As I walked around the Colorado Snowboarding Museum last season during the US Open in Vail, Colorado with Pat Bridges and Trent Bush as part of a Chill fundraiser, I couldn’t help but notice the similarity of snowboard shapes from the late eighties / early nineties to the current crop of offerings in 2016. It’s quite amazing how the quote on quote ‘surfy vibe’ is back in play with today’s builds, albeit with modern technology for an improved ride edge to edge, but practically the same (basic) shapes tip to tail.
In effect you have a genre of riders nowadays looking for the same exact terrain and stoke that snowboarders have always flocked to the mountains for, and that’s having a good time with your friends in powdery conditions. The beauty of these modern day beasts is guys like JG have done so much tinkering and testing with a global R&D squad they know how to make any shape work, and that means covering ground that’s soft snow, deep powder, chop, groomer and what many video highlights will attest to is effectiveness in a park setting. We’re all very lucky to be riding in this day and age, snowboard shapes are awesome, nice to look at and fun as can be, bindings or no bindings.
The 2017 Family Tree SkipJack Surf is one of these boards; beautiful shape, great construction, insane ride and a big reason I’m writing this post, the base graphic!
British Columbia, Canada is a mecca for outdoor activities, it’s position on the planet places it against the Pacific Ocean on the west, Alberta 1100 kms to the east, Yukon Territory in the North and the United States down south. Boasting 587,030 square kilometers (364,764 mi²) of land in this beautiful province, you’d be hard pressed not to find something amazing around every corner, whether it’s the mountains, rivers, lakes, wildlife or people. I’ve been fortunate to visit BC dozens of times in the search for powdery terrain over the years with a slew of talented shredders building video parts and movies. Our Canadian hosts have always come correct with knowledge, knowhow and a desire to show their guests a good time, it can’t be beat.
A couple of seasons back Mikey Rencz, Aaron Leyland and Mark Sollors were hosting Tim Manning, John Jackson and I, showing us everything our hearts desired that weather and avalanche conditions would allow. One particular day we headed up a go-to snowmobiling trailhead, hoping for a break in the clouds but knowing good and well it probably wouldn’t happen. Our hosts made a fair assessment of avy conditions and visibility, so we settled on a location sub-alpine that would serve up a day’s worth of goods.
As you can see in the base graphic image, snow likes to pile up on the BC trees, it’s borderline insane how much fresh powder calmly rests on these branches! After setting a boot track up a pillow filled face, the boys got to work eyeing their lines while the filmers angled up their cine lenses and tripods. I hopped into place, ready for action. In the meantime (as I always do) while final decisions were going down, I was plucking away at environmental images, anything in range I could nab with a 70-200mm lens. Anytime I’m in these situations I find it difficult not to shoot way too many photos, but heh, I’ll edit them down later!
When I collected this image that fine day in British Columbia I had no idea it would eventually land on the base of the SkipJack, but I’m really glad it did. This shape is perfectly suited for riding deep powder and beyond as we were that day, featuring traction pads giving you the option to descend without bindings amongst those snow filled trees in any location around the world. This dual-purpose board is a looker for sure, but also gets the job done no matter what the mountain throws at you, as you can see with the images below. Have a look at your local Burton flagship store or retailer and Burton.com; you can also keep your eyes peeled for a Burton demo at a mountain near you. Thanks for reading! Blotto
All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016
**Venturing into any wintery backcountry scenario requires a plan, knowledge of snow conditions, proper guiding, working equipment, letting somebody know where you’re going AND the ability to say NO to any given slope, no matter how good it looks. Any amount of fresh snow accumulation needs to be treated with respect and checked for avalanche potential**