In various ways light-up snowboards have been tried before first with rope lights that you presumably hot-glue to your snowboard’s topsheet and then with insert LED lights. Those were both bad ideas, but it didn’t end there.
The latest company to try and recycle the disco stick snowboard idea is Xero Degree Snowboards (website, glowinthesnow.com, redirects to their Kickstarter page) and even though their concept appears to be an improvement over their predecessors, I still think it’s not much more than a gimmick.
It is gimmicky because it does not, in any conceivable way, enhance the board’s performance. Lights don’t do anything except glow in the dark.
And they’re expensive, at $600 a pop these boards are squarely in the stratosphere of snowboard pricing, with the Lib Tech T-Rice pro model or the Never Summer Premier. You better be bringing more to the table than a glorified glow stick at that price. So, what tech goes in to these boards? It didn’t matter enough to mention on their website so… but they light up!
If the the inclusion of lighted inserts compromises the board’s structural integrity then it is not just a silly idea, but also a bad idea. It seems pretty obvious that carving out channels in the board’s core or sidewall is going to affect how it handles and probably not in a good way.
How do these boards ride? I can’t say. But despite the fact that I think it’s a silly idea, I’d give them the same opportunity for a fair, unbiased review that we give anyone else.
As for durability issues they do respond to critics which proves that no matter what those LEDs will stay lit:
So if all else fails you’ve got a backup blacklight for your disco afterparty!
Honestly I’m not trying to be mean-spirited about this. Irreverent, maybe. I just think it’s a silly gimmicky idea and there are probably better ways to contribute to the growth and health of the sport we all love than to piss away $50,000 on LED-infused snowboards.