Boyne Mountain Demo Dayzzz
New - Updated - Early Release - Next Gen -3D Thermopolymer Supercore
Buzzword phrases that drive consumers to websites and storefronts when the latest drop/rendition/model comes out. Whether it be iPhones or Nikes, we’re hardly ever pacified with whatever we currently hold. We want what’s next, the new one, the better one, the latest.
Now before you go all minimalism at the ugliness of that last sentence, may I present a case for the new, the better, the upgraded; in a certain category (one we here at Third Coast spent three days up north at Boyne Mountain testing), snowboards and snowboard accessories. And if not a case for it, a picture of the boys of Third Coast having a time.
Tuesday: Weather: Windy, cold Stoke: Fired up
Loaded into the shop van. Forgotten basement furniture for the rear seating (DOT approved). Four hours up to Boyne talking about our favorite snowboards, beers, medical and recreational sleep aids, and commenting on how the further north we drove, the more snow there was on the ground.
At the first rest stop
Me: “We got Ben one hour into the trip, how’re we feeling?”
Ben: (Mid-shoulder stretch) “Feeling tight… feeling ready to go.”
Me: “What’re you most excited to ride this week?"
Ben: “Anything Arbor!”
Pulled into the parking lot at Boyne and the race was on. Boots quickly laced, long underwear being put on in broad daylight, and four hours of driving angst about to be laid into some tight turns and racing down the hill.
We proceeded to warm up all over the mountain, getting laps in on every lift. Sam already hucking side hits, Ryan laying full shralp carves, and Ben surf-styling hands high doing off the tops on the banks.
The demo was in full effect with tents set up, rep fuel flowing in koozies, and the boards and skis that will hit shelves in 2024 being tested out by employees of shops from all over the Midwest.
We ripped around the hill until we were hungry (lunch was skipped in favor of getting out there), checked into our condo, and then proceeded to the first of many meals with beers talking about how fired up we were to keep riding; and what boards we want to try.
Me to our shop owner, Ryan Gerard
Me: “Ryan, Day 1, how was today’s riding?"
Ryan: “ First of all, is this going on social media or no?"
Ryan: “First day was good, man. I don’t wanna overdo it, though, I wanna save some energy for days two and three…and then days four and five that I’m gonna have with my kids after that."
Me: “Heck, yeah! What’re you most excited to try out this week?”
Ryan: “Good question."
Sam (from a distance): “The Mega Death!”
Ryan: “Yeah, the Mega Death! Now that I know about it.”
Wednesday: Weather: Bluebird skies and perfect Stoke: Amping
A sunrise hit the southern slope as we watched a snowcat grooming our first run of the day. We had the whole day, so no need to rush, except for the fact that the sun was out, and Sam and I wanted first tracks. First, at the lift, the sun lighting up the whole hill, and Ben positioned to get the shot, we ripped down fresh corduroy loving the feel of setting exactly the line we wanted.
After a few laps, we made our way over to snow gear tent city to swap our personal boards out for something new. Sam getting set up at the Burton tent on the Deep Thinker, a directional camber classic that Burton has fine-tuned for primo pop and control. Me at the CAPiTA tent getting to try the legend of the CAPiTA series, the DOA (Defenders of Awesome).
After a few laps on the DOA I understood why it’s the #1 selling board in the CAPiTA lineup and one that sells out almost immediately when it’s on our shelves at Third Coast. It held on sweeping carves, popped ollies like a dream, and just felt all-around incredible to ride. I wasn’t eager to swap it out.
Ben and Ryan joined us a little later and got on boards of their own. Ryan opted to get a taste of the increasingly popular Burton Step On binding/boot system, a set-up that makes a world of a difference in increasing your laps, especially here in the Midwest. When you’re riding big mountains out West, you don’t think twice about sitting down to strap in. But considering the number of runs we get in here, to be able to get off the lift, step on your board, and go straight into your flow down the hill -- dreamy.
The rest of the day was spent trying different boards and of course, some beers and a Jacuzzi session to heal up for the day tomorrow, which was calling for 33 degrees and precipitation (hopefully snow, could be rain).
Thursday: Weather: Grey with weather on the way Stoke: Full, yet concerned
Thursday morning we got after it trying to make the most of the weather. Reports were calling for rain around noon, and if that didn’t turn to snow, we knew this morning was gonna be our shot.
At the Burton tent, I tried out the Step On binding/boot system myself, as well as the Burton 3D fish. The Step Ons were amazing, locked in only seconds off the lift. The 3D fish was the most I’ve ever felt like I was surfing on snow. Ultimate float feels, but could slash turns like a San Clemente grom at Lowers. Though it was made for full powder days, it felt awesome on groomers and side hits.
Around noon, the rain showed up. With it pouring, we hid out in the Eagles Nest (the bar at the top of the hill) for some food and a beer. We watched the windows for the rain to hopefully turn to snow -- it would for a minute, but then back to rain. After a little wait, we decided to retreat to the condo with the Jacuzzi on our minds.
This year I’ve been upgrading my snow set-up -- a new board, new bindings, new goggles, and boots, but I’ve yet to upgrade my pants and jacket. I can tell you that a day of wet conditions made me regret the order I’m progressing with my gear. Soaked snowboard gear sucks, and my non-Gore-Tex gear was soaked. I know what I’ll be upgrading first next year.
We hung out, soaked in a Jacuzzi with some classic 70-year-old ski bums who’d been riding everywhere in Michigan before a snowboard was even invented, and listened to their stories ragging on each other. But as we waited out the rain, it started to shift. Rain turned to small ice pellets, turned to small flakes, and turned to dumping massive snowflakes. It was on.
Ben, Sam, and I missioned out for the night session and when I say we scored, I mean it in the full sense of the word. Flying down slopes setting our tracks in 4-5 inches of powder. It was a dream. We knew the night session would only last until the lifts closed, and we were on the hunt for every untouched bit of power we could find. Charging under lift lines previously iced out or uncovered. Finding sides and runs that had been untouched. It was all-time. This whole trip I’d been fighting some flu and could tell my fever was coming back while I was out there on that night session, but nothing could keep me from eating this up. After three hours of nonstop riding, towards the end, we didn’t even wait for each other. As one of the old guys in the Jacuzzi said, “No friends on a powder day.”
We were tired, but our stoke was full. We were going to sleep well tonight.
Friday: Weather: Still snowing Stoke: Full, but exhausted
We dropped Ryan off in Petoskey to meet his wife and kids while the rest of us missioned back to the shop, still fired up on the night before.
All in all, we tested some boards, yes, and we hung with reps, yes, but what that trip mostly did was fire us up more on snowboarding, reminding us why we carry snowboard gear and growing our desire even more to help get everyone out there with the best gear for them.
Until next year, Boyne.