2015 Rossignol Retox 150cm

Brand – Rossignol

Model – Retox

Length – 150cm

Camber Profile – “AmpTek Freestyle”, Hybrid, Camber Under the Feet to Outside of Inserts, Rocker Tip and Tail

Key Board Specs – AmpTek Freestyle, Twin Shape, Sintered Base, Wood Core, Medium Flex

rossignol-retox-amptek-snowboard-2015-147What the Company Says – The RETOX is a true-twin powerhouse is built for pure park pandemonium. The stiffer, ultra-blunt tip and tail provide monstrous pop and smooth swing weight, while AmpTek Freestyle enhances stability at high speed to set-your-spin and stomp the biggest hits in the park, so you never come up short.

On Snow Feel – Stable – The Retox, with Rossignol’s AmpTek Freestyle camber profile, has a nice feel when riding.  It creates a stable platform while not becoming catchy.  This allows the board to be perfect for takeoffs and rails in the park, but it still is playful enough to butter around the mountain without having to worry too much about catching an edge and falling.

Flex – 5 – This board has a good freestyle flex.  It’s soft enough to butter and hit rails, but it has a snap to it that really helps on jumps and ollies.  Since I’m on the heavier side, this board was a little bit on the softer side (more like a 4), which made buttering a little easier, but the snap was still there when I ollied or hit any jumps.

Turn Initiation – Fast – When I bought this board, I was a little skeptical because, the board specs allow you the ability to downsize and ride shorter than you normally would, so I went with the 150cm, which is now my shortest board.  I had seen some other reviews of this board that said the Turn Initiation was lacking a little and felt laggy.  I have not have the same problem.  It is not the absolute fastest board edge to edge, the increased waist width on the shorter boards definitely decreases the expected turning speed, but I was still able to get from edge to edge pretty quickly while riding the Retox.  However, because of the waist widths of this board, and my size 9 boot, if I rode the 156cm or even the 153cm version, it may have been much slower edge to edge.  I would definitely check the waist width before deciding to purchase a certain length of this board.

*Ratings will be Poor, Average, Good, Great, and Excellent, and explanations will follow.*

Edge Hold – Great – Because of the Camber dominant profile, with the camber between the inserts, the Retox is really able to grip the ground when you engage your edge.  It’s definitely not a Magnetraction or even an EQ 5 like from Salomon, and you can definitely slide out if you’re not careful when you’re on icy patches or extra hard snow, but for the most part, the Retox can handle anywhere you’re trying to ride.

Powder – Good – Haven’t ridden the Retox in any pow, but during the spring it handled all of the heavy slush the east coast could throw at it.  Because of the shorter sizes, it may be more difficult to ride this board in powder if you downsize like I did.  However, the rocker in the tip and tail could make some more freestyle oriented riders, who like to land switch in pow, pretty happy.  It’s not going to be effortless, but it is for sure doable.

Carving – Good – Another place where the Retox isn’t going to blow you away but can surprise you is carving.  Because of the camber dominant profile, the board can really lay into the snow.  But downsizing the length of the board combined with the rocker in the tip and the tail after the inserts, really causes some issues when trying to really carve it up.  If you’re a park rider who wants to throw down a little carve here and there between hits, go for it.  But if you’re a big time carver all over the mountain, look elsewhere.

Speed – Good – With the sintered base, you’ll have plenty of speed in the park, which is where this board wants to live.  It rides bigger than its size, which is why you can go with a shorter board, but if you’re trying to set speed records, you’re going to get a lot of chatter.

Uneven Terrain – Great – The Retox does pretty well sliding over rutted up snow.  Because of the rocker in the tip and tail, it allows the board to be a little more playful, even with the more medium flex.  This lets the board flow a little better over crud and chop than if it had been full camber.

Switch – Excellent – Super easy to ride switch.  The twin shape paired with Rossignol’s AmpTek Freestyle camber profile give you a solid, stable platform to feel confident on, while the rockered tip and tail give you a playfulness that lets you feel safe, like you won’t catch an edge while riding switch.

Jumps – Great – Pretty good pop on is board.  Stable platform for hitting kickers, enough camber between the feet to spring you into the air off the lip.  Decent ollie power.  Because I am a heavier guy, the board acted softer than usual under my feet, but the tail has pretty decent pop when loaded up.  Definitely better ollie boards out there, but this is a pretty solid, balanced freestyle ride.

Jibbing – Great – This board can really perform in the jib park.  With the AmpTek Freestyle camber profile, the Retox can really lock on to rails.  The flex, although stiff enough to hold its own on jumps, is soft enough to press on boxes and rails.  The shorter lengths also offer better swing weight and better maneuverability which can help you get those crazy spins on and off.  Rossignol also uses their Glass Fiber laminate which they say gives RRR (Rusted Rail Resistance), whatever that means, sounds good though.

Pipe – Average – Not going to be a great pipe board, especially if you’re jibbing a lot.  But if you’re trying to get a few hits in maybe on a nice spring pipe or even a solid minipipe, this could be some fun.

Overall, the Rossignol Retox is a great freestyle board that you can downsize a good deal on.  The AmpTek Freestyle camber profile creates a stable enough platform to hit jumps while still remaining playful enough to butter around.  The twin shape allows you to feel comfortable riding switch.  This board is a great option for more stability and better all mountain performance than the Burton Raduction boards, thanks to the camber under the feet.  The small size holds up pretty well all over the mountain, but really helps the board excel in the park on jibs and while spinning and buttering.  If you’re a park rat who likes to throw down a mellow carve here and there, maybe give the Rossignol Retox a try.

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2016 Salomon Official 155cm

Brand – Salomon

Model – Official

Length – 155cm

Camber Profile – Full Camber

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Key Board Specs – Ghost Green Core, Sintered Base, EQ 5 Sidecut, Freestyle Edge Bevel, Bamboo Rods, Carbon Inlays

What the Company Says – Constructed to guide you through this season’s biggest and baddest setups, the Official Snowboard is packed with technology for sending it, including a bamboo Popster Eco Booster Core for snap off the lip. Featuring the all-new Slingshot Sidewall for added control and power under foot, plus a Camber profile and EQ5 for steadfast edge control.

On Snow Feel – Semi-Catchy – This board is very stable while flat-basing and one footing, but you do have to be on your game.  Before you ride this board, you should definitely know what you’re doing on a board and be very aware of your edges and how you are changing the board.  If you slack off, this board is very capable of bucking you off, but for the most part, it offers up a very stable, responsive ride.

Flex – 6 – Medium-Stiff flex, between a 5 and 6 depending on how heavy you are, capable of buttering and pressing but will take some work on the rider’s end.

Turn Initiation – Fast – Since this board is so responsive with the full camber profile and the medium-stiff flex, if you know how to turn a board, you can get this board on edge pretty quickly.  Maybe not the absolute best board for tight trees but anywhere else on the mountain is no problem.

*Ratings will be Poor, Average, Good, Great, and Excellent, and explanations will follow.*

Edge Hold – Excellent – The Official, with its EQ 5 Sidecut, which is actually a series of five straight lines that compose the sidecut of the board, is very good at holding an edge.  I rode this board for most of the season and I only lost an edge once or twice.  The EQ 5 Sidecut is meant to create more predictable edge hold by using the straight lines, which more easily mold to the shape of the snow you’re riding than traditional sidecuts, and makes for a much easier ride.  Because the sidecut can mold to the shape of the snow more easily, riders have constant edge contact on snow which brings a smoother feel to the ride.  This sidecut also allows for more maneuverability and easier corrections because of how pressure is evenly distributed across the edge of the board.

Powder – Average – Not made for powder.  It can handle a little bit of the goods but the heavy camber in the board makes it want to pull the nose down so if you tried this in deep powder, it would take a lot of effort to keep it afloat.  I rode it at Jay Peak in Vermont with around 5-7 inches of fresh snow and it worked but it was tough on the legs.  Probably best to just leave this one at home on a powder day.

Carving – Excellent – Awesome carving board, the sidecut really lets you lay into the snow and carve out really fun turns.

Speed – Excellent – Super fast base, never had any trouble getting speed.  This board likes to ride aggressive and go fast.  It rides super smooth when you’re at speed, but can get a little fussy at slower speed or on bad snow.

Uneven Terrain – Good – Not terrible going over uneven terrain, but the stiffer flex definitely doesn’t do it any favors.  Like I said before, it gets a little fussy when over rougher terrain.

Switch – Great – Although it is marketed as a directional twin, if you set up the board with a centered stance and similar binding angles, it feels about the same both ways.  Great freestyle deck.

Jumps – Excellent – The Official really excels here.  The flex and the camber provide a super responsive, poppy feel and the addition of Salomon’s Popster Eco Booster Core, which adds bamboo rods to the core of the board, provides tons of extra spring on ollies and jumps.  The camber gives a stable platform for take-offs and helps save you if you land a little backseat.  Overall, great ollie power and amazing pop off jumps.

Jibbing – Good – Not really made for the jib park with the stiffer flex and heavy camber, but it can handle some less technical rail tricks.  The freestyle edge bevel gives a little bit less catchy feel when on rails, by detuning the tip and tail, then having a two (2°) degree bevel until the bindings, and a three (3°) degree bevel between the feet.  This allows the board to still have enough bite to hold its edge, but be able to slide across rails a little easier.

Pipe – Excellent – Incredible pipe board.  The combination of the camber, flex, and edge hold makes for a super fun ride in the pipe.  Definitely another spot where the Official thrives.

Overall, the Salomon Official is an incredible, responsive, super fun board.  It like to ride fast and aggressive and is not so much a fan of going too slow.  Although it is full camber, it’s not super catchy.  It can still buck you off if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing.  I was lucky enough to get some advice on this board from Salomon pro rider Jamie Nicholls after shooting him a message on Facebook.  Super cool guy, so grateful he took the time to respond to my message, and so glad that I listened and scooped this deck.  The Official has been one of the best boards I’ve ridden.  It’s a must bring when I go to the mountain.  Pretty cool graphics too haha.

Signal Snowboards: Signal 6 – The Best Way To Buy A New Board

Let me start this post by saying, I now own six snowboards, all from different manufacturers, and I have had great experiences both purchasing and using all of my boards, and with the customer service I have received from each of these companies.  Having said that, Signal Snowboards customer service has gone above and beyond what is normally expected.

Based out of Huntington Beach, California, Signal is a relatively small company that builds great snowboards.  They even had a show on their YouTube channel in which they built a bunch of unique snowboards (i.e. a full candy snowboard, a Lego snowboard, an all glass snowboard) called “Every Third Thursday”.  But I digress.  Since the addition of John Jackson, one of the best backcountry snowboarders around, to the Pro team, Signal has started to put out new progressive shapes and technologies.  One of the changes they made in the 2015-2016 season that has returned for the 16-17 season is their new Quad side cut, which was designed by and for John J.  This new side cut was designed with help from JJ and is supposed to help you hold an edge better while riding fast and traversing.  It does an excellent job all over the mountain and the few times I’ve been able to take it out have been incredible (review coming soon).  They also now have a board with a full carbon fiber layer in the core and a carbon fiber topsheet.  Like I said before, Signal builds some amazing snowboards and I think everyone, from park rats to powder hounds, should pick up one of their boards.  You will not be disappointed.

Now, you’re probably thinking “oh I can’t afford another snowboard for $500+ dollars” or “why buy a snowboard right before summer?”  Well, along with the new technologies Signal has been working with, they’ve also been developing snowboarding’s first ever subscription service called “Signal 6”.  This is how I came to own my first Signal board, the 15-16 John J Sierra Series.  This was a no-brainer for me.  I desperately wanted a new board, one that I could really charge on, but I didn’t have the money to buy a board in the $500 dollar price range.  I had been watching ETT for a while on YouTube and I had been becoming familiar with Signal and their program.  When John Jackson joined their team and they came out with his pro model, I knew I needed it (he’s one of my favorite riders/I knew the board would rip).  With Signal 6, I was able to get the board plus a TON of extra gear.

When you subscribe to Signal 6, you have two options: pay for the board outright, get 5 months of gift boxes, and receive your board as soon as it’s finished, or, you can pay $89.99 a month for 6 months, receive gift boxes each of the first 5 months, and get your board during the sixth month (you can also pay $44.99 a month for just the gift box or $99.99 a month for a board with a custom graphic).  This service is unreal.  The gift boxes are put together by the guys at the Signal factory and the riders on the Signal team, with the help of many different brands.  I was ecstatic with the gear I received in my boxes.  Each month I eagerly awaited the day I received my box, it was like I was a five year old on Christmas.  The board in total cost $540 dollars, which I would have paid in full if I had purchased virtually any similar board.  The gear I received inside the gift boxes easily tallied a few hundred dollars.  Just a few examples, I received an old school snurfer from Signal one month, another month my box contained a pair of Wu-Tang Clan x Celtek Collab mittens (easily one of my favorite pieces of gear), and another month I got a necklace from John and Eric Jackson’s new mountain-themed jewelry company (another favorite haha).  Those three items alone are over $200 dollars of extra gear, and there was way more in all of the boxes.  I honestly don’t know how it could get any better.  Lastly, I started my subscription over the summer, and I think that’s the best way to do it.  If you start in the summer, the gift boxes work as the perfect thing to keep you connected to winter and ready for the snow.  Plus, you end up getting your brand new board right as winter is starting and the resorts start to open up.

The day I got my brand new Signal Snowboard was surreal.  Knowing it was coming but not really knowing what to expect, the anticipation was crazy.  But as the months went on and the gear started to pile up, the stoke level ended up insanely high, and my first day on that board was amazing.  It held up to all of the hype and I could not have been any happier with the decision to buy it or how I bought it.  Like I said, if you’re thinking about a new board, give Signal a chance.  They’re driven by snowboarders, for snowboarders and aim to make everything exactly how you want it.  Scoop a board through Signal 6 and get a ton of extra gear and spread out payments so it’s easier to afford.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s a few photos of some of the stuff I got while on Signal 6

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Mr. Fun Snurfer
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Snapback, Stance Socks, Beanie, Koozie, Bliss Mag
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Wu Tang Mittens, Signal Shirt, Jerky, Signal Sharpies, Stickers
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John Jackson Sierra Series w/ Nitro Team Bindings