Now Is The Best Time To Buy This Season's Top Snowboards
With the 2014 season nearing its home stretch, everyone's doing their damnedest to take advantage of the remaining snow days left in our rather indecisive forecast. What they should be doing however is taking advantage of the insane deals that are about to start popping up at their local board shops. These king-of-the-mountain boards and bindings are about to drop to bottom-of-the-mountain prices, making them no brainer investments for next season. Here's some of the best to look out for.
PARK: ArborWestmark - Started at $399.95
The perfect park board with the right amount of snap to also make bluebird days tossing around groomers as awesomely fun as getting gnarly in a bounce house. With a medium- to soft-flex twin shape, don't worry about losing control on landings or when simply goofing around with presses, and the Grip Tech edge keeps you from slipping when leaning into turns. It's like wearing Reebok Pumps to the playground — you know you're going to have a good time on this one.
ALL MOUNTAIN, SH*TS & GIGGLES: CAPiTADefenders of Awesome - Started at $399.95
Aside from the distraction of amazingly sexy women — it doesn't take an NRA membership to get caught staring at your feet with these lovely ladies below — this big boy park board is about hiking the kicker and going huge with its noticeable pop, and still saving some time for a jib session or two. Looking to cruise around elsewhere? The relatively rigid flex makes carving through mush and slush actually somewhat enjoyable, while floating through powder. Ideal for making the entire mountain your own personal park.
FUNTIME: Flux BindingsDS - Started at $264.95
It's really all about the highback. The Ultima Wing design enhances your ollie power while increasing overall stability, and it is super durable when banged against the unpleasantries of kinked rails and rough landings. Additionally, the snug fit straps you in for a responsive ride that also gives you the comfort and freedom needed to take whatever board you're riding out for a true spin around the front side of the mountain.
ALL MOUNTAIN, CHARGE: SalomonAssassin - Started at $469.95
A crossover forged in the depths of both freestyle and powder, this renders a quiver (multiple boards for multiple terrains) nearly obsolete. Since the late nineties Salomon has been producing sticks that eat up the mountain, but this particular board has a freestyle lean that translates well to freeriding when going off the beaten, or groomed, track.
POW: NitroSlash - Started at $479.95
Find yourself itching for powder? Run out of sick days promptly after the first true snow storm of the season? This board is built explicitly for surfing through feet of fresh fodder, while maintaining some of its all-mountain usability even on hard-packed sections for those whose schedules might not be entirely amenable to the whimsy of an inconsistent winter.
ALL DAY: NowSelect - Started at $319.95
Inspired by skateboard trucks, Now bindings are the progressive take that the snowboard industry needs right now — and the Selects are the most versatile they have. By mimicking skateboards, these versatile strap-ins thrive through a transference of energy from your feet to the board's edges, meaning that not only are you able to turn better, but turn more as the resultant factor is less foot fatigue. The revolution is now.
BACKCOUNTRY: JonesSolution - Started at $849
We seem to be in the golden age of splitboarding, and if you're going to trust anyone to see you through it, backcountry legend Jeremy Jones is the way to go. Though lightweight, the board doesn't shy away from the fall line, the directional shape making for a nice float through powder, with good grip for different conditions and a strong responsive edge. The Mellow Magne-Traction edges also keep you climbing up steep ascents and down similar descents with ease. Looking for a way to go where few men have gone before? Here's what you need to do just that.
TWO WAY: KarakoramSL - Started at $749.99
These are not exactly "new" to this season, but Jones is behind this one as well, and, again, he's an expert to take notes by. The SLs are lighter and more technical than the rest on the market, and also employ a puckless baseplate design, meaning you're closer to the board when riding, with board clips bringing the skis together for a more solid foundation. One of the best parts? You don't need to take your feet out of the bindings to switch from ride to tour mode.
NOVELTY: NicheAether - Started at $499
The "niche" here is that its basically one of the greenest boards out there, sustainable and all that good stuff. What we weren't expecting was a board that cruised as well as it did. It somewhat expectedly didn't have all the makings for the best freestyle board — though it's not a write-off, either — but the Magnetraction tech allowed it to carve just as well as others we tested, and even better than a few that have been in the space for a lot longer than Niche. This was definitely the most pleasant, well-rounded surprise of the field testing.
Michael Woodsmall learned to snowboard from an Australian instructor named Michael Brownie. He then further "learned" by following his older cousin David down chutes and through back bowls well above his experience level — largely because he thought it was cool. Countless broken bones and concussions later, he doesn't even have a wince of regret. Follow more of his adventures on Twitter @mkwoodsmall.