Gear Review: Lib Tech Scotty Wittlake FM
The greenest board ever made is an all-mountain quiver killer
A decade ago I was fully, 100% chasing the dream. I spent summers at Mt. Hood— the epicenter of snowboarding from May through September—and winters traveling around the West Coast trying to impress with this trick and that maneuver. Hell, I even went to New Zealand for a season. Then I realized all my friends were way better than me (and I really hate falling) so I stopped pretty much cold turkey, and got an education instead. Why does this matter? Well, for one I want to make it clear this review is genuine, and two, to make the point that I'm now old and jaded and am really difficult to impress. And you know what? The Lib Tech Wittlake FM 157 really effing impressed me. Seriously. I haven't had that much fun on a snowboard since I was sixteen.
Thanks to some incredible December snowfall at Mt. Hood Meadows the Wittlake FM was tested in a range of conditions—most notably in knee-deep powder and on fresh groomers. It handled exceptionally throughout, from ducking ropes to score some day-old stash slashes and launching off every side hit in sight to straight-lining an entire run to see when the chatter would kick in. I even lapped the park jump line a couple times. And the absolute, number one takeaway from the experience? The Wittlake FM holds an edge like no other. The thing is wild stable. Making it so is a variation of Lib Tech's signature Magne-Traction (wavy edges), which adds up to 14 points of contact—as opposed to regular sidecut, which creates just four points of contact via each side of the tip and tail—and a camber profile that features mild rocker between the feet and good old camber from the feet to either end. An aspen core and birch internal sidewalls certainly help too. (If you don't speak snow-bro, all that just means the board is designed to have loads of pop, be stable on hard pack and float in powder, while also being able to carve and corner like a sports car.)
The Wittlake FM is described as "a park board conceived in the backcountry," and thus is only available in a single size, 157. It's also the "greenest snowboard ever made." True to Mervin Manufacturing’s love of tongue-in-cheek advertising, the claim is both true in terms of environmental impact, and color—they literally injected green pigment into every part of the board they could, from top sheet and base to the sidewalls. Each Wittlake FM is made by hand in Washington State by Mervin Manufacturing, using farm grown wood, no toxic chemicals or binding agents, and a new, earth friendly, bio-plastic for the top sheet that features the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any top sheet in the industry.
Also, this is the pro model of Northwest legend Scotty Wittlake. This really should have been mentioned earlier, but there was just so much other stuff to cover. If you don't know Scotty, you're blowing it. Please do some google research, or just watch this (8:50).