By Ambassador Rae Powis
With the end of the season upon us and most people packing away their snowboard kit for the season, I headed out to Avoriaz, France on the TSA shred week to make the most of the last week on the mountain. TSA (the snowboard asylum) had teamed up with Treeline Chalets and Mint Snowboard Coaching to put together a spring shred, with the added bonus of offering a sneak preview of some of next year’s gear. I got my hands on three all-mountain boards to charge around on and put through their paces. Here’s what I thought of the 2017/2018 boards on offer.
Rae riding with ambassador Georgia Goodman at the TSA Board Test
A Bit About Me
Name: Rae Powis
Usual Riding Spots: Indoor Snowdomes, Europe and Canada
Riding Experience: 10+ years. Advanced on the mountain, Beginner in the Park, Wannabe Half-Pipe Rider
Usual Board: 152 2016 Gnu B-Pro and a 10 year old Rome Vinyl I can’t bare to part with.
Never Sumer Proto Type Two Women’s 148
Never Summer Says:
The Women’s Proto Type Two is the perfect all around asymmetrical twin. It features a new progressive shape, deeper heelside sidecut, futuristic topsheet material, Ripsaw Rocker Camber Profile and a perfect mid flex. This board is more versatile than any board you have ever ridden. Pop in and out of the park, carve the steeps and maneuver through trees like you’re riding three different boards. The Women’s Proto is exactly your type.
First off, I loved the graphics. The moon phases and colours looked great and I liked how next to the guy’s version it didn’t necessarily look like a typical ‘girly’ choice. The board initially felt a stiffer than a mid-flex and this was great for charging around the hill. It felt exceptionally stable at speed and held an edge brilliantly, even in questionable spring-time snow conditions (read scraped and icy!). It was easy to ride and felt like it had my back even when pushing it hard and throwing it on a hard edge. In fact, the harder I rode it the better it felt. The Proto Type Two felt like it would send it off jumps, was nice and stable in the air and stiff enough to handle a few half-pipe runs. At slower speeds and on the flat though, it was definitely missing some pop and fun-feel. On the flat it felt heavy to ollie and was definitely not a fun jibbing board for messing about. The Proto Type Two is more at home charging around the mountain, and if that’s what you want to do it is absolutely perfect!
I rode the Never Summer Proto Type Two 148 with Salomon Shadow Mirage Bindings and my Thirty Two Prion W boots.
Bataleon Push-Up 146
You don't need to be G.I. Jane to enjoy this board. Simply a lady who likes to rip the entire mountain is all it takes. The Push Up's medium flex and more pronounced camber make it the stiffest in the ladies line and give it a repsonsive and reactive feel. It also has a more narrow centerbase section for swifter edge to edge action and truer turns. Built with solid poplar wood in the core and balanced bi-axial fiberglass give it a steady platform. It's slightly tapered outline and added length in the nose make it ready for all-mountain ripping and ready to weather the storm. Push-ups optional.
I wasn’t too keen on the look of this board – is camo coming back? Also, the purple and pink colour scheme seemed like a bit of a lazy choice and didn’t jump off the shelves for me but it was the board’s technology and all-mountain promises which made me want to try it. I’ve never ridden a 3BT (triple base technology) board before and had heard mixed reviews, but I quite liked the feel. It gave the board a bit more of a freestyle feel and was very confidence inspiring. The Push-Up was at home on the piste and handled steeps well. It also felt great and stable at speed and although the board handled everything I rode it through, I didn’t get a feeling of anything special. No complaints with the Push-Up, but equally, nothing really stood out that I wanted to shout about.
I rode the Bataleon Push-Up 146 with Now O-Drive bindings and my Thirty Two Prion W boots.
Salomon Wonder 143
Designed to turn any old day into one for the books, the Wonder Snowboard is made with a Cross Profile for supreme edge control, an Aspen Strong Core for more pop, and Royal Rubber Pads to soften the impact of bumpy landings. It's no “wonder” this board is a go-to favorite of Olympic medalist Jenny Jones for groomers, powder and park.
If it’s good enough for Jenny Jones, it’s good enough for me! I was pretty excited to try the Wonder. The board looked good enough; I totally prefer this year’s graphics though. The board felt on the softer side and was very forgiving (saving my bum on a few landings!). It felt fun and poppy for flat-land tricks and side hits and was happy jibbing and buttering. The Wonder is just really good fun! Charging around it held its own, but I did think it could do with a little more stiffness to feel totally secure at speed: I didn’t feel I could push this board as hard as the others, but as I was having loads of fun tail pressing it that didn’t really matter!
I rode the Salomon Wonder 143 with Burton Lexa bindings (which I obsessed about the silver glitter!) and my Thirty Two Prion W boots.
If the three All-Mountain boards I tried, my sensible brain says that the Never Summer Proto Type Two should be my favourite. It’s stability, speed and ability to charge on anything suits my style of riding. However, my heart says that the Salomon Wonder was my favourite because it was so much fun! I’m not usually a jibby rider, but the Wonder might just make me into one while coping with everything else I want from a board. I might just get one
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