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.
Last year when we had our amazing 800 inch snow year I was lucky enough to spend a good bit of the spring at Snowbird on the Niche Aether and had a blast on it This review is a great example of why I do not like to review a board after just a couple of runs. When I first got on the Aether I knew it was going to be a bit stiffer than I was used to and if I just had a day or two on it it probably wouldnt have been my cup of tea. However over the spring as I got to ride it and get used to the all mountain stiffness I ended up having tons of fun. Where The Knew didnt quite fit my jib style the Aether was great for my style of all mountain riding ,especially at the steeper slopes of Snowbird. I found it poppy when I needed it to be but still forgiving enough for fun high speed butters. The Aether is Niche’s reverse camber board but the reverse is so slight that it really feels closer to a flat camber. I would say this is the most stable pure reverse board I’ve ever ridden that didn’t have some sort of edge technology. Of the three Niche boards I’ve been on this one is by far my favorite. Although it is the “all mtn board” it should be noted that Niche rider Everest Arnold kills this thing in the park at Brighton Resort. All in all it is a great board that did everything I wanted it to when I needed it to with zero short comings. If you like a good stable all mtn ride in a reverse camber or if you need a stiffer park board for a more aggressive park style I would definitely recommend you give the Aether a go (added bonus theres is now an Aether with Magne-Traction for an even steadier ride).
Check them out at NicheSnowboards.com
I bought the Flux TT30’s about a month ago to replace the Raiden Zeros I bought last season. (note the Zeros were trashed but they did have about 125 days on them which is a more than acceptable life). Here’s what attracted me to the Flux bindings a) low flat high backs b) no footbed c) urethane highback that are flexible enough for park but sturdy enough for free riding and d) tool less adjust on the heelcups/highbacks. The footbed thing may catch you off guard but I’ve never been a fan of footbeds at least not the big flat insert type and until last years Raidens I have actually taken them out of the bindings I used. Just a personal thing I guess. The TT30’s are the mid flex binding in the Flux line with two softer bindings below it and a couple stiffer ones above it although they are still billed as a rail/park binding. I liked these things right out of the box, great flex, super comfy (but not super puffy) straps. They have a rather unique ratcheting system where the ratchet and the locking mechanism are two separate pieces which is pretty interesting and seems to keep a bit of torque off of the locking mechanism which basically translates into these dont slip loose when you are riding, no stopping to retighten your bindings half way down the hill. Another interesting thing about the locking mechanism is that it has two teeth on each end that lock into the ladder as opposed to the traditional single flat piece. I like this because it also helps prevent slippage and that situation where you end up with one side of your ladder “stripped out”. Finally I thought it was a nice touch for Flux to include within the box and extra ankle and toe ladder .. sweet. There are two things I dont like about the TT30 but they would not prevent me from buying them again. First off is the rather extravagant plastic guides along both the ankle and toe strap that keep the ladders snug against the straps. At first I thought these were just a bit gadgety but once I had my ladder not go in the guides and found it super hard to unstrap it. I guess they help keeping the ladders at the proper angle to strap in/out. Second thing, and this does drive me nuts, is the tool free adjust on the binding straps. They may be tool free but they are hardly on hill friendly. First they are the kind where you pop up the plastic piece and use it to unscrew the hardware holding the strap in place. Then you have to move it and line up the hole you want to use for the hardware as well as two tabs on each end to help lock it in place all the while trying to keep it all aligned and trying to not drop the screw in the snow. In this day and age where almost every binding company has a quick adjust where you just pop a tab and slide the strap this Flux tool-less adjust is kind of a fail, but one I’ve learned to deal with. After all once you get it dialed in you shouldn’t have to mess with it too often anyways. If you like a more old school type binding with lower, flat highbacks you should give the Flux a look. The TT30 is a mid flex park style binding in the middle range of their flex scale. While it has a few short comings all in all it is a great performer on the hill and I guess that really matters the most. PS If your kind of into these you may want to grab some this year as next seasons TT30, as well as other Flux bindings, have been upgraded to include a footbed.
Check them out at Fluxbindings.com
Over the past week or so I was able to attend both Givins “One” SLC premiere and the Burton “Standing Sideways” premiere. Heres a real fast recap of the two flicks…
Givin “One” … surprisingly One is primarily a pow movie. Its got a real hippy feel to it with trippy music, occasional sky effects, and various color filters effects. Although it starts off with a solid urban part from Forest Bailey after that it remains in the back country for most of the flick (Benny Urban/friends and Keegan excepted). I like the feel of the film and at 50 minutes its worth the 25 dollar price. Wyatt Stasinos has last part (15 minutes) and it may be my favorite part so far this season. Just a very inspiring piece of editing and riding to close out the movie. The only drawback is that the extras sections is just one 7 minute clip of Euro riding.. still as I said the main film is 50 minutes so kinda hard to complain. This is one of those dvds youll find yourself putting in to wind down after a great day of riding. Check it out for sure….
Burton is the big behemoth in the snow world. Regardless of if you love them or hate them everyone agrees that The B can sometimes take themselves too seriously. “Standing Sideways” is NOT one of those times. SS is a light hearted tour de force through the Burton Team (minus that red headed kid and their female team members) including a nice display from Terje. Kazu opens the film and Jussi closes it out. Did you realize Jussi’s third ender in three years? Not bad for the “old guy”. There’s only two issues with the film. One, most of the footage comes from other films so if you’ve seen a good bit of films this season much of the footage will be familiar. Second, only a brief couple of clips from Nico Muller during the credits. Overall its a solid movie but one you may want to watch at your local shop or borrow from a homie.
This week we had a bit of a storm roll through and give us a few feet of snow…. the homies and I headed up to Brighton with the shovels and got our build on…. good to shake the cobwebs out of the knees and goof around a bit. Three days on snow so far for the season! Looks like the weather this week will melt off most of the snow but it wont be long until its falling again.
A wonderful October view
Hikes and hikes
You can check out the real riders in a few Bone Zone posts ……
Heres a few sites Ive been checking out lately… stoked to see folks rep their local scene and much like myself and yummy burritos they have combined their love of snow with bagels and beer respectively… peep em
Boards and Brews
Looks like PC has a new local. Kazuhiro Kokubo has signed with PC as a member of the Park City Allstars Team. Of course PC has an AMAZING pipe and park and should be a great training ground for Kazu but to be honest Im kind of looking forward to hopefully running into the Silent Samurai at Snowbird in the cottonwoods once the pow starts piling up…..
Finally check out Mike Basich’s Area 241 site/store for the 2012 line up of outer wear and also the ingenious reflective wristband for use with your POV camera…..