Niche is a new snowboard company coming out of Salt Lake City. Chances are you have heard or seen of them already as their environmentally friendly ways are making lots of news in the snow world. The 2011/2012 season will be Niche’s first season with a line of boards in stores but since they are here in the SLC Ive been lucky enough to meet the gang behind the brand and was given one of their boards, The Knew, to ride around for a bit. Heres my review of the product.
I first rode the Knew at a regional demo-fest at Snowbasin Resort here in Utah. That day had about 8 inches of fresh snow to play in but when I got on the Niche board is was close to the end of the day and the snow had become pretty chopped. The size I rode that day is the same one I have now the Knew 152. Being a pretty big dude at 6 feet 205 I was a bit apprehensive about taking out the 152 especially on 8 inches of chop but I was really surprised at how damp the Knew was. I was able to cut right through chop and have a blast on the board. Not too long ago Niche came through and gave me a Knew when my other board started to blow out. As I stated above I got he 152 and I’m having a blast on it.
The Knew is Niches “park” board and has flat camber which is my preferred camber style. The Knew is a tad stiff torsionally for me on boxes and rails since I generally prefer noodles in the park but Im still able to butter and play on it it just takes a bit more effort. On jumps, bumps, side hits etc it really excels however as that bit of stiffness gives it great pop. Its also that stiffness and extra dampening from the HempHop stringers that enable me to charge it in the summer slush at Snowbird.. yes you heard me Im charging steep lines at the Bird on this 152, its that damp. Overall its a good board with a stable, damp ride, thats good to go on the boxes and rails in the park but really excelling on the jumps. If I had this in the 156 as well it would be my all mountain board for sure but thats not a knock on its park label just more of a product of me liking super soft boards in the park. If you need a comparative I would say It very much reminded me of the Ride Machete which is a good board to be compared to in my opinion.
In short if youre looking to support a small company with solid principles Niche is a great place to look. The people behind the brand are dedicated riders and great folks who are part of whats right in snowboarding. The Knew is a flat cambered park board with a mid flex and super damp ride that can do it all in the park, really loves the jumps, and can even handle some aggressive steep riding. Check their site for info on all the other boards that will be in shops this upcoming fall.