Salomon HPS Taka X Wolle 2019

Of the boards ridden at Baldface, Salomon's HPS was among the easiest for riders to adjust to. There was no warm-up period on this one, and its freestyle propensity was appreciated on pat-downs and pillow poppers alike. The large, spooned-out nose and short stubby tail—both rounded and relatively traditional in appearance—were easy to control and floated well. The Hillside Project is a board design endeavor spearheaded by powder savant Wolle Nyvelt, who has gained ample experience in achieving float through his Äsmo powsurf brand. Translating this knowledge to powder-oriented shapes in Salomon's line, Wolle's expertise is now influencing some of the best powder boards on the market. This one is designed with fellow pow slayer Taka Nakai, whose freestyle tendencies shine through in the HPS. The board possesses setback camber with a significant amount of rocker in its nose. The profile floated through waist-deep zones with ease but felt stable in firm sections as well. Complementing the directional camber, significant taper and setback inserts ensured easy planning, but unlike more directional shapes, it retains the capacity for switch landings, which was welcome when the urge to spin struck.

PHOTO: Nick Hamilton

MSRP: $650

Sizes: 155, 158

Specs and Features:

  • Powder Camber under the back foot for explosive turning capabilities.
  • Quadratic Sidecut blends elliptic curves for easy turn initiation, and fluid edge to edge transitions.
  • Increased the width and length of the nose on the board to optimize maneuverability.
  • Rocker on the tip and tail keeps the board on top of fresh snow.

The large, spooned-out nose floated well. PHOTO: Nick Hamilton

The Hillside Project is a board design endeavor spearheaded by powder savant Wolle Nyvelt. PHOTO: Nick Hamilton

Cork in the sidewalls provides extra dampening. PHOTO: Nick Hamilton

The short stubby tail was easy to control. PHOTO: Nick Hamilton

PHOTO: Nick Hamilton

While it's hard to have a bad time riding powder, doing so on a board designed specifically for that purpose elevates the experience. Float is the ultimate goal of a powder board, which can be achieved through a variety of characteristics. Taper means the board's nose is wider than its tail, allowing the board to plane easier in deep snow. Setback inserts work in a similar way, creating more nose than the tail. Strategically designed rocker and camber profiles can enhance float by affecting the way the board reacts to powder. Additional surface area, especially in the nose, is an especially importance trait in a powder board and can be enhanced through additional length, width, or a blend of both. We found the ideal venue to assess these characteristics, by way of a place called Baldface Lodge. Nestled in the British Columbia backcountry, Baldface is accessible in the winter only by helicopter—or a combination of boat and snowcat when there are too many flakes falling to fly. It is a powder paradise unlike anywhere in the world. We showed up here to a fresh meter and a storm that piled up deeper and deeper. Reviewing powder boards: It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

See more 2019 powder board reviews here.