2017 Board Test: Midweek Dispatch

A bluebird day on Monday gave way to clouds and fresh snow Tuesday night into Wednesday, much to the delight of the Board Test Week crew. And after a quick dawn patrol into the mountains on Tuesday morning, testers arrived back at Crested Butte ready to put more splits through the paces.

“It’s so cool getting to test all kinds of new and innovative shapes,” tester and self-proclaimed ski bum Lawson Yow says of the selection of boards at Mt. Crested Butte. “I’m from Atlanta and never even saw a ski hill until I went to Colorado College. The snow gods blessed me with a free snowboard and a free ski pass, so I had a great introduction.”

“I’m kind of a skier-like rider,” adds Yow, 30, who’s been snowboarding for 11 years. “I try and go fast and ride lines as fluidly as possible from top to bottom.”

Yow has been testing boards non-stop since Monday, along with some 40 other testers popping in and out of Powder Tools at the base of Mt. Crested Butte. Up to six boards per-person, per-day have been going in and out of the shop, with many favorites surfacing among riders. Yow’s favorite split: “The Cold Smoke is so versatile, with a beautiful topsheet.”

Another favorite coming out of the pack is the Venture Storm. “It is kind of slender and nimble in trees and pow,” explains Drew Zieff, the assistant test coordinator. “I dropped some cliffs with it, and I felt really stable on the landing.”

Zieff’s role with the test is more than just taking boards out—he’s been tasked with organizing the gear and making sure everything is in order to be vetted by testers.

“We’ve had a lot of variable conditions, including what I would say is six inches of pow in some places, and earlier this week we had everything from ice to slush,” Zieff adds. “It’s easy to say a board rides well in powder but our testers have really been pushing [the boards].” And with more snow, sun, high temperatures (and maybe even some rain) expected by the end of the test, the boards will have seen every snow condition on the market.

More backcountry tours, laps at the resort and a day of cat skiing will give testers every chance to pick out the best of the best for next year’s offerings. Zieff, along with everyone else at the test, is ready to continue hammering away and getting through all the boards. “Everyone’s having a good time,” he says, “but [we’re] also taking it really seriously and it’s a great crew.”

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