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Snowboarders, Retailers, Suppliers Sought to Improve Equipment Performance

Snowboarders sometimes land 40 foot cliffs. Whether “going big” or just beginning to learn the sport, their gear has to withstand incredible impact. Snowboards have three main components: board, boots and bindings. The best scenario for buyers of snowboarding equipment is to have a wide variety of bindings and boots fit their choice of a board, according to Roger Neiley, RTN Sports, Laguna Beach, Calif. “To make the sport more accessible and give consumers the best fun-factor for their dollar, we need to do everything possible to have each component perform as designed. A key part of this goal is to ensure maximum interchangeability of components between manufacturers,” says Neiley, an equipment designer who has helped to develop numerous sports equipment standards as a member of ASTM Committee F27 on Snow Skiing.

The subcommittee is calling for involvement from snowboarders, retail salespersons, area operators, manufacturers, and importers. It is hoped that increased participation will further product innovation and improve rider safety on the hill.

“Snowboarding has many different facets, from the benign to the extreme, and has great cross-generational appeal. Its rapid learning curve makes it an ideal family sport, but progress and enjoyment on the slopes is very dependent on equipment performance,” says Neiley, who brings previous experience as a snowboard equipment supplier to work with manufacturers on the ASTM F27.85 Snowboarding Subcommittee to produce basic product standards that will help guide the performance and interchangeability of equipment available to consumers.

“We’ve been working on several items of importance over the past few years, including both specifications and test methods for snowboard mounting inserts, the performance of boot and binding components, and several compatibility issues” he continues. “The more involvement from the industry the better we’ll be able to coordinate our market’s needs with pending ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards.”

The subcommittee was instrumental in writing several key sections of the recently passed ISO standard for strap bindings and is in the process of writing standards for both step-in boots and step-in bindings.

To participate, or for further information, contact Subcommittee Chairman Ed Wachtel, Nike, Inc., WHQ, 1 Bowerman Dr., Beaverton, OR 97005-6453 (503/671-6821). For Committee F27 meeting or membership information, contact manager Dan Schultz, ASTM (610/832-9716). //

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