Gear Review: Niche Boards 2016

Niche Snowboards is a small board company out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Niche strives to make eco-friendly, light-weight, high quality boards. From the beginning environmental sustainability has been at the core of their brand, and they use sustainable materials in every part of the construction throughout their entire board lineup.

Niche offers two boards for women, the Sonnet, their high-end all-mountain board, and the Minx, a park-oriented board that is meant to do it all. Gabby and Candy put both boards to the test at Keystone to see how these mindfully crafted board worked on the snow. We took the board out on an icy/hardpack day and rode some groomers, trees, and in the park.



Learn more about Niche Snowboards here: http://nichesnowboards.com/

Niche’s Sonnet


Reviewer: Candy Dungan
Reviewer Size: 5’7, 135 lbs
Board size: 147

A little about the reviewer:

At the age of 24, Candy Dungan has 17 years of riding under her belt. She’s an aggressive big mountain and park rider who prefers a softer set-up and shorter board.


What they say:

“If you’re the kind of girl that likes to explore all types of terrain, from surfy pow days to simply cruising, the Sonnet is your kind of board. This deck has got it all. Magnetraction and multi-camber give you unparalleled control, and Basalt Magma Fiber makes for an ultra-lightweight and snappy ride. The medium flex adds tons of stability, making it the ultimate all-mountain board. For those that want to go anywhere and everywhere without restraint, this one’s for you.


Review:

Park - Jibs & Small Features - 7
Park - Jumps and Large Features - 8
Pipe - x
Powder - x
Steeps/Freeride Terrain - x
Ice - 10
Slush/Spring Conditions - x
Groomers and Carving - 10
Beginner Progression- 7
Intermediate Progression - 10
*scale from 1-10, 10 is best


The review day was icy and hard packed—luckily for me, the Sonnet has Magne-Traction! It held in ice so well that I was able to comfortably cruise high speeds and even have some fun in the worst of Colorado conditions. When I took the board into the park, it also threw down. It was just the right mix of pop and hold to slay all aspects of park, but I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who rides mainly rails.

This wouldn’t be my board-of-choice for powder or trees, but it is ideal for hard-packed groomers and an icy park day. I consider it an East Coast, all-mountain slayer for intermediate to advanced riders. I’ve never charged the ice faster or with more confidence than on the Sonnet.

This board has medium stiffness, and a hybrid camber profile with less rocker than most hybrids. It holds up at high speeds, both in terms of squirrelly tendencies and edge hold. I did not find any technical problems with the board in my one day of riding it.

 


Niche Minx


Reviewer: Gabby
Reviewer Size: 5’0”, 115 pounds
Board size: 142

A little about the reviewer:

Gabby prefers boards that are softer and shorter. She generally spends her time jibbing in the park, or buttering around on the mountain—unless there is powder to be found of course.


Park - Jibs & Small Features - 5
Park - Jumps and Large Features - 7
Pipe - x
Powder - x
Steeps/Freeride Terrain - x
Ice - 6
Slush/Spring Conditions - x
Groomers and Carving - 7
Beginner Progression - 6
Intermediate Progression - 7
*scale from 1-10, 10 is best

What they say:

“The Niche Minx is the perfect women’s companion for all day park sessions. It’s soft enough to do presses, yet stable enough to hit jumps, and really, any other terrain you’d like to enjoy. The Minx is an extremely lightweight true twin with a centered stance. The Snappy Sap™ Bio-Resin it uses makes the board super poppy and also adds vibration dampening, ensuring a smooth ride. And while is may be a park-proven killer, don’t underestimate it. Whether you’re dropping cliffs or just cruisin’ around, you really can’t go wrong.”

Review:

The Niche Minx is described a freestyle/all-mountain board, primarily for park but that can do everything well. It is a flat camber board mean to have a softer flex. I found that it did everything I was able to test it on averagely. It could handle a bit of everything from bombing down groomers to hitting the park, but was not exceptional on anything. With the flat camber I found it was easy to initiate a turn and carve, and in that sense it would be good for progressing from beginner to intermediate. But I did not find it to be particularly forgiving, in part because of the torsional stiffness. Riding in hardpacked, crusty conditions I felt like it wanted to throw me on any sidehit I didn’t land perfectly.

For park, I found it to be on the stiffer end for a freestyle board despite being described as soft, especially when it came to torsional flex. I think it had the stability needed for jumping and staying locked onto features well, but did not have the playfulness I prefer for jibbing. Given the lack of snow fall this season, testing this board in powder was not an option. Overall as a freestyle/all-round board I think it did fared decently at being able to use it for a little of everything, but was not as forgiving for learning/progression or for getting playful in the park as I would have preferred.

 

 

Posted by Gabby Rainville on 04/09/15



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