The Trapper Howler devours steep powder lines with no compromise on freestyle. Read on to see if you should join the wolf pack too.
The Trapper Howler is a powder twin and as with most Trapper boards, it’s a product of its Revelstoke roots: it likes to go hard and fast. I have to admit I was drawn as much to this board by the topsheet art as by the shape. What you get are vibrant colours in a partially transparent graphic that shows off the locally-sourced Douglas Fir core. The shape too, with its smooth blend from the camber underfoot to the rockered tips, is a nice bit of snowboard design.
I reviewed a 2015 Howler, which has wooden sidewalls. The newer version has full wraparound urethane sidewalls, which have let Trapper extend their warranty period to two years.
The Trapper Howler is a true twin, optimized for powder riding in both directions. It is very lightly cambered, with small rocker zones just before the tips. The camber could be described as ‘micro’ which leaves its handling close to a flat cambered board. The tips are blunt with a fat shovel-head shape, maximizing the surface area for float. The Howler is essentially made up of two front halves of the Trapper Ursa Major stuck together to make a twin.
The camber zone that makes up most of the board is on the stiffer side of medium. That stiffness is tempered, however, by medium-soft tips that bring out some playfulness in softer snow. The Howler is a midwide deck, with a waist width of 257mm for the 159, but a tighter sidecut (7500mm) and short effective edge (from the upraised tips) ensure edge to edge quickness and maneuverability are not compromised. Trapper uses a sintered 4001 carbon base, without graphics on purpose, for increased durability and speed.
Here is a side profile shot showing the rocker in the nose and the micro camber (which can’t be seen due to the studio paper underneath):
How does it ride?
The Trapper Howler is a burly ride, and feels no-nonsense underfoot. The micro camber gives the board a neutral, damp feel. This provides a stable platform which really comes to life when pushing the board and charging lines. You’ll get to the bottom and look back up at your line, only thinking, “yeah! I nailed it” and not about your snowboard’s tech specs.
The Trapper Howler has tips that like to party…and keep you floating going both ways, of course. The soft nose rocker pops up in deep snow and makes turn initiation incredibly smooth. The soft tail kick is no slouch either, providing a surfy exit out of powder turns…and obviously both make for fun pow butters.
You can see the tips popping up through the snow in this little vid showing the Howler in powdery trees:
As mentioned earlier, the Howler has a wider waist, and that extra width definitely helps with float, but it’s an advantage that doesn’t jump out at you like a long flexy nose or shortened tail. The board rides like a normal board and you just don’t have to worry about float so much (or suffer from rear-leg burn). I prefer this normal board feel over that of a dedicated powder board, for when you pop out of the powder and back onto the groomers you can still carve your face off and have fun on all the sidehits down to the lift. Getting to and from the powder stashes doesn’t have to suck.
On the Trapper Howler sizing chart I fall right in between the 159 and 164 sizes. This means that for me, the 159 I have is more of an all round resort ripper that won’t let me down in powder. Stepping up to the 164 would give me more float for the really deep days and more effective edge for bigger lines. For someone who is spot on in the sizing, the Howler should cover everything from the deepest pow to park and sidehit fun. It really is a quiver-killer for riders who want to keep their freestyle riding going no matter the conditions all season long.