Testers’ Choice: John Lauer’s Picks

It’s not all fun and games at Gear Test Week. Our 43 testers—32 skiers and 11 splitboarders—hit the slopes at Utah’s Powder Mountain with the dawn’s early light and don’t go to bed ’til the day’s reviews are complete. From carving smooth powder turns to busting through crud and shredding corduroy, each tester aims to test eight products per day, a task that provided us with more than 1,100 individual reviews to craft the 2019 Gear Guide, available now and packed with tester feedback.

From the 236 products we ran up and down the mountain, each tester nominated their personal favorites. Here are their picks and profiles, so you know who’s doing the dirty work and what they liked best.

Tester John Lauer throws up a spray during 2019 Gear Test Week. [Photo] Matt Kiedaisch

AGE 29, 5 FEET 5 INCHES, 145 LBS.

Squaw Valley, Calif.

CURRENT SETUP

Salomon Hillside splitboard, Phantom Split-tech binding, modified Atomic Backland boots

GEAR PREFERENCE

“I crave dependability. I’ll ride whatever will keep me upright in a steep couloir or on an icy skintrack. Weight is not my primary concern; however, it doesn’t get much lighter than my current set-up. I really feel like I’ve got the best of both worlds.”

VENTURE CARBON PARAGON

$1,189 – venturesnowboards.com | LENGTHS: 156, 160, 161, 165 | WEIGHT: 6.7 lbs. (156)

“This board is quick and even and felt super maneuverable. It performed well on anything steep, icy, corny and powy.”

WESTON BIG CHIEF

$899 – westonsnowboards.comLENGTHS: 157, 164, 168 | WEIGHT: 6.8 lbs. (157)

“Has a comfortable feeling in any condition besides bumps. It’s not super poppy but is very capable and predictable.”

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