The Trapper Poacher is a twin that blends precision and power. How does this quiver-of-one stand up against more powder-specific shapes?
At 5’9 and 65kg I’m in the overlap of recommended sizes between the 54 and 57 Poacher. I usually size up boards, so I chose the 57. For more freestyle and park orientated riding, I would be confident sizing down to the 54, especially as it has such a long and solid effective edge.
The Poacher has a unique flex profile among the Trapper range. It is stiff in the tip and tail, all the way to the contact points, then much more flexible between the feet. Unlike Trapper’s other boards, the Poacher is not available in a split board as this flex profile cannot be achieved while retaining enough strength underfoot when in ski mode. This is more or less the opposite of Trapper’s powder twin, the Howler, so I was interested to see how it would handle in powder.
The shape is aggressively blunted giving the look a nice freestyle feel. I’ve always liked super-blunt shapes and in the hand it feels light. Specs wise, it shares some of the same characteristics as other Trapper boards with a long effective edge, mellow early rise rocker in the tips with almost-flat micro-camber through the main body of the board. The nose and tail kicks blend smoothly into the subtle early rise rocker zones. The board has seen some action so that’s why it’s a little dinged up! Don’t mind the wax on the base in the photo – we like to keep our bases running fast! Here’s the blunt kick and very mellow camber just visible in the middle of the board. Despite some heavy abuse in testing, the lack of edge around the nose (like Mervin boards) has not been an issue.
How does it ride?
Of all the boards in the Trapper range, the Poacher has the most aggressive, hard-carving edge hold. From the first run, as soon as you lay it over on its edge, it has that ‘precision sharp scalpel’ feel. You usually get that feeling from stiffer camber boards, but the Trapper Poacher gives you that on an almost flat profile, so you get the powder benefits from that on the side. As the nose is stiff, not just the tail, you can power your turns from start to finish, meaning that you come out of them with a slingshot-like feeling of acceleration.
This makes it a great performer in banked slaloms too. On a reasonably smooth course, this board is a real weapon. The only downside is that if there is a lot of a lot of chop and chunder, the lack of longer soft nose kick to plane over the rough stuff means that you have to be more precise with your line.
There is a nice amount of torsional flex thanks to the more relaxed flex between the feet, but it’s still an aggressive ride. When you load the tail, the flex point is more under the back foot than in the tail but once used to this there is a hefty amount of pop. Pumping and popping off natural features and transitions, the board really comes to life. As with all Trappers, this is a board that needs to be worked hard to get the most out of it, but when you do, it gives you so much back. It’s fun in the park, but the flex is not really conducive for mini shred or rail-based park riding. That’s not to say you can’t do it, but if that’s you, there are boards with a much more forgiving flex pattern out there. The Poacher is a board that wants you to ride faster – or get stronger legs!
Comparing this to a directional powder board would be apples and oranges. It’s a blunt twin with 1cm of set back so it’s never going to give you the unsinkable insta-float of a massive-nosed powder surfer. However, for a twin shape it can handle business in powder. Similar to on piste, it comes to life with some speed and aggressive input. Lapping trees and and steep lines in powder, I didn’t find myself wishing I was on a ‘powder board’. Bouncing through powder-covered rollers, it gave that ‘hovercraft’ feeling of centred-stance float I usually associate with rocker boards. The softer flex in the middle of the board creates more bend in powder, lifting the tips and making it ride like a more heavily rockered profile board .
One caveat is that it does require a more confident riding style than a surfy set-back shape – if you get sloppy and let your weight flop over the nose, it won’t save you like a long powder nose! Stay on your game though and you can rip around just fine on deep days, with the added bonus of the stiff tip and tail handling business when exiting chutes or hitting features at speed – in either direction.
Final thoughts: Who is this board for?
This is a board for someone who likes riding twin shapes but wants more performance riding fast all over the mountain. Trapper define the Poacher as their ‘all-mountain quiver killer’ which pretty much nails it. There are better powder specific boards out there, but as a quiver-of-one, the Poacher is a great choice for the rider that will blast through the park on his way to slay powder, drop a cliff then smoke a banked slalom… all without switching up boards. It’s just as happy spraying through trees on deep days as it is eurocarving. If you like a fast ride with a precise and powerful feel, this Revelstoke-crafted line poacher might be for you.
Check out what the board’s creator, Greg from Trapper, says about the board here:
Get more info at the official Trapper Poacher page.
Disclosure: The Trapper Howler was provided by Trapper Snowboards.