Last spring, I was sharing a lift with Ride Snowboards rider Masaki Kitae when he suggested to me to review the Ride Berzerker, which is the model he rides. I told him, “no way, it’s too narrow for me!” With a waist width of 249mm for the 159cm size, it just wasn’t going to happen with my size 10 boots. “No, no, you’ve got to check out the wide model – it’s not that wide”, he replied. Sure enough, when I checked the specs of the 160 wide model in the catalog, I saw it has a definitely-not-so-wide waist width of 257mm. In these times of wider and wider waist widths, 257mm hardly deserves a ‘W’ next to it, but I guess if you compare it to the regular version it sort of qualifies. We swapped boards for a run and I was sold. The Ride Berzerker is Jake Blauvelt’s de facto pro model and is aimed at riders who like boards that rail everywhere, on hardpack and in pow.
The Ride Berzerker is a tapered directional all mountain snowboard. It has a hybrid camber profile, which translates to rocker in the nose and camber underfoot.
8mm of taper helps in turning and in sinking the tail in powder. The nose width on the 160W is a wide 308mm for powder float, but as it’s rockered up and out of the way, it’s not a hindrance on hardpack. Looking inside the board, it has a Performance core consisting of Aspen combined with bamboo and Paulownia. Carbon stringers called Carbon Array 3 help transfer power from all binding positions to their opposing contact points.
There are two Carbon Slimerods 2.0 in the tail, which are flat carbon rods wrapped around a urethane slime-core. These add pop without making the board too stiff and the slime-core softens hard landings. There are also Double Impact Plates under each binding for strength and to prevent board breakage.
The quadratic sidecut is made up of three radii, and is optimized for each board size to improve grip and turn initiation and exit. A high end sintered 4000 base and Roll-in Slimewalls (to prevent topsheet chipping & reduce weight) round out the tech. Top it all off with a three year warranty and you have a very compelling case for choosing the Berzerker.
How does it ride?
The Ride Berzerker turned out to be a nice surprise. While I expected a strong big mountain type of board, I didn’t expect such an agile deck. It feels really light underfoot and wants to turn, thanks to the combination of the quadratic sidecut and the tapered tail. The agility feels great when doing sidehits and it is easy to maneuver, even at slow speeds. At high speeds, the board’s big mountain personality shines through – it’s stable and the stone grinded base is fast. I don’t think I have found its top speed yet. For backcountry days, it doesn’t matter if you have to navigate through an icy wind crust covered ridge line before you get to the deep powder turns, the Berzerker was created for those types of conditions, and is reassuring to have underfoot – you know you won’t be wishing you had a different board if things get too extreme.
The word that comes to mind is smooth. In powder, the Berzerker’s rockered nose and long blend zones work together to let the board flow through the snow and the taper sinks the tail. It feels like the board was designed especially to be ridden in powder, and it can shred on all but the most ridiculously deep days with the bindings on the reference stance. For the ‘meter overnight and still snowing’ Japan specials, you’re going to have to bust out the screwdriver and set back your bindings. But that’s the beauty of the design – you don’t have to grab a dedicated powder board, the Berzerker will be just fine. This makes it a great board for trips when space is at a premium.
I really enjoyed riding the Ride Berzerker. It’s the type of quiver-killing board that can really handle everything. It’s a quiet deck, not only in absorbing vibrations, but in getting the job done. It doesn’t feel like a heavy big mountain gun underfoot, but yet, when you get into those situations it really shines. Overall for me, it was a strap in and go experience – it offered smooth turns and there was no need for any ‘need to get used to the board’ time. Apart from the most extreme dork-around spring days, I’m happy choosing the Ride Berzerker as a daily driver. Riders with small feet will love the narrow waist sizes, and the rest of us will feel at home on the medium-wide sizing of the wide models. For the type of rider this deck would suit, look no further than the pro rider who helped design the board, Jake Blauvelt. Freeriding, jumps, natural terrain fun, backcountry – nothing is off the table. Heck, Jake won the 2019 Drink Water banked slalom on it which is proof positive that it turns well and goes very fast. If you ride like Jake (in your head) or want to, then you should be very stoked on the Berzerker.
Get more information about Ride snowboards at their official site.
Disclosure: The Ride Berzerker was provided by Ride snowboards.