The on-piste conditions were challengingly bumpy, but I was easily able to get low and carve, while tweaking out Methods felt no different to when I’d done the same earlier in the week in my Vans boots and Union bindings. We also had hot pow to lap, and again everything just felt gravy in the deeper stuff. Not once did I have any issues with snow clogging the interface, thought admittedly I didn’t have the opportunity of trying to get out and in in super light pow – the snow was so sticky that it stayed out when you cleared the binding.
The boots felt like a pair of broken in Burton Ions I have (with the exception of the Boa ‘ankle strap) and were utterly normal to walk around in. It was a bit weird at first when the inevitable first run footcramp hit – normally you’d loosen your straps on the chairlift to ease the pain, but here… whaaaa? Fear not, just release the Boa coliers and your feet can chill a bit. Again, it’s different. Not bad.
Three of Burton’s riders were in town to lap with us – Mikkel Bang, Christian Haller and Max Zebe – and they all genuinely seemed stoked on the system’s performance. The question I put to Hitsch was, ok, for hot lapping they’re great but would you use them to boost 10m-plus Methods on a mega hip or drop in for a superpipe contest run? “I could,” was his reply but the feeling was maybe at this apex of freestyle superboarding he might be more comfortable in equipment he knows. Fair enough.
For every other snowboarder – from beginners, to seasoned rippers – they question would be ‘why would you NOT ride these?’ They’re quick, easy and felt great. Plus if you’re a photographer, filmer, or anyone else who has to regularly cart a heavy backpack around you’ll sure dig these. Beyond a dogged insistence that they can’t possibly work because step ins were a bit shit close to 20 years ago, I can think of a couple of reasons these might not be up your street: If your feet don’t fit well in the boots, certainly they’re not for you; if you just like the aesthetic of riding with two straps and care not for saving 10 seconds every run then again they’re not for you; if you hit 25m superbooters or are serious about riding Superpipes they probably would work but it would be understandable if you’d rather go with the tried and tested; if you don’t have the cash (RRP will be starting in the region of €600 for the Ruler boot/binding combo) then you’re not missing out on ultra-high performance – as I said I just felt I was riding with my regular setup, with the added bonus of being able to get in way quicker.
In all honesty, Burton might very well have developed a system that is perfect for 90% of snowboarders out there, and that will save you a buncha time in the long run. You could say the jury’s maybe out for people who have high-performance niche tastes – how they’d hold up after repeated bomb drops to flat, fully committed AK lines, or Olympic pipe runs is unclear, but I don’t ride like that and chances are you don’t either.
I’d certainly be stoked to ride StepOn again.
[Below: Haller getting low. Photo: Cyril Mueller]