All week long in Crested Butte, Colo., some 40 testers will run countless snowboards, boots and bindings through the test paces, down the resort and up and down in the backcountry. Among those 40 testers, a core crew of a dozen riders who have traveled from across the country will test from bell to bell (and sometimes at dawn and dusk) every single day—splitboards for Backcountry and solid decks for Outside Magazine.
Here’s a look at three of those testers, their riding styles and what boards caught their eye on the first day of Board Test Week.
Devin Silverthorne-Lillie | 5 ft. 9 in. | 130 lbs. | 26 years old
Breckenridge, Colo. | Second-Year Tester
“What I personally look for in a snowboard is something that’s versatile, something that can carve, and something that’s playful and poppy. I like to jib a lot, I like to play around on the sides, but I also like to mob and go fast and pop airs.”
“For backcountry riding, it’s definitely different. I go for a more surfy experience, but I still look for anything to jump off like rocks, pillows, whatever. I definitely have a different sense and eye than some of my friends, so it’s always nice to get different perspectives, ’cause I have a funky one.”
“The first board that I loved today was a solid deck. I rode the K2 Wild Heart. It was so fun—it had a big nose, a shorter tail and it ripped, was super playful and super poppy and really responsive. It was an all-around good time and I would definitely buy that board.”
“I’m really interested in trying the Smokin’ because I’m wondering about its freestyle abilities. The splits I’ve tested so far have been more higher-performance boards, but I’m looking for something that’s more versatile like my riding style.”
Chris Cloyd | 5 ft. 7 in. | 150 lbs. | 30 years old
Truckee, Calif. | Freshman Tester
“I would say my style is more freeriding than not. I like steeper terrain and airtime, but I’m all about carving turns, too. I definitely enjoy working for couloirs and techier lines, but I’m never opposed to working low-angle pow turns.”
“Typically I look for edge-to-edge fluidity. I’m kind of a turn snob. And I love a lot of response out of the tail when I’m loading up for ollies. Something that’s quicker than not.”
“The K2 87 is just an ollie machine. That was definitely my favorite board from the day, and man that thing pops. And then the Burton Landlord Split, for a split, had a lot of pop to it. I was surprised.”
“I’m looking for split performance, especially going uphill. I feel like there are so many interesting shapes coming out now, and it really affects the stick of a board in the skintrack, and so I look for a board that I like and something that can respond in the skintrack.”
Pete Kelly | 5 ft. 9 in. | 230 lbs.
Stowe, Vt. | Veteran Tester
“I guess I’d describe my riding as all-mountain freestyle. Definitely not a park rat, but I like to bring a little playfulness into my riding. So I ride centered and like to do a lot of switch riding. Being on a nice board that’s twin tip in shape with a similar flex pattern for riding switch is pretty important to me.”
“The first board I rode was probably the most surprising. It was an Arbor Bryan Iguchi Pro—reverse camber, it rode really fun, and it held a much better edge than I though it would, being reverse camber. The only thing I knocked it for was in the very steep, not-very-clean groomers or crud where it wasn’t stable enough to hold me up. But I’m a heavier rider, too, so somebody lighter might find it totally suitable.”
“I’ve been doing this test since it was back at Jay Peak, probably 10-plus years ago. I haven’t made it to all of the tests, but I’ve been to most of them. I’ve been doing it for a long time; it’s a great crew and everybody brings a little bit of talent from all over the country, which adds a cool dynamic.”