For second straight year, Weston Snowboards wins Editor’s Choice award from Backcountry Magazine | VailDaily.com

For second straight year, Weston Snowboards wins Editor’s Choice award from Backcountry Magazine

Last year, when a Weston Snowboards splitboard received an Editor's Choice award from Backcountry Magazine, it was fair to say the company had found its place alongside industry leaders.

This year, after receiving that recognition once again, Weston is a bona fide industry leader, carving (literally) out a place for itself among well-established companies like Never Summer, Jones Snowboards and Venture.

Not bad for a little company from Minturn that relies on a portable tiny home as its retail outlet.

The Weston Backwoods splitboard has gone through a few changes over the years, but the current design is impressing everyone who tries it.

"It's a powder board, but it goes edge to edge really well and handles all conditions," said Weston co-owner Mason Davey.

Backcountry Magazine employs a team of 40 for its annual test. The testers ride Crested Butte, Monarch Mountain and go overnight to the Lost Wonder Hut.

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"And this year, through the battle-worn haze of dislocated shoulders, a flu outbreak, a handful of hangovers and several mercilessly battered boards, testers soldiered on to find the best in splitboard gear," reviewers wrote.

Only four boards were chosen for the Editor's Choice award.

LOCALS LOVE IT

Weston Snowboards started in 2012 with a small line of boards and quickly caught the attention of locals.

As backcountry riding was seeing a rise in popularity at the time, splitboards — which are bifurcated vertically to be used as skis for uphill transport — became a signature item for Weston Snowboards.

Technology on splitboards has been steadily improving, as manufacturers are striving to provide lighter and stronger boards that feel just like regular snowboards. The Backwoods started as a popular powder board in Weston's line, and two years ago Davey and co-owner Leo Tsuo decided to cut one in half the long way and see what happened.

Riders loved it.

"I stepped on it and immediately started laying down huge carves on the groomers," said Brendon Glenwright, a coach at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. "Then I got in the backcountry with it and I realized how versatile it was. Powder, trees, jumps, steep couloirs, it can really handle everything."

'EXCITING TIME'

With Weston now in the conversation with the top splitboard producers, Tsuo said their goal is to continue to be on the cutting edge as technology improves.

"It's an exciting time to be a splitboard manufacturer because the technology is changing so rapidly," said Tsuo, who worked in the solar industry before following his passion in snowboarding. "We're experimenting with carbon fiber boards and bolt-free designs, and really just trying to have fun with it."

After purchasing Weston from original owner Barry Weston Clark in early 2016, one of Tsuo and Davey's first moves was to turn the Backwoods solid into a split. The fun they had in doing so was not lost on the reviewers at Backcountry Magazine.

"If you splitboard for fun as opposed to survival, go with the Backwoods," reviewers wrote in their 2018 gear guide.

That guide is expected to hit shelves soon; look for it at local magazine shops.

"Last year, on the day it came out, I found the Backcountry Magazine gear guide right across from my house at the Shell station in Minturn," Davey said. "It just goes to show that we're in a community that appreciates their backcountry opportunities."

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