KEY PRODUCT FOCUS: Please pick the three most exciting boards from your new 18/19 line and tell us about them.
We’re super excited about the entire Tram Line – a collection of boards we’ve created that are focused on the love of the turn. This collection includes the Mountain Division, the Powder Division and a few other models that are rooted deeply in the mountains of the world. Out of the Tram Line, the new Ravine board is a highly versatile freeride board perfect for all the conditions found at places like St. Anton, Chamonix, or Verbier. It’s a directional shape built on a new tweak of our Free-The-Ride camber—in this board, we’ve added 3D profiling to the nose of the board to create a 3D version of the Free-The-Ride camber. It also features new Bi-Radial sidecut that finishes tighter in the tail for responsive edge work.
The National, in its second year, is also a board that is super important in our line. Alek Oestreng jumps on it for a bit of his riding, and its personality is reflected in the fact that we gave Bjorn a signature length of this model. Both Alek and Bjorn can ride anything from lines, to side hits, to big jumps. The National is our modern solution to the all-mountain freestyle riding that these riders do. We invented the concept of “early rise” camber in 2010 and have brought it back in this board with our Fusion Camber that has positive camber for most of the running length, but when it is decambered, a small amount of nose and tail rise engage. The result is a poppy, responsive feel that also floats easy in pow and completes turns smoothly.
The third board that needs to be called out is the Buckshot. This has become the main choice of team riders filming rail parts and creative park videos. Our riders demand positive camber for park boards for how they want to pop into and out of tricks—just watch how Ozzy nollies of pole jams. So the Buckshot features a small amount of positive camber and a softer flex for the kind of park-oriented feel that our team riders need.
Construction. This is the place where you can talk to us about the new ingredients in your boards, and how you are putting them together differently. We’re interested in anything new in inserts / edges / cores / sidewalls / glue / wood types / base material etc here.
New for 2019, we’ve BuzzKill Technology in the Mountain Division. Since the Mountain Division is our high-end solution to ripping turns in all kinds of snow, it needs to be able to handled chopped up snow off-piste when certain zones have been tracked out. It also needs to be able handled rutted terrain on pistes. Snow can’t always be clean and perfect in the life of the Mountain Division. So we created vibration dampening technology for the nose of the board. Shaped in a series of concentric circular channels, we replace core material with elastomeric dampener inlays in the shovel of the board. When your board drives into mixed snow, BuzzKill decreases vibration to keep the arc of the board as smooth as possible.
Another new technology is the HiBeams Tech that we are introducing in the all-new Artifact board. The Artifact has always been at the forefront of creative park and street riding, and the HiBeams are the latest way we give it more pop for its ollies and nollies. In HiBeam tech, we shape an I-Beam type element into the core in the nose and tail. When the laminate is pressed over this shape, it creates a fine-tuned increase in pop out of the centerline of the board.
Which price point is seeing the most action at retail? Premium, bottom or in the middle? What do the people want?
We see a lot of excitement at the mid-to-high pricepoints. The Gang Plank is a mid-priced board that delivers for riders looking for an all-mountain board that has a strong freestyle personality. At the same time, boards like the National and the Mountain Division come in a little below the premium level and give riders a ton of advanced technology for the price.
How long is your warranty, anything new?
Our warranty for boards is two years from the date of purchase. We believe in standing behind our boards and work hard to get riders back on snow as soon as possible.
The market is getting used to unusual shapes. Doing anything unseen next year? Asym/double swallow/reverse sidecut etc?
Shape is definitely an important element of board design, whether it is shape that impacts the performance of the board or it is shape in the tip and tail that is predominantly an aesthetic consideration. Either way, shape matters a lot. In our new Ravine board in the Tram Line, you see very blunted nose and tail in this all-mountain freeride board. This blunted shape planes well in untracked snow and it also looks badass. Another shape element of the Ravine is its Bi-Radial sidecut that is a little tighter in the tail for finishing turns with added precision and response. In our split boards, we’re adding a wide shorter Powder Division with a moon tail to add a level of surfability and aesthetic turning to our split series. Finally, throughout the line, you’ll see unique shapes in the tips and tails of nearly every board in our line.
We’re interested in graphic themes that run through your line. What is your art department feeding you for next year? Flashy, muted, landscapes, patterns, photos, what?
Our line is diverse. We have the mountain-obsessed Tram Line freeride series, we have an army of all-mountain freestyle destroyers and we have park boards. So our graphics follow this diversity. Though all our boards have a Rome personality, we have simpler graphics on some boards that utilize colour and texture to bring them to life. You see this in the Blur series or the family of graphics in the Tram Line. At the other end of the spectrum, the Artifact and the Buckshot feature graphics that would be at home in Thrasher Magazine.
Splitboards: they get better every year. What is your latest innovation in splitboards?
To go with our all-mountain freeride Whiteroom and Powder Room splitboards, we’re adding a split version of our Powder Division series. The Powder Division Moontail has added width for buoyancy as well as a surfy shape. The split version of this board adds a unique shape designed for surfing powder.
What are your top marketing stories for next season? This will help us to put some focus in the right place.
We’ll be focusing on the creation of video content to support the board line. We’re building a trip around the Tram Line collection that will showcase its focus on the art of the turn. We’ll also create content to support the boards called out in our catalogue as Flagship models—boards like the National, the Gangplank, the Heist and others. This content will support the personalities of the models, while highlighting technology like BuzzKill tech and TurboRod Technology.