Gear Review: 2016 Ride Helix
Testing the latest asymmetrical all-mountain snowboard
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is my fundamental understanding that technology is supposed to make me better. Like, how this distraction-free writing software make these words so eloquent or Instagram makes my boring life look siiiiiiick. But the Ride Helix, despite being packed with all sorts of new technical features, did not make me a better snowboarder, really.
You see, I've been snowboarding for a long time...and I'm good—nevermind the fact that I haven't been on a mountain in the 6 years since I sold my soul to New York City. So, when I rolled into the Brighton terrain park on this hyper-tech, true twin park monster and it didn't help me do, like, half the tricks I imagined I could do, I had nothing but newfangled technology to blame.
The Ride Helix is what the kids call an "asymmetric hybrid twin." Or what old guys call a "fancy park board." It has a centered stance and stiffer, snappier core, which help it hang tough when you're stomping out two-and-a-half rotations on an 70-footer, just like you imagined you could do. But the Helix's real trick is the asymmetrical sidecut. Your body moves differently when executing toeside and heelside turns, so the folks at Ride had the bright idea to give the toe and heelside edges different radii. Makes sense, right?
The result is easier-to-initiate turns, though old guy here notes that it took a bit of getting used to. But once you're in a turn, go ahead and grab that edge, feel yourself, girl. The finely-tuned sidecut on the Helix will let you hold that mother to infinity. And because the true twin design, your heel side edge is the same regardless of what downhill direction you favor, so whether you ride goofy or regular is irrelevant. Pro tip: when you need to compensate for lack of confidence or ability—anything really—fun, silly things like grabbing an edge while turning will make you feel much better, especially after taco-ing a park rail under the chairlift.
So, snowboards used to be simple. They had some wood, p-tex, fiberglass and art. Maybe an expert sticker job (also qualifies as art). But as time went on, things got complicated. Snowboard manufacturers threw 27 types of camber, carbon inserts, and big words like "asymmetry" into the mix. The Ride Helix has all of the above, and is easily the most technologically advanced snowboard I've ever ridden. And though there's a slight learning curve, it really does ride differently than what most are likely used to.
Throughout my few days on this board, I learned that technology doesn't actually make you a good snowboarder. But it sure as hell gives you a ton of new excuses to explain why you're not.
$510 from Ride