Snoplanks Model A Review
Cons: Expensive, hard to butter
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Snoplanks Model A
|Price||$850 List||$669.95 at Backcountry|
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|$679 List||$598.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Progessive flex, edge hold on firm snow, switch performance, stability||Floaty, precise edging, good construction, playful||User friendly, turning experience, versatile, playful||Responsive, snappy, maneuverable, durable topsheet, powder performance||Loads of pop, stable, fun turning experience|
|Cons||Expensive, hard to butter||Switch performance||Topsheet scratches easy, topsheet is slippery||Backseat landings, switch riding||Average powder floatation, pop is less user-friendly|
|Bottom Line||Bring it on||If we could only buy one, this would be it||High performance embedded with a consistently playful charter||Agility meets stability||A board fit for those sunny all-mountain laps filled with turns, methods, and straight lines|
|Rating Categories||Snoplanks Model A||Yes. Optimistic||United Shapes Cadet||Weston Backcountry Backwoods||Jones Mountain Twin|
|Float In Powder (20%)|
|Stability At Speed (20%)|
|Pop And Jumping (15%)|
|Specs||Snoplanks Model A||Yes. Optimistic||United Shapes Cadet||Weston Backcountry...||Jones Mountain Twin|
|Riding Style||All Mountain||Alternative Freeride||Freeride||Freeride||All Mountain Freestyle|
|Camber/Rocker||Soft Camber||Hybrid-Rocker/Camber||Camber||Directional Multi-Radial Camber Rocker||CamRock|
|Flex||Stiff||Stiff||Medium||Medium Stiff||Medium Stiff|
|Weight||6.91 (lb)||6.2 (lb)||6.22 (lb)||6.63 (lb)||6.1 (lb)|
|Tested Length||158 cm||151 cm||156 cm||157 cm||157 cm|
|Available Lengths||149, 154, 158, 162 cm||151, 154, 157 cm||144, 152.5, 156, 159, 162 cm||152, 152 wide, 157, 157 wide, 160, 160 wide, 163, 163 wide, 167, 167 wide cm||151, 154, 155, 157, 158, 160, 161, 162, 164, 167 cm|
|Core Material||Bambooyah||Carbon-wrapped wood||A11x (poplar, bamboo)||Slayer (bamboo, poplar)||FSC Mountain (dual-density wood, hardwood bamboo stringers)|
|Waist Width||26 cm||26.6 cm||25.6 cm||25.6 cm||25.3 cm|
|Radius||Tapered||6.5 m||7.5 m||7.5/6.8/7.8 m||7.8 m|
|Taper||0 mm||6 mm||20 mm||18 mm||0 mm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Part of the complete redesign is a new hickory top sheet. Hickory is an uncommon material in snowboard construction. Snoplanks states the natural stiffness, hardness, toughness, and strength is not found in any other commercial wood. To top of the redesign, the Model A has a new core layup. The bamboo core now uses poplar stringers and a full layer of carbon. This should make the board a little bit stiffer and increase the levels of pop and stability derived from this board. The following review is from our hands-on testing before this redesign took place.
Handmade in Bend, Oregon, the Model A has an edge to it. It brings the progressive and lively characteristics of bamboo into an all-mountain freestyle/ ride package. Its seeming burly construction seems to have your back no matter how large you send that cat-track or how bumpy the landing is.
The Snoplank A is a beast on edge. However, you don't have to work hard to get it there. This board was easy to get on edge and transition from heel to toe. The Model A board likes to ride and turn fast, and it favors medium and long radius turns at higher speeds. The strong, soft camber profile is reinforced with carbon and fiberglass provides support and stability when mashing through crud.
The medium to stiff camber ride provides knife-like edge hold in firm conditions. The profile of the board maintains a connected feeling with the snow. You can feel the entire edge working to provide security. Sounds pretty good, right? Just wait till you hear about the bamboo.
Bamboo has a progressive flex. This means the more you flex it, the stiffer it gets. We like to think of this as a powerband on a dirt-bike. You can cruise in the regular range, but if you really engage the throttle, the RPM's kick up and amplified power. The turning experience of the Model A is similar because of the bamboo. The bamboo had more acceleration out of turns more than your standard wood core. The energy built up throughout the core was amplified in the "power band" for accelerated turn finishes. This was a very unique feeling to the snowboard, which differentiates it amongst other models on the market.
Based on this board's stiffness and sidecut, shorter radius turns required more technique and strength than a softer board with rocker in the nose. Overall it has a lively edging style that prefers a high speed and longer turns.
Float in Powder
The Model A is designed to perform in all conditions, and powder is no exception. Despite having a camber profile, this board floats well. This is due to the wider waist width and 12 mm taper. The wider waist width works to increase the surface area, which results in added floatation. The taper works to keep the nose up by naturally directing the rider's weight to the back of the snowboard.
We were always excited to ride this all-terrain thrasher in powder. However, it wouldn't be our first choice for powder days based on the slightly above average amounts of powder floatation.
Stablity at Speed
Zoom Zoom. Whether it's ice, moguls, or slush bumps, the Model A didn't seem to care what type of surface was below us. Its medium-stiff camber profile showed no signs of chatter when straight-lining. Overall we found this to be a very confidence-inspiring ride for straight line or landing whether the terrain is smooth or bumpy.
This board means business; it's meant to be your everyday board and versatile, and it can handle variable conditions and chunder. We could hit jumps in the park, slash berms, and pop methods off side hits around the mountain. It still likes to play around. We found we were able to sit into our butters and the bamboo core really locked us. The stiffer flex requires a little more effort to lock in a press. The board has a freestyle meaning to the term playfulness. Our testers found it more difficult to maintain a playful style at lower speeds and slash turns at medium speeds. That is because it is built to handle and excel at the expert terrain.
Popping and Jumping
Stability and power are two strengths of this board. It has a subtle directional shape that allows for plenty of tail to pop off and land on. The bamboo core has the same amplifying effect with popping as it does turning. With some leg strength and technique, you can pop this thing to the moon — although it can prove challenging to harvest this benefit without these components.
As with any craft product, the Model A comes at a higher price tag than most solid boards, primarily because they're using very high-quality materials manufactured by hand in the US. There is definitely a great ethos to supporting brands such as Snoplanks; they are snowboarders making high-quality snowboards. The feeling and ride of the Model A is truly unique, and something you can only get from this brand. Conceptually, this is awesome and adds value to the product for certain individuals. Numerically speaking, the price to performance of other boards provide a higher score at a substantially lower price.
The Model A provides a distinct feeling that is exclusive to Snoplanks and their construction. This board is built to be your everyday board that can do whatever you ask and do it well. It provides an incredibly stable ride, which increases your confidence and security when conditions are not the best. Its medium-stiff flex (from the bamboo core) blasts through what is in your way, and it has a versatile directional shape ideal for takeoffs and landings. This board is ideal for a rider who wants to push themselves in advanced terrain and put a freestyle flair all over the mountain. We wouldn't recommend it for beginners because of its love for speed and the progressive nature of its core and profile.
— Isaac Laredo