Recently, I had the pleasure of getting some shredding in with a pack of old friends at Stowe. It’s always fun to ride with pack of your friends (and their friends). Everyone has a different take on how to attack and destroy the mountain. I may be taking the same run that I’ve done a million times from the top of the Quad through the blues and into the parks, but each time is always different. In this case, I hadn’t ridden “hard” in over a year, especially since last season I only had 6 days in total. Yep, 6. Ouch. Each time is always a fun surprise, and nothing compares to riding at mach 3, wolf pack style in a group of 10 deep, bouncing around the mountain.
To add to the surprise, my friend greeted me with one of the latest Burton Snowboards, the Parkitect. I remember hearing a couple of rumors about a new park board, something for the cool kids and saw a couple of iPhone pics from SIA. At this point, everyone makes a great park board so I was curious to know what would set this board apart from the rest. If on cue, the crew spent the morning bouncing around the mountain with lap after lap through the Stowe parks.
Set-up: Burton Snowboard 2013 Parkitect 150, Burton 2013 Genesis bindings, Burton 2009 Coalition Rulers (and Burton 2013 Ions)
Conditions: It’s been a meek snow year (up until this weekend) on the East Coast. It was windy and fogged in at the top while the bottom was a sunny, spring day. The snow varied from a few inches of fresh powder to slush to ice-hard boilerplate. Kickers, rails, boxes, hips, wall rides, booters, you know the drill.
Thoughts: Here’s my initial review. I’ll update with the tech specs and marketing copy once I get my Dealer books. As I said above, it takes a lot to up the ante in the world of park boards. At first blush, the Parkitect is pretty understated. The graphics are very quiet (I thought it was this one, but production graphics are also very sedate). The biggest things you’ll notice are the distinctive tip and tail shapes. I rode the 150, which is about 2-4cm shorter than I typically ride.
The first thing my friend wanted to do is double-check my stance set-up as it has a very clear tip and a tail, even though it is a twin. It turns out that the board is asymmetric. Interesting. When pressed, I was told that the board has asymmetric Frost Bite edges and Squeezebox. WTF is Frost Bite and Squeezebox? A quick reminder from Burton.com.
Off-Axis Frost Bite: Get superior defense against rust and corrosion for edges that remain razor-sharp.
Off-Axis Squeezebox: Squeezebox is a patent-pending technology that transfers energy outward from under your feet, energizing the tip and tail for added snap when exiting a turn and ollieing. Thinner core sections underfoot transition to thicker, more powerful areas between and outside your feet for a more stable board that can be powered up and manipulated with less effort.
So, what does asymmetric Frost Bite and Squeezebox mean? I’ll try and tackle these one by one. By mapping the Frost Bite edges to be toe and heel specific, this creates better, more refined edge control. Areas of thinner and thicker core profiles, tied to separate heel and toe zones offers less overall board weight and more power in key spots. Asymmetric boards aren’t new. If you can remember the Santa Cruz Asym or the Burton PJ, asymmetric boards have been in place since the early 90s. Most recently, YES has incorporated asymmetrical sidecut into their boards. The theory is that the power and conditions that the toeside of your snowboard encounters is different than the heelside. This can be seen with things like highbacks, cankles, booty, etc. The Parkitec adds its own spin by also mapping the asymmetric portions of the board based on a standard duck stance.
If you haven’t fallen asleep with that random babble on asymmetry, you’re probably wondering how the board rode. I initially rode it my first day with my stock angles (21 in the Front, -18 in the Back with a 24 inch stance). Over time, I’ve increased my stance width, but also angles for more aggressive riding in all conditions. With the Parkitect, I began to back down my stance. My standard set up seemed to be overkill. I found with this board (note: were combined with the Genesis bindings), I found that I didn’t need to be so aggressive with my carving to set an edge. With the mixed bag of conditions that I rode, I attributed this change to the asymmetric tech. So this sounds ok, may be somewhat interesting, but keep in mind that I was testing a 150. For more perspective, I weigh 185 lbs at 5’9″, so I’m no tinkerbell.
On rails, off booters, on wood, on metal walls, the board was predictable, stable and confidence building. I hadn’t been in anything bigger than the famry park in about 2-3 years. After a couple of laps, I found myself hitting every feature in the park and blasting the kickers, feeling like I was getting back into the groove. I did wash out a few landings, but I attribute this to my poor landing skills tied to the smaller board more than anything else.
On flatland, this board was super fun with lots of good pop. Interestingly I had a couple of moments where I was sure that I was going to eat it from catching an edge, but was able to pull it out magically (and no the board isn’t rockered). I couldn’t comment on its powder or bigger mountain abilities, but with a name like Parkitect, you’re not buying it for its snorkel abilities.
Carves well, crushes the park, and puts you in that happy place. Sign me up for a great east coast board.
My friend told me that I might now want to return it after the day. He was right as it’s currently sitting in my house (on loan until the US Open).
|From Burton: Smarter than your average board.
Recently there have been some strange happenings at our Vermont proto shop. Working with Jeremy Jones and Zak Hale, we began designing a board built specifically around a park rider’s stance. NEW Off-Axis Squeezebox and Frostbite means never-before-seen tweaks in 3D core profiling and edge geometries. The result is a distinct toe and heel edge that works with your stance for smoother flex, focused pop, and direct edge control where it matters most.