Scratch one off the snowboarding bucket list …. went to Mt. Hood last week with the guys from Arkade. It was an awesome time and I really enjoyed my last two days on snow for 2011/2012 ( days 105 and 106 ). It was also great to get up there and see all the homies from SLC as well. Winter is coming fast and I’m stoked. It’s always a special time of year when the fall temperatures move in and everyone comes back to SLC from where ever the summer took them.
If you were keeping up you knew my back injury really became an issue at the end of the Utah season but I’m also happy to report after many weeks off work and some close encounters with some really big needles (and some big piles of bills too I might add) all is well and Mt. Hood was my official return to duty.
As I nail down my writing obligations for the season I’ll post them here. So far I can confirm I’ll once again be helping the great guys behind Utah’s premier shred magazine Arkade and also returning to Brighton Resort as part of their Park Blog Team. I also can be found from time to time hyping SLC on Angrysnowboarder.com. Finally I have a big project that is still unconfirmed but I’m really hoping it comes to fruition.. once I have solid information I’ll most certainly share…
Finally I have a few product reviews I want to get out before the season begins and there is still a plan in the works to retool this site into something different from what it has traditionally been. Since I am working on so many “industry” projects I’m moving away from that here and will transition to more of a lifestyle/shred blog but with a bit of a twist which I will hopefully be able to reveal before the end of 2012. ( p.s. it does NOT involve earthquakes, giant god-snakes, and the end of the Mayan calendar).
Thanks for reading and hope you are ready for the season as it is approaching fast!
The Niche Aether limited release in its distinctive black and teal colorway
Salt Lake based Niche Snowboards will enter their second season of board production in the fall of 2012. Their Aether is an all-mountain model I was fortunate enough to spend an extended amount of time on last spring and it is a board I really enjoyed. In October of 2011 Niche announced that they would be licensing Magne-Traction from Mervin and would incorporate the technology into the 2013 Aether. However for those unable to wait they issued a limited release Aether available this season. I was able to spend a few days on this limited release model, and luckily I not only got in some good days at Brighton but also took it to Snowbird during one of our rare powder days. Other than the addition of Magne-Traction the Aether for 2013 is much like the 2012 model, a mid-stiff, all mountain twin which makes it the go to Niche board if you are looking for a more progressive park/trick oriented style of all mountain riding. The other notable change is the switch from the 2012 pure reverse shape to a hybrid with reverse in the mid-section and a mellow regular camber on the tips. Niche boards have come to be known for two stand out features, insane pop and unreal dampness and the Aether for 2013 upholds this tradition. Even on a 20 inch pow day at Snowbird the Aether was a stable ride in the late afternoon chop. The addition of the Magne-Traction is the icing on the cake for the already fun Aether and its very slight reverse camber underfoot feels closer to flat. Couple the Magne-traction with the slight cambered rise in the tips and you get that little bit of extra edge control/hold needed for non traditional camber boards to help prevent the tips from feeling “floppy” and loose. The Mid-stiff rating is as advertised and this all mountain board was great popping off the natural hits on Brightons Millicent Mountain as well as the numerous drops and cat track gaps at Snowbird. That being said for a mid-stiff rated flex I found the Aether just nimble enough to butter over rollers and press in the flats with a bit of effort put into it. It is stiff torsionally which is good as it’s not a jib board and you dont want that jibby torsional flex when you are pointed down the steeps and pushing through the chop. However if you are a very aggressive park rider doing large jumps and really big gaps to rails you may find the Aether a surprising fit. Niche team member Everest Arnold has been seen killing the Aether in Brighton’s Park but I’ll caution and reiterate I’m talking about high level, aggressive, park slayers on the sponsorship level not your average joe. Overall for me as someone who prefers softer playful boards the Aether is a board I’d ride all the time at Snowbird but be a bit selective with it at flatter resorts such as Brighton or Park City where I do more lateral “playing” on the mountain hitting natural jibs and rollers versus high speed bombing. If all mountain if your cup of tea this board will not disappoint you on any front as it carves, bombs, and jumps with ease, holds up well at high speed, and can even be a bit playful when you want it to.
In addition to the Aether I was able to check out the rest of the Niche 12/13 line this past winter at SIA and heres a look….
The Niche Aether in its “normal” colorway for 2013 on the left and the Knew, Niche’s park board on the right…
The Mid-flex Theme on the left. A park board for more aggressive riders. On the right the Minx which is Niche’s board for the ladies.
On the left the Story Niches more traditional all mountain board and to the right the limited graphic Aether
The Knew in an alternate black matte colorway. Black Matte is a huge trend for the upcoming season and was seen through out SIA on goggles, boards, and bindings from many companies. Big ups to Niche designer Ana Van Pelt on the foresight and ability to spot this trend and have a Niche product that features it.
I am the person I am today because of skateboarding. I can say without hesitation that skateboarding changed my life forever. Although I came to SLC from Alabama in ’96 and quickly assimilated into the snowboard culture ( y’know the skateboarders retirement plan) it’s still skateboarding that started it all. I may not know all the kids nowadays like I do the snow kids but I still love and appreciate what skating is, what it stands for, and what it’s given to me. It’s hard to even articulate the impact it’s had on my life, no strike that it’s not hard it’s impossible. You may be one of the millions who pick up a skateboard and flirt with it a few years and move on to other things, that’s fine I hope you at least get a better or different perspective of the world because of it. However if you’re a lifer, one of those people that it profoundly effects forever the story of Crys Worley and A.Skate must strike you at your core. It’s a good chance most skaters know this story but many snowboarders may not. Take a few minutes to watch the trailer below for HeartChild and if you can find the means please help by donating 5 10 or whatever you can to the HeartChild Kickstarter. If you can, please pass the information on as well. Especially to anyone you may know that is an advocate for Autism but may not be involved with the Skate/Snow world. Thank you skateboarding, thanks Crys, thanks Faith of Birmingham Alabama, and thanks to Ben Duffy. Bama Pride!
Visit the HeartChild KickStarter here.
Find out more about A.Skate here.