Weston Snowboards receives numerous awards heading into 2018-19 season
October 21, 2018
MINTURN — Weston's 2018-19 line of snowboards and splitboards has been the recipient of numerous accolades, and the season hasn't even started yet.
The company is run out of a compact space on Main Street in Minturn and has only been in business seven years. With the double disadvantage of being both small and new, recognition is hard to come by.
But Weston does have one big advantage — the company makes great boards. This has been the defining characteristic that has propelled Weston Snowboards into the spotlight once again this season as industry awards are being rolled out.
'JAPOW OUR TOP RATED BOARD'
Outside Magazine's team of more than 30 snowboard testers tried out 86 snowboards in Crested Butte last season in an attempt to narrow down their 2019 recommendations for the best snowboards of 2019.
They narrowed it down to, as they put it, "Five decks that bring surf style to the slopes."
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Their top recommendation was the Weston Japow, which they used as a platform to discuss why a surf-style snowboard is ideal for 2019.
"It's no secret that snowboarders take inspiration from surfers. In everything from carving technique and aerial style to lingo and board shape, we're closely aligned with our salty cousins." Outside writes. "At Outside's annual snowboard test … The consensus was that, now more than ever, designers are encouraging a surfy approach to snowboarding. Case in point: the surf-inspired Weston Japow was our top-rated board this year, which is remarkable since we never got the chance to ride it in the deep fluff it's designed for."
Weston founder Barry Clark calls the Japow his baby.
Clark, in seeking to reunite with the surf lifestyle, sold the company and moved to California a few years ago, but has been watching with pride as the company carries on his tradition under new owner Leo Tsuo.
Clark said he had the surf style in mind in designing the Japow.
"The Japow was a big wave gun," Clark said. "I always liked the lines and the shape of the old Winterstick, so we worked on a swallow tail that would honor the history that was created by Winterstick."
Winterstick itself was a company inspired by surfing, so it's no surprise to see Outside Magazine bring the evolution full circle in recognizing the Japow.
"The retro wide swallowtail 'railed responsive turns like an Indy car,' as one rider put it," Outside wrote in their review. "The Japow's carving abilities 'made groomer runs an art form,' said another … Testers were pleasantly surprised by its ability to let loose, get air and stomp landings. With energetic flex and float, this pow surfer is worth taking out even when the waves aren't perfect."
Splitboard Magazine, a European publication, tested 33 boards from 14 different companies in 2018. Six companies took home 11 awards, with the Weston Range splitboard being named the Best Freestyle splitboard.
Other companies to win awards included Salomon, Rossignol, Jones, Venture and Furberg.
Being recognized among industry giants like Salomon and Rossignol is a dream come true for a small company like Weston, said Brand Experience Manager Ben Hilley.
"It's hard to believe, but at the same time it's not surprising because the Range really is among the best freestyle boards out there," Hilley said. "The people from Splitboard Mag are out there riding the board in Pyrenees and really giving it the test, and they could feel what we know about this board, that it's a great freestyle splitboard."
The board was designed by local Joe Otremba who — through countless hours of riding and tinkering — came up with a design he was proud to put his signature on. The decision to cut it in half and create a splitboard version of the board was a no brainer.
Splitboard Magazine used the word "playful" a couple times in its review of the Range.
"Designed to send cliffs in the Gore Range, this freeride/freestyle board has a poppy playful ride with its rockered tip and tail, allowing for effortless spins and butters while keeping the camber underfoot for ultimate control and consistency," it wrote. "Created for the snowboarder who ventures into the backcountry, the Range is built for those who ride everything including steep chutes, mellow tree runs and logs. It's also intended for the rider who wants to jump off cliffs or just be playful."
The solid version of the Range also received quite an honor from Transworld Snowboarding, a staple publication of American snowboarding which has been in business since 1987.
Transworld named the Range the best men's all-mountain snowboarding in their 2018-19 "Good Wood" test, which occurred at Snowbird last season.
"With hundreds of (snowboards) to choose from, narrowing down options can be an overwhelming process," Transworld writes. "The internal struggle boils down to the reality that these things aren't cheap. With that in mind, Good Wood's intent has always been to best serve you in your quest to purchase the deck most deserving of your money."
Transworld said the Good Wood crew found that the Range could not only handle most everything they put it through, it could handle it well.
"Our testers were impressed by this directional twin's ability to perform across a range of terrain and conditions," Transworld wrote. "With a medium flex pattern and no-frills design … from groomers to bumps, powder to park, its cambered profile with early rise in the tip and tail rode confidently. 'This board is normal, and that's awesome,' said a candid tester, adding, 'It performs consistently and predictably wherever you take it. It is the definition of an all-mountain deck.' Put simply by another, 'It's a jack of all trades that would make an awesome daily driver.'"