Okay, we get it – it’s not even September yet. Unless you’re one of our antipodean friends, you probably haven’t seen snow for a very long time, and you’re unlikely to see any for a while yet either. But for the committed shred-fan out there, was that ever an excuse not to salivate over some shiny new-season equipment? No. It wasn’t. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at all the lovely gear that’s already up online ready for your first dibs in our Winter 2017/18 Picks of the Pre-order.
All-mountain: Rome National
A new board coming out of the Rome camp this season to get us started. The National is a new flavour of all mountain charger that’s designed to suit riders like Rome’s own Bjorn Leines, who shred with power and style all over the hill.
With a plenty of camber between the feet, the National is super poppy, with bags of grip for those laid-out groomer carves. But with a slightly longer nose and a little rocker in the tip and tail, it rides like a dream in powder too.
The core is built around lightweight poplar, with added pop-enhancing Single Barrel Carbon Turbo Rods, wrapped up in biaxial fibreglass for improved torsional stiffness and durability. The sintered base is hard-wearing and super-quick, and they’ve cleverly brought the same material into the sidewalls for added jib-resistance.
Charge the piste, send the side-hits, tear up the park and catch some pow. The National is ready to go.
Freestyle: Burton Free Thinker
The Free Thinker is the new pro model from pipe wizard Danny Davis, with simple yet sick artwork from Gonz. The Free Thinker is the sort of park board that Danny loves to ride – and given that he’s very much at home in a super-pipe, you can probably imagine how it’s designed to ride. Incredibly high speeds, huge airs, rotations and big landings are all in a day’s work for Danny, so that’s what the FT is built to handle – and it’s ready to take it all.
Relying on a full traditional camber profile, the Thinker has loads of pop and unbelievable edge control for the aggressive intermediate to advanced rider. A full layer of carbon fibre in the construction adds strength, durability and torsional stiffness to the lightweight wood core. The tips are thinned out to reduce swing weight and the board is finished with a super-fast, wax-absorbing sintered base – just adding to the idea that this is a board that’s built for going big.
A pro-level board that’s big on power and aggression for hard-charging all over the hill.
Freeride: Capita Kazu
The Kazu is a fatter, more directional and surfy board than most, making it ideal for riders like the man himself, who are pow-focused, with a backcountry freestyle edge. Camber between the feet ensures that this is still a powerful and grippy board when you need it, but a big surface area, wider nose, and generous helping of rocker up front keeps you floating with ease through that chest-deep champagne pow.
The Kazu’s lightweight wood core is enhanced with various bamboo power rods, carbon fibre X-arcs and Titanal inlays to create a board that’s fine-tuned to its specific job – ripping burly lines in steep terrain and deep snow.
If conditions are good, you want to be on a board that’ll help you to make the most of it, and the Capita Kazu is the right tool for the job. When it starts snowing for real, make sure you’ve one of these in your quiver.
Split: Capita Neo Slasher
Back in the Capita camp for our split pick, we’re all over the exciting new Neo Slasher. Off the back of the success of their Charlie Slasher model, Capita listened to the fans and decided to produce a factory split edition. And what a board it is!
It’s packing a little camber between the feet for power and pop, but the flat tail ensures that you’ve got plenty of edge control when skinning and traversing on icy slopes. There’s generous rocker in the longer, wider nose, so the Neo Slasher will deliver a tonne of float for an effortless ride in pow. And the addition of carbon fibre to the FSC-certified wood core adds strength without increasing weight, meaning you get a high-performance downhill machine that’s easier on your legs for those long climbs to earn your turns.
Capita and Union are made for each other, so the addition of Union’s new splitboard binding, which we’ll cover below, makes total sense.
Thoughtfully designed with the seeker in mind, the Neo Slasher is the start of a new chapter from Capita.
All-mountain: Rome Katana
Packed with pretty much every piece of conceivable tech that Rome’s binding designers have ever conceived, the Katana is a marvel of modern shred engineering. The brand’s flagship binding is back for 2017/18 and looking better than ever.
It’s all about light weight and responsiveness, and the Katana uses a bunch of clever tech tweaks to achieve both. The AwsmWrap heel piece and V-Rod ultralight base plate are some of the lightest individual parts on the market today, yet each manages to deliver unreal levels of response thanks to reduced areas of contact with the board – focusing more of your weight into strategic points to maximise control. The asymmetrical highback is super light too, but despite all this, the binding remains remarkably strong and durable.
From the straps to the tool-less cant adjustment and the D30-infused baseplate pad, the Katana is packed with comfort-focused features too. Despite its low weight, you get a class-leading level of customisation, so you can totally dial-in the right setup for you and your riding style.
Like the samurai sword that gives it its name, the Katana is a weapon you need in your arsenal to truly slay the whole mountain.
Freestyle: Burton Malavita
The Malavita binding from Burton is pure class. Aimed at the all-mountain-freestyle rider, it’s packed with features that deliver comfort and an overriding feeling of quality. This mid-flexing binding uses the AutoCANT FullBED system for full-foot contact and cushioning, with added B3 gel in the heel for improved impact resistance on those big landings.
The foam-enhanced highback is ergonomically designed to mould naturally to the back of your ankle, with Living Hinge and DialFLAD technologies combining to give you the customisation of forward lean that you need to nail those tricks wherever you throw them.
And while they might not look as luxury as the rest of the Malavita, the Assymetrical Hammockstrap and Supergrip Capstrap are super lightweight and minimal while delivering amazing response and reliability. The Double Take Buckles and Insta-Click make them super-quick to strap in too.
Who said that freestyle bindings couldn’t provide a little luxury too? The Malavita breaks the mould.
Split: Union Expedition
Big news this season, which we covered back in our ISPO Gear Preview, is Union’s entrance into the splitboard market. If you’re into splitboarding, this is one of the most talked-about snowboard products in the market. With Union being such a well-loved brand, everyone’s excited to see how their first splitboard binding does.
Although it raised a few eyebrows at first, the Expedition is based on a Pin format, which some felt the industry was moving away from. But after a lot of research and development, Union felt that the pin system offered one of the simplest, lightest and most user-friendly options in splitboard binding design. It’s super quick and easy to use when switching between modes, and really offers a seamless performance on the climbs and descents.
Your highback swings easily backward to give a greater range of movement and there’s a heel riser, to give you a better angle on the climbs, which can be easily operated with your poles. The Expedition offers its own integrated crampon system too, making it super easy to maintain traction on icy and wind-blown faces.
When Union brings their quality and style to the splitboard market, people pay attention.
All-mountain: Burton Ruler
The Burton Ruler has been around, it seems, since the beginning of time. But it’s one of those products that just refuses to leave the line-up and our collective consciousness because it’s just so damn good.
Hugely popular with riders all over the world, the Ruler occupies that mid-flex, mid-range, mid-price sweetspot that makes it such an appealing buy. For those looking to step up their skills across the whole hill, and who maybe don’t have the budget to stretch to the Ion, the Ruler presents a compelling mix of fit, feel, features and performance.
The sleek, low-profile design delivers on comfort, but appears outwardly like a size smaller than they actually are, so they look great. 3M insulation in the liner maintains warmth despite that low profile, while the Speed Zone lacing system will keep your feet firmly where they need to be.
A stone-cold classic that just keeps on getting better.
Park: Adidas Samba
The Adidas Samba is a massive name in footwear, wherever you come across it. In snowboarding, it’s in the form of their soft to mid-flexing freestyle boot. There’s always debate about the big brands getting involved in snowsports, but whether you think it’s good or bad, you must admit that Adidas know how to make a great-looking boot. And you can’t deny that with over 70 years of footwear experience, they know a thing or two about construction and comfort too.
The Silver Level Liner uses Ultralon foam to mould to your feet and give a snug fit, while the 3D Moulded Tongue wraps around your leg before being held in place by the 2:1 leveraged lacing power of the Power Web Lacing system. The result is all-around comfort and response, with minimum heel lift.
Outside, the Continental rubber outsole is grippy enough to keep you on your feet when you’re hiking back up for another hit.
That inimitable Adidas style in a boot with enough flex to tweak out the most steezy of tricks.
Freeride: Thirtytwo Zephyr Jones
With Jeremy Jones being into the sort of insane brand of self-propelled, adventure shred madness that he’s made his own, you can imagine that his signature products are going to be built to perform in the most extreme of conditions. The ThirtyTwo Zephyr Jones boot is one such product, that wouldn’t be out of place up a Nepalese peak at 19,000ft.
Mid-flexing, but stiff enough for the man himself, the Zephyr Jones uses a proprietary Evolution Foam outsole – not rubber – so it’s an incredibly lightweight boot that still delivers awesome grip while hiking. The heat-mouldable liner is super comfy and features a powerstrap/speed-lace combo to keep everything in place. It combines with the traditional lacing system and articulated cuff to provide support and just the right amount of movement you need for those big high-consequence lines.
With a rubber mudguard and half-zip gaiter to keep the elements at bay, the Zephyr Jones is a beast of a backcountry boot that’s worthy of a legend.