Is PowDaze the solution for snowboarding in powder without the need for an expensive second board? Mark Barber from snow.guide interviews Will Tickner from PowDaze.
Like with PowDaze, every year we are presented with new ideas on how to improve our experience of skiing or snowboarding. To be honest, most of them seem to be solutions for problems that don’t exist!
PowDaze seems different. Obviously it would be ideal to take out a true Freeride mountain slayer for those powder days. But the average snowboarder cannot justify the cost of a second board. Then, of course, you have take two boards away with you and hope that you catch a powder day.
This is all very impractical and too costly for most, and this is where PowDaze steps in. Ahead of their big launch at ISPO, I caught up with one half of the PowDaze team, Will Turner:
MB – What is PowDaze?
WT – The PowDaze is an add-on for a twin snowboard that boosts float and performance in powder snow.
It will give riders the freedom to customise their ride for the day’s conditions and surf effortlessly through deep powder without needing a special snowboard. It’s a one-size-fits-most solution that attaches by slotting over the snowboard nose and is then clamped down using the snowboard binding.
Adding the PowDaze increases surface area in the snowboard nose, in turn creating a setback stance – these are two major features of a board designed specifically for powder riding. The PowDaze, therefore, brings the benefits of a powder board at a fraction of the cost.
MB – So, when going on a snowboarding trip you could take out a PowDaze with your usual All Mountain board, eliminating the need for a second Freeride board?
WT – Exactly! If you’re one of the many of us not lucky enough to live near a resort, there is no need for a quiver of boards to get the most of daily conditions.
The average snowboarder can’t justify the cost of getting a powder board that they may be lucky enough to use a few days a year.
Just take your favourite All Mountain board and a PowDaze on your next trip and you’ll be ready for any condition. If you are blessed with loads of pow then you can just add the PowDaze to your board and float through the good stuff as if you were on a dedicated powder cannon.
MB – What is it made from and how heavy is it?
WT – The PowDaze is made using the same materials and technologies found in snowboards, so you can expect the same performance and durability from it! It has a wood core, fibreglass and carbon fibre reinforcements, steel edges and a sintered PTEX base. It has external reinforced rubber padding, which helps protect your board and provides friction for a snug fit.
The PowDaze weighs in at 1kg – it’s under half the weight of a full board making it easy to travel with.
Our community is very passionate about snowboarding and holds it close to their hearts, which is amazing but does mean that disruptive innovations are often met with defensive attitudes.
MB – Is a PowDaze handmade?
WT – Yes, snowboard building is a very hands-on process, so each PowDaze is made with love. We’re currently building them in a small workshop in the UK.
MB – How did you come up with the idea?
WT – That’s a long story… The short version is always having the wrong equipment in the right conditions.
I was out in Tignes in April ’15 for some freestyle competitions when the whole resort was hit with loads of snow. Most of the contests were cancelled, which left a load of riders with their short freestyle boards and a lot of spare time stuck in the snow. No one had anything that would ride nicely in the powder and that’s where the concept began.
Fast forward to December ’15 where we (Will & Alice) are backpacking around Japan and ended the trip in Niseko, Hokkaido. We saw the snow surfing movement as it was exploding into the limelight and the interesting new shapes being crafted out there. It inspired us to bring the joy of riding powder to everyone without the need for a special board.
MB – Will, I understand you have a degree in sports technology. This must have helped bringing PowDaze from concept to production?
WT – Yes, absolutely. During my degree at Loughborough, I studied modules covering the design, manufacture and testing of sports equipment, as well as how athletes interact with their equipment and a few entrepreneurial modules added in for good measure too.
I also got the chance to work in product development teams at two sports giants Nike and Puma, which helped me apply the degree to the real world. So when the PowDaze concept was kindling, I felt ready to bring this innovation to market.
MB – Is there a slight lip where the PowDaze meets the board it is on? If so, does that hinder performance?
WT – No, we have designed the PowDaze meticulously and to our riding standards. The join between board and attachment is seamless so the rider’s performance is not hindered at all.
Rider’s will still be able to ride on-piste, carve, ride switch and jib with a PowDaze attached (should they want to) however the real fun is in the powder and this is where the PowDaze shines, giving riders the versatility of being able to customise their board to the conditions.
MB – Is PowDaze compatible with the Burton channel system?
WT – Yes, there are three slots cut into the PowDaze. These can accommodate any binding position with both the Burton Channel system and regular 2×4/4×4 binding systems.
MB – You have recently run a Kickstarter campaign and came very close to meeting your targets! Will you run another one? Did you learn anything from the campaign?
WT – Our Kickstarter campaign was a good experiment to really understand our business, our product and our potential customers. We managed to generate a lot of buzz around the campaign and it was a wild way to introduce the PowDaze to the snowboard community.
We found that those who were interested need a little more convincing though. This is totally understandable in our market since there is a huge try-before-you-buy culture. As for a future campaign, we have not got plans to run another but you never know how things change – if the situation is right then absolutely we will try again.
MB – In general, the snowboarding community greet any new concept with great scepticism. Have you encountered this?
WT – Yes. Our community is very passionate about snowboarding and holds it close to their hearts, which is amazing but does mean that disruptive innovations are often met with defensive attitudes.
We know we have a great product and are focusing on getting more people riding it and giving testimonials this winter to convince riders that the PowDaze is a great addition to their board bag.
MB – I understand you have been awarded a finalists position at ISPO this year? Tell me about that?
WT – We are so thrilled to be finalists for the BrandNew Award at ISPO and to hold that accolade. ISPO Munich is the worlds largest sports equipment trade fair and the Brand New Award focuses on startups in the sports industry bringing new and innovative ideas to market.
All eyes of the industry are there so it is a huge opportunity for us to get the PowDaze the recognition it deserves. We will be exhibiting at ISPO at the end of January with a booth in the Brand New Village so come drop by and say hello if you’re there!
MB – What is next for PowDaze?
WT – The future is looking bright for the PowDaze and ALLWINTER. We’re getting ready to exhibit at ISPO, and then from there, our focus is getting the PowDaze out on the mountains and in the media.
We will be presenting the PowDaze to German TV stations at an OnSnow test event. We have people currently testing the PowDaze out in Japan and we’re going to keep working hard to spread the word.
Towards the end of the season, we’ll start development with an existing snowboard factory to gear up for the 2018 season where you can get your own PowDaze from our website. If you would like to keep up with us we post regularly all over social media so be sure to follow us!
Interview by Mark Barber on behalf of snow.guide
Mark is also the manager of Jamie Barrow (Britain’s fastest snowboarder)