It saddens me to say it, but we are indeed coming close to the closure of another snowboard season. Instead of grieving prematurely, I thought it would be cool to feature my “favorites of the year.” And yes, you may agree with me, and you might think I suck, but you know what they say about opinions, enjoy!
Board tech of the year – yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it all before, and it comes in a variety of different names; “rocker” “banana” “reverse camber” etc... Etc… whatever you call it, this whole reverse camber thing is everywhere, and you’d be hard pressed to find a brand that is not doing a version of it. Yep, some say it sucks, and some say it’s the best shit ever. Me, I dig it. I rode 2 “rockered” boards this year; the burton hero and the K2 WWW, both of which were fun as hell. The WWW was a soft as a pillow, and I think my large girth definitely pushed past its limits. That being said. I could see park kids lovin this thing. So soft and easy to ride, super fun and definitely a good time on the hill. The Hero, while also fairly soft held up better for my weight and size, and thus was ridden a hell of a lot more. Both “rockers” rode similar, but I found the Burton’s pressure distribution edge setup on the hero a little better for harder snow conditions.
Do i think rockered boards will become the standard? Nope, while fun to ride and definitely more forgiving, I think that Dave Downing summed it up perfectly when he said that he likes a “more lively board” and that rockered boards fall into the “quiver board” category. Nevertheless, they are still fun as hell; so get out there and give one a try.
Bindings – I love Burton bindings, but I have to give it up to Union this season as they delivered some seriously quality binders. I saw more Union Forces, and contact bindings on the hill than any other brand this season (second to Burton, of course). Additionally, everyone that I knew riding them all just loved them. What’s behind the success; good product, pricing and promotion. Shit, this sounds like a marketing class, but in this case I have to say that union nailed it. My pick for binder of the year, (on a completely design/ promotional/ feedback perspective) the Union Contact.
Hopefully, Burton will hear my pleas to make a Mission EST binder, as the highbacks on my cartels are killin me.
Boots: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the Burton Jeremy Jones pro model boots are my pick for best boot of the year. Sooo unbelievably comfy and supportive + no break in period makes for a good time on the hill. Additionally, the clean styling and price point of these boots makes them accessible to almost everyone; bravo Jeremy, mission accomplished.
On a purely aesthetic point of view, my boot of the year choice goes out to the all black 32 team 2 boot. Now this could be that it takes me back to my trusty pair of tm’2 from back in the day, or it could be the tone on tone construction, whatever the case I love the design work on these things. Now the combat/ yellow 32 peter lines from back in the day win my best boot design of all time, but these things come in pretty close.
Outerwear: Burton’s revamped AK line. Now I know, real mountain climbing dudes are saying “what, that shit shouldn’t be AK, it should look like Arcterkyx” and sure, I’m certain there is a market for that shit, but thank god Burton designers did not take that angle.
With new fits, colorways, and tech the AK line really put burton’s flagship line back on the map. The Jussi Anorak killed it, and already you can see several copy cat designs in other brands o ten lines (cough bonfire, cough). Bravo.
Video of the Year: I wanted to say Stack Footy, but I have to admit the best flick of the season for me, was MD People’s “down with people.” This flick was well paced, well filmed and showed some great riding. The soundtrack was solid, and the fact that there was no slow motion footage was a huge bonus. Speaking of bonus’s “down with people” has so much extra footage that it ensures consumer satisfaction. Saying that, all the other film companies should really learn from this, “kids want more for their money.” If they don’t get it, they will simply go elsewhere, or download the shit from the internet. One example of this was OG MDP’s “double decade” which was great on footage, but with little extra stuff was a bit of a let down.
Close behind “down with people” was the Burton movie “its always snowing somewhere” which featured tons of rad riding, a shwack of bonus footage and 2 discs of shred action, all for the price of any other flick, now that’s just smart. Yep, there is a bit too much slo mo, but the soundtrack, and extra footage more than makes up for it.
Breakout brand of the year – Ashbury eyewear and goggles. Nice work Nima, & the Haakers; these guys took an idea, and through good marketing + signing some seriously influential shreds have developed the brand into a heavy hitter. + this year they are teaming up with holden to make the videograss flick. if it does the same as love/hate did for holden, look for asbhury only to get bigger. Now if they would only sign some gangsta’s I’d be backing them a little more.