The snowboard demos at Stratton Mountain in Vermont never disappoint. And this, our fifth year at the demos, was just as fun as the first. All the major companies were present and they brought the latest snowboard gear that will be on the market for the 2017-2018 season.
This year, for the 2017 Stratton Snowboard Demos I decided to try out a number of boards that were inspired by surf shapes, as well as boards with traditional snowboard profiles. There definitely has been a trend towards more creative shapes over the last few years and it's great to get a feel for how these new designs ride in different conditions.
Conditions on the first day were variable with 3 or 4 inches of fresh snow left over from the night before. You could definitely finds pockets of powder to surf through off to the side on several trails so testing out some powder boards wasn't a total bust.
K2 Cool Beans "Enjoyer" 144
I can only think of one time long ago in the past that I've ridden a K2 board and this was the first time at the demos. The Cool Bean sticks right out with its huge, wide nose and deep swallow tail that is basically the entire back end of the board.
The rep put me on a 144 that he said rides like a 158 or 159. I'm pretty sure this was the shortest snowboard I've ever ridden. The Cool Bean felt like it had a medium to stiff flex to make up for its lack of effective edge. And it has K2's All Terrain Baseline (AT) profile with a directional rocker, which has a longer rocker area towards the nose and less at the tail. It is also flat through the middle sections of the board.
The Cool Bean felt really stable and damp as I set the edges in and laid into my carves. A few times I wished I had more tail because I could feel it slipping but this happened when I hit bare ice. On regular hard pack snow it held through the carve great. Being such a small board it was a blast to be able rip around on like a much bigger all-mountain board.
There wasn't an enormous amount of pop but this isn't what the board is designed for. If you are into tearing down the mountain laying down heavy carves AND riding lots of pow, and want one board for doing both, then this could be your ticket. It's a super fun quiver board.
K2 Turbo Dream 156
The Turbo Dream is a directional twin snowboard, with a 3/4" set back, rocker on the nose and tail and flat through the middle (All Terrain Baseline AT profile). It has a middle of the road flex that makes it fun for all-mountain riding and it holds it's own in the park.
The Turbo Dream was very quick edge to edge and had pretty good pop- although not as good as a full camber board. This board was great in the tight trees and rolling in and out of side hits. There was just a hint of nose chatter when blasting over crud and ice but not enough to feel I would get bucked out of my turns.
I didn't feel there was anything bad to say about this board as it felt like a lot of other good boards I've ridden. I think it is an excellent choice for intermediate riders who want an all-mountain board that they can take for a few laps in the park.
K2 Lien AT Bindings
I rode both boards with the K2 Lien AT bindings. They felt really comfortable with no pressure points and the narrow ankle strap allowed for a lot of room to draw out my carves and tweak some airs. It's also a very light binding that has plenty of support due to the stiff-ish highback and baseplate. The ratchets worked perfectly and stayed in place for every run.
So that's the K2 gear I tried out for the 2018 season. In my next post I'll go over the Yes Basic and Arbor Terrapin boards that I demoed.