Union T. Rice

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Do you suffer from foot pain and mountain anxiety because your bindings don't support you when and where you really need them? Do you want your bindings to be burly enough to survive the next snowpocalypse? Testers didn't call the T. Rice bindings overbuilt by any means, but they raved over the bombproof hybrid forged carbon/nylon highback and stealth-yet-powerful ankle straps. They said that with such stout highbacks, the bindings performed best when you're in the driver's seat versus the backseat--as in, it takes an aggressive rider to make the most of these.

Union's ExoFrame ankle strap is designed to provide independent suspension by separating the ankle mount strap and the strap itself. As a result, riders get a well-cushioned ankle strap and exceptional response without sacrificing comfort or control. Testers said the design eliminated pressure points and maximized freedom of movement, though not to the point of feeling sloppy. One tester did ponder if the ankle strap seemed a little soft when compared to the hybrid carbon highback. Magnesium buckles are signature Union components, and they were rated as standouts by testers, who pointed out how flimsy some plastic versions can be. Magnesium has four times the strength of aluminum with only half the weight.

Another feature to note are T. Rice's canted gas pedals. Simply put, the front of the binding's footbed, or the "gas pedal," is angled slight inward (toward the opposite leg). It's beneficial to riders with wide stances because it adds leverage for extra ollie power and allows the ankle and knee joints to be aligned. It felt perfectly natural in a 22.5-inch-wide stance as well.

Price: $320.00
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Freeride Bindings



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RAD: Hybrid carbon highback is both strong and aesthetically pleasing. BAD: Some reported the forward-lean latch coming undone while riding.

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Good Wood


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RAD: Hybrid carbon highback is both strong and aesthetically pleasing. BAD: Some reported the forward-lean latch coming undone while riding.

Tested And Approved 2017 Presented by evo.com

Best snowboard gear of 2016-2017? We've got you covered. Going into winter, we want to know what gear can be trusted when put through the wringer. But testing over 500 boots, bindings, goggles, gloves, helmets, splitboards and powder boards, and other backcountry gear and accessories in every snowy corner of the country was a massive undertaking that the TransWorld staff couldn't handle alone. So we sent the latest developments in snowboarding goods to our team of testers spread across the country. With so many unique features in the lineup and different opinions from each tester—both compliments and complaints—there was plenty worth discussing. Some gear broke. Other pieces spoke volumes to functionality and durability. So here you have it: the most inclusive, all-encompassing gear test in snowboarding. If it's in here, it's been beat up and bent every which way – and tested, and approved.

Meet Our Testers:

Adam Broderick

As Gear Editor at TransWorld SNOWboarding, Broderick spent last season directing tests around the country when he wasn't testing gear himself. He administered the Good Wood board test, powder board test, and backcountry test, while leading the glove test and coordinating the others, plus editing all Gear Guide text. He is the point of contact for all things gear-related at TWSNOW.

Mike Horn

Mike Horn's first backcountry pack had bungee cords for snowboard straps. That's a far cry from the innovative gear he tested in his Crested Butte backyard this winter. Mike's been writing about snowboarding for a decade-plus, and he tends to get crusty when reviewing gear that's not quite up to snuff.

Devin Silverthorne-Lillie

A New Hampshire transplant, Devin's Ice Coast roots provide superior edge awareness, and with Breckenridge's Park Lane in her backyard, she practically falls from bed to her board. She put freestyle bindings on trial in and out of bounds—from frozen mornings to spring slush, backyard rail jams to sidecountry booter sessions.

Billy Brown

Billy Brown covered new tech for this year's guide. The California native grew up riding the terrain parks in South Lake Tahoe, but for the past few years his career as a freelance editor has allowed him to snowboard around the world—from heliboarding in Whistler to riding post-storm powder in Valle Nevado, Chile.

Alex Showerman

A freelance writer based in Vermont, Alex took his powder hunt on the road last winter. He schlepped freeride boots, backcountry boots—and enough shells, puffies, and base layers to open a small gear store—around the globe in search of snow in locales like Vermont, Wyoming, Colorado, and Iceland.

Morgan Tilton

Reared in the San Juans of Southwest Colorado, as soon as Morgan could walk her dad strapped her in, and Telluride Ski Resort became her babysitter. Over the past 13 years, snowboarding has taken her through Wolf Creek's whimsical powder days, USASA Slopestyle Nationals, and the cliff-riddled backcountry of Colorado and Wyoming.

Heather Hendricks

From the jagged peaks of Jackson Hole and the Canadian Rockies to the overt opulence of Aspen, the steeps of Alaska, and the striking faces of the La Sals, our contributing editor spent the season traveling to summits near and far. Heather toted along a bin full of boots and tested them all along the way.

Chris Brunstetter

From loitering shop kid to 22-year industry insider, Chris has spent most of his life in the snow and skate industries in Utah, even experiencing firsthand the rise and fall (and second rise and fall) of Forum. He tested freestyle boots and bindings in the man-made and natural parks at Brighton, Snowbird, and Jackson Hole.