Venture Storm Review
Cons: Slightly soft nose and tail, heavy-ish
Manufacturer: Venture Snowboards
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Silverton, Colorado-based Venture snowboards has manufactured the Storm splitboard for many years. The current version is a highly evolved ride that continues to get lighter. The company has also fine-tuned its rocker to flat camber to rocker profile for improved firm snow capabilities. Its soft snow performance is excellent, yet the all-around abilities of the board are not sacrificed. Venture has a done a great job of creating a super fun all-mountain splitboard from 100% renewable energy, and it should be on nearly everyone's shopping list.
During the heart of winter, we toured to find and enjoy the soft, fresh snow. To fully enjoy our experience, the board needs to float. Floatation comes from the shape of the board, but often times, powder specific shapes make certain trade-offs to provide optimal floatation. The Storm provides plenty of flotation at no expense to other performance attributes.
From an all-around shape standpoint, it's at the very top of the list for powder performance. The large nose and ample rocker float the board easily and quickly in soft snow. The nose is a touch soft, which produces a surfy feel in soft snow, while reducing some of the chatter when crossing through chopped up pow. We did find the nose to be slightly soft for heavy snow densities.
The Storm also employs taper, making the nose wider than the tail, to help sink the tail and float the front of the board in powder. Every design component of this board helps its powder experience. It floats well, is incredibly easy to turn, and provides impressive stability.
While the Storm stands out for soft snow performance, this would not be so remarkable if it came at the cost of firm snow functionality. It maintains solid edge hold when the slope is steep and the snow is hard.
Occasionally we may ride blower pow from the peak to the trailhead, but more often we encounter hard snow in multiple locations. We edged over firm wind-scoured ridges while avoiding wind slabs below the peak. Many routes finish on tracked out logging roads that more resemble iced up bobsled tracks than the epic powder seen on social media. The Storm performs very well in all these conditions. We never felt insecure when traversing or edging on steep or icy slopes, and the stability provided exceeded our expectations from the flat camber. The storm has a freeride inspired shape paired with a playful and fun medium flex. Its tail is adequate for confident switch riding when lining up narrow couloirs or shooting between narrow gaps in the trees on the exit.
The Storm climbs easily despite its heavier weight (relative to other models of a similar size). It provides enough flotation and stability that it could be ridden a few centimeters smaller than other freeride boards, as smaller sizes provide an easier climb up the skin track. Shorter split skis are lighter and much easier to bring around on kick turns. Saving energy on the climb allows for more fun on the down and perhaps even enough juice left for another lap.
All rockered powder boards grip more poorly than a cambered board; this makes sense since the purpose of rocker is to lift the nose higher. It lifts the board quickly in powder on the up and down. However, this also can reduce the amount of surface area available to grip the snow while skinning.
Venture uses what they call Straight-Line Rocker, essentially flat (no rocker and no camber) between the inserts with rocker starting just outside the inserts. This works well and enough of the Storms middle section contacts the ground to avoid problems with vertical skin grip. In sections of icy sidehilling, the middle section of the edge had the most purchase. This threatened our side to side stability when climbing, due to the lack of full edge contact.
In both firm and soft snow conditions, the Storm skins well. Venture rates the Storm as a 6 out 10 in their flex scale. Assuming you buy a size appropriate for your weight, this middle of the road flex works great for snowboarding. When climbing, this model provided adequate stiffness for our 156 pound tester to avoid over flexing in the track in soft or icy conditions. Overflexing in soft snow creates a dished skin track, adding to the difficulty of breaking trail. In icy conditions, overflexing can result in losing edge contact and sliding down the slope into the abyss. Because of the Storm's medium flex pattern, it's worth considering a size buffer when sizing larger riders.
The Storm utilizes the standard mounting pattern. To change your stance from this orientation requires that the user reinstalls the hardware, which takes at least 20 minutes.
The Storm loved to crush big arcing powder turns when deep snow is abundant. Between snowfalls, the Patagonian winds often reset these slopes with smaller panels of soft wind buff, and the Storm eagerly wheelied and slashed through these pockets.
The first portion of the track is fairly steep and whoopee (sort of like a brutal natural boardercross course). It begins with a sunny steep wiggle section that begs for slashes, and the Storm obliges. Next the track transitions to a shadier and icier section; the Storm maintains enough confidence that popping 180s on the features in this section was manageable and made the exit even more entertaining. The middle section traverses through a sunny North facing, that was held thin conditions.
The track out required quick turns and multiple ollies over logs. The final section returned to the piste by passing under a lift while crossing a boulder-strewn creek. Following the narrow path across the creek with the added pressure of the folks on the lift required confidence and quick turns. The Storm was agile and inspired enough confidence that it could be ridden out the entire way, and honestly, this funky semi-frozen luge track was delightful. This would not be the case with many splitboards.
Venture has a well-deserved reputation for manufacturing quality boards. Holding up the Storm, the two skis were perfectly aligned with zero noticeable gaps between them.
Venture produces high-quality boards from their wind-powered operation in Silverton Colorado, one of the most alpine areas of the United States with substantial avalanche paths and enticing peaks visible from the main street.
The Storm is on the higher end of splitboard pricing. It is also a great splitboard that is made with solid ethos. Many of the other splitboards are produced at larger factories in Europe or Asia, while Venture models are made in smaller numbers in Silverton, Colorado. Venture build quality is high, and is readily apparent by examining how tightly the board halves fit together.
Versatile, playful, and reliable, the Venture Storm can handle whatever you throw at it while maintaining a playful ride. The Storm remains one of the best splitboards we have tested.
— Isaac Laredo & David Reichel