Snowboards For The Pow

by Fraser

OK, I don’t think I’ll be buying a powder board for this season, but it is something that I think about often. In the past, I’ve owned a 158cm Rome Anthem, a freeride machine. But unfortunately, I replaced it before ever really experiencing a good powder day. How I regret that eBay sale. Since that time, subsequent fresh has been enjoyed on a range of different freestyle boards, with varying results…

So what would I buy if I took the plunge, and returned to carrying two boards with me?

I’ve looked on with envy at a friend’s Fish – as it surfed its way through the deep, Fernie powder, entirely at home. For a while, I decided that as this second board would be for powder days only, that’s what I was going to buy, a Burton Fish. But I can’t get past what they’ve done with the binding inserts on their boards. Why?

A swallow tail? No thanks. I have zero authority on this matter, but I reckon I can shred the powder on a slightly more regular board, just fine. I’m not saying that a swallow tail isn’t great in the fresh, but I’ll still, most likely, be making my way through resort trails and runs on powder days and the swallow seems like too much of a restriction…

So it’s a freeride board, or, big mountain as some people like to classify them. These are the characteristics I’d be looking for:

  • Length. Somewhere in the range 158 – 160cm.
  • Directional shape. As much as I aspire to being able to land tricks switch in powder and ride on, the truth is that 99% of the time I’ll be riding forwards. So I want a board that’s geared up for directional, powder use.
  • Setback stance. Similar to the above point, I want the default stance to be at least 1″ setback. I want it designed for powder.
  • Nose and tail specifics: a ‘scoopy’ nose for sure and perhaps a tapered tail – but I’m not on firm ground with this second point.

What about the rocker design? Well, it’s true that a lot of the freeride/powder boards seem to be coming out with rocker shapes, and this should help to keep the board floating… It’s not that I disagree with this, or that I don’t welcome it, it’s just not a key design point for me. Yet.

Whitelines produced a decent summary of freeride/big mountain boards in their Buyer’s Guide. I won’t say review as quite frankly, I don’t think the info given on individual products lives up to that. It’s more like a catalogue.

Here are some of the bunch that caught my eye – all boards that I’d relish the opportunity to try on a powder day:

  • Atomic Banger
  • Capita Charlie Slasher Pow
  • K2 Gyrator
  • Option North Shore

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