The Blackboard Experiment, Salomon Snowboards

Here at SNOWBOARDER Magazine, we decided to break the mold of traditional snowboard reviews and embark on a completely unbiased blank snowboard test last winter, called The Blackboard Experiment. We hit up ten brands in snowboarding and asked them to provide us with a snowboard of their choice, but the one caveat was that it had to have a black topsheet and base graphic, so as to keep the anonymity of the brand only between them and us. Then, we partnered with Mammoth Mountain, California because of their hallowed Main Park, a trail that has done more for freestyle snowboarding and terrain park design than almost any other mountain on Earth. We selected 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg to ride the boards and record his experiences, because, one: he didn’t have a board sponsor, and two: Sage is one of the best park riders our sport has ever seen. Last April, Sage made the trek to Mammoth for five days of extreme testing. From sunup to sundown, he was strapped into one of these blank decks and when he wasn’t riding them, he was jotting notes about how they rode on jumps, jibs, tranny and on the trail. The result is the most comprehensive snowboard test that we’ve ever put together. Below, you’ll see exactly what Sage thought of these boards without him knowing what brand made them, so read on and take notes, because he will give you all the info you need, from tip to tail. This is SNOWBOARDER Magazine’s 2016 Blackboard Experiment.


The Blackboard Experiment, Salomon Snowboards

The Blackboard Experiment

Salomon Snowboards, Kevin Stevenson

Kevin Stevenson, Salomon Global Sports Marketing Manager, and the Salomon Huck Knife. photo: Mike Yoshida


Model Length Tested: 155
Additional Lengths: 148, 152, 158, 155W, 158W
Shape: Twin
Camber: Quad Camber
Core: Aspen Select with Popster Booster and Slingshot sidewalls
MSRP: $429.00


All we knew about the tester was his weight and height and that he was a high-profile park rider. For us, the decision to send the Huck Knife was easy. It’s our brand new park destroyer that we have been developing with Hans and Nils Mindnich over the last couple seasons and something like this was the ultimate way to put the Huck Knife to the test. — Kevin Stevenson, Global Sports Marketing/USA Marketing Manager, Salomon Snowboards

Sage Kotsenburg, Salomon Snowboards

photo: Mike Yoshida.

Sage Kotsenburg, Salomon Snowboards

photo: Mike Yoshida

I love the look and feel of this board. I just took my first run and felt really comfortable on it. No break-in needed, really natural. I could dig into carves, and when I was buttering it was so playful, but it also had some power to it, so it wouldn’t loop out on you. - Sage Kotsenburg, first impression of the 2017 Salomon Huck Knife

Jib Score: 8

You could butter, pretzel and spin out of things really well. It was easy to press and comfortable under my feet. Some of the other boards were a bit softer and more fun, so to speak, but this one felt more sturdy. If you were going to hit something bigger this board would hold its own.

Jump Score: 8

It was very fun for jumping. Sturdy, with a lot of pop. On landings, it was a little on the softer side. It was still fun on jumps up to sixty feet, but I bet it would top out at around that size. The only reason I didn’t go higher with the jump score is because it’s a little too soft. Not way too soft, just a little bit.

Tranny Score: 8

It was so direct and it has a very stable edge. It went straight, didn’t wash out. This board also has good pop. The only thing I would want it to be is a tiny bit stiffer, but I could still get down on it.

Carve Score: 8

It was really good, but if there were any bumps, you could feel the softness and it would affect your turn. For buttering, it was so good. One of the best boards for that. It felt very natural all-around.

Overall Score: 32