Blackboard Experiment

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.


Blackboard Experiment

Blackboard Experiment

Ride Snowboards

Tanner McCarty, Ride Marketing Manager and the 2017 Ride Burnout. photo: Yoshida


Model Length Tested: 152
Additional Lengths: 149, 155, 158, 160, 154W, 157W, 161W
Shape: Twin
Camber: Hybrid
Core: Carbon Array 5 Laminates
MSRP: $599.95


After receiving the height and weight of the 'decorated athlete,' the crew at RIDE tried to decipher which Mammoth local was short and scrawny enough to hit the metrics that SNOWBOARDER provided. When we gave up on that, we simply typed the rider stats into and it came up with the RIDE Burnout, which features a Twin Hybrid Camber profile that can handle the notorious XL-sized Mammoth wedges, but also be super fun once you got to all the steel that is spread out toward the bottom of the park. — Tanner McCarty, Marketing Manager, RIDE Snowboards

Sage Kotsenburg

photo: Mike Yoshida

Sage Kotsenburg

It felt a little washy on carves, but it was really soft and wicked playful for butters. It was one of the softest boards I tested. - Sage Kotsenburg, first impression of the 2017 Ride Burnout

Jib Score: 8

Such a fun board. Really nice to press, spin on and spin out. It’s flexible and light, so you can turn it fast and press it easily.

Jump Score: 5

The thing I really liked about it for jumping was how flexible it was in the air. You could tweak Japans, nose, and tailgrabs and even when you grabbed in the middle of your board you could crank it. But, when landing I felt every little bump and if I didn’t land perfectly, I started skidding out.

Tranny Score: 5

This board felt like it was affected more by every rut or bump in the tranny. It didn’t cut through it and when that happens, you can get bucked a little weird. Something stiffer would go through the bumps, but this one kind of flopped out. It still surprised me that it rode transition as well as it did and it held a really nice edge in the flat bottom…and it has really good pop!

Carve Score: 6

Super light and playful so when you’re carving you can do either really long or tight turns. It was a mixture of buttery and carvey, but if you’re really trying to lay one out it’s not the best of the bunch. It does let you do whatever you want. You never want it to bend in half, but it helps if it’s a little flexible, and this board was.

Overall Score: 24