Day 2 of the Stratton demo was full of new women’s snowboarding gear. This year was all about trying some different stuff. We always stick pretty close to the brands we carry, and this year we decided to branch out from that and see what the rest of the industry is offering. And I personally wanted to test out more bindings since I have been so married to my NOW bindings since they first hit the market.
Day 2 started with the Flux GS bindings on my Never Summer Proto Type Two. These bindings are the mid-flex, freestyle, park to peak binding for women in the Flux line. The Vogue Base, comfort footbed, Ultima Wing highback, waffle straps, and beer buckles combine perfectly for a comfortable fit that still provides excellent response. These bindings were super-comfy on my Proto Type Two and blended nicely for a responsive and effortless ride.
I went to the Arbor and Flux tent wanting to try the GX on the Rocker System Arbor Swoon. The GX’s weren’t available, so they put the GS on a 152 Swoon. It has been a while since that board was my regular ride, and it has undergone some changes. It is stiffer and felt really wide and sluggish under foot. It wasn’t as lively as I remember it being, and it was a bear to turn. It locked into a carve and was very reluctant to let go…performed my first Eurocarve on this board, and it wasn’t on purpose. The changes were aimed at making it a more aggressive, hard charging board with less chatter. I would say that mission was accomplished. It’s a board that wants to be ridden at speed. The trail I was on just didn’t afford that opportunity. I think the GX bindings would have been a slightly better matchup. That little bit of extra stiffness and response seems like it would really benefit this board, speeding up edge-to-edge transitions a bit
Marhar is an up and coming brand out of Michigan. They are adding a new women’s camber deck to the lineup for next year. So I tested out the Marhar Jade with my NOW IPOs. It’s a softer flex with some carbon in there that provides excellent pop. Unfortunately it also amplifies all of the bumps in the road, and that’s a recipe for getting tired really quickly. It’s a very nimble and easy to ride board. You could butter up the whole mountain and bop off of side hits all day long. I could see how it could be a lot of fun if you can get past feeling every snowflake underfoot.
Capita has been on my radar since I started snowboarding when Mark searched high and low for a Space Metal Fantasy for my first board. He never did find one and it was a couple of years before I ever got to ride one. In the 5 or so years since, I hadn’t ridden another Capita board…until now.
This year I was really curious about the Paradise and Birds of a Feather. First up was the Paradise with my NOW IPO’s. This board features camber between the feet to reverse camber just outside of the bindings and then Wah-Pow! In the tip and tail for float in pow and pressability. It is a mid-flex, true twin board designed for hitting the park, jumps, groomers, or powder. They initially set my angles up backwards, so the first trip down was pretty wonky. But even being all backwards it was easy to tell that this is a playful board that is lively and would be a lot of fun pretty much anywhere you take it.
I headed back to the tent and just had them switch out my bindings out for a pair of Unions. They hooked me up with their best selling Milans. This was a nice matchup. The bindings were comfortable and with the angles set up right, the board handled the soft heavy snow really well. At no point did it feel like I was pushing massive amounts of heavy snow…I was able to carve through it, bounce over it, and bob in and out of the bumps. Buttering around would be a breeze on this board, and the XXXtruded Base was nice and quick. For a sub $400 board, I don’t think you could go wrong with this board.
Next up was the Capita Birds of Paradise with the Union Milans. This is a board I keep reading about. People seem to love it. It is another mid-flex, true twin board that features camber between the feet to zero camber transitions to a short reverse camber section and finally Wah-Pow! In the tip and tail. What does that all mean? Not exactly sure…
This board just wasn’t a fit for me. I really didn’t connect with it at all. The board felt torsionally stiff to me and REALLY locked into turns. Thought I would need the jaws of life to transition from edge to edge. I also wasn’t real confident in the edge hold. Things were icing up at the top of the mountain, by the afternoon, and I was washing out. It was a very uncomfortable couple of runs. Undoubtedly with more time on it, I would understand how to ride it better, but honestly, with so much other fun stuff out there, who wants to spend the time on something that’s just not?
The last board of the day was the Rome Winterland with my NOW IPOs. Apparently I didn’t listen well when inquiring about their all mountain women’s boards because I didn’t realize that it’s a camber, directional board until I brought it back. It’s very easy to ride…quick edge-to-edge, lays down a carve, and can bob and weave around the bumped out snow. But it does get a little tossed around in the late day chopped up stuff. In pure powder or fresher soft conditions this board would be a blast. It was kind of fun, but probably not a one-board quiver.
It was really fun trying out different brands and boards this year. It’s important to see what other companies are offering, and to know how what you like stacks up.