Shred Mama Reviews: Burton Chicklet, Grom Boot and Grom BindingBurton Chicklet
I set out to test the latest Burton Chicklet setup with my four-year-old and see if I felt like the new flat base design helped her progress more or magically make her a prodigy. (Hint: it did not.) Along the way, my younger daughter, who just recently turned two jumped on board. Literally. So I’ll give you a perspective of how I felt it went with both ages. We also tested the Grom boot and the Grom binding as part of the setup, and the Riglet Reel which i reviewed separately here.
The Burton Chicklet™ is the ticket for girls who want to start snowboarding and quickly learn the basics. What makes it so perfect is the beginner-friendly combo of a catch-free convex base and the softest flex possible so that even the lightest weight riders can master turning and stopping. No camber or rocker here, just a flat profile from nose to tail that’s extra stable for better balance and board control. Attach the Riglet accessory to the nose or tail of the 80-120cm sizes to tow her around and get her comfortable until she’s ready to rock bindings.
Board: Burton Chicklet 80CM (Burton Chopper, the boy’s version is the same)
This is the smallest board in Burton’s lineup, although they are testing out a 70CM at rental shops and Riglet Parks, this board is designed with small children in mind. It has rubber pads mounted to the topsheet so littlest kids can use it for backyard play without bindings and a Riglet Reel mount so you can pull them around in the snow. The flat camber profile and slightly convex base is designed to be catch-free and easy for little ones to manage.
Of my two kids, my two-year-old, Emma liked this board most. Granted, my four-year-old’s concerns mostly centered around the board graphics and a detailed list of which cupcakes looked good and which ones she didn’t like. I thought that the camber profile was especially apparent and helpful with the Riglet Reel - you can tow the board over a lot of different snow conditions and a small child can easily maintain her balance, which is different from the older traditional camber board that we used with Zoe.
Overall, I think this is a great beginner board design for little kids. The camber profile and base shape are super forgiving, and it comes in smaller sizes ideal for the littlest kids. Zoe said she couldn’t really tell the difference in her riding between this board and her camber board, and it didn’t turn her into a snowboarding prodigy, but she is four and not super athletic, so the board met my expectations with her, and definitely exceeded my expectations with Emma.
Boots Burton Grom size 8C
These boots feature a velcro closure system and a special footbed designed to allow for sizing up as your child’s feet grow. They are also possibly the smallest snowboard boots on the market, going down to a toddler size 7C.
These are clearlly designed with small children in mind - going down to sizes that will fit your average 2 & 3-year-olds. And as a mother of girls who are on the petite side, I’m thrilled to see these sizes, because my oldest daughter has been wearing boots 3 or 4 sizes too big. I would recommend trying these on in the shop if possible. Zoe claimed these were way too small, and we had to use the footbed extension right away (it should be noted however, that she has a pretty typical toddler attitude towards shoe tightness, and they could very well have just fit snugly in a good way). I thought the footbed extension was a super clever feature - helps you avoid spending money on snowboard boots that they will soon grow out of. Had we tried these on in the store, we would have bought a 9 instead of an 8.
The boots are easy to walk in, and easy to get in and out of. Due to the sizing issues, Zoe passed the boots down to Emma, who currently wears a size 4 or 5, and she loves them, walks all around in them and hasn’t had any issues. I’m not completely sold on the velcro - it is initially easier than laces, but it came undone a few times while we were walking around.. I don’t think it’s a safety issue as the binding holds the velcro in place while riding, just annoying if kids are skating or getting in and out of their bindings a lot.
This is a lightweight, single strap binding designed to be easy for kids to use. The strap bends to flip out of the way of boots when strapping in, and has an oversized ratchet that kids can grab with their gloves on.
This is a fantastic youth binding. It’s easy enough to use that most small children can learn how to start strapping in themselves over time. I like that the strap folds out of the way so they can get their boot in easily, and the ratchet is easy to operate. Bindings can be a big struggle for kids, and the one strap design and easy to use ratchets definitely make this binding the easiest to use that I have tried. My 2-year-old needs a little help getting the straps lined up, but can operate the ratchet herself, and remove her bindings herself. (why are some kid’s bindings so hard to remove, btw?!?)
My only comment is that the smaller boot sizes are actually too small for this binding, so I would like to see a level of adjustment added to the straps so that the bindings can crank down a little better. However, the smallest boot sizes also are only about half the width of the snowboard, so I think this is more of an issue of small feet than binding design - kiddos with feet this size will always struggle to get up on their toeside edge.
Overall, I think the Burton Chicklet/Chopper and Grom boots and bindings gives parents and kids a great entry setup. The smaller sizing in boards, boots and bindings and innovative accessories like the Riglet Reel allow parents who snowboard to start their kids off on snowboards, instead of awkwardly teaching them how to ski and then hoping they’ll switch back when they turn 6 or 7. As a parent, I think having this option is fantastic, and my kids are loving it, especially my more athletically-focused toddler, Emma. To make things easier, these boards are available in most resort rental shops, and ski schools are offering snowboard lessons to kids as young as three. Now that the industry is catching up, I would encourage all parents to give snowboarding a try with your kids, before resigning them to snow plowing on two planks. As a parent and as an instructor, I’ve seen little kids out there picking up skills, able to ride independently, and loving it.
Posted by Kelly Vance on 01/14/15