Demo it up!

30 Nov, 2010


When it comes to buying snowboard gear, there’s only one guaranteed way to know if you like a snowboard or not.  It all comes down to demo’ing snowboard gear.  Whether it’s from your local shop, mountain or borrow from a friend…demo’ing will give you 100% feedback on whether the board suits you.

Most years I spend a couple days demo’ing boards or borrowing boards which are where the majority of these reviews come from.  It lets me get on gear that I can try without buying and be able to give an idea of how it handles.  Of course I enjoy reviewing boards so you have a better idea but the surefire way to know is you try it for yourself!

What is a demo?

Demo’ing is when you can borrow a current snowboard whether from a company or shop.  Generally mountains has demo days where companies will let you take out their boards for free.  Shops will offer demo boards for rental but it usually costs money (but you can apply the cost of the demo to buying the board from them).  The demo boards are used or ridden a couple times but in generally good shape, waxed up by the reps and give you an idea how it handles.

How do you find a demo?

1.  Resorts:  Check out your local resorts webpage for upcoming demo events.  In Colorado, Loveland is hands down the best mountain for offering multiple demo days and announcing them ahead of time.

2.  Snowboard Company:   Some companies make it easy to find the demo dates like Never Summer and Burton (just look for the demo tour they do each year).  Others you have to really hunt them down but local reps are doing really good with Facebook and announcing demos through social media.  Follow the brands you are interested in (or them all) and keep an eye out.

3.  Local Snowboard Shop:  Head into your local shop and see what demo boards they have in stock.  It’ll cost you to rent for the day but totally worth it before you throw down a couple more hundred bucks on it.  Plus they’ll apply the demo cost to your purchase so it works out in the end.  Here in Mammoth, I know that P3 and Wave Rave have demo boards in stock.

4.  Websites:  Check out sites like http://www.boarddemos.com/ who updates with the latest demo days going on in your neck of the woods.

Remember:

  • If you are demo’ing a new board, make it easier on yourself by just trying a new board…not a new board, bindings and boots.  You’ll have a harder time narrowing down which one you like/differences if you mix up the whole setup.  I usually try to just change the boards and keep my bindings/boots on demo days.
  • If you are trying out multiple boards, take the same run with them.  A run that has everything you would normally ride.  Groomers, park, pipe, pow, trees.  Try a run that has it all and judge each board on the same stuff.  You’ll notice differences a lot easier that way.
  • Make sure your stance is the same on a new board.  You’d be amazed how much stance changes riding for you.  It’s also good to know your stance width and angles so when you put your new board on…it’s all dialed like the last one.
  • Field Notes are amazing, I keep them in my pocket on demo days so I can write down notes on the chairlift about each board without forgetting the first thoughts and how it handles on the mountain.
  • Always be nice to the demo guys and boards.  They are turning screws in the cold while you are getting powder turns.  Be nice to them, they deserve it.  Also demo boards come out of their pocket, so be nice to them too.
  • Always bring your drivers license and credit card.
  • Finally don’t be the guy that demos the board from 9am to 4pm.  The reps want to go home too and other people might want to try that board.  Be fair and give it back after you have enough time to get a feel for it.  Plus don’t make the reps stay till the last chairs done, that’s just cruel unless you buy them beer (even then it’s cruel).

About the author

Shay

From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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4 Comments

  1. December 03, 2010

    Shay you missed a really easy way to find demos. Check out http://www.boarddemos.com, our whole purpose is to make it easy to find demo events and information about the snowboards you want to try. You have some good tips though. Want to write some content for the site?

  2. December 03, 2010

    Thanks Andrew, just added it to the list!