There are two big trends in snowboarding right now; carving and snowsurf. They both
Snowsurfing in particular, and the trend towards riding powder, has in turn influenced snowboard shape and design. The industry is awash with natural materials like bamboo and powder specific features like the swallowtail. The trend towards more riders getting out into the backcountry is still strong too. More and more brands have splitboards in their ranges which reflects how many snowboarders are looking beyond the boundaries of resorts to enjoy the mountains. Here are a few of our favourite boards for the winter 2018 / 2019 season.
KORUA Shapes Cafe Racer
The Cafe Racer has a shape and flex aimed directly at the snowboarder who likes to carve flowing lines on the piste. As it’s a KORUA board though, it’s also great off piste and in the powder. The Cafe Racer has a pointy nose which helps with float and, KORUA claim, stops snow from hitting your face when it’s really deep. This is a board most at home carving up the piste though. It has a full camber profile for stability and pop in the turn along with a moderate amount of taper. It’s an ideal board for anyone looking to really push their carving and have loads of fun on groomed snow.
Burton Flight Attendant
Burton’s premier all mountain freeride board, the Flight Attendant, is the key deck in the company’s much celebrated Family Tree line. According to Burton, the Family Tree range is all about “deep seeded freeride designs, where innovative shapes, technologies, and Burton’s highest sustainability practices take root.” The Flight Attendant fuses freeride and freestyle design to create a board that’s at home pretty much anywhere on the mountain.
It has a twin-ish shape with a stance that’s centred over the board’s sidecut which gives the board its freestyle character. You can ride switch, land switch and pop a mean ollie on the Flight Attendant. At the same time the 10mm of taper and the nose rocker give the Flight Attendant plenty of float in powder and helps with turn initiation both on piste and off. It’s a real quiver killer and the kind of board that freeride focussed all mountain riders should definitely check out.
One of the most desirable splitboards on the planet, the Millisurf combines the ultra low weight of the much loved Amplid Milligram splitboard with a snowsurf inspired shape. The Millisurf’s shape is built for riding powder. A long, smooth nose profile, wide waist for increased surface area, set back stance and taper all add up to a board that floats with ease. The blunt swallowtail adds even more control in deep snow by letting the tail sink and the nose to float. In split mode the Milligram’s low weight is a real advantage, especially on long days. Amplid have been tweaking their carbon based construction for many years and have hit a great sweet spot between weight and durability.
Offshore Snow Shapes
Offshore are a special snowboard brand. They create made to order, bespoke boards based on the customer’s requirements. They also have a base range of five boards, all which are powder orientated freeride boards that are handcrafted one by one. Offshore have a custom built factory in Niseko Moiwa, a quiet spot close to the world famous powder destination. Moiwa is very much the beating heart of the Japanese snowsurf scene.
It’s less busy than Niseko itself and attracts those who care more about mountains and snow, than anything else. Offshore give the customer the chance to choose the board’s shape, size, flex, width and camber to their requirements. It’s a chance to create a bespoke board that’s specific to the individual, rather than having to settle for the same off the shelf product as everyone else.
A swallowtail features a cut away section in the tail that reduces the surface area to the rear of the board. This helps the tail to sink and the nose to float in deep snow.
Taper refers to how much the board’s nose is wider than its tail. More taper means a relatively wider nose and narrower tail. In a similar way to the way a swallowtail works, his helps to pop the nose out of the snow in powder which helps when riding deep snow. A little taper also helps the rider initiate a turn.
Camber is the board’s profile from side on. With traditional camber, the board is shaped so the centre of the board is raised. This gives grip and power in the turn and pop when the board is flexed. Reverse camber, or rocker, is the opposite. The board’s profile is like an upturned banana. This profile tends to to help with float in powder and gives the board a looser feel. Variations and combinations of the two shapes are also popular.