Each spring, we test hundreds of snowboards. We call it Good Wood, and it’s been going on for nineteen years now. This past season, we put stacks of park boards through a wringer of metal, wood, and snow at Carinthia Parks at Mount Snow, while a gamut of all-mountain boards navigated Aspen’s variable terrain below the feet of a diverse and discerning crew of testers.
In the nearly two decades Good Wood has been around it has become the gold standard in board testing. The Good Wood stamp of approval is the single most definitive indication of a board’s efficacy that exists in the snowboard industry. But snowboards are fucking expensive. So two years ago, we introduced an accolade--Bang for your Buck--that acknowledges boards with sticker prices slightly less detrimental to your bank statement than others in the test.
This season, as we put together our annual Gear Guide issue, someone here at the TransWorld SNOWboarding office noticed that all four men’s boards that made the Bang for your Buck list--two park, two all-mountain--were made in the same factory: The Mothership.
The Austrian snowboard production facility is a product of both necessity and vision. Its short history is this: When the Elan factory shuttered in 2013, a number of prominent snowboard brands were left without a way to produce their line. CAPiTA was among those brands and stepped up to build a new home for production.
The home they created for these brands--which as of 2017 includes DC, Dinosaurs Will Die, The Interior Plain Project, Niche, Death Label, Allian, and Amplid--is not only producing some of the best snowboards on the market, it also stands as proof that efficiency and effectiveness in manufacturing and ecological and environmental consideration are not mutually exclusive concepts. The Mothership is the most sustainable large-scale snowboard factory on the planet.
More on that here:
The following boards all performed high enough after rigorous rounds of testing to earn Good Wood awards, are low enough in cost to receive a Bang for your Buck designation, and they were all created in a small Austrian village. Considering this season marks the first that Mothership-produced product has been available on the market, the future looks bright.
CAPiTA Defenders of Awesome
The CAPiTA Defenders of Awesome, with a chill price tag of $420 has remained one of the best-selling boards on the market since its 2012 introduction. It also ends up with a Good Wood award year after year. Testers appreciate the stability of the predominantly cambered profile and mid-stiff flex with the forgiveness of a slight bit of early-rise rocker added just before the contact points.
DC Space Echo
Coming in at $450, DC’s newly-released Space Echo is quickly becoming a team favorite, and its effective simplicity won our all-mountain testers over as well. The subtly directional shape and traditional camber profile lend predictable confidence in variable terrain scenarios, complemented by a robust twin flex profile that snaps off lips and holds through chop.
Dinosaurs Will Die maeT
Dinosaurs Will Die’s maeT model is a graphic collaboration with the brand’s fellow Canadian brothers, Salmon Arms. Pronounced ‘mate’, like your Australian pal, this simple, soft-flexing, traditionally cambered freestyle profile has become a staple under the feet of the Dinosaurs Will Die team--hence its name, which is ‘Team’ spelled backwards.
CAPiTA Outerspace Living
CAPiTA boards landed in both the All-Mountain and Park classifications of our Bang for your Buck nominations. The Outerspace Living is a mid-flexing board with a nearly traditonal camber profile, save for a touch of early-rise rocker initiating just before the contact points in the tip and tail. For riders who spend an equivalent amount of time in the park and ripping the rest of the mountain, this is a solid and affordable do-it-all option.
CAPiTA Space Metal Fantasy
On top of the four men’s Bang for your Buck awards that Mothership-made boards scored, CAPiTA’s Space Metal Fantasy landed on the women’s list as well. Coming in well under $400, this board has floated to the top of the Good Wood women’s park test for three seasons now and features a forgiving flat-to-rocker profile that offers freestyle confidence at all ability levels.
So what is so efficient about this factory in Austria that allows it to produce the highest quality snowboards at the lowest price? As CAPiTA sees it:
We believe taking the steps to control and oversee all production processes allows us to build the best snowboards possible. With our new facility, The Mothership, almost all of our sourcing is based within a short drive, and we have the ability to test products on-hill year-round in this region of Austria. We are also maintaining craftsmen and workers in the area that now have decades of experience building great snowboards. We believe these steps are important to producing and delivering the best snowboards.