[Tor Lundstrom knows Bataleon’s TBT works, and doesn’t mind showing it. Photo: Sami Tuoriniemi]
Innovation is great. Innovation to solve a problem that doesn’t exist dressed up in a camouflage of rhetoric and technowaffle? Not so much so. Nowadays any idiot with an idea can put it on Kickstarter and flood feeds with the ‘new essential snowboarding gondolier pole that will revolutionise flat spots!’ (it won’t).
It’s worth remembering, though, that for every pair of bindings with actual springs under the baseplates – for dampening, yo – there has been an equal number of developments that might have seemed like a novelty exercise in wheel-reinvention at the time, but that actually made a beneficial impact on snowboarding.
So here are a selection of snowboard products that, when they first appeared, might have been viewed as gimmicks, but that in fact actually worked!
‘They look like those weird Pumas that Chavs used to wear’ was our initial reaction upon seeing Boa’s debut on a pair of Vans boots back in the early 2000s.
Of course, tying your boots really isn’t all that hard and arguably the single Boa took longer than simply lacing up, but what we dug from day 1 was how quick they were to loosen or take off after a long day on the hill. ‘Pop, whirr, aaaah’.
Subsequently brands experimented with multiple Boas to give the possibility of fine-tuning fit and flex – with success – and now it’s even common to see Boa used in regular lace-up boots – not as the main method of tightening but to just lock the heel down, like on Vans’ Infuse Boas. This way you get the traditional look of a regular lace boot, with the crankability and heel hold of Boa. And the results are pretty awesome.