Over the last few days I was fortunate enough to participate in Test Fest (like a mini SIA) at Boyne Mountain Resort in Northern Michigan. I was tagging along with the crew from Summit Sports & Snowboards.net to help them test & review 2012 gear (Thanks for inviting me, Leo!). Here’s a brief recap of the event and a preview of what’s to come in the next few weeks!
Pretty much all of the Tier 1 manufacturers were there although there were some brands we were not able to ride because they weren’t on our checklist (Forum, Nitro, Capita for example). We’ll have Burton, Lib Tech, K2, Gnu, Rome, Ride, Salomon, Rossignol and Marhar (Michigan-made) snowboards to review, as well as bindings from Union, Flux, Burton, Rome, Ride and K2.
Overall conditions were cold (-1F yesterday morning, for example) and mostly hardpack although there was an inch or two of fresh on the groomers on Monday. Not exactly ideal testing conditions considering you spend a lot of time standing/waiting for the reps to set up your board & bindings, etc.
One trend we both noticed was an increasing number of “price-point” snowboards that still deliver pretty good performance. Anyone can make a good snowboard and sell it for $700, but can you make a good snowboard that retails for about $350? There were some pleasant surprises in this category.
This was my first time at a demo event and it was a blast for sure, but it was also a lot of work. Here are a few things I learned:
1. A few runs on 7 or 8 different setups is about the max you can do in a day.
2. I’m pretty sure that Skull Candy hires strippers to be their “reps”.
3. At the demo tents with few exceptions the biggest size they have for most boards is 156cm.
Leo and I for the most part rode the same boards, so we’ll be collaborating on the reviews and hope to start pushing those out for you in the near future. Give us some feedback, what brands do you wanna hear about first?