Review: Venture Storm-R

Forget the neon, pseudo-punk graphics and trick sticks flooding the snowboard industry. The Venture Storm-R is a grownup, tough-as-Tenzig-Norgay snowboard that will help you hurtle down a hillside without embarrassing yourself.

Venture is owned by a husband-and-wife team who test all the company’s boards in the back country outside of Silverton, Colorado. Because each board is painstakingly handcrafted and vigorously tested, these sticks have earned a rep for withstanding the gnarliest conditions Mother Nature can dish out.

They also have a rep for being tough to ride, at least at first. If you’ve mastered traditional cambered boards, strapping into the Storm-R will force you to get all Yoda and “unlearn what you have learned.”

You see, most snowboards gently arch up in the middle, which puts varying amounts of pressure on the nose and tail and makes the board’s edges dig into the snow. But boards built on a rocker shape, like the Storm-R, lie flat in the middle, while the nose and tail curve upwards. It takes some getting used to. On the first run of the day, I clipped in and bombed a big, blue groomer, only to skid out ignominiously (and perhaps hilariously) on my bottom when I leaned back to turn on an edge that wasn’t there.

Once you adapt to the rocker shape, it’s hard not to marvel at the quick, silken quality of the board’s turns. Its turning capacity meant it performed equally well in chutes and through trees, but the board’s surf-shaped nose and extreme nose-to-tail ratio (lots of nose, not so much tail) means that it begs to be taken onto miles and miles of fresh, head-high powder. Time and time again, I found myself gravitating towards big, wide runs so I could take the big, fast turns that this board demanded.

And that’s really why the Storm-R is such a marvelous device. There were times when I felt like the board was an extension of my body. Sometimes I had to pinch myself as a reminder that I wasn’t starring in a Warren Miller movie.

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