We've been championing the local shred-stick economy as it has grown over the past few years, and not just out of sheer locavore pride. This year several national media outlets have taken notice, too: In "Gear of the Year," Men's Journal just proclaimed that the Odin by Venture Snowboards is the Best for Backcountry -- "honed in Silverton, Colorado, home to some of the continent's gnarliest terrain." And that pronouncement prompted us to take a look at some of the other accolades that Colorado-based builders have earned this season.
See also: - Best of Denver 2012 Best Board for Locavores: Never Summer Proto CT - Get the edge on winter fun with The Edge! - Craft breweries and the ski and snowboard industries make fresh tracks together
Venture also won an Editor's Choice nod in the Backcountry Magazine 2013 Gear Guide for the fourth year in a row, this time for the Euphoria Splitboard, "a pow surfer complete with rocker, reverse sidecut and a swallowtail ideal for those epic, deep days.... Dubbed 'Floatilla the Hun' by Backcountry's testers." The board is one of several experimental shapes from Venture's new Shape Shack innovation lab, where Johan Olofsson, Klemens Branner and a cadre of guest shapers have been working on limited-edition runs and have even been dabbling in two-plank ski design: ("Like regular snowboards, but half as wide, and you put one on each foot. Crazy, we know!").
Also among the Backcountry Magazine 2013 Editor's Choice picks is the Whale Splitboard by Silverthorne-based Unity Snowboards: "Feed this whale what it wants," wrote the magazine's reviewers. "Powder. Lots of it."
Never Summer Industries celebrated its 21st birthday with a toast from the Outside Magazine Winter 2013 Gear of the Year guide, winning Best Snowboard honors for the Proto CT/CTX, a twin-tipped, all-mountain freestyle board that was also a Westword Best of Denver 2012 winner, as Best Board for Locavores.
Never Summer also won a Snowboard Magazine 2013 Platinum Pick "Excellence in Design" award for the Cobra, a new all-mountain freestyle board. Here's the word on SnowboardMag.com:
"Aggressive? Yes. Damaging? Equally. A ride on the Cobra's Bi-Directional Rocker Camber profile combined with Carbonium Laminate construction is to experience home cooked tech of the highest level, a platform from which Never Summer has led the industry for over 20 years. With a flared out nose and a spade shaped tail, this board slices through powder with grim precision. Unlike a pow-specific board, the Cobra can strike any terrain with confidence handling high-speed groomers and terrain parks with equally ruinous consequence."
Prefer to do your own testing? Keep reading for a quick roundup of upcoming demo days from some of our favorite local companies:
Outdoor Divas will have women's boards from Denver-based Never Summer Industries, among other ski and snowboard companies, at its Divas' Demo Day at Loveland this Thursday, December 6, and again on Thursday, January 3.
Never Summer is also among the companies participating in the Ski & Snowboard Demofest at Winter Park this Saturday, December 8. Evergreen-based Oz Snowboards will be hosting a Demo Day at Loveland on Saturday.
Boards from Never Summer and other companies will be featured at the Satellite Demo Tour at Eldora on Sunday, December 9.
Loveland is hosting a Demo Day for Colorado Springs-based Mountain Billy Snowboards on Sunday, December 16.
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There's also a Demo Daze event at Vail that runs from December 14 through December 16, as part of the resort's fiftieth-anniversary celebration and annual Snow Daze event.