Ever wonder how those shop employees know so much about the boards they are selling? How some of them even bust out the line, “I rode this board and it was really great for… no matter which board you are looking at? Well, some of them are full of crap, but others have probably taken advantage of a little thing called the On Snow Demo.

What is an On Snow Demo you ask? Okay, you probably didn’t ask that because the name is pretty self explanatory, but if you did, it’s a time when companies bring out their entire new lines, set up booths at the base of a resort, and let retailers try out whatever they want. And the east coast’s biggest and best On Snow Demo went down at Stratton Mountain Jan. 30—Feb. 2, 2006.

All the major companies had booths. Burton had the typical 3 tent set up, and Ride had their own Winnebago where the hard working demo helpers could warm up. Rome was doing things right with two handles of Jack and Capita had a snow skate rail set up in front of the booth. Winterstick was also entertaining themselves with snow skates, with plans to turn a snow bank into a quarterpipe by the end of the show.

Though the On Snow isn’t technically open to the public—you can’t demo gear unless you have the cool-guy badge—it’s not guarded by security either. That means anybody can walk around and see all the latest gear and then go home and brag to their friends about the board they are going to get next year. But to get the cool-guy badge, you’ve gotta be representing a shop or a snowboard company.

Shop employees and rep riders from all over the northeast, Pennsylvania to Jersey, Main to Vermont, were milling about switching out bindings and boards and enjoying the best part of an On Snow Demo, taking some runs. Yeah, cause unlike a regular trade show, the mountain is right there. “It’s better than a trade show cause you don’t sit on a concrete floor and talk shit about how good things are, Capita’s Johan Malkowsi said. “You actually go ride. This is by far the best trade show.

Of course there is still a bit of talking shit about how good things are, and in case you were wondering, next year it’s all about the crazy binding tech. Flow now has a binding that looks and rides more like a two strap, the NXT, Ride’s Movement bindings are 10% lighter than anything else on the market and Salomon has mixed things up with its Relay Binding. It is the first binding with a soft heel cup to increase heel hold and flex. Not that that matters though cause you’ll probably buy Burton bindings anyway, but whatever.

Between high fives, shredding and checking out the new prody, there’s barely time for anything else, but never fear, the On Snow Demo doesn’t forget about the parties. “I really won’t know how good the show is until I go to the parties tonight, Winterstick’s Whitney Phillips said. But Pan Fenelon pretty well summed up the experience at the Green Door pub. “People will be getting shitty, drinking and making a mess. Chris Piadic will be spilling beer on himself even though he’s like 30. It will be a really good time.