Prior Snowboards and Skis is ingratiating itself with the tall foreheads at Backcountry Magazine.
For the second year in a row, the Whistler-based manufacturer found itself on a list of top splitboards as part of the publication's Editors' Choice edition.
After receiving praise for its groundbreaking Brandywine splitboard in advance of the 2014-15 season, this year, the newer Slaylok model made the list. The Slaylok was introduced in 2014.
In the magazine, one reviewer described the Slaylok as, "More dependable than the perfect guy or a best friend" while another praised it for being "super responsive." Another noted it's a board designed for veterans on the mountain.
Said Prior sales and marketing coordinator Matt Dussault: "Every year, we send stuff to Backcountry Magazine for tests, and they'll have a group of testers that ride the boards and rate them.
"In the end, they tally up all the feedback and scores and that's how they generate the winners."
Dussault noted the Brandywine was the first female-specific splitboard when it was first introduced in 2007, and the company was thrilled to see it recognized. With splitboards for women becoming more popular and the field more competitive, it was doubly thrilling to see a new offering make the list.
"We have won in the past and this one follows up the year after. It's pretty cool," Dussault said. "The cool thing is this is going against all the big manufacturers as well. I don't think it's uncommon that one brand may win two years in a row, but it's pretty special that a smaller brand like ourselves based here in Whistler (did)."
While the Slaylok was the model testers enjoyed, Dussault noted it's a vote of confidence for all of the company's products. What differentiated the Slaylok was its carbon-fibre setup that makes it 15 per cent lighter than many boards on the market, Dussault said. However, all of Prior's splitboards are made of the material, which can be difficult to design in a way that they can absorb impact well.
"It's pretty crucial to have a really lightweight set-up for a lighter rider," he said. "There isn't necessarily anything special about the specs. We're not doing anything too crazy other than accommodating a certain type of rider, but the real challenge is making the lightweight board.
"We're just trying to stay ahead of times and make lightweight boards for both women and men."
Dussault acknowledged it was a bit of a surprise for the company to see a fairly new product make an impact so quickly.
"It's a new achievement, a new design. We've spent time testing it, but usually it takes a little bit of time to get the proper feedback to dial it in properly and really perform to its ability," he said. "It just worked out the first year."
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