I love testing snowboarding innovations. So I was very excited to conduct a review of Mahee V shaped snowboard as potentially it’s a game changer. The base of the Mahee is V shaped from tip to tail with a third edge down the middle, that should make for easier freeride snowboarding plus other benefits.
Innovative Mahee V shaped snowboard base
Let’s start by explaining the innovative Mahee V shaped snowboard base. It is designed with similar principles to the shape of a surfboard or a boat’s hull. Both of which are deeper in the middle to help with float, control and stability in water.
Apply this to a snowboard in powder – which behaves similarly to water – and you should get all the above benefits leading to easier freeride snowboarding. Mahee started with the V shape as an idea a few years ago, and have been developing a snowboard to use the concept ever since. The V shape is now patented.
The V shape has just a three degree difference from the edge to the centre. It may not sound like much, but it increases the surface area of the board without increasing it’s size and compromising on manoeuvrability.
Thinking 3D the V shape on the 160cm Mahee has (by my calculations) a volume of 1526 cc, with minimal extra weight. Float is determined by the weight of liquid displaced, which means stationary in water the V shape can support approximately 1.5kg more. So a 75kg rider would experience 2% more float.
Of course you don’t snowboard on water, and no one expects to float in powder when stationary. When snowboarding your forward momentum means less of your weight is pushing down which is how you to float in the powder. As you pick up speed the less weight pushing down and the more float you get.
This is where the V shape really helps. Although it is only 2% more float when stationary, once the majority of your weight is in forward momentum and it adds significantly more float. The effect is even more pronounced as you travel down slope, all of which means more float.
As you snowboard the Mahee V shaped snowboard base parts powder down the middle making it flow beneath the board in a more controlled way. This will provide greater stability and give you more control – in theory leading to easier freeride snowboarding.
Although designed with powder in mind, the same characteristics should help to cut through crud and slush on the piste. And on a flat piste, the V shape should mean you can easily rock from side to side using the central edge without engaging the heel or toe edges.
In theory this will help you snowboard in a straight line, without having to lose a little of your control by riding your board completely flat. Plus with only half of the board in contact with the snow there will be less friction so you should go faster.
In order to protect the V, Mahee have added a third edge down the centre of the board. This gives the base a distinctive look, and means that when you put it in for a service, it won’t accidentally be treated as a board with a flat base – as has happened to Bataleon boards in the past.
Mahee: What else is under the bonnet
For this review of Mahee V shaped snowboard you need to know it’s much more than an innovative shape snowboard. The extra control from the central edge means Mahee can slightly raise the heel and toe edges to make it more difficult to catch an edge.
The Mahee has a dual-density full wood core, combined with hardwood beech stringers towards the edges to help create pop and durability. The base is a top of the range sintered IS7200, which is hard and fast. The top layer is made from triax fibreglass to ensure a precise and responsive ride.
A blunt note saves a little weight, and by moving the first contact point further back helps the board glide through powder. Ever seen snow billowing out behind the tip of your ride then you’re ploughing through the snow? The blunt knows reduces this reducing drag to help you maintain speed.
The mahee has a progressive sidecut, which means the sidecut radius increases towards the contact points. This enables smoother turn initiation and exit because there is a less abrupt transition of the edge through the snow.
The Mahee V shaped snowboard is a directional twin, meaning it has a symmetrical shape with a set back stance. The profile is camber between the bindings to generate power and slight rocker outside the bindings to help with float and to make it more forgiving. It has a 7/10 stiffness rating.
Review of Mahee V shaped snowboard
My first run on the Mahee snowboard was in a windy whiteout, on a steep, icy red. I was a little apprehensive to be trying something so different in less than ideal conditions. I was expecting it to feel radically different and was slightly disappointed that it felt similar to a normal shaped snowboard.
Putting the first turns in on the icy, wind-scoured slope, were virtually the same as with any board. The raised edges meant that I had to give a little more to get them to engage, but the V shape and third edge countered that by making it much more stable in the transition from edge to edge.
On the downside it wasn’t feeling very forgiving so I was riding carefully to minimise risk. However, it held an edge very well and was fairly easy to carve. Although it felt powerful in the carve it didn’t quite transfer that powered out of the carve like some other boards, possibly due to the V shape.
We quickly dropped out of the wind onto a less steep piste with 5-10 cm of powder. Visibility was poor so I was still taking it easy, but I very quickly came to trust the Mahee. The V Shape makes dynamic riding easier as you can react to the conditions by rocking from side to side without engaging an edge.
As the visibility improved I took the Mahee off-piste into 20-30 cm of powder. The float was effortless and I never had to consider putting my weight back. It felt very nimble in powder and safe going fast. With minimal effort I was doing subtle cross under turns, maintaining speed without my edge digging through the thin powder. In short easier freeride snowboarding.Jamie Barrow on the Mahee (unfortunately poor weather meant no photos during my test)
Unfortunately, variable visibility meant I was soon back on the piste. Where I found the Mahee V shaped snowboard was great for doing tight, fast cross under carves again with less effort than a normal board. I could also bomb down a slope in a straight line without engaging an edge or being completely flat base.
The more I rode the Mahee the more forgiving I found it. I landed a couple of 3s where I had not complete the rotation as the V shape gives more leeway for error with less risk of catching an edge. Also the central edge seemed to provide a little extra grip in landing helping you stick the landing.
The only downside for this review of Mahee V shaped snowboard is feeling unstable when going slowly on flat sections, particularly if they are icy. The V shape makes it feel less stable and more likely to catch an edge – although I never did. This makes getting on and off chairlifts feel uncomfortable, and travelling across slow, flat sections felt twitchy.
Review of Mahee V shaped snowboard by Jamie Barrow
I was testing the Mahee with Jamie Barrow – Britain’s fastest snowboarder and ex-pro rider form the British XC team. He had also ridden the Mahee in deeper powder. Here is Jamie’s review of Mahee V shaped snowboard.
I was lucky to ride the Mahee board a few times throughout it’s development and I really like it. The unique V shape and third edge running down the middle have fantastic potential in speed and powder riding.
To snowboard as quickly as possible your board should be flat based, which can be difficult particularly when the snow is uneven. However, the V shape allows you to be slightly on an edge giving you more control, without digging in the edge to slow you down.
In soft spring conditions the V shape worked really well to power through slushy cut up snow. However, on flat sections with hard snow it can feel unstable unless you are riding it fast. In short this is a board that likes to go fast.
The unique V shapes base is designed to be amazing to ride in powder. I found it floats effortlessly – like a boat on water – with the V shape making it more stable and agile. It’s great to see a small British snowboard brand being so innovative and I look forward to seeing where the brand goes.
Conclusion: Easier freeride snowboarding?
I consider myself a freeride snowboarder, I like to head backcountry, hike for my lines and ultimately be riding fresh powder. My initial reaction after this two hour test was I’d like to take the Mahee for a week of backcountry snowboarding to really test it in powder.
For me the Mahee didn’t feel as different as I expected, but I spoke to a couple of other people that said it felt very strange and they did not get on with it. However, their ride of choice tends more towards soft, forgiving jib boards, where as I go for stiffer all-mountain or freeride boards.
I like to ride fairly aggressively, to point straight and go fast, to ride dynamically, chucking in a few carves and tight cross under turns. The Mahee was great for all of this.
Ultimately I want to head off backcountry on the Mahee, because the innovative V shape makes riding in powder easier. The Mahee is going to continue to develop over the next few seasons, but in my opinion the concept could be a game changer that leads to easier freeride snowboarding.
If you found this review of Mahee V shaped snowboard useful nd would like to find out more go to: www.mahee-mountain.com