randnorm mind grenade
"man is what he believes." - anton chekhov
ask anyone who works in a snow/skate shop and you'll hear the same thing: we aren't working at a shop because we get paid well, we're here for the perks. its a blessing for me to be able to embrace my passion for people, snowboarding and technology every single day at work...and the perks are killer!
once a year, product reps have a combined demo day at the mountain for all the local shops. a free day of snowboarding with an all you can eat buffet of next year's snowboards and bindings? fuck yeah!!!
this year's demo day was at mt.norquay, the closest resort to banff. its significantly smaller than sunshine or louise, but still fun...especially when its free ;)
burton, capita, union, ride and forum were all there with next year's product offering waiting for us to rip.
it had been snowing all night, so there was a nice layer of fresh covering the resort. we ended up doing laps in the park which was right there looking out over the demo tents. because most people were giving the jumps and rails a good session, they failed to notice the untouched snow on the edges of the fenced off park. fresh lines have been hard to come by this season, so i'll take whatever i can get.
the goal of demo day is to get people who are actually selling the boards to the customers on the boards they are trying to sling. there is no better way to describe the features of a board than riding it for yourself. of course, the reviews we write need to hype the product and encourage people to buy it, but seeing as this is my personal blog i'm going to be brutally honest. there is no brand loyalty from me, so i'll tell you if i didn't like it.
let's start with the biggest manufacturer of them all, burton.
first on the plate was the burton custom v-rocker 159 with burton cartel est bindings.
just when you thought the most progressive snowboard in the history of snowboarding couldn't get any better, burton adds v-rocker technology and makes it slightly softer than the production custom you know and love. the result is buttery smooth performance with ninja like control, pop and flexibility.
for the unrelenting performance seeker looking to take their all mountain game to the next level, the custom v-rocker will get you there faster. if you can't do it on a custom v-rocker, give up. <--- can you tell i'm trying to sling boards, eh? *ha*
fyi, here is the tech behind the v-rocker. its burton's answer to lib-tech's banana technology.
there's a reason why the cartel is the binding most professional snowboarders turn to when they want to annihilate everything in sight. the ample amounts of gel in the heel strap makes for a super comfy ride while the newly padded ultra toe cap keeps your foot locked in place. add panache to your all-mountain assault with these bindings on your ICS board.
next on the plate was the burton method 155 with burton exile bindings.
burton's most expensive snowboard was the vapor which retails for $1249 for just the board alone! well, perhaps burton didn't like the fact that the lib-tech cygnus x-1 boasts more tech than the vapor and costs $100 more. the answer was the burton method which will retail for $1700!!! that's just the board!
the method is what happens when the largest manufacturer in the industry
removes all limitations of expense and takes every resource they have
available to create a snowboard. this board is lighter than your boots.
hell, it's lighter than your bindings! annihilating everything with
lightweight precision and powerful response, the method is a smoke
weight dream machine so technically refined that when you get stuck in
the flats, a dozen honeyed virgins come out from the trees to push you.
unleash a method on any terrain and you'll be screaming burtonhu akbar
in no time! <--- wow, i'm such a racist fuck!
i normally don't ride boards this small (155cm) but i had to try it out. first off, the board is so ridiculously thin i thought for sure i'd bust it in half with the first butter i did on it. i was pleasantly surprised. this stick is fukkin' solid, and holy shit does it haul ass! less weight = faster!!! i took the method out for a couple bombing runs and i couldn't get over how fast and precise it was. its up there as one of the best snowboards i have ever ridden. i wouldn't say its worth the $1700 price tag, but if you've got that kind of money to spend on the best then this is the board for you. beginners need not apply.
at first glance, the extra gel padding on the heel strap of the burton exile binding looks odd. once you ride 'em, you'll ask yourself why you've been riding anything less. the heel strap holds your foot in place like nothing else i've ridden,
and are goddam comfy. the exiles are an excellent addition to the burton offering of all mountain freestyle bindings.
the next rig to sink my teeth into was the ride machete 161wide with ride contraband bindings.
as soon as lib-tech introduced banana technology two seasons ago, every mfg jumped on the reverse camber train. it makes your snowboard feel more like a skateboard with less hangups. you can nose and tail press for daze with reverse camber.
the mellow rocker on the ride machete provides the perfect balance between
energy and stability. heli-accessed pillow lines, shit-your-pants
alaskan gnar, stadium kickers, or 30ft street rails - you can dissect
all elements with surgical precision, warp speed and second nature
agility with a machete attached to your feet.
the ride contraband bindings are as easy to get into as a pair of flows but without the ghey. no more wasting time getting in an out of your bindings while you lap the park or session that street rail, one ratchet is all you have to deal with. the addition of the super sticky ride grip on the v-strap makes sure your toes stay put. quick, light, deadly as fuck.
what i really think: i've been riding this year's contrabands on my ride society 157 this season.
ride was successful at minimizing the time it takes to get in and out of your bindings by removing the toe strap and replacing it with the v-strap. unfortunately, i found that my big feet don't work very well with the v-strap. after multiple times tweaking out the binding for my boot, i still found that the v doesn't sit in the middle of my foot like its supposed to. when i tighten the binding, it ends up pulling my foot outwards to the edge of the binding *boo* surprisingly, the v-strap did give me more response in my toe than i thought, but in the end i prefer a toe cap. if you're a park rat and street rail addikt that wants to spend less time buckling in and more time shredding, then this soft flexing binding might work for you. but if you are an all mountain freestyle kind of snowboarder, i'd suggest a stiffer binding with a toe cap.
back up to the buffet again for another helping of gear, i gave the capita stairmaster 158 and union cadet bindings a rip.
if you're into tasting the all-terrain sampler platter on a daily basis, the capita stairmaster will help you dish out some serious damage. you might wonder where the trucks and wheels go, cause this stick is pretty much a skateboard for the snow. slay everything from peak to park without breaking your bank. fuck yeah!
now onto union. it seems like every jib kid is on the union train, and its just picking up steam with each year. if you like union bindings then you'll love the affordable cadet. these bindings are everything you expect and demand from Union, wrapped up in a deliciously bomb proof magnesium aluminum package.
what i really think: i hate union bindings and the toe cap sucks donkey balls. i remember my first demo day two years ago at norquay when i rode union bindings and i hated how the toe cap slipped on my boot. two years later, their toe cap still sucks shit. maybe i was riding the affordable price point binding cause their higher end bindings had a toe cap similar to the burton ultra toe cap. but not the binding i was riding. there's also a reason why we warranty more union bindings than any other...either the peeps who ride them ride harder than most or the bindings suck. i'm leaning towards the second. i will never ride union bindings by choice.
with room still left in my stomach, i went up for my final plate of gearness and gave the burton easy living 158 with burton triad bindings a rip.
the easy living replaces the un.inc line maintaining the signature blunt nose shape you know and love. wow this board is fun to ride! poppy, powerful, and responsive, the burton easy living will make you jump for joy like you just found the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. if you see the mountain as one huge skate park full of infinite possibilities, the easy living is the stick you need to unleash incredibly smooth and ultra fast lines up, off and over everything in sight.
the triad delivers. the cartel heel strap makes the bindings luxuriously comfy while the CO2 highback gives you maad response. it's the perfect balance of comfort and control combined with the proven performance of EST. devour everything in your path with these all-around freestyle machines.
the best part of demo day is that i get to shred with peeps i work with, and holy shit these guys shred hard. its great to have a wolfpack of guys to shred with who are better than you are and push you to ride harder.
its a great opportunity to hang with the people you work with and shred. have i mentioned how much i love my job?
gettin' down with the skiimo bromance
the burton repz lb, aaron and bridgette
apres drinks in the lodge
pray for snow!