The snow may not be falling in your backyard quite yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start salivating over new snowboard gear and the season to come. Each year has its new tech and styles, some gimmicky and some complete game changers. Will this year’s gear change your snowboarding experience forever? Brand reps would probably tell you yes, but we’ll let you be the judge.
Burton Name Dropper and Socialite: If you walked into a shop, the Name Dropper and its female counterpart the Socialite might jump off the wall at you a bit. Sure it has all the normal inner workings of a mid-level freestyle board sporting a soft flex, true twin shape and Burton’s flat top profile, but what makes it unique is the “Off Axis Filet-O-Flex”. What is File-O-Flex? Well, if you’ve ever seen some of Burton’s kids boards with a foam pad around the inserts, then you’re on the right track.
The basic concept on the kid’s boards is that to make the board easy enough for a 40 pound kid to flex you actually have to thin it out so much that it’s thinner than the insert holes for the bindings. If your inserts stuck out above the actual board itself then obviously the binding wouldn’t sit flush on the board, so instead of making the board thicker a foam pad is added. Graduate this concept up to an adult board and you’ve got a super buttery soft jib board that you can press like no other. Add Burton’s off Axis Squeezebox, which shapes the core in a way that allows you to load the board up for more pop, and you’ve got one heck of a freestyle deck at an amazing price.
Now Bindings: Ok, so Now bindings aren’t new. In fact, they’ve actually been around since 2008. The hype around them however has increased dramatically within the past year or so. Perhaps that’s due to Jeremy Jones signing with them, or maybe people have just become bored with their same old traditional bindings. Regardless, if you’re the techy type, Now
bindings are worth at least looking into. The concept is based on skateboarding and how well the trucks of a skateboard allow you to effortlessly turn. The binding has a hinge, which allows the chassis of the binding to move independently of the baseplate. Four bushings aid in transferring this energy and can be swapped out for different durometers to customize your ride. The idea is that with a normal binding, you diminish your energy transfer by trying to flex your baseplate. With Now bindings, that energy can travel directly to your edges. Too techy for you? How about we just simplify it and just say it makes for a more surfy, smoother feel and effortless heel to toe transfer. I’ve tried them myself, and they’re definitely worth checking out.
Burton Boa Boots: Yup, you read that correctly, Burton now has boa. One of the brands that held out from the boa craze the longest, Burton introduced 6 boot models with boa this year, included 2 mens, 3 womens and 1 kids boot. Why? Well the numbers are simple. Despite the diehard lace or speed lace guys out there, probably 75% of the boots we sell are boa. Burton still does considerable numbers in their non boa boots, but the demand for boa has simply grown and grown. One can only assume that Burton wanted to at least satisfy this need with a few of its models.
Don’t know what Boa is? Boa systems use a cable and allow the boot to be tightened by simply twisting a dial. It’s simple, quick, gives you more leverage and allows even kids to tighten their own boots. Boa is a standalone company that is used by not only snowboard brands, but in running shoes, helmets, apparel and even horse boots. That being said, it also has a lifetime guarantee, so fear not about cable breakage. If one happens to break which is very rare, most shops on the hill will stock replacement cables, so your day isn’t totally ruined. As a boa rider myself, I know I personally won’t go back to laces, and am a fan of Focus Boa boots, which utilize 2 boas for zonal tightening. Some people however still prefer the traditional style of a lace up boot. Regardless, no one can argue that Burton finally jumping on board will likely increase the craze and the amount of people using it. If you’re a diehard Burton fan, at least now you have the option of checking it out.
So maybe you’re satisfied with your snowboard gear for now, maybe it’s not quite obsolete, or maybe it is and you just don’t care. It’s always fun to see what’s out there and how the world of snowboarding is changing. The tech may be different, but for most brands the goal is always the same: To give new riders a better experience and to help veteran riders progress. At the very least, it gives us something to drool over in the off season.
What snowboard gear are you looking forward to trying this year?