Advancements in snowboarding

Snowboard season is in full swing and that means many ski and board shops are very busy.Evan Buhler photo Mikaela MacKenzie Photo

Snowboard season is in full swing and that means many ski and board shops are very busy. Evan Buhler photo
Mikaela MacKenzie Photo

Like a teenager going through puberty, the sport of snowboarding has gone through many changes since its inception.

From the boots snowboarders wear when strapping onto their boards to the material the board itself is made of, the technology behind making the perfect board has made giant leaps.

Evan Thairi, sales associate at The Source Snowboards and Skateboards and ten-year snowboarding veteran, said that snowboarding has seen the greatest change in the past seven years.

This big change is the fact that manufacturing plants that produce snowboards have taken to owning personal tree farms to make their boards.

“The larger manufacturers have started to buy their own tree farms, allowing for trees that are specifically grown to become a snowboard. It makes for a lighter yet stronger board in the end.”

Another change that Thairi mentioned was that most boards are no longer surrounded by fiberglass and that most companies have made the switch from a fiberglass board to something that is called basalt glass.

“This mainly affects the strength and weight of the board, but also contributes to the smoothness and the speed of the ride,” Thairi explained.

While the most changes that the sport of snowboarding has seen have occurred over the past few years, Thairi stated that a recent develop.m.ent that snowboard companies have conceived is the develop.m.ent of what he calls a beginner’s board.

Thairi explained that older boards, when placed flat on the ground, will be raised slightly in the middle. This raise “acts as a spring for the rider,” he said.

Thairi added that when the rider bends his knees to turn on his edge, that middle piece will compress to the ground. When the rider pushes off from the edge the “spring action” takes effect, pushing the rider faster down the hill.

“This causes a very aggressive ride for newbies,” Thairi said Thairi while new boards such as Rocker Boards act “more like a teeter-totter.”

Thairi also said that for the weekend warriors of the hill, a hybrid between the Rocker Board and the original is available.

Small changes have also been made to the bindings of the snowboard. With the addition of the toe cap that is used to strap the boot in, Thairi said it is not only more comfortable, it also offers more control.

“The top of a snowboard boot is pretty soft. So with the old straps coming over-top of the boot it pinches your foot,” Thairi explained. “The toe cap goes directly over the toe of the boot and pushes your heel deeper into the binding, allowing for more control when you are [turning].”

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