toe strap, Aluminium chasis and Astroglyde Ratchets

One new feature is the Micro-Disc. I pulled a double take when I saw what was going secure me to the board, and was skeptical at first. I got to say though, I agree that you get a better feel of the board with the Micro-Disc. The small circumference provides a more even flex because your applying more pressure to the deck rather than the disc.  I asked one of the reps if they have had lots of warranty issues with the Micro-Disc and he said no.

I think it’s interesting that Ride assigned the Rodeo’s to the park category only because I thought they did fine in the trees. These bindings are definitely made for charging park, but they are great as an all purpose binding too. You could go softer if your just jibbing and stiffer if you’re primarily in the steeps but I also like these bindings for riding from the groomers, through the trees, and into the park. They are great for cruising laps with your buddies.

Stoke Meter: 8

Stoke Meter 8

 

 

 

 

Opinion: The Rodeo’s excel in the park but you can cruise with them anywhere. They are supper comfortable with  a plush heel strap and great rubber webbed toe strap. They are durable, light weight, and responsive with a great flex for the park. Plus the styling is sick… check out the orange ones that are a Collaboration with Akomplice, you won’t be the only one looking at them.

Do I recommend them? Yes! Would I buy them? That depends. If you can get the Seb Toots promodel, do it- I like those better for park. They are basically a Revolt but with the plush heel strap found on the Rodeo. They are a combination of the two, with the  Slimeback and the padded heel strap, win/win. If you can’t get those, then only decision is if you like the Slimebacks or the plush ankle strap on the Rodeo with a slightly softer flex.  Overall the Rodeo’s are a great binding and I was stoked when I rode them. You won’t be disappointed with them.

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Orange RideXAkomplice

Orange Rodeo: RideXAkomplice

Slash ATV review

Style is an important thing, you have it or you don’t. Gig Ruf is a gangster of style. Not like a Technine baggy pant Lil Wayne gangster but when you think about him as a godfather of modern snowboarding, he thats kind of gangster. A boss.  Recently, Gigi started his own company called Slash, and the boards all have signature style like him. Here’s a side by side comparison of the Slash ATV with my good buddy Johnny Warren, another dude with great style.

Rider: Drew                                                                  Rider: Johnny                    Slash ATV

Company: Slash                                                           Company: Slash

Model: ATV                                                                  Model: ATV

Size: 158                                                                        Size: 158

Shape: Directional Twin                                            Shape: Directional Twin

Camber: Full camber                                                 Camber: Full camber

Flex: 7                                                                           Flex: 8

Pop: 8                                                                           Pop: 8

Jumps: 8.5                                                                   Jumps: 8

Carving: 8                                                                   Carving: 7

Jibs: N/A (Guessed 6)                                              Jibs: N/A( Guessed 2)

Feel/Response: 8                                                     Feel/Response: 8

Switch: 8                                                                    Switch: N/A

(Scales are based on the rider’s opinion; 10 being the highest, stiffest, or best)

Comments: The ATV was Gigi’s original pro model shape that he came up with for himself. He wanted a powerful, lightweight and responsive ride. The directional twin shape is great or charging all over the mountain regular or switch. The twin shape provides good balance and is fantastic for spins and riding switch. The directional aspect allows for stable lines or charging lines.

By now you’ve had to notice that nose and tail shape. It’s instantly recognizable for any Slash board but it’s more than just something to look at. It reduces material weight, and helps make this board really easy to spin. I was jumping off everything I could find, popping 180’s, 3’s and 540s in every combination I could think of, and grabbing nose/tail is super fun with this shape.  It also has a special blend of kevlar, carbon, and basalt fibers to save weight and allow a thinner core without sacrificing strength.

Step Out

Step Out

Carving wise I feel this board is slow to initiate but it rails turns once you get on that edge. It’s great for doing long drawn out power turns; I was even able to come back up hill and make a full 360 toe carve and keep going! Again the switch carving was excellent. One of the reasons this board carves so well is the benefit of the Ultimate Traction bump, which is a counter radius or bump at the center which provides better edge hold. It’s kinda like Magnetraction but with one extra bump instead of several.

So we’ve confirmed it’s powerful and lightweight but hows the response? Well while the turn initiation may take a little more patience the rest of the board responds quickly. The board has the new revolutionary branded Reactive Flex which works great. Reactive Flex  two configurations of fiberglass that allow flex across the width of the board. So if you pop on a board slide on a rail the board becomes slightly concave for catch free jibbing. I didn’t get chance to jib with this board but it will boost of any transition with great pop! Even though it feels lively and responsive it still handles chop well.

The Slash ATV also features a fast sintered base that seems tough and has a diamond stone grind finish for a little extra strength and speed.

Stoke meter 9

Opinion:This board can ride everything, just like Gigi.  Drew said, “Stoked on the shape, spins great, and can ride any terrain. Bombs lines really well and the landings are awesome on this deck. This board can do it all! Johnny said, “Sick, stable board. Gigi did well!”

Both Drew and Johnny would buy this board for themselves and recommend it to a bro.

 

Size (cm) 151 154 156 158 161 165w
Nose Length (mm) 205 210 220 210 205 205
Running Length (mm) 1100 1120 1120 1160 1200 1240
Tail Length (mm) 205 210 220 210 205 205
Nose Width (mm) 290 292 294 295 297 305
Waist Width (mm) 249 251 253 253 255 26
Waist Width (inch) 9.8 9.9 10 10 10 10.2
Tail Width (mm) 290 292 294 295 297 305
Sidecut Radius (m) 7.0 7.2 7.4 7.6 7.8 7.9
Min/Max Stance (cm) 50/62 50/62 52/64 52/64 52/64 52/64
Min/Max Stance (inch) 19.7/24.4 19.7/24.4 20.5/25.2 20.5/25.2 20.5/25.2 20.5/25.2
Setback (cm) 20 20 20 20 20 20
Inserts (#) 6×2 6×2 6×2 6×2 6×2
Rider’s Weight (kgs) 57-75 59-77 61-79 66-84 73-95 77-95+
Rider’s Weight (lbs) 125-165 130-170 135-175 145-185 160-210 170-210+

P.S. When I demoed this board I got to meet Gigi and it was so cool. He was so laid back, friendly, and humble. He personally backs these boards and will talk to you about them if you get that chance.

Capita Defenders of Awesome review

Defenders of Awesome is a pretty heady title to live up to. So is this board really that awesome or is it more on par with an “awesome” cat video your cousin posted on Facebook? Let’s find out.

Rider: Drew Capita DOA

Brand: Capita

Model: Defenders of Awesome

Size: 152

Shape: True Twin

Flex: 5

Torsional flex: 5.5

Camber: Hybrid; Positive camber throughout inserts, zero camber from last insert to transition zone, and reverse camber in the transition zone.

Pop: 8Capita-hybrid-flat-kick-technology

Jumps: 10

Jibs: 9

Carving: 9

Feel: 9

(Scales are based on the rider’s opinion. 10 being the highest, stiffest, or best.)

Comments: The Capita DOA is called a hybrid true twin freestyle destroyer and for once, this board lived up to the hype. Its a lively board that has a lot response but it doesn’t feel chattery. I put this board through it’s paces, shredding it on groomers, trees, and park a day after a good storm and I came away with a huge grin and really stoked on it.

It has a long effective edge so it feels like it rides bigger than it is, and I can testify to that. I got stuck with a 152, which is short for me and just beyond the limit of what I would usually  feel comfortable buying as a park board for myself at 6 ft and 155 pounds. However this board felt like a 154 or 155 and suprisingly held its own in the trees and chopped powder.  It turned every terrain into a playground!

I really liked the hybrid camber design. I prefer a camber dominant board for response and stability and this board has it. However it’s used harmoniously with a bit of zero camber to allow for some easy buttering and a touch of reverse camber in the transitions zones to lift the tips just a bit to make it forgiving when you need it. The overall effect is a board that you can rally and rely on but is forgiving enough to jib and dork around on.

The carbon fiber vertical beams give it great pop and it has a fast sintered base and sick shaped nose and tail. I’ve never own a Capita, so I can’t speak to their durability, but I would take a shot on this board.

Stoke Meter:

Hell ya! Perfect 10

Hell ya, so stoked!

Opinion: This series is my favorite graphic of the season for the second year in a row. Not only does it look cool but it’s everything I want in a Park and Freestyle board. Even though I rode the 152 and felt great, I would buy my normal size 154 as a park/resort board and know I could ride it anywhere. This was in my top three of demoed boards, possibly my favorite even. I would buy this board and I would recommend it to a friend!

TECH

  • RFC Sustainable Select Core
  • Special Blend EVO Tech Fiberglass Configuration
  • 2 x 30mm Carbon Fiber Beams
  • Wax Infused Rotation Sintered Speed Base
  • Multitech™ Level 5 DeepSpace™
    Silkscreen + DDT Topsheet
  • Multitech™ Silkscreen + Die-cut Base
  • PLT Topsheet Technology
  • 360 Degree Steel Edges
  • Full ABS Sidewalls With Silkscreened Graphics
  • 4 x 2 Inserts
  • Titanal Base Inlay
LENGTH EFFECTIVE EDGE WAIST NOSE/TAIL SIDECUT MAX STANCE (CM/INCHES)
148 117.60 24.40 28.70 / 28.70 7.60 61.30 / 24.10
150 119.20 24.60 29.00 / 29.00 7.70 61.30 / 24.10
152 120.80 24.80 29.30 / 29.30 7.80 63.90 / 25.10
154 122.40 25.00 29.50 / 29.50 7.90 63.90 / 25.10
156 124.00 25.20 29.80 / 29.80 8.00 63.90 / 25.10
158 125.60 25.40 30.00 / 30.00 8.10 66.40 / 26.10
160 127.20 25.70 30.40 / 30.40 8.20 66.40 / 26.10

Defenders of Awesome third year

Travis Rice Pro HP review

Travis Rice is the biggest name in snowboarding and his board is one of the highest in demand, which begs the question, is the Horse Power worth the extra money?

Rider: Drew

Brand: Lib TechTravis Rice HP

Model: Travis Rice Pro HP

Size: 157

Shape: True Twin Blunt

Camber: Rocker middle and cambered from inserts out.

Flex: 7.5

Pop: 7.5

Jumps: 7

Jibs: 6

Carving: 6

Feel: Damp and a little of the stiff side.

(Scales are  the rider’s opinion based on 1 through 10; 10 being the best, highest, or stiffest.)

Comments:

This board is a fined tuned version of the regular Travis Rice Pro made to go a littler bigger. It’s lighter, stiffer, and environmentally friendlier. If your lucky enough to be in a place where your primarily riding powder or steep terrain it’s probably worth the price difference; or if you you like your boards a little stiffer.

This board is an amazing do it all board built for going big like Travis. I thought it was a spring day quiver killer! On a perfect spring day you can ride a little powder up top and then swing through the park on the way back to the lift or at the end of the day, and this board is perfect for that. On little jumps I didn’t feel very comfortable getting the board to spin around but on big jumps I was stomping landings in all kinds of terrain!

What’s interesting about this board is that was phenomenal in the trees. It has good float in powder and maneuvered fantastically in the trees.  However I didn’t like this board as much on the groomers. I kept feeling nose wash out on my heel side edge. Maybe I’m not used to Lib Tech’s C2 BTX but it felt like a different board on the groomer than in the trees.

Lib Tech’s always have some of the best graphics and they are made in the good old US of A!

Stoke Meter: 7 Stoke Meter

Opinion: I think this board is built to go big and it’s great for that. If your going to do some gnarly riding and will be man handling this board, you will love it! But if your cruising park or groomers in a mellow way there are better options out there for you. The graphic is sick this year, especially the HP version, and this board can do it all! I’d personally prefer the normal version over the Horse Power to save some cash and get a softer flex for jibs, but you won’t be disappointed with either one.

TRice Pro HP

Review: DC Travis Rice boot

DC says this is the most technically advanced boot ever, but does it live up to T.Rice’s name?

Dc Travis Rice Signature Model 14/15

Dc Travis Rice Signature Model 14/15

Rider: Drew

Brand: DC

Boot: Travis Rice signature model

Size: 10

Flex: 8/10

Support: 7

Feel: 7

Comfort: 9

Review: At 7 a.m. I woke up on a strange couch to the best sound ever, Avalanche bombs going off! I rolled off the couch and looked outside to see a foot of fresh pow at Mammoth. This was my first time to ride the beast, and it seemed like the perfect conditions to test the DC Travis Rice Signature Boot.

To be honest, this is the first BOA I have ever ridden. I have always been a bit skeptical but now I’m not sure why? These boots changed my mind on BOA’s. The first thing I thought when I saw these boots in person was “wow, these are cool boots.” Their  subtle black and red styling with a touch of grey camo are boss, just like Travis.  Combine that with all of it’s visible technology and you can tell this boot is not messing around; it’s ready to throw down on some heavy stuff.

This boot is really easy to put on. Just pop the BOA’s and loosening the tongue is a synch, I wish laces were that easy (seriously). The big strap on the back gives you a nice hold while you slide your foot in and shimmy the tongue into position. Pull the the string to tighten the liner, push the BOA’s in, and turn. That’s it, your done. It’s so incredibly easy getting in and out of these boots and that I instantly noticed and appreciated it. I also really liked the leather finish on the top of the liner, it was a nice touch and felt plush when putting on the boots.

The boots have this sweet neoprene zip over the top that keeps your foot snug but also keeps it dry in powder. It’s really quite genius I think, because a pant gaiter will only cover to your ankle. This neoprene zip covers the rest and keeps the snow out, no matter how deep or wet is is. (Trust me, I put it to the test on a blue bird pow  day during the spring in some Sierra cement!) The boots also feature a textured-rubber like finish over the toe that keep your toe strap locked in place. It’s another really nice finish that you can see and touch.

The dual BOA system seems like a key feature. It allows you to separately adjust and tighten the top and bottom of the boot. I like the lower half of my boot really tight, so there is no heal lift  and my ankle is firmly supported. I wanted to get another crank or too out of the lower half but thats something I could fix by putting in a better sole insert. I only had one option for size, which left me wondering if I could have gone smaller etc.

These boots have an articulated cuff, meaning it’s constructed of two pieces, which gives superior flex and is the only way to go in my opinion. The boot is well ventilated too, I wasn’t too hot or cold.

The boot’s flex is geared to be on the stiffer side, which I personally like. It’s going to give you support for going big and landing heavy or just laying down hard turns.I thought the flex was right on point and was very happy with it. I did not have any  painful pressure points at all. I dropped some decent cliffs at Mammoth in them and they were solid and supportive!

Stoke Meter: 8.5

Super Stoked!

Super Stoked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opinion: This boot changed my out look on BOA’s and really showed me what DC can do, and is about. I haven’t owned a pair of DC’s before but now I want to change that. I wanted to crank down the BOA more over my ankle, (I just like my boots really tight on the bottom half ) but when I was riding I was fine and didn’t notice any lift. Overall I would recommend this boot and buy it for myself. I love how much tech it has packed into it that you can see and touch. I felt like I would have been getting my money’s worth. Pick this boot up of the shelf to see and feel it for yourself, try it on, you won’t be disappointed!

Putting the DC T Rice boots to the test at Mammoth

Putting the DC Travis Rice boots to the test at Mammoth!