lago snowboards open road

JH PowWow is the vision of Rob Kingwill. The event brings snowboarders from around the country and world to Jackson Hole to ride the latest shapes from brands across the industry, large and small. One lap up the the tram you can be clutching Burton or RIDE’s newest offering and the next you can be riding the gondola with a board crafted in someone’s garage hanging from the side.

It provides shop owners and buyers a chance to make an educated decision when placing their order for the coming season, an opportunity for board designers to explain their work instead of marketing people and the time for those from brands to ride boards outside their own line.

When we pushed through the zippered door of the PowWow tent at the bottom of Jackson Hole we did what any snowboarder would do when presented with more pow offerings than would be possible to ride in three seasons — we scanned the racks for what stood out — and these ten boards were those.

dinosaurs will die pow reaperPhoto: Owen Ringwall

Dinosaurs Will Die Pow Reaper 156

Until now, Dinos hasn’t offered a truly directional board. The Pow Reaper’s tapered coffin outline and flat camber profile with rocker in the nose make for a 156 that feels more like a ’59. Just try to get the nose to sink on this thing, we dare you.

soul motion snowboardsOwen Ringwall

Soulmotion Soul Rider 147

This short little surfer from Soulmotion is perfect for planing through pow. It’s mirrored woodgrain topsheet and ultra wide nose grabbed our attention immediately upon entering the PowWow tent, and Soulmotion owner, Aaron Lebowitz, gave us the rundown of where it performs best. His suggestion: low-angle slopes with lots of snow.

salomon wolle nyvelt prototypePhoto: Owen Ringwall

Salomon Wolle Prototype 15?

Any board with the words ‘Very Secret Prototype’ emblazoned on the base is bound to catch your eye, which is what happened when we walked by this board in the Pow Wow tent. This is not Wolle Nyvelt’s first foray into board-building. Wolle has been crafting Asmo boards in his native Austria for a decade, but recently he began shaping snowboards. Once the specs are dialed on this handcrafted prototype the plan is for Salomon to put one of these shapes into production and add it to the line.

unity whalePhoto: Owen Ringwall

Unity Whale 172

When we saw the Unity Whale breaching above the tops of the rest of boards on the rack, we had to check it out. This massive, tapered swallowtail from Unity is what you take out when it just dumped 16 inches or you’ve got a size 16 foot. Or both.

lago snowboards open roadPhoto: Owen Ringwall

Lago Open Road 156

As the old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, start your own snowboard company.” After finding himself without a board sponsor, Scotty Lago took matters into his hands and launched his own brand, Lago Snowboards. The Open Road 156 is designed to let you really open ‘er up, like you would if you were riding your motorcycle through the desert — as the graphic implies. Or like you would if Jackson had gotten 29″ in the last 48 hours — which they have.

k2 eighty sevenPhoto: Owen Ringwall

K2 Eighty Seven 150

Unlike some other boards here at JH Pow Wow, it was the simplicity of the K2 Eighty Seven that peaked our interest. The Eighty Seven is well balanced. A subtly bold graphic is laid over a shape that’s unique, not absurd, and it’s mid-wide waist allows you to size down, but doesn’t feel planky edge-to-edge. The nimble yet floaty quality of this board made for a hell of a good time ripping trees.

never summer warlockOwen Ringwall

Never Summer Warlock 

There are blunted tips and then there is this board. The squared-off nose and tail on the Warlock looks different than any board we’ve seen here at Pow Wow, or really anywhere. Never Summer’s new twin-tip freestyle offering features the brand’s RockerCamber profile and is set to cast spells in and out of the park.

sims bladePhoto: Owen Ringwall

Sims Juice

The retro graphics on the Sims Juice jumped out at us, but its lightweight and updated construction made us take a second look. Manufactured in the Never Summer factory, the Juice’s primarily cambered profile squeezes maximum stability and pop out of its twin outline, but a slight bit of early-rise rocker at the contact points eliminate the grabby feel that often accompanies full camber.

gnu finsanityPhoto: Owen Ringwall

Gnu Finsanity 157

You don’t often see fins on a snowboard. Probably because you don’t need fins on a snowboard. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fins on a snowboard. The Gnu Finsanity is a modern board built with Mervin’s C2 hybrid camber profile, and a set of removable fins on the tail for when it dumps, like it’s currently doing outside

starship snowboardsPhoto: Owen Ringwall

Starship 15?

Without a doubt, this was downright weirdest board we saw in the tent today. It has reverse sidecut, no edges, and it’s scary light. This baby’s not turning on hardback and sure as hell not holding up to landing anywhere but an untouched pow field, but given the right venue the Starship could send you to space.

See also: Just the tip: Our 6 favorite new snowboards for 2017… so far