2004 Women’s Board Test: She-Boards

What’s new with women’s snowboards? This year we’re looking at a new round of big-name brands on the Board Test podium, with more of an emphasis on all-around action than strictly freestyle. The top-five winning boards all have deep roots in snowboard history-a sure sign that practice makes perfect when it comes to board construction. The big ol’ crew of female pro riders behind the development of this year’s boards allows women to be discriminating consumers and ride away with an awesome stick.


Women’s boards tackle a few problems exclusive to the ladies-they combine a narrow width, shorter length, and softer flex for the smaller female rider. But just because Erin Comstock can boardslide a picnic table on the Forum Star doesn’t mean it’s the perfect board for you. Check out the TransWorld testers’ heights, weights, and riding styles to find the girl who’s most like you, and then check out their favorite boards and the top five Good Wood boards of the year. -A.F.




Forum Star
Length: 152 cm
Effective Edge: 118 cm
Sidecut Radius: 7.45 m
Waist Width: 24.7 cm
Price: $395

Modeled after the Forum men’s Elite series, the Star comes with a softer flex and narrower waist. It’s a solid freestyle board with sidewall construction and a directional design. The Lite Rail core combines lightweight wood with hardwood rails, which allows the board to have a mellow flex pattern with easy turning ability and durability. The ’46 and ’49 have a centered stance, but the ’52 and ’56 are set back 3/4 of an inch and an inch. Our tester Leslie thought the Star had a stiff flex with good pop and was a good carver. Erin said it was a stable, easy board to feel confident with on the jibs. This is a great board for a strong woman rider in and out of the park, thanks to the solid flex and good pop.

Available sizes: 146, 149, 152, 156


Option Echo
Length: 152 cm
Effective Edge: 121 cm
Sidecut Radius: Radial 7.6 m
Waist Width: 23.9 cm
Price: $399
Option rider Ming Kao was test-driving Echo prototypes through Whistler’s terrain park all last season. She wanted to develop a more freestyle-oriented board for park riding. The twin shape, softer flex, and shorter available lengths are good for the jibs according to Ming. It’s super poppy, so it’s not as stiff as a normal Option board-but Ming says, “That’s what makes it good for rails and butterin’.” U.S. Sales Manager Maxx VonMarbod adds that the twin shape and centered stance of the Echo were modeled after last year’s winning men’s board, the Option Mirror. TWS tester Erin said, “This board is easy to feel confident on. It had the perfect amount of softness, it’s fun to jib-ride in powder and off jumps, and I finally got a centered stance, which is good for rails.” Leslie thought the board had a good shape, nice flex, and was very responsive.Available lengths: 146, 149, 152


Ride Kashmir
Length: 153 cm
Effective Edge: 118.8 cm
Sidecut Radius: Quadratic 8/7/8 m
Waist Width: 24.1 cm
Price: $460
The Kashmir is a freestyle/freeriding directional board developed with the help of Janna Meyen. Meyen says, “The Kashmir is a functional board that rides good all-around.” She usually rides the 153 in the park and the 157 on the infrequent powder day. Ride Snowboard Development Engineer Hunter Waldron described the Kashmir as a “quiver killer.” He says, “It’s designed as a do-everything high-end board.” The 3-D milled cap makes the board light and responsive, while the quadratic sidecut makes it a fun progressive board to carve. Board tester Jennifer commented, “This board is so light and snappy, it’s impossible not to have fun on it.” Erin thought the board was stiff, had mad pop off the rollers, and ruled the jumps. Available sizes: 147, 150, 153, 157


Salomon Ivy
Length: 154 cm
Effective Edge: 118 cm
Sidecut Radius: 8.5 m
Waist Width: 23.7 cm
Price: $400
Salomon has found the formula, and it’s sticking to it. The Ivy is in its fourth year as Salomon’s top-of-the-line women’s all-around board. It features a women’s specific slot core, which provides lightness and a progressive flex. Salomon teamriders Keiko Yanagisawa and Fabienne Reuteler spent the winter testing these boards on the slopes of Japan and in the halfpipes of Europe. Fabienne says, “The board is good to ride in any terrain. It’s important for me to only have one board for riding the pipe, kickers, and freeriding. The board is good for every level of riding from pro to beginner, and the graphics are sick! For girls only!”TWS tester Jennifer said, “This board was fun to turn, holds an edge well, and is snappy. I’d definitely shred this for a season.” Leslie thought the board was more suited to freeriding than freestyle: “It powers through crud like a champ but is lacking the life of a good freestyle board.” Thanks to its versatile design, this is a great board for charging all the terrain on the mountain-but it might be a little short for the deep pow. Available sizes: 144, 148, 151, 154


Sims Essence
Length: 151 cm
Effective Edge: 114.5 cm
Sidecut Radius: 6.56/7.56 m
Waist Width: 24 cm
Price: $479
This board is women’s specific to the core, literally. The O2 Core is milled down at each side of the inserts and right down the center to make it a lightweight, smooth-turning board. This is no low-end model; the All Mountain High Frequency construction is designed for advanced riders who need fast edge to edge and ollie power. A progressive sidecut eases you into the turn but fires you out of it and into the next. All three testers commented on the joy of carving this lightweight board. Jennifer said, “This is a soft little park shredder, good for jibbin’ and butterin’ around on.” Erin summed it up as a very, very fun, light board for jibbing, jumping, and pipe. The full range of lengths makes the Essence accessible to every rider.Available sizes: 140, 144, 148, 151, 154, 157