Time for my Pathron Flaxer review. The manufacturer says it is the ‘Swiss Army penknife of snowboards’ and is intended to provide joy to the rider regardless of conditions or terrain. It aims to deliver this for a very reasonable price making it a great choice as a cheap all mountain snowboard.
I’ve only spent three days on the board so far, but I racked up a complete range of conditions from sunny hard packed piste, to white out, to knee deep powder. I rode it through the park, the bordercross, off piste, on piste and with a hangover. Having tested it in a variety of conditions, a range of terrain and riding different styles, I agree with Pathron that it is the Swiss Army penknife of snowboards. It also leaves a big smile on your face.
Pathron Flaxer Review: In the Shop (virtual of course)
I chose Pathron initially because I was looking to try a cheap all mountain snowboard. My buddy had ridden a few of them and raved about them. So rather than drop a small fortune on a big name brand, for what amounts to a couple of trips to the mountains per year, I decided to try out a Pathron.
The Pathron snowboard range has 12 boards for the 2013/14 season and scouring through the details I landed on the Pathron Flaxer. As with all Pathron boards it’s got a bunch of technology such as Kevlar strips for strength, power plates beneath the bindings and a fast sintered base, all for just £199.
In addition to the super slippery IS7500 sintered base, the Pathron Techs have interestingly chosen natural flax fibres over traditional glass fibres for the laminated top. While I’m sure no snowboard is likely to win ecological awards, it’s nice to see the use of natural materials wherever possible. Its even better if they, as Pathron claim, improve performance through additional pop and extra torsional stiffness.
Aesthetically this gives it a unique textured woven flax look, akin to some high end textiles, which serves as a great low key background to the handsome and stylish Pathron graphics that adorn it. If I’m being honest the Pathron Flaxer’s looks are the reason I choose the board over the other cheap all mountain snowboard contenders.
The Pathron Flaxer is a directional twin, which means it is symmetrical in shape and flex so it can be ridden in either direction, but it has a set back stance as you spend most of the time going one way. It had a camrocker profile, which provides camber between your feet to create pop, and rocker at the tips to help avoid edge catching and to help with float in powder.
Pathron Flaxer Review – On the slopes
So how does Pathrons cheap all mountain snowboard perform on the slopes? I took it for a spin for three days in Les 2 Alpes and was rewarded with 3 very different conditions to enjoy.
Day 1 – Blue skies and hard pistes
From the first run of the day I realised this was a quick board. Quick in a straight line, quick to initiate turns and interestingly, quick to forgive my errors. The conditions were perfect on the first day for some aggressive on piste action.
After just a few hours riding the Flaxer, I whipped some butt racing friends in the boardercross track. I was quickly feeling confident enough in the boards stability to straight line and carve through the turns without scrubbing speed knowing that its responsive nature could get me out of trouble if needed.
In the park, I repeatedly hit a wavy box with a nice kick to the end of it landing each time with confidence and found myself approaching straight airs with much more speed than usual. I’ll admit I still didn’t master landing 360’s with any style but you can’t expect miracles now can you.
The smile on my face when we reached Pano bar at the end of the day was massive. We proceeded to get merry there and talk boarding for the rest of the evening.
Day 2 – Low visibility and snowing
The second day could have been a write off. My hangover was pleading with me to crawl back into bed, but I was determined not to miss a day, and we managed to get out there fairly early all things considered. Conditions were not the best with snow falling progressively heavier, very flat light and almost impenetrable fog at times.
I always find it challenging riding in those conditions. The sudden unexpected changes in terrain cause me to stiffen up which is of course the opposite of what’s required. But I was so pumped from the previous days ride that I went into it with enthusiasm and the trust for the board meant I didn’t stiffen up.
The Pathron Flaxer saved me on a number of occasions admirably smoothing out some particularly nasty changes of terrain. What eventually let me down was my fitness more than anything else, I retired at 15:00 for a late lunch with my legs feeling like jelly.
Day 3 – Powder Powder Powder
It had been snowing all the 2nd day but that night it dumped, I was so excited I forgot to set my stance back. The Flaxer has a 2.5cm set back stance, but I had it set up centrally as I like to feel balanced and ride switch when the mood takes me.
I headed up to the top of an untouched black then proceeded to tumble down the hill as I repeatedly lost the tip under heaps of soft white powder. Cursing myself for stupidity I quickly dropped the front binding back a couple of holes, I should have dropped the rear binding back a bit too but I was impatient to play in the powder. This left me with a narrower stance than I prefer but it was still a significant improvement.
Next few runs were dreamy with long untouched patches of knee deep powder. The tip was now floating above the white stuff, helped by its camrocker profile, and I was able to enjoy that beautiful soft sound of powder away from the masses on the piste.
The board was a delight to ride off piste: OK, so I watched one of my riding partners on his Borealis Drakkar powder board floating faster and getting more air than I could, but the Pathron Flaxer was no slouch in powder. It was certainly precise enough for me to choose between wide gentle curves and quicker shorter changes in direction.
Pathron Flaxer Review – The Conclusion
I will conclude my Pathron Flaxer review by congratulating myself on picking well. For a cheap all mountain snowboard the Flaxer has good looks, rides all terrains very well, it is precise, responsive, forgiving and fast! What more could you want?
At the time of publishing you could pick up the Pathron Flaxer on ebay for £199 delivered direct from the manufacturer.