So yesterday, I got to get in on dealer demo days at Loveland pass and try out a whole bunch of gear. So here are some of my thoughts on various product and some good splitboard news.
First off I tried out a Lib Tech Magne traction board. Travis Rice 161.5 model. They didn't have any bent metal so I tried out a pair of Rome strap bindings. The Rome bindings were traditional plastic models. Nothing really innovative about them, but the release was as butter smoothe as any binding I have used. Very nice.
Now for the Magne Traction. I thought this was going to be a bit of a gimmick but it frigg'in works! First run I did on the board was right under chair one where it is all bumped out and scraped off. Held an edge like a demon on the steep scraped off slopes. It basically felt like the hard edge stable spot had been increased 5-10" on either side of my stance. Rode like a bigger board than it was. It had dumped the past few days in Colorado, so the next thing was to take it out on some pow. I got to mach down some groomers, worked just great on those and then got over to the pow stashes. The board worked just fine in all conditions. I thought that maybe it was just the fact that the board was new and my boards have been beat on a while. But after taking out a couple of other notoriously stiff boards, Magne Traction does work. Is it going to put the industry on it's ear? No, but for advanced riders you can feel the difference. Good stuff. We asked the rep about splitboards, sounds like Lib Tech is considering it, but want a little more interest or growth in the sport. Maybe next year, this year it's about their new ski line.
Second board out, was a Unity Dominion 161. One of my favorite boards of all time. I matched it up with the K2 Cinch binding. A Unity board is a Unity board. They rock. Light, nimble, and fast. The K2 cinch binding, not much heavier than a regular binding and way quicker. Slides in like a flow but the locking mechanism is much better. It doesn't rely on a cable. Plus you have the option of using it like a regular strap binding should you be on a steep slope where maybe the rear entry (heh rear entry) isn't a reasonable way to go. The release is super sweet. At first I thought it was a little clunky, because I was pushing the highback down like flows. All you have to do is release it and twist you foot toeside, it pops open and you are out. A little weird at first but works great. Definitely a quicker release than traditional straps. Maybe a tad better should you be trying to get out of you bindings say when the snow is sliding all around you.
Big news from Unity was the fact that they are going to be making some splits this season! Sounds like they just finished working out the licensing from Voile and have only made a couple of boards. The sizes are going to be a 164 Dominion, 168, and 180. One of the latter two boards will be a standard shape the other tapered like a Kyhber I guess. Psched on that, I am going to try my paws on the Dominion Split this year.
Last board out was a Never Summer Titan 165 with Technine bindings. Love the toe strap on the tech nines. It covers the front toe of you foot. So not only does it pull down but in. Super responsive. Never Summer is well Never Summer. They are a benchmark. The board was stable, responsive and super fun to ride.
bcrider, maybe you want to post this in the gear review section, but since I was reviewing both boards and bindings, I thought I would just throw it out in the general forum.