In an effort to be transparent with our valued customers, we wanted to offer a place for customers to ask our president questions about RAMP skis, snowboards, and longboards. If you have a question for Mike that you want addressed in his weekly blog, please email [email protected] and include "Ask Mike" in the subject line.
Hi friends of RAMP,
The factory was just closed for 2 weeks, went so fast it felt like 2 hours. That's what happens when you have fun right? This time last year we were waiting for another test at Mt. Hood during Labor Day weekend to validate the final snowboard constructions and flexes. This year that was finished in the spring and we started making the beautiful amazing new 14-15 boards this week. Often riders ask what's different about RAMP snowboards? Let me walk through this.... One of the huge challenges with snowboards is they almost all use a plastic top of some sort, mostly PBT or TPU, which is less expensive than the nylon tops used on most skis. In general, snowboards don't need a top as expensive as skis because there aren't two of them banging together with sharp 1060 carbon steel edges. The tops are mostly graphic protection.
The problem with every plastic top we've tested is that they expand with the heat in molding—in the length and width directions—then shrink when back to room temp. On skis this isn't generally an issue as they aren't so wide. On snowboards it's a big issue because when they shrink in the width direction it pulls the board convex, so it is very base high on the bottom. Then if you try to get it flat enough to stone grind it like we do skis, the base in the middle is nearly gone. With top athletes, companies and their technicians would do this so they had boards that rode at the top level. On production boards, the industry has really poor base configurations in general—base high and sanded versus stoneground. In general, snowboarders are used to this and don't seem to mind. When they get on a really well tuned board the difference is very noticeable.
We have come up with a solution for this on our 14-15 boards which is exciting, and the graphics look incredible. With our vacuum molding process and our unique graphic sublimation process, we can sublimate a graphic on much rougher material like bamboo or skateboard non skid tape. When we use the bamboo veneer tops on the snowboards, we get a board that comes out perfectly flat so we can do our race tune type base, side edge bevels, and stone grind the base in addition to sanding. I think these boards will be at the very top of the base finishing the industry has to offer. And the graphics look incredible printed on the bamboo. Really rich. And as opposed to plastic tops, if they get dinged in the trunk of the car or by the person sitting next to you on the chair, they can get a light sanding and look good again.
When you combine that with our very expensive structures using full bamboo cores and sidewalls, layers of triaxial glass and full layers of carbon——not marketing carbon—you get the perfect balance of light, poppy, playful but rock solid. And this structure is incredibly tough and durable.
We are very proud of the new boards, you should get on one this season. Thanks for listening. Let me know your thoughts. Comment below or email me questions ([email protected]).
Mike Kilchenstein, CESnow