SIA 2015: On-Snow Review Rundown
SIA 2015’s On Snow day was a blast with snowboarding’s leading brands showcasing their 2015/16 Winter products. Here is a quick rundown of some of the products that our interns got a chance to ride at the On Snow. Check back in a few months for more detailed reviews, and see how this gear stacks up against the competition in our Shred Betties Super Fun test.
A little about the reviewer/review process:
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. The products below were tested in a single day. The reviewer took a few laps per product in order to create these reviews. Conditions varied from powder to icy spots throughout the day.
Jones board – Women’s Hovercraft
I was lucky enough to take the Jones Women’s Hovercraft for a few runs while we still had shin-deep powder at Copper Mountain. I took the board through powder, trees, cliff drops, and moguls. This board was super fun for powder riding! The Hovercraft made the logistics of riding powder easier, i.e. lean back and surf. By using less energy to stay afloat, I was able to charge through powder and trees – while dropping cliffs and popping pillows better than I ever have. I was even able to spin this oddly shaped beauty off a few natural features.
Jones’ Boards calls their Women’s Hovercraft an all-mountain board. It obviously shreds the pow, but I wouldn’t suggest using it as a park board. The shape is just not ideal for jibs or big airs. It holds up well on high speeds, although the stance takes a bit to get used to on groomers.
Now bindings – Women’s Select
The Jones board was paired with Now’s Women’s Select bindings. The bindings were light and flexible, while also supportive and responsive. There’s no fancy bells and whistles, however, these are great all-around bindings for everyday riding.
Because of how simple and small they were, I was happily surprised with how well they handled fast, sharp turns. I didn’t have a chance to take them park riding, but I think they would perform well because they are so light and flexible. If you’re someone who charges the mountain 100% of the time, and never rides park, then there’s probably a better binding out there for you.
Bataleon board — Distortia
This board epitomizes all-mountain awesomeness, killing it in both powder and park. The Jones’ Hovercraft still wins for best women’s powder board at the SIA On-Snow, but Bataleon’s Distoria will flawlessly take you to powder and park all in one run. In fact, I actually rode the park better on the Distoria than I do my own, park-specific board.
I want to point out that this board is an all-mountain board for the advanced rider, because it can get a bit squirrely at higher speeds. However, if you’re charging powder and park, and riding fast on groomers, then I believe you can handle the little squirrel it has.
Switchback Women’s bindings
These bindings were super duper crazy fun – yes, that’s a thing. These bindings are way cool because you can order all the pieces separately to make your own design and color palettes. The high backs also come off easily, so you can get that freeing, skate-like feeling.
For those of you who haven’t tried jibbing with no high backs – please do! It may take a run to get used to, but the loose, maneuverable ride you get is SO FUN. The design of Switchbacks allows you to quickly and easily insert and remove your high backs, making it way easy to get playful all over the mountain.
With high backs placed in their upright position, you can take the Switchback’s through powder and high-speed groomers as you would any other binding. They are light, playful, and supportive when high backs are inserted.
Smokin’ boards — Fawesymmetrical
This is a less aggressive, all-mountain cruising board. For an aggressive female rider, it was overly squirrely at high speeds and not quite playful enough for the park. It has a fun shape and groovy graphics, but it won’t keep up with a woman who charges.
With that said, this is still a well-made board that would suit a progressing rider. It’s fun and easy-to-ride at slower speeds, and has enough playfulness for an entry-level, park rider to enjoy and grasp park basics.
Smokin’ boards — Vixen
The Vixen, on the other hand, was great for aggressive park shredding. I’d compare this board to the Never Summer Onyx. It can be rode a size smaller while still keeping up on high speeds. It’s playful, fun and light in the park, and it can slash through a good amount of powder with a little extra work on the rider’s part.
It’s an overall good park board for those awesome lady park rats! It also has beautiful graphics that incorporate sacred geometry and my favorite shades of purple. The Vixen can be considered a tried and true park board for women.
Rome Katana bindings
I thought these bindings were cool, but not that cool. I personally had heard much hype about these bindings because they are designed to eliminate the dead spots where bindings typically prevent a board from fully flexing.
Unfortunately, it was a subtle difference. They definitely felt more surfy, but I don’t think it’s a revolutionary advantage. The bindings were also a bit too bulky and heavy for my taste. But, Rome did say that specific parts of the straps could be moved to lessen that bulky feeling.
Overall, they rode well through all terrain and are a high-performance binding. I’d recommend these bindings on a powder board, as they are too heavy for most women’s park riding.
Ride Hera boots & DC Mora boots
There were only two women’s boot styles available for demo at the on-snow, Ride’s Hera boot and D.C.’s Mora boot. I’d like to give a big thank you to these two brands for supporting women’s riding!
Both boots were very similar in design. They had medium to stiff flex, and used the double boa system. I’m personally not a fan of the boa system, however these boots have me second-guessing that conclusion. I have a problem with heel lift when I ride. I have very narrow feet, with small heels and high arches. If you’re anything like me in that department, then you know the struggle of heel lift. The double boa makes a world of difference with this. The side boa was able to hold in my heel, while the front boa controls the overall tightness of the boot.
It was also really cool to adjust the tightness of my boots quickly and easily while on the mountain.
The disadvantages of the double boa are it’s bulkiness and possible malfunctions. While there’s not much to break with traditionally laced boots, boa’s may freeze or stick in extreme conditions. It’s also kind of weird to have boa’s sticking out of your boots on both the front and side.
The D.C. boot is a bit stiffer than the Ride boot, and the Ride boot fits a bit wider than the D.C. boot. The Ride boot is a bit more fun aesthetically. They are both good choices for stiffer boots, if you’re a fan of the double boa.
***Everyone’s feet are different, and due to variations in fit and sizing between brands, we STRONGLY recommend that you try boots on in person in a shop.
Posted by Gabby Rainville on 02/25/15