Last issue we told you how to stick up for this winter season, but since such great knowledge should be spread as fast as can be, here's the online version of it for you to share with all the poor ones among your friends, who are still missing your enlightenment.
Words by Anna Langer
As a true soul boarder you obviously don’t need much more for happiness than a snowy mountain and a stick to slide on. But then you could compare riding your perfect set up to the endless bliss that true enlightenment is said to bring – and you don’t even have to sit still and ommmm for this…
Start with the most important part of your set up – the board. We’re normally all about girls being girls, but here we must command you to shun any girlie-picking tendencies, which cause you to base your purchase on graphics or, even worse, colours. Do try a women-specific board though, as their narrower widths are matched to our smaller feet sizes, therefore giving you a lot more edge control than a guys’ board would. Size-wise, with the tail or tip resting on the floor the board should nestle somewhere between your chin and nose. That said, a smaller board is easier to spin and turn, while a longer one gives you more stability when landing and hooning at high speeds.
While the new technology with its variety of new shapes and base profiles has actually made it paint-by-numbers easy to get something that suits your abilities and preferences perfectly, it can still seem as if you need a degree to find out which one that is for you. But if you know what kind of riding you want to be doing and where, it won’t take you too long to find your place in this brave new world.
If you see the whole mountain as your playground and enjoy cruising about just as much as mixing it up with a lap through the park or off piste, your best companion will be an all rounder that can handle pretty much anything. This is still mostly the realm of classic camber boards, which are solid, stable, and poppy. They are less forgiving and a bit harder to ride compared to reverse or zero cambers, but you can obviously go for one of the latter too. Ideally you want a directional twin shape, where both tips are symmetrical so you can still ride switch, but the tail is a bit a stiffer.
If you want a fun and smooth ride, this is your board. It’s easy to handle and allows you to try out a lot of stuff, without being too challenging. It is a bit slow in turning, but since it hardly ever gets chattery, you can ride it in the smallest possible size for you, thereby making turning a doddle.
Forum THE SAUCE
Okay, this is a true twin when we’ve just recommended directional shapes for all mountain, but trust us, 'The Sauce' is just perfect for ambitious beginners, versatile shredders and generally anyone who is up for getting the most fun out of the hill.
This is for girls who know what they want, and that is charging. It is super-stable even at top speeds and also when landing, but you really should know what you’re doing as this is not for beginners.
As a true park rat, there is no way past a true twin that is absolutely symmetrical in shape and flex and has the stance centred in the middle. Reverse camber or “rocker" boards are super-fun to jump around with and try new stuff on, as you can hardly catch an edge even in the deepest slush. And refined with Magne Traction edges as seen on Lib Tech, Gnu and Roxy boards, you avoid the chattering some of them can get at higher speeds. If you like to go big, you will probably feel more comfortable with at least a bit of camber under your feet for more stability and precision, which you will get from a combined camber board, giving you the best from both worlds.
For the pipe you might want to go back to the classics completely, with good edge hold and stiffness to climb these backside walls, but with Magne Traction as in Torah Bright’s gold medal winning Eminence by Roxy for example, combined camber works perfectly as well.
Gnu PARK PICKLE
This stick isn’t just super-lively and great to play around with, thanks to the Magne Traction edges it also has perfect grip. And the special backside edge balances differences between toe and heelside turns, making it even more fun.
With their special TBT technology, Bateleon boards generally need one or two runs of getting used to. Once you figured out how it works, it is the bomb though, with perfect pop, responsiveness and almost no edge catching possible.
Roxy OLLIE POP
This isn't one of the favourites of the Roxy snow team for no reason. It’s super-poppy but still flexi enough to jump, bonk and spin to win! Slope-jibbing has never been easier.
Street chicks who love urban riding and all things jibbery will find their best friend in a twin tip with loads of flex. A board with flat or reverse camber is easy to spin and will help you stick all kinds of difficult landings. You can add copper or flattened edges for even less edge-catching.
With great edge hold and stable riding this wouldn’t strike you as a jib machine at first. But once you’ve tried it, you’ll see that the most fun to be had on this stick is when you’re hitting boxes or jibbing away.
Super soft flex, copper edges and pop rocker shape make this the perfect shred stick for all jibberinas out there, with boardsliding or nose-bonking easier than ever before. It’s not the best option if this is your only board though, as it can be tough to handle in icy conditions.
The master class of snowboarding, as many may call it, requires quite different qualities. Since you will ride with more weight on your back foot most of the time, a directional board with a longer nose and asymmetrical flex (stiffer in the tail) is ideal. With a wider nose (“tapered" shape), the board floats even smoother on powder, but is rather weird to ride on the slopes, so not the best option if this is gonna be your only weapon in stock. A reverse camber board can give you similar nose lift, especially when the rocker is bigger under the nose, without making the board too special for regular riding.
K2 ECO POP
Although this is advertised as an all mountain board, we can tell you it’s pretty amazing in the backcountry too. The flex is a bit stiffer and the reverse camber adds extra float, and watching Gretchen Bleiler proves that it works just fine in park and pipe as well.
Burton FEELGOOD FLYING V
The Feelgood has been one of the favourites of the Burton range for ages, and for good reason. The combined camber version is tailored perfectly for everything off piste – but in our experience not for much else as the V rocker is not so easy to control in hard conditions.
Test the best
The very last secret to finding your magic stick is riding it yourself though. So if you get any chance, try to head to one of the on-snow tests that are happening across Europe in the beginning of the season, like the Hintertux, Stubai or Kaunertal openings in Austria, the Rock On Snowboard Tour or Enjoy The Glacier in France and of course The Big Bang Snowboard Show at various domes in the UK as well as TSA’s demo tour.
And now head on over to learn all about Bindings and Boots, since without a good choice there the sickest stick will be shiiiit.