2013 Niche Aether LTD 158 Review
A word on Niche:Niche snowboards launched this past season and the brand has already turned a lot of heads. Their goal of making environmentally friendlier snowboards has an obvious appeal, but to be honest we didn’t know what to expect in terms of either finish or ride quality. With recycled plastics, plant-based resins and soy-based inks the boards sounded great on paper. Niche had a demo day at our home mountain and I had the opportunity to test this limited edition shred stick. It did not disappoint.
Flex: The board felt soft nose to tail with a medium torsional flex. This was especially noticeable as I twisted the board into each turn. The snap was powerful and responsive.
Pop: It took a few tries to get used to but once I understood where it hinged (felt like it was underneath the binding) every time I ollied I got some pretty consistent pop. It felt fairly effortless and fun after that.
Stability: The predominantly icy conditions were great to test the boundaries of this board. It felt bite-free and stable when I pointed it downhill. I did experience a bit of chatter in the nose and tail when speeds increased.
Edge Hold: Trenches! Magnetraction was super grippy. When you put this deck on edge you can carve over an igloo. The best thing about it was that it still had enough torsional flex to allow you to disengage the carve when you wanted to.
Butters/Presses: Fun times. My favorite feature on this board was the ease of presses and butters. Right away it was easy to press on the nose and tail. Butters were a delicate balance at first because of the magnetraction, but after a few tries it got a bit easier to slide the way I wanted to.
Float: The winter that never was definitely didn’t allow for much pow testing!
Who I’d recommend it to: To me this could be quiver killer. I would say this stick is best suited for the intermediate/advanced rider that wants to up their freestyle game. It felt like a park board on steroids. Versatile and playful but responsive when needed.
Their Description: If your day consists of dropping chutes in the morning and slaying booters in the afternoon, the Aether Limited is your all mountain soulmate. From its sustainably harvested poplar core to its Snappy Sap™ Bio Resin, this board serves as a showcase of future-friendly technology. With magnetraction and multi-camber, you can float backside 180′s into pow, navigate through an ice storm and then make your way to the park to press some rails. Plus, with the addition of basalt Magma Fiber instead of fiberglass, the Aether Limited is even lighter and more durable than you can possibly imagine! The sintered base is scary fast and bombproof. With a mid-stiff flex and directional twin sidecut, the Aether Limited is ready to tackle the entire mountain. We’ve also teamed up with Michael Sieben to deliver some extra tasty art on this shred stick.
Conclusion: Based on the camber profile I knew this board would feel comfortable but I did not expect it to feel as stable as it did. It was light and lively and once I trusted the magnetraction I felt comfortable. Popping over rollers and carving at high speed felt the best to me. Presses and butters took a little getting used to and it made it clear that Magnetraction is not for me. Riding switch felt just as comfortable as regular. The art on the Aether LTD edition is super cool and the product of artist Michael Sieben. The topsheet’s matte finish make it look very different from that of a traditional deck.
Big thanks to Niche Northeast Rep Kayli Currier for allowing us to test fresh out of the wrapper decks. Her knowledge of these boards and what they are designed to do helped me have a better time on them for sure.