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.

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.

2013 Burton Joystick 157 cm

Brand: Burton

Model: Joystick

Year: 2013

Length: 157 cm

Camber Profile: Rocker

2013 Burton Joystick 157cm

Key Board Specs – 

  • Gondola Package
  • The Channel
  • BEND: V-Rocker
  • SHAPE: Twin-Like
  • FLEX: Directional
  • CORE: Super Fly II™ with Dualzone™ EGD™
  • FIBERGLASS: Triax™ Fiberglass with Carbon I-Beam™
  • BASE: Sintered
  • SIDEWALLS: 10:45™
  • EXTRAS: Squeezebox, Jumper Cables Hi-Voltage, Scoop, Frostbite Edges, Ellip Kicks, Pro-Tip™, and Infinite Ride™

What the Company Says – “Turn virtual into reality with the highest performance V-Rocker™ on offer.  From first tracks to park laps, the Joystick is like a warp zone for those ready to ride at a higher level. Squeezebox brings more energy into the mix for enhanced pop and quicker control, while the catch-free float and relaxed feel or rocker takes freestyle from virtual to reality. Looser and more park oriented than the Sherlock, but sharing a similar performance package, the Joystick is for the all-around rider looking to get the most out of rocker.”

On Snow Feel – Loose – This board is super loose because of the Burton V-Rocker camber profile.  This profile features a less than mellow bend in the middle of the board that actually makes the tip and tail of the board come up off the ground when it is placed flat.  The dramatic bend in the board helps to create the loose board feel which helps beginners and experts alike to not catch an edge.  It also allows for this board to be super buttery and playful.  There is also scoop in the tip and tail which turn up the tip and tail edges to allow for easier buttering and pressing.

Flex – 4 – If you are a lighter rider and you fit into the size chart for this board, the board should be pretty medium soft, somewhere around a 3 or 4 probably, but if you are heavier, the board might react differently than advertised.  I am a heavier rider, though, and I think the board is still pretty medium soft.

Turn Initiation – Lightning – It is very easy to get this board on edge.  Definitely a fun board to throw around on a soft day in the trees.

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

Edge Hold – Average – This is a HUGE downfall of the Joystick.  While this board does have Burton’s “Frostbite Edges”, which means that there are tiny bumps right after the binding inserts which are supposed to help grip the snow, they really do fall short hen it comes to edge hold.  I live on the East Coast and while it is doable to ride this board on hard pack and ice, you definitely need to be careful when you’re speeding through and throwing this board around because it will slide out from underneath you extremely easily if you’re not looking for the ice.

Powder – Great – This board will perform well in powder.  Because of the V-Rocker and the Scoop tech, this board will really want to try and stay afloat.  The centered stance will make it a little bit more difficult, but it would be a great choice if you like to ride switch a lot in powder or land switch a lot in powder.  You could also set the stance back and ride it very directional in powder and its float would be even better.  This board is also offered in a 161 cm version which would want to float even more.

Carving – Poor – This board was not meant for carving.  It will wash out if you try and push it too hard.  Definitely look somewhere else because this is all about being loose and playful.

Speed – Good – Not the best board for bombing runs but you can pick up some good speed pretty comfortably.  I have gotten up to 50 mph on this board and still felt like I was in control of the board, but it was a somewhat stressful experience knowing that I was going that fast on such a soft V-Rocker snowboard.  You are definitely going to get a lot of chatter if you’re trying to go that fast.

Uneven Terrain – Excellent – Because this board is so soft, it just bends over rough terrain.

Switch – Great – Not perfect but the twinish shape definitely helps when you’re riding with the opposite foot forward.

Jumps – Great – This board is great for small to medium jumps, but it really excels when you’re creating your own air.  If you pair this board with a pair of Burton EST bindings with HingeTech like the Cartel, Malavita, Genesis, or Diode bindings (I probably wouldn’t pair the super stiff Diode with a soft board like the Joystick but…) you can create incredible amounts of air, it might even catch you off guard.  The only problem with this board here is the lack of camber means if you land backseat, it will be tough to ride away.

Jibbing – Excellent – If you detune the edges of this board, it would be a nice jib board.  It is also available in a 150 cm and 154 cm version, which would be even better for jibbing because they would be easier to throw around.  The scoop in the tip and tail really helps with pressing and avoiding catching an edge on a rail.

Pipe – Average – Not a pipe board.  Maybe a soft spring pipe for a few hits and slashes.

Overall, this is an amazing board, for a beginner or an expert rider.  The soft to medium flex of the board let you use this board all over the park, but also lets you explore the rest of the mountain and make it your own playground.  If you’re looking for a quality first board that will allow you to learn or progress your riding, the Burton Joystick is a good choice, especially because 2013 was the last year for the Joystick, and they sell online on some sites for 250-350 dollars, which is well below some of the sticker prices for new snowboards.

Snowboard Review System

Hey Everyone! Here is the system with the categories I am using to evaluate the boards that I am reviewing.  Check it out:

Key Board Specs – Any special or unique features the board may have.

What the Company Says – What does the brand say about the board.

On Snow Feel – How does it feel when you’re riding on snow, loose, semi-stable, stable, semi-catchy, or catchy.  Also, how easy is it to flat base or one foot.

Flex – Noodle to Plank, 1 to 10, how soft is the board.

Turn Initiation – How easy is it to put the board on its edge and make a turn, slow, average, fast, or lightning.

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

Edge Hold – How well does the board hold an edge on snow and ice.

Powder – How well does the board ride powder.

Carving – How well can the board hold a carve.

Speed – How fast can the board go comfortably, snail, slow, average, fast, or bomber.

Uneven Terrain – How well does the board handle bumps in the snow, crud, and chunder.

Switch – How well does the board ride switch.

Jumps – How well does the board handle small to large jumps, ollies,and nollies.

Jibbing – How well does the board handle rails, boxes, bonks, stairs, tubes, and any other jibs you can hit.

Pipe – How well does the board perform in the halfpipe, both with edge hold and drive from wall to wall keeping and generating speed.