More sun and more fun was the order of the day today up on the Kaunertal glacier, at the Snowboard Spring Break. Then it was off to the Feichten Skate for the Vans jam, where Sparrow Knox, Rowan Biddescombe, some chap called Liam and Scott Penman were in the words of the Stig “off the hook”.
Up on the hill the Stig strapped into the YES 420; a thoroughly unconventional ride, that - as the Fish did to surfing - may turn snowboarding on its head.
The 420 is a new concept for 2013/14 that defies snowboarding convention. It’s way shorter than your average men’s model, but most dramatic of all is the width: it’s FAT! Such a cigar-like shape shouldn’t normally work, since extra width translates to slow edge-to-edge performance (the so-called ‘barn door’). The secret here is a radically tight sidecut: where the edge curve on most boards forms a radius of 8 or 9 metres, the 420 employs a radius of just 6. In short, it offers fantastic carving ability in a refreshingly radical package.
The 420 actually made me scream with pleasure within a few turns; it felt small and light enough to really throw about, yet boasts the reassuring stability of a longer model. The loose feel reminded me of a fish surfboard – perhaps not surprising since fishes adopt a similar philosophy of packing width/volume into a short length. In deep snow you can certainly float and slash like a surfer thanks to the increased surface area, while back on the hardpack a traditional camber and mid-stiff flex encourage cranked out turns and all-out blasting.
Where the 420 occasionally falls down is in braking; when you slam on the heel edge at speed – especially in bumpy slush – the short running length sometimes reveals itself as you lose grip and slip onto your arse. Not that you mind – you’re having too much fun for that. Anyone looking to freshen up their riding experience this winter should take a look.
This board is the manifestation of many influences, including Steve Lis, Äsmo, Q, the first Kidwell and a damn fine day of shredding the gnar at Trout Lake, according to YES Snowboards. As our Stig mentioned the 420 is fat with a capital F, delivering a ride that replicates that of a Fish when surfing; therefore the board is fast, loose and above all fun.
As you can imagine the terrain that this stick was built for, with its tapered directional shape, was pow pow but it also works well within the resort boundries, as The Stig found out, although it wasn’t keen on stopping. Perhaps neither will you be once you strap on the 420.