The Top 10 Snowboard Products From SIA : 2016 Preview

As we emerge from the White Room of winter trade show haze, a few things have come into focus. Somewhere between the convention centers' harsh neon lights and jarring concrete floors, a few significant trends continue to take flight as more companies innovate and improve their products rather than simply swapping out new color schemes. Sure, there's still an abundance of lifestyle brand collaborations and confusing proprietary names for the same technology, but we’re also seeing functional advances that improve the riding experience and safety.

Most notably, board shapes are contorting quivers into cubist collages as more builders embrace asymmetrical sidecut, swallow tails, scoop noses, and use of the word "surfy". Women have made enough noise against the old "shrink it and pink it" mantra and demanded high performance gear of their own. And backcountry snowboard equipment continues to make the biggest developmental strides each year.

Here's a sample of next year's most exciting gear:

Thirty Two
MTB boot
$500

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It's no surprise to see Jeremy Jones behind the innovation of a big mountain spltiboard boot, but the list of features seem almost too good to be true! With a Vibram sole, stiff shank, crampon welts, taped seems, a waterproof Cordura lace cover, and an adjustable collar piece that gives you more range of motion for long walks, this boot seeks to answer the call for demanding, technical backcountry missions. thirtytwo.com

Abominable Labs
F-BOM Goggle
$250

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For heat-dumping faces that steam up goggles on warmer days or long hikes, anti-fog lens coating and foam vents are simply not enough. Like a car's rear window defroster, the F-BOM has a thin, invisible metal film in the lens that heats up with the push of a rechargeable button to deter condensation. The peripheral vision is a bit narrow and you can even smell a tinge of hot plastic when activated, but the tech works as long as the six-hour batteries last. abom.com

K2
Cool Bean
$600

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Unlike some new swallowtails with drastic tail tapers and fat, scoopy noses, you don't need three feet of pow to have fun on this board. With a 28.7cm waist width, the all-mountain sidecut holds up fine on groomers and the short tail whips through tight trees. While shapes like this are traditionally small-batch experiments by boutique craft board builders, it says a lot that a big company like K2 is making a significant investment in this growing trend with thousands of units in major retailers. k2snowboarding.com

The North Face
Modulator ABS Pack
$999

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Avalanche airbag packs save lives, period. In what's referred to as the Brazilian Nut effect, they're designed to inflate rapidly and keep you on top of slide debris. Although quite expensive, they're worth it, yet hard to justify having more than one for various pack sizes on longer or shorter missions. The interchangeable Modulator system attaches to any size backpack with shoulder straps, so you can throw it on a lightweight daypack or a multi-day expedition pack. Rig the trigger handle on either side and practice safe snow travel so you don't have to use it. thenorthface.com

Spark R&D
Women's Arc
$385

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Spark has heard the call of lady shredders wanting to split with the boys and answered with their first women's-specific touring binding. Sized down for women's boots all the way to a five, the girls' Arc has all the same features as the men's version—a cutout baseplate for lighter weight and adjustability and quick forward lean adjustment ranging from 22 degrees of highback tilt to negative-13 degrees for touring. Also available in the more burly, big-mountain model, the Surge. Say good bye to the Magneto and the After Burner. sparkrandd.com

G3
Scapegoat
$850

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Too many companies are simply splitting their regular camber boards down the middle and slapping an edge on the inside, calling it innovation. G3 recruited board designer Jason Broz to mastermind this pow-tastic split with setback camber and a big, rockered nose. Broz ditched the glass topsheet for lighter weight, multi-directional, custom stitched carbon (instead of an aesthetic carbon veneer), which they assembled in-house, making it significantly cheaper than other carbon splits. It's super light and the shape is sexy. genuineguidegear.com

Niche
Sonnet
$519

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There's a growing market for girls who shred hard like Ana Van Pelt, Niche's Creative Director, and these ladies demand a premium women's board that can hold a serious edge but let go at the right time. For this purpose, Niche licensed their Magne-Traction from Mervin with more aggressive waves for edge hold in the center of the board that mellows out towards the tip and tail. This keeps the ride smooth in and out of turns but less catchy on takeoffs and landings. The Oak top sheet shows Druids harvesting missile tow with a golden sickle for its magical properties. nichesnowboards.com

YES.
20/20 and Clark
$734 and $299

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YES. went for it this year with a super wide blank for 299 dollars that you custom-cut into any desired shape with your own jigsaw. Just sand the edges and get funky with it. YES. also got extremely 3D with a concave base in the tip and tail (inspired by Bill Simmons' surfboards), which testers reported to have insane hydrodynamic float in Baldface powder. It's a true twin meant to ride like a powder hound in both directions. yesnowboard.com

Shred
Slam-Cap
$190

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The reason this helmet is certified in both the US and Europe for snow and bike must have something to do with its "multi-directional impact energy dissipation". Little pieces of foam embedded within the EPS padding microfracture on impact, distributing the force outward into the rest of the padding. Its rebounding capabilities are supposed to be equally effective on high and low speed hits as well as multiple impacts. We've yet to test this brain cage first-hand, but it feels super lightweight. shredoptics.com

VonZipper
Jetpack Trü-Def Goggle
$215

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Goggle companies continue to tinker with tints and reflective lens coatings that mute harsh colors we don't want to see while riding. Spy calls it Happy Lens, Oakley calls is Prism, and VonZipper calls it Trü Def, which they developed with Zeiss lenses. VZ claims Trü Def's colors are more neutral than other rosy or yellow tints available, so colors are more natural. Extra lenses quickly pop in and out with four mounting points and a few easy buttons. vonzipper.com