Board 1: K2 Bottle Rocket
In a sea of choices, it can be challenging, if not impossible, to determine which snowboard is the right one for you strap into. That is why SNOWBOARDER Magazine created The Blackboard Experiment, to shine a light on some of the season's best freestyle snowboards in hopes that when you head to your local shop, you can find a deck that fits your riding, regardless of whether you're sending 50-footers or hotlapping the old guys' line.
With nine boards to the test in the 2017 edition of The Blackboard Experiment, we tapped Aussie pipe phenom, Scotty James, to put the collection of blank snowboards through the paces. Just as Sage Kotsenburg before him, Scotty doesn't have a board sponsor, so he can ride anything he wants. The two-time Olympian has medaled at X Games and the US Open, and possesses an innate edge control honed from years riding transition and lapping his home parks of Perisher.
Once again partnering with Mammoth Mountain we had Scotty test out all nine anonymous park boards, rating them in four categories over five days. The scores were tallied at the end in jibbing, jumping, transition, and carving to determine which deck stood out in each category, as well as the overall park destroyer. Check back in the coming days as we announce the different winners as well as the ratings for each deck tested!
Board 1: K2 Bottle Rocket
Model Length Tested: 160
Additional Lengths: 144, 148, 152, 156
Camber: Reverse – Twin Rocker Baseline™
Core: BAP Core
Base: 4000 Sintered Base
The Bottle Rocket features K2’s Volume Shift™ Technology. By increasing waist width and flattening the tip and tail, we’ve cut 3-5 cm from your standard board length. K2’s Twin Rocker Baseline™ is a perfect fit for freestyle mobility and feels just as comfortable pressing and spinning as it does carving in and out of the park. Just enough rise in the tip and the tail create a buttery feel while maintaining response and pop. Lastly, the Bottle Rocket is topped off with K2’s Ollie Bar™. A new approach to adding pop to a snowboard, the Ollie Bar™ is built into the board in a pre-loaded cambered shape. This ensures that reverse cambered boards have strong pop, just like any cambered board would.
– Tom Johnson, Snowboard Marketing Manager
Scotty's First Impression:
I really enjoyed it. I tend to ride a lot of really stiff snowboards, so, every time I ride a softer board it’s a massive change. I’m quite enjoying riding something a bit softer. Having a little bit of trouble keeping a consistent edge, but I would say it’s pretty responsive out of turns. I like the shape, it's really cool.
Jib Score: 8.5
It felt pretty good. I felt quite in control and I could set my line into rails. It felt pretty pressable, for sure. There was a tiny bit of a delay in pressing which maybe made it a little hard to judge what the board was going to do, but overall, pretty good.
Jump Score: 7
Easy to grab, easy to tweak, easy to maneuver in the air. It is pretty fun for tricks. Even though it’s camber, it felt a little squirrelly on the bumps and stuff on the run in and out. Sometimes I had to really work to get control of the board. Landing felt really good, but the ride out it felt a little sketchy--a little bit chattery. But really fun in the air. Landing feels pretty good actually, which surprised me a little because how it feels off of the takeoff. Once force goes through the board, it’s stronger.
Tranny Score: 7
It’s a little tougher through bigger transition from wall-to-wall--it’s just quite soft for transition. Minipipe was really fun because you’re not as aggressive through the board. On bigger transition, I could feel the board out more. It gives a lot through more force in transition. The pop is pretty good. It is still responsive, just a little chattery through the flatbottom.
Carve Score: 8
Edge-to-edge, it feels really good and rolls really nicely. Really consistent nose-to-tail on the sidecut and effective edge. Is quite predictable, which I like. I don’t think you can really go wrong with this board. There’s nothing funky with it. What you see is what you get. It’s super responsive, especially for a board that I’m not used to. I feel that if I were to ride a soft board, this would be the exact softness I would ride and the exact responsiveness. It’s soft, but quite snappy through turns and quite good through the slush.