2003 Women’s Board Test

Prior to 1994, the snowboard industry lumped women into the same category as boys and small men when it came to boards, but the release and success of Shannon Dunn’s flowery Sims pro model changed that, and women’s-specific boards started to hit the market en masse.

This year a record number of women’s boards were gathered to be systematically carved, slid, ollied, and grabbed all in the name of finding the best board for you, the reader-rider. Undaunted by their task, TransWorld’s three female testers kicked off the trials in the bro-brah dude-choked Mammoth Mountain snowboard park. A few casual turns eased into a muffin-buttering session, then they charged head-on into the tabletop-clearance test. Boards were high-speed-barged into the superpipe (“I said, ‘Dropping next!'”), and the run was finished off with a relaxing slip ‘n’ slide on the mini rail.

The testers filled out their scorecards, threw back some Gatorade, toweled the sweat from their brows, checked their makeup, and grabbed another board-insert, press play, repeat for four days. In the end, the following five boards rose to, and over the top, in the big ol’ category of women’s snowboards. -A.F.


Eight testers, 65 boards, five days. The board test is more madness than method, but certain ground rules apply. Product is delivered with a tune from the manufacturer (or not); the topsheets are then masked, and each board is given a code number by TransWorld’s weekend shift to limit biases-in order to cheat, testers have to make a pretty big effort.The boards are then carted off to Base Camp at Mammoth Mountain. Riders are whipped and threatened with wet noodles as they trudge through ten-plus boards a day, grinning in a sort of sinister way. Minimum two runs per board are required, and in-between, the “Good Wood” scorecards get filled out-completely, dammit. All the while, board-test tech Ryan Eagan, with some help from Jerms, had hardware flyin’ in order to get riders back on snow for another bout. This is life from open to close.

Each board is scored in six categories that gauge a tester’s impression of how it rides. Big ups are given to boards that stand out in all aspects of park and pipe riding; the scoring makes sure that one with limitations can’t rise. At the end of the week, our numbers-kid Keith Eshelman crunches and combines, averaging the scores of the five men to find the top ten and those of the three women to name the top five. Good Wood is not an easy label to earn.-K.H.

Feelgood 152

Shannon Dunn deserves a lot of the credit for the performance of the Burton Feelgood: “When I designed the Feelgood series,” she says, “I wanted each board to be high performance and great to ride on all types of terrain. The width is not too narrow or wide, and the flex is good for riding fast on hard pack, in a pipe, or down a pow face, as well as doing fun tricks and jibs like rails and boxes. I believe it’s possible to have the one ‘everything’ board.”

Testers labeled the Feelgood stable and solid, but not the snappiest or the quickest to initiate turns. It scored high enough in each category to find its place in the top five and prove itself to be the everything board that Shannon set out to make.

In Burtonese, the technology in the Feelgood is a combination of a Superfly II core with Dualzone EGD grain, and a little lite Triax fiberglass treatment. What does this mean to you? Someone at Burton put in a lot of time and technology to make this board ride “dyn-o-mite.”

Agility 149

Once again Chorus landed a board in the top five with the all-new sidewall construction of the Agility 149, which replaces last year’s capped Determination model. Brand Manager Georell Bracelin says the new construction offers “a more aggressive freestyle shape with a very tight radial sidecut-perfect for advanced-freestyle riders.”

Roberta Rodger, one of Chorus’ teamriders involved in the development of the Agillity, focused on creating a board that holds an edge in the pipe and on kickers, but is still responsive for turning. Roberta says to expect this board to ride best in the pipe and on jumps-even backcountry booters.

Testers agreed: Jennifer thought it was “a little too small and narrow for freeriding, but super fun and snappy for riding small jumps and rails.”

The graphic also marks a move away from frilly girl’s graphics toward what Roberta reluctantly calls “a darker graphic.” This board is dope.

Team Pride 150

Head’s catalog text seems to have been written through the haze of excessive prescription drugs, or meanings were lost through multiple-translations: “Among the deserted snowfields of nowhere mountain. Underneath the trees of the empowerment forest. Someone is watching ( ” But nothing was lost in the translation to snow, as the new Team Pride model wooed testers with solid edge control and turning. One tester noted that it “turns really quickly and holds a good edge.” Davey Kammer, product manager at Head, attributes this to the carbon no-fold stabilizers in the tip and tail of every Team series board-and to its Freeflex insert rails.

Head designers stress the importance of choosing a board with the proper waist width, which explains why the Team Pride comes in two different widths. It also solves the problem one of our testers was having with the board being too narrow. In addition to the women’s Pride series, Head also has a line of boards dedicated to the band Rush-you can take the board out of Europe, but you can’t take the Euro out of the board.

Liberty Carbon 152

Palmer is breaking out of the boardercross market and busting into freeriding with this versatile board. The Liberty Carbon had a home-team advantage at the board test because Mammoth locals Jonnel Janewicz and Alisa Mokler provided most of the R&D input for the board. It was basically built for Mammoth riding.

All of our testers came in from the slopes and wrote a variation of the following words on their forms: “lively,” “poppy,” and “snappy.” Amen Teter, team manager and all-around good guy at Palmer USA, attributes this feedback to the Liberty Carbon’s dynamic honeycomb construction and the carbon-reinforced tail.

Jaime thought it was a little too soft for the pipe. She also experienced a nasty rail bucking that she attributed to the board’s narrow waist. But if you’re planning to rack up some airtime in the park this winter, the Palmer Liberty might be your ticket. Who knew?

Diva 150

The Rossignol Diva is entering the second year of its reign as one of the top five women’s freestyle boards. Once again, we heard back from our testers that this was the all-around board. The versatility of the Diva makes it a standout-it slides, carves, pops, sits, lies down, and rolls over on command. Rossi did a damn good job of obedience training with this stick.

The Diva model was designed with help from Olympic halfpipe silver medalist Dorianne Vidal. It’s not a big surprise then that all of our testers checked it off as a good pipe board, too.

The unique slantwall construction combined with a narrow waist makes this a solid choice for girls who are looking for a super-responsive (easy to turn) board that rides equally well on trails and transitions. This is only the second season that Rossi’s Spanish factory has turned out the Diva-yet another belt notch for the company set on producing “legitimate” snowboards worldwide.