This fall, I spoke of demo days and trying snowboards before buying. The process worked beautifully, because I couldn't be happier with the snowboard that I now call mine. Plus, since I love to shop, it was like a shopping trip that lasted a few months, because I was continually doing research, making plans for the next demo day and then actually riding the test snowboards.

I am so happy I tried a few, because they were very different from each other. First of all, the technology is enough to confuse most people. After I waded through the new advancements that have happened since the last time I owned a snowboard, I decided that I wanted to try a couple different models.

Burton Custom

The Burton Custom is a nice board, but not for me

One of Burton's latest advancements is their Channel or EST system. It doesn't affect performance as much as it does convenience. It is basically a channel that goes down the snowboard where the bindings attach. They adhere with two screws instead of 4 and are therefore easier to switch riding styles.

I'm a practical guy and am not sure why I allowed myself to be so impressed by something that would probably benefit me rarely, if ever. I never moved my bindings for changing conditions before, I don't know why I thought I would now.

Still, I loved the graphics on the board and wanted to ride it, so I did. Burton is pushing their 'Flying V' rocker camber hybrid, and it felt very squirrelly and unstable. It chattered and hopped perpendicularly from the board across bumps. I didn't like it at all, just not for me.

Lib Tech Travis Rice Series

The T. Rice is the board I decided to make my ride

The other advancement that caught my attention was Magne-traction. The idea is that if more surface area on the snow will increase traction, then stop designing snowboard edges to be a straight line between two points. Lib Tech put some subtle angles on the eges, and it increases grab. Physically, this seemed to make sense, so I had to try it.

And we have a winner. The edge was so firm and solid that I had none of the hopping that I feared with the Burton Custom. By the end of the night I was carving deep 'C' shaped gashes in the snow and loving it.

A wise young snowboard store employee once gave me the best advice I ever heard for buying gear. He said, "Is it speaking to you? Because if it is, you should listen." The Custom screamed "Don't buy me!" While the T.Rice said, "You know I'm the one. Now let's spend the rest of our lives together." It was really that obvious.