Weight: 133.3 pounds
Boot size: 8.5
Hometown: Couch Surf, U.S.A.
Local mountain: Northwest for life!
Sponsors: No, thank you
Cult hero Scotty Wittlake signed on for the board test-and then he actually showed up! And how the kid loves to snowboard. Hell, he quit being a professional ’cause it was tainting his riding experience. Pretty deep, huh? Nobody quite understood the rationale for performing our board test, though. I mean, testers do get paid … therefore he’s riding for money again. But hey, if he ain’t bothered, neither are we-we were stoked!
Scott’s no slacker-he rigorously tested each board and even retested the boards he scored low on his final day. Here’s a description of his testing technique: “I’d start at the top of the hill and point it. I’d just keep going until the board finally started to become so unstable that I’d explode. Then I’d measure the distance between the starting point and explosion. The longest distance won-that’s it.”
Jokes aside, his testing was mathematical. Each board ran over the same obstacles with identical tricks for accurate comparison-it was clinical. Scotty Potty likes a 157-160 centimeter, medium-stiff board with a medium-waist width.
Johnny “Tsunami” Miller
Weight: 150 pounds
Boot size: 12
Hometown: Arrowhead, California
Local mountain: Bear Mountain
Sponsors: Electric, M6, High Cascade Snowboard Camp
Johnny Tsunami has a real nice ring to it, but you better have some serious skill to back up a nickname like that. Fortunately, the young Bear Mountain loc has serious handrail techniques, with that long, lanky, super-smooth style. And he’s known to get nasty. Johnny won the night jib jam during Bear Mountain’s Wide Open event this year. He also pulls these seatbelt nosegrab maneuvers that have never been seen before. Kind of weird …
Surprisingly, the young jibber rated carving and holding a good edge as two of the most important aspects for a ruling park board-and of course, a dope shape and good flex. Board testing consisted of shredding every medium possible, including kickers, rails, halfpipes, the quarterpipe-and even “logs.” Johnny prefers a 156-159 board with medium flex that’s not too skinny or super wide.
Weight: 165 pounds
Boot size: 10.5
Hometown: Park City, Utah
Local mountain: Park City Mountain Resort
Sponsors: Sims, Section, ThirtyTwo, etnies, Defcon, Alive, Blindside, Neff, Park City Mountain Resort
We were blessed with the presence of ridiculously skilled freestyle phenom Casey Nelson this year. Ever seen perfectly executed blunts popped out of a Superpipe, onto the deck, with flawless reentry? Nelson has ’em locked.
Casey Nelson jibs like a mofo and is equally adept at spinny kicker shenanigans. What made Casey’s board-testing method remarkable was sheer volume-hitting at least twenty rails, ten smaller jumps, six big banger kickers, and a couple of runs through the pipe.
Casey’s ideal park board performed well on rails, as well as jumps, kickers, and the pipe. His assessment: “It seems like companies consider park boards for pipe and booters only-not rails and ollies. Most of the boards were too stiff for an all-round park board.”
Weight: 170 pounds
Boot size: 9
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Local mountain: Mt. Hood Ski Bowl
Sponsors: Grenade, Von Zipper, IPath, Atmosphere, PowerBar
Most pro shreds living in Portland, Oregon spend all of their time at art shows, pubs, and strip clubs. Ahmon Stamps is an exception. Don’t get me wrong, he likes women plenty, but homeboy is a full-time fixture on the Mt. Hood snowboard scene. When it’s raining and slushy out, Ahmon is riding. Icy and flat light, he’s all about it.
We pray a comedic dude like Ahmon attends the board test every year. Within a group dynamic you alwways need a little “pop,” and Stamps has energy to burn. Was the test more rigorous than expected, or was it easy money? “Nothing but fun,” relates Ahmon. The collective’s time with the Mt. Hood loc (by way of Atlanta, Georgia) was all good, as well.
A typical Ahmon run involved hitting the jump line, to the rail line, to the quarterpipe, and finishing off with a spin through the pipe. He was nothing but hyped the entire week, claiming his favorite aspect of The Park at Bear Mountain was “everything! It’s the best park I’ve ridden this year.” Ahmon digs a 158 centimeter board with a soft flex and a medium-wide waist.
Weight: 170 pounds
Boot size: 10.5
Hometown: San Clemente, California
Local mountain: Bear Mountain, California
Sponsors: Are lame
When TransWorld offered Chris the task of board testing, he agreed, but not without hesitation. After a couple of awkward conversations, the matter was finally resolved. Apparently, poor Chris was under the impression he was paying TWS a daily fee to participate in the board test (we paid him)-and he was still going to do it!
Chris Hotel is seriously the nicest kid you’ll ever meet. He recently left the snowboard game for an opportunity in team management at Oakley. Hey, swapping out goggle lenses for Gretchen Bleiler isn’t that hard-the two are an item, after all.
With Chris’ riding skills still intact and his consummate professionalism, he was a shoo-in as board tester. Chris explained his testing strategy: “I’d start by doing mellow turns before really getting on edge hard to see how the board would hold. Then it was straight into the rails. I’d begin with a nosepress to test the flex, followed with a boardslide, and finally graduating into more technical tricks depending on how the board felt. At this point, I’d have a pretty good idea of the stability and flex as I entered the jump section. The great thing about Bear is that the level of difficulty progresses as you go down the run.”