The Rome Mod: One of the Best Boards of All Time

The evolution of one of our favorite snowboards.

Yeah, you read that right, and if you’ve ridden the Rome Mod since it entered the Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate’s line thirteen years ago, you probably agree.

2007/08 Rome Mod

2008 – Released for the 2008 season, the original Mod graced the pages of SNOWBOARD Magazine in our park board test, where we put a selection of freestyle-centric boards through the paces for a few weeks at Bear Mountain, starring their always-amazing park crew. I had ripped around on the Mod for a day before the shoot and made damn sure that once we were done photographing the park crew riding it, it was going home with me. It was invigorating. Aggressive. Stable. Trustworthy. Sounds like an ironing board, right? Well, it was also incredibly nimble. To me, the Mod has always been a paradoxical board. It walks a tightrope between being a bat-out-of-hell charger that you can also operate with surgeon-like precision in the streets.

The original Mod came out in an era of mostly popsicle-stick-shaped boards with continuous-radius tip profiles. The elongated, tri-radiused twin tip and tail of the Mod was so utilitarian. The tip blends at the contact points are also elongated, making for a smoother feeling on edge as the board slices through the snow, especially in soft or inconsistent surface conditions.

Rome Mod nose

Tip to tail, the flex of the original Mod is firm in the waist, softening a bit outside of the bindings. Again, this was a relatively new concept at the time, and keep in mind, this board came out the same year as another favorite board of all time, the Lib Tech Skate Banana. (We’ll save that story for a different day.) Anyway, the Mod’s flex pattern left loads of energy in the waist of the board but kept the carbon-backed tip and tail playful and super energetic when you needed them to snap to action. Also, torsionally, the Mod was actually pretty soft between the bindings, which gave it an incredibly nimble feel at lower speeds, especially approaching rails, when every little bit of touch and feel can make all the difference between make or a break.

The resulting package was a board that you could just let run and hold on for dear life, knowing that it would never falter. The bigger the jumps, the more at home the Mod was, but it also loved jibbing. At the time, it really was the perfect all-resort true twin.

2012/13 Rome Mod Rocker

2012 – Skip ahead a few years, and in 2012, Rome added a reverse cambered version of the Mod—the Mod Rocker—to their line, and while doing all of the product testing for Snowboarder Magazine at the time, again, it ended up in our park board test: a week-long torture test throughout Mammoth Mountain’s world class Unbound terrain parks. Now, if you’ve ever ridden any board model in both reverse and cambered, they are generally night-and-day different. Yeah, they might have the same shape, but it takes just the right touch in developing them to keep things congruent. Two turns into Main Park at Mammoth, and I was already in love. The Mod Rocker was an instant flashback to that original Mod, the last one I had ridden a few years prior. It was exhilarating, and immediately my favorite board of the entire stable of 2012-13 park decks.

While there were many comparisons to the original 2008-09 Mod, like the assurance at speed, the confidence through the big jump line, and precision in approaches to rails, the Mod Rocker opened up a whole new realm of where the Mod could thrive on the mountain. It was immediately evident that the Mod Rocker didn’t only rule the park, but was also right at home in Mammoth’s trees and steeps.

Thanks to the Mod Rocker’s reverse camber, which rises outside of the bindings, the board loves getting its nose up, whether on a rail, powering through crud and chop, or floating in powder. Speaking of, the Mod Rocker’s aforementioned tri-radius tips give the tip and tail of the board a bit of extra surface area, which helps in powder. Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the world’s best powder board, but the point of this whole story here is that the well-thought-out attributes of the Mod make it a veritable Swiss Army knife of a board.

Since obtaining this sweet stick, I’ve ridden many, many other boards, but I keep coming back to the 2012 Mod Rocker, and (not to brag) have taken it all over the globe with me, chasing pros, camera-in-hand. This teal-topsheet trail terrorizer has bonked barrels in Bear, tailblocked terrain in Hintertux, pumped the Palmer pipes at Mt. Hood, survived the Swiss Alps, and even done Japans in Japan! It is, quite literally, my all-time favorite snowboard. I have thrown everything I can at it and it has gladly accepted each and every challenge.

2021/22 Rome Party Mod

2021 – But what about the newest version of this breed? For the Mod’s thirteenth year, Rome has two versions of the board available: the Ståle Mod and the Party Mod. The difference? The shape of each is identical, but as with everything in life, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The Ståle version has camber and is loaded with additional carbon for loads of pop. It’s as aggro of a park board as you’ll find—and is often found atop podiums. If you’re not a pro or semi-pro, and appreciate the playfulness that comes with reverse camber, but still like a board that you can charge into any situation with, the Party Mod is your jam.

The profile of the Party Mod checks all of the boxes for a quiver killer. Carbon rods in the tip and tail drive energy from the corners of your binding down to the center of your tip and tail, resulting in mega pop without making the board too responsive on edge. The stiffer midsection of the Party Rocker serves as a secure place to do business from. You think, it acts, and with a most friendly sort of authority. This thing is electric. It is smooth, grabs on groomers, launches lips, and rocks rails. It is exhilarating, yet comforting, all at once.

The only problem that I foresee with the Party Mod, is that it might be time for me to hang up the version which has continued to bring endless satisfaction over the past nine years, and step into the future.

Rome Mods at Big Snow


Up Next

December 3, 2021

Stripped: A Look Beneath the Topsheet of the 2022 Arbor Shiloh

Some wise guy once proclaimed that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While laminating various...

December 1, 2021

SPOTHEADS 2 – Zeb Powell Street Footy and More!

Rails, bails, and friendship. What more could you ask for? Joey Leon, Zeb Powell, George McKeever-Parkes, and Jake Fournier...

November 30, 2021

The Uninvited 3 – The Trilogy Is Complete!

We can finally add The Uninvited to the list of our favorite trilogies alongside Star Wars, Lord of the...

November 30, 2021

FABRIC Weaves Together Community On Screen and In Person at World Premiere

Last winter, Robin Van Gyn had a heck of a season. Donning a competition bib for the first time—or...

November 29, 2021

Inside the Pro Model: Sam Klein and the Never Summer ProtoSlinger

A freestyle board with true, consistent pop.

November 29, 2021

Jess Kimura’s Resilience, Showcased in Learning to Drown, Has Made Snowboarding Better

Darrah Reid-McLean writes about the impact not only of the film, but of Jess, herself.

November 29, 2021

Inside the Pro Model: Niels Schack and the Burton Blossom

High performance in a humble, aesthetic package that is a Burton team favorite.

November 29, 2021

Inside the Pro Model: Gigi Rüf and the 686 Smarty 5-in-1 Complete Jacket

“The shell alone is water- and windproof, wears light with a loose comfy feel. In combination with the vest...

November 29, 2021

Inside the Pro Model: Ståle Sandbech and the Rome Snowboards Ståle Collection

A full quiver of boards backed by the Norwegian style king.