2008 snowboards already?

That's right, 08 snowboards, bindings, boots, goggles and what not are already appearing under pros feet and at the SIA in Vegas. What to expect next year on the slopes? New tech? Yes but mostly, just new styles, new looks and new trends as seen above with the always stylish and trendy JP Walker's new board, boots and matching bindings.

Burton is taking their child company Forum's technology and call it their own. I-Lock is split in half and the single rail replaces the one line of inserts on Uninc. boards. The new mounting patterns will, in typical Burton fashion, only work with Burton bindings.

The best-seller Dominant series from Burton will sport an old school skateboard grip tape pattern top sheet look. What's weird is that most kids buying these boards were in diapers back when we placed our grip tape like that. Maybe they are targeting older park riders.

Lib Tech won't release the Banana Hammock board just yet. For those who don't know about it, it's a very surf looking board with a reverse camber and reverse sidecut to ride powder just like a surfer ride waves. They still have half of it in the new Banana Skate snowboard with a regular Magne-Traction sidecut mated to a reverse camber to produce a very easy to ride fun machine. K2 also had a convexe camber board at SIA but just not as yellow and with regular edges of course.

At the recent X-Games, Travis Rice was seen riding his 08 board with... let's just say, much less hours spent on graphics. I'm just glad I got the 2007 board.

Hampus Mosesson was also riding a 08 board at the X-Games, probably next year's Gnu Rider's Choice.

Bataleon, like Lib Tech, wanted to make an easier to ride board so they came up with a base that is not flat. The middle part is flat and each side is lightly slanted to make the board less prone to catch an edge and make smooth edge transfers.

Other new products? Apparently, Nike will be making snowboard boots. We haven't seen a DC snowboard yet but I would be surpised to see new DC riders Devun Walsh, Lauri Heiskari and Iikka Backstrom riding prototypes for a whole year so I'm guessing we will see those sooner or later... I could go on but since we haven't spent nearly enough time on our 07 gear yet, I'll leave the rest for a later time.


I moved

I don't post much these days do I? No no, I didn't slice my fingers off while sharpening the edges on my board, preventing me from typing on my keyboard, I just moved. That's right, I rented a truck, tricked a few friends into helping me out and I left the Plaza St-Hubert hell hole for a smaller but better world. I don't have my computer plugged yet and I have many things to do still so expect a week or so of less than frequent postings. I'll be back in full force though...


Is Burton ruining the best team?

Apparently, snowboard icon Devun Walsh (above) has left Forum after all these years. Iikka Backstrom and Lauri Heiskari also left and are now on DC with Devun... which leads to a rumor that DC will be making snowboards, or rather have another brand make boards with the DC logo. Names that are popping out as possible board maker are Rossignol and Mervin since they all are under the Quiksilver umbrella. To be continued but... speaking of Quiksilver and Lib, Travis Rice, who was the number 1 Oakley rider left the big O and will now be riding with Quiksilver outerwear and goggles.

We should have seen it coming, Burton buys Forum, Jeenyus, Special Blend and Foursquare, they first kill Jeenyus, they kicked BJ Leines out of Forum last year, they steal their i-Lock technology and now riders are starting to leave... That's what you get when only money matters.


Why you should wear a helmet

Tuesday night, at Bromont, a 41 years old skier died from head injuries... of course, he wasn't wearing a helmet. He was also on a closed portion of the Cowansville that didn't have sufficient snow so dirt and rocks were exposed to rip skin and break bones. I don't have any pictures, sorry, they closed a few slopes when it happened so we had to ride the same few slopes for the rest of the night.

I wont try to convince you to wear a helmet if you are not already doing so, no. You can decide for yourself. But if you would be watching a hockey game and you would see a player without a helmet, what would you think? Nuts! Before, no hockey players wore helmets. Now, when I go mountain biking and see a rider without a helmet, I think to myself, am I back in 1993? This guy is asking for trouble! We could go back to when motorcycle riders didn't wear helmets but you get my point.

Back to snowboarding, 2007. The proportion of riders wearing helmets on the slopes is rising to close to 50% and will keep growing. Since this year, helmets are mendatory in all snowparks in the province of Quebec and I wouldn't be surprised if helmets get mendatory sooner or later all over the resorts, and not only here. Then, in a few years, we will look back at old pictures or movies and scream how old school looking is riding without a helmet.

So, do yourself a favor, get a helmet and start wearing it. It's warm, many helmets dont look bad at all, they are relatively cheap, it might save your life and it will prevent trails to be closed on the mountains for us non-dying riders. The faster you start wearing one, the faster we'll all think it looks stupid without one.



Finally, some snow! I wonder if I'll remember how to snowboard, it's seem it has been such a long time!


Winter is back

And I hope it's back with a vengeance! Sub-zero temperatures, an end to these constant rains that melt or turn snow into ice, resorts are now able to resume snow making and maybe, just maybe, we will get our first snowstorm of the season.


Introducing iPhone

After years of speculation, Apple finally introduced their take on what is the best cell phone... and they might just be right about it! No more buttons as we know it! All is done with the touch screen with a face proximity detector.

The iPhone is a cell phone, a 2 mega-pixel camera, an iPod of course, a wide-screen videoplayer, it has Bluetooth, WiFi, emails, Safari, Google Earth, it detects if you hold it vertically or horizontally, taking pictures and displays accordingly... It has a slimmed down version of the great OS X operating system and of course syncs music, videos, pictures, address book, iCals, bookmarks and such with your computer. It's 11.6 mm thin, 115 x 61 mm, weighs 135 grams, has 5 hours of talk/video/browsing time and 16 hours of audio playback.

I want one! Do I need one? Yes and no. I have a working phone and an iPod but my few years old 3G ipod is starting to agonize. Let's just hope it holds up until we can get the iPhone in Canada. When? No traces of the iPhone on Apple's canadian website so it may arrive here later than the US June release. In the US, Cingular has a deal of exclusivity and the 4GB model with a 2 year contract will go for 499$ USD and the 8GB model will be 599$, far from cheap!

I was not too far off after all...

On another note, Apple Computers Inc. is now called Apple Inc.


Winter's over, roll out the bikes

Is the winter already over? It didn't even start some will argue but it looks like the mountain bike season might start early in 2007.

While we are still not sure what season we're in, never sure if we should throw a board in the car or a bike up the roof when we leave from home, some will choose to stay in the city, other with more budget will hunt down the snow and head out west where they have almost too much of it. I'm getting in the bike mood more and more day by day. Like on typical boring rainy days, it's sometimes a good idea to visit something like a museum or a bike production facility. Don't have a bike company around the block? You have that famous interweb people are talking about, then go ahead, visit one of the best bike manufacturing facility.

Here is the article from the guide and here is the gallery of a visit of Cannondale. Note that you cannot just go anywhere you want and take pictures of anything you see, they have many secret technologies and manufacturing process but it's still interesting to see a few things that make Cannondale stand apart from the rest of the industry.

The guts of the Lefties.

What does it take to break a bike? Cannondale test everything from frames to other companies components they intend to put on their bikes.

Cannondale's unique tab and slot technology allows tubes to fit like a well made puzzle. A top tube cut in may 2005 will fit in a head tube made in November 2006 as well as if they were cut the same day.

A bunch of unpainted Prophet swingarms.


Party with Lucidik and Tone E Scott

Tone E Scott is leaving Montreal to go see if he's in Europe. It's also his birthday so come, give a few bucks to help him finance the move and hear the beats played by my pal Lucidik with a few cold drinks. Tonight 9PM at Les Pas Sages, 951 Rachel Est in Montreal...


Does Magne-Traction really work?

After checking the weather forecast yesterday, I decided to go snowboarding. Warm temperatures and rain might be back so I thought I wouldn't get the chance to ride for a while. It was icy. Very hard, slick ice almost everywhere, not the best conditions to ride. A lot of people falling on their asses. Beginners must have had a hard time. A positive about the conditions: I got to test the Magne-Traction sidecut of my board.

In short, it works. Magne-Traction and ice work like fries and ketchup! I wouldn't go as far as Lib Tech and say it turns ice into powder though, but who would believe that really?

At first I thought it was not much better than a regular board but I think it was just in my head. I could hear other boards and skis around me making the horrible sound of the edges scraping the ice so my mind got in the ice-riding setting automatically: just go with it, go fast, go with the flow without trying to turn abruptly!

Then I remembered my edges were slightly detuned... Hummm, and it still rides as good as a freshly sharpened board with conventional edges so I thought the Mag was indeed doing something. As the night progressed, I pushed it more, and more, and more until I eventually found out I could control the board very well, I could make nice carves on huge, slick, hard patches of ice, eventually carving enough to make the edge/ice sound almost completely a thing of the past.

Riding switch on ice is something I wouldn't do much usually but I could almost slalom like an old school racer, switch, on ice... People with freshly sharpened boards were losing their edges quite often and I saw many ice-caused falls during the night... Lucky for them, I could turn to avoid them just fine. I didn't fall once (not counting the falls not related to ice but because I was fooling around). Was it the board? My ice riding abilities or both? Of course, as years of experience pile on, I can deal with ice on standard boards but the Mag makes riding on ice much more enjoyable. I wonder how it would do if I were to sharpen the edges, I would probably split the whole ice box that is the resort in half! Magne-Traction technology is quite impressive.

So the board gets two big thumbs up. Great on groomed snow, great on hard snow and great on ice. Now I just need to test it in deep powder... but I doubt I will be able to do so over here this year, so far, we are having the worst winter I can remember of.

The bindings are still great... only one negative point. The buckles. Every once in a while, the buckles of the ankle straps don't engage when tightening them... they just go in neutral. I have to crank with a slight angle relative to their axis so they can bite and crank the strap. Weird and annoying. They also can be hard to unthighten sometimes, they don't always unlock as they should and once they do, the straps get off all the way out. Not practical when I just want to ease the pressure to get on the chairlift.

The bindings get one thumb up. They still are light, responsive, comfortable and good lookin'.

Air & Style video: step by step

Want to see the best of the best of the snowboard world? The latest, biggest, craziest tricks? Watch the Nokia Air & Style of Munich step by step, jump by jump until only the cream of the crop are left for the final. You can really see the level the sport has reached. Enjoy!


Good Year

No not the tires, just a good wish for 2007, Jaylib style!

What went on on in the last week or so? Well, I probably gained some weight, lost a few brain cells and got to sleep some. But the holidays were not perfect, not much snow (again) so we didn't get to ride much and it doesn't look good for the days coming... depressing. And I'm back to work now.