I headed down to Castleford yesterday with @pkryder for the TSA Big Bang event. A demo event where all of this years new rides were available to try.
Below are just my brief views on what I tried!
Bataleon Jam – http://www.snowboard-asylum.com/products/jam-1213/6329
I tried a Bataleon Jam with a set of the new “rockered” Now bindings. I found the board an amazing riding experience. I found I could be super aggressive with it and still feel perfectly in control. For a stiff board it handled the jumps and boxes with surprising ease but it did feel like something which would feel far more at home cruising the mountain than the park. Loved it though! Super fast and stable.
Now Rocker Bindings- http://now-snowboarding.com/products/black-ipo/
OK, a little side note on these. Although the board definitely helped, these bindings were great. I found I was able to really throw myself over the edges and get great response from the board. This was even with a set that were definitely too big for me. Quite pricey at the moment at £250 for a pair, but if you are looking for a high end set of bindings – defintely worth considering these!
Bataleon Evil Twin – http://www.snowboard-asylum.com/products/evil-twin-1213/6324
In stark contrast to the Jam, the lower specced Evil Twin was a real handful. Certainly more playful than the Jam but a lot more work on the piste. Much more difficult to keep under control, carve and feel comfortable at high speed.
Burton Custom (Kermit the Frog) – Flying V http://www.snowboard-asylum.com/products/custom-1213/6333 (TSA Just showing the regular camber on their site)
The double cambered fying V Burton Custom is Burtons flagship board and has been for years. I found it very very hard work. First run down I was on my arse on an icy patch. A very unforgiving board and now one for anyone intending to be a bit lazy in their technique. When I got it hooked up, it was great but I figured I’d spend half my time on this board just trying to keep it under control!
Burton Process Flying V – http://www.snowboard-asylum.com/products/process-flying-v-1213/6336
With the same camber profile as the custom I was expecting a similar experience from the Process. However, I found this much more forgiving. It was a much easier ride but even so I felt it would be twitchy under high speed, and it just didn’t do it for me.
K2 Parkstar – http://www.snowboard-asylum.com/products/parkstar-1213/6352
I didn’t expect to think much from a rocker board on the slopes of Cas, but found this a surprisingly smooth ride and found it pretty responsive and stable even on the fairly hard packed and in places icy piste. No doubt will be pretty sweet in deeper stuff. Paul loved it… and bought one!
Yes – The Greats (not on TSA Site but some info here: http://www.shayboarder.com/2012/02/yes-snowboards-2012-2013.html)
An interesting concept this board. The heel edge is thicker than the toe edge. Apparently this is to help get more power into heel turns. I found this quite interesting given that historically that’s an area of my boarding I’ve struggled with. I found this quite similar in ride to the Jam. Very controlled, though not quite as responsive. I also didn’t feel that it had much “fun” about it. Can’t say I noticed much difference in the heel turning, but difficult to tell on the short and shallow Castleford slopes.
I only had one run on this board, with a binding half wobbling off. It wasn’t really enough to get a true feel for it… but I still bought one anyway!
Verdict and outcome!
Out of all of the boards I tried, by far and away my favourite was the Jam. I was able to absolutely beast it and be perfectly in control. The Parkstar was a surprising one but although it handled Castlefords slopes nicely, I was not sure how the rocker might handle something a bit steeper in anything other than deep snow. I really wanted to like the Custom, but clearly my boarding is not up to that, and nor do I want to have a snowboard that I have to put all my effort in to keeping myself upright, as opposed to enjoying the ride.
This left me with a bit of a decision to make. The Jam rode perfectly but in was not really what I had been looking for. Though it was a great, fast, stable board which would no doubt have ripped up the pistes and been pretty decent in powder, it lacked a fun element. Having spoken to the TSA guys, they assured me that I would have no issues with the general ride of the Riot, and it’s extra flex pop and twin directional setup would give me the element of fun I was seeking. And so that’s what I went for!
Yes – The Greats