While graphics and snowboard design change each year, performance trends take longer to manifest. That said, winter 2018/2019 is going to be an interesting year for snowboarding producers. With more shredders heading into the backcountry in search of a good thrill, companies are shifting their approach to snowboard design and production. Here are a few performance trends we expect to see in this years look books.
Snowboarding brands will have a larger focus on all mountain, not freestyle. Snowboard companies around the world are working to expand their all-mountain and splitboarding options. The past few years have seen a huge emphasis on freestyle design and development, but that trend seems to be slowing. Producers will begin putting more emphasis on utility rather than terrain parks.
Boards will emphasis fun rather than function. We see board producers shifting from a “higher, faster, farther” approach into a “do what you want and have fun” style. This means interesting shapes, extreme camber/reverse camber, and an emphasis on backcountry terrain. In 2018, it’s not about how quickly you get down the mountain. It’s about how you get down. That said…
Brands are turning their attention to backcountry enthusiasm rather than resort-specific design. We’re not sure why, but more snowboarders are spending an increasing amount of time in backcountry terrain. This might be a result of high ticket prices, or perhaps a greater need for adventure and exploration out on the slopes. Whatever the case, snowboarding designers are producing more backcountry-friendly snowboards (and skis, too) to entice adventure-seekers to level up their equipment.
Emphasis on beginner-friendly equipment and apparel. The first generation of casual snowboarders are now parents. They’ve been parents for a few years, but now is the time when their kids will begin to express interest in extreme sports. With more kids leaning toward snowboarding than ever before, they are progressing at an impressive rate. Brands will be concentrating on using intelligent and intuitive equipment to shape snowboarding in a way that’s both easy and entertaining for kids.