Last year when we had our amazing 800 inch snow year I was lucky enough to spend a good bit of the spring at Snowbird on the Niche Aether and had a blast on it This review is a great example of why I do not like to review a board after just a couple of runs. When I first got on the Aether I knew it was going to be a bit stiffer than I was used to and if I just had a day or two on it it probably wouldnt have been my cup of tea. However over the spring as I got to ride it and get used to the all mountain stiffness I ended up having tons of fun. Where The Knew didnt quite fit my jib style the Aether was great for my style of all mountain riding ,especially at the steeper slopes of Snowbird. I found it poppy when I needed it to be but still forgiving enough for fun high speed butters. The Aether is Niche’s reverse camber board but the reverse is so slight that it really feels closer to a flat camber. I would say this is the most stable pure reverse board I’ve ever ridden that didn’t have some sort of edge technology. Of the three Niche boards I’ve been on this one is by far my favorite. Although it is the “all mtn board” it should be noted that Niche rider Everest Arnold kills this thing in the park at Brighton Resort. All in all it is a great board that did everything I wanted it to when I needed it to with zero short comings. If you like a good stable all mtn ride in a reverse camber or if you need a stiffer park board for a more aggressive park style I would definitely recommend you give the Aether a go (added bonus theres is now an Aether with Magne-Traction for an even steadier ride).
Check them out at NicheSnowboards.com
I bought the Flux TT30′s about a month ago to replace the Raiden Zeros I bought last season. (note the Zeros were trashed but they did have about 125 days on them which is a more than acceptable life). Here’s what attracted me to the Flux bindings a) low flat high backs b) no footbed c) urethane highback that are flexible enough for park but sturdy enough for free riding and d) tool less adjust on the heelcups/highbacks. The footbed thing may catch you off guard but I’ve never been a fan of footbeds at least not the big flat insert type and until last years Raidens I have actually taken them out of the bindings I used. Just a personal thing I guess. The TT30′s are the mid flex binding in the Flux line with two softer bindings below it and a couple stiffer ones above it although they are still billed as a rail/park binding. I liked these things right out of the box, great flex, super comfy (but not super puffy) straps. They have a rather unique ratcheting system where the ratchet and the locking mechanism are two separate pieces which is pretty interesting and seems to keep a bit of torque off of the locking mechanism which basically translates into these dont slip loose when you are riding, no stopping to retighten your bindings half way down the hill. Another interesting thing about the locking mechanism is that it has two teeth on each end that lock into the ladder as opposed to the traditional single flat piece. I like this because it also helps prevent slippage and that situation where you end up with one side of your ladder “stripped out”. Finally I thought it was a nice touch for Flux to include within the box and extra ankle and toe ladder .. sweet. There are two things I dont like about the TT30 but they would not prevent me from buying them again. First off is the rather extravagant plastic guides along both the ankle and toe strap that keep the ladders snug against the straps. At first I thought these were just a bit gadgety but once I had my ladder not go in the guides and found it super hard to unstrap it. I guess they help keeping the ladders at the proper angle to strap in/out. Second thing, and this does drive me nuts, is the tool free adjust on the binding straps. They may be tool free but they are hardly on hill friendly. First they are the kind where you pop up the plastic piece and use it to unscrew the hardware holding the strap in place. Then you have to move it and line up the hole you want to use for the hardware as well as two tabs on each end to help lock it in place all the while trying to keep it all aligned and trying to not drop the screw in the snow. In this day and age where almost every binding company has a quick adjust where you just pop a tab and slide the strap this Flux tool-less adjust is kind of a fail, but one I’ve learned to deal with. After all once you get it dialed in you shouldn’t have to mess with it too often anyways. If you like a more old school type binding with lower, flat highbacks you should give the Flux a look. The TT30 is a mid flex park style binding in the middle range of their flex scale. While it has a few short comings all in all it is a great performer on the hill and I guess that really matters the most. PS If your kind of into these you may want to grab some this year as next seasons TT30, as well as other Flux bindings, have been upgraded to include a footbed.
Check them out at Fluxbindings.com