This the first snowboard show of the year with a difference, it’s on snow and you can ride all the gear! It’s a great way for us to preview next year’s boards, bindings and goggles for the coming season.
The Avant Premier test is held in La Clusaz, which is a great little French resort with, really varied conditions in easy access so great for testing boards back to back in similar conditions. Last year we were treated to amazing conditions with fresh powder and great times this year was more worrying when we arrived in resort as the early snow was looking a bit “worn out” so were praying the forecast was true and top up the snow and open up the off piste lines!
We were excited to see the new models and graphics from our favorite brands and models and we weren’t disappointed! We had a small team of testers this year so were straight out grabbing some new kit and hitting the lifts.
At this point of the season we can’t be too specific over everything as some brands want to keep things secret but we give some info without getting into too much trouble.
The core Burton range is still looking great with the classic Custom, Custom FV and Process looking awesome and riding just like we always liked them. The Burton Trick Pony and Antler are well worth a look. The tweaks to the Burton bindings bring us some great improvements on already favorite bindings like the Mission and Cartel. For the ladies our testers loved the Sweet Tooth and Lipstick from last season but this season then the Lipstick and Feel Good FV were the boards of choice and had to be ripped away as our girls were hogging them from the other testers!
The “business chat” from the show was great and the team from Avant and the sponsors this year didn’t disappoint with some end of day refreshments of French crepes and beer to finish off the days riding.
Our guy testers also loved the new Bindings from Union and the DOA and Horroscope from Capita being great underfoot and understanding the goodwood awards they have got plus the graphics are sick this season with hints towards the awaited new Capita video.
We have left the best till last…. The Never Summer snowboards for 2014. There was an early release of the Ripsaw in end of December this year but we hadn’t got to ride one till now. This board is going to be hotly sought after next season! The Never Summer rocker camber profile has been tweaked to give twice as much camber. This means more grip and control but still loose and floaty like the current Never Summer boards. The other current Never Summer boards all get new graphics this season and it looks like one of the nicest ranges for the past few seasons. The Proto HD and Cobra were still favorite boards with our testers and the new Snowtrooper that is looking as a great evolution from the ever popular SL board with new blunted shape and profile and awesome camo in the graphics!
As the test progressed our prayers were answered and the snow came in for us to get a chance to see how boards behaved in the steep and deep! Also it made ideal conditions to test out Goggles from our favorite brands. There is some awesome new magnetic goggles from Anon which the M2 goggles were team favorites for last season. Then there is some awesome new tech and a new goggle from Dragon. We saw the photocromatic lens from Smith the other year, which was amazing but was expensive. Well there is a new transitions lens for the Dragon APX Goggle coming. We just hope the price is as good as the lens works. This is great for bright to grey flat light conditions adjusting quickly to cope with changing conditions. But for the full on white out then the yellow/blue ion lens from Dragon is still better to help with definition. Finally we were just as happy back to back testing the Smith and Anon Lens’s in the low light with the dragon all these goggle companies have done a great job for low light. Some of our testers hadn’t used newer googles like these before in these kind of conditions and were so impressed the have new goggles already on the birthday and xmas lists for this next year!
So that’s as much as we can spill the beans on at the moment but we hope to fill in our orders and can’t wait to get this hardware into the shop next season. Next up for us is the ISPO show in Munich to see all the prices and extra details and the clothing and accessories for next season.