We spent some deep days on the Trout Trap, Trapper’s powder surfer with a powerful kick in its tail.
The Trout Trap is a fully directional chopped-tail powder board from Canadian board maker, Trapper. Having experienced some epic powder days on their directional freeride model, the Ursa Major, it was time to see if the Trout Trap could deliver even more powder stoke. Would it be a luxury deep day only board? First impressions suggested otherwise: in the hand the shape looks “functional” with a really long edge, big blunt nose and stubby swallowtail all squeezed into an almost rectangular package.
Shape and specs:
Trapper describe this as their powder surfer quiver board, and while the shape does scream “powder!” the specs hint at more all-mountain ability. There is a long effective edge – the 155 Trout Trap packs in 121cm of edge thanks to the blunt shape. While the nose is massive, the inserts are only set back 2cm relative to the effective edge, which promises a well balanced ride on firmer snow. There is also 8mm of taper but it’s not immediately noticeable to the naked eye.
While this isn’t one of the new breed of super compact pow sticks, Trapper recommend sizing down 3-6cm for the Trout Trap. I typically ride a 159 for everything and although the 155 we tested was the smallest board I had ridden for a while, it never felt ‘small’. This was partly from the very flat rises in the nose and tail kicks which make Trapper boards ‘long for their length’ (up against a wall, the 155 TT was easily as long as typical 157 twin). If you are on the cusp in their sizing chart, one of the benefits of a small company like Trapper is that you can get in touch with them and have the person who designed and built it find the best fit for you.
As with the Ursa Major, it has very low camber in the ‘camber zone’ – it appears to be zero camber until placed on a flat surface, when the slight rise becomes apparent:
The rocker in the front is early-rise rocker which starts subtly about 10cm forward of the inserts then increases as it blends into the flat kick of the shovel nose:
Talking of specs is slightly misleading though. First impressions are really dominated by those graphics:
Unlike a park board, a powder quiver board is something you are going to keep for a good few seasons, so for me the graphics have to be on point. The Trout Trap kills it in this regard. She’s a beauty that wouldn’t look out of place on the wall in the off-season. The first day I walked up the hill with it, I didn’t even make it to the lift before she started getting admiring comments, “Hey! What board is that?” “Nice trout graphics!” Looking down, I had to agree.
When your Trapper arrives, don’t forget to feel off the protective film! We didn’t realise Trapper ship their boards with this cool extra protection to make sure your board is kept super fresh, and thought “Hmm, the colours are kind of dull compared to the website images…” Then when it was fully peeled and revealed, the Trout graphics were stunning!
How does it ride?
If you are looking at this kind of board, powder performance is most likely top of your list. The Trout Trap will make you smile when when you get it in the deep stuff. It’s a playful and powerful ride. On the playful side, the combination of unsinkable nose and powerful short tail make you want to hit every small feature in soft snow. For riding in Japan, where powder is often below the tree line and with a lot of natural features in tight spots, the Trout Trap is super fun. Holding the ability in reserve to throw in a speed-check slash with the ‘trout tail’ only encourages you to go faster and throw up even bigger rooster tails in the trees:
The nose has a progressively softer flex up to the tip that you can see bending to create more rocker and float in powder. The back end is a different story – this is where the powerful side comes out. Exiting tight chutes at speed or in wide open alpine terrain the stiff tail will not let you down, no matter how much you push it. With the fine-tuned balance of profile and flex, the Trout Trap planes flat on top of the snow rather than relying on a tapered tail to sink for float. It might look like a fish, but there’s nothing fishy about its float.
Here you can see how the Trout Trap’s nose constantly planes on the surface, on this mellow tree run:
On firmer snow it doesn’t feel like a short-tailed powder board. There’s a kind of cognitive dissonance between how it feels underfoot and what your eyes see. Look down, and sure enough, there’s the chopped-off tail, but look up and the powerful flex tricks you into feeling that there’s a regular solid tail back there.
The Trout Trap manages to combine the float of a powder shape with the stability of a hard-charging freeride board. These versatile characteristics would make it a great choice as a splitboard. The variable snow or ice you can meet when touring for powder puts off a lot of people from picking a full-on powder shape for a split. The Trout Trap can handle those challenging conditions and excel when you reach the powder.
On piste, the factors that give it the ability to handle high speed lines on big terrain – long effective edge, moderate sidecut and stiff tail – are perhaps its only downside. On groomers it’s more of a solid charger than a giggle-inducing quick carver. On steeper runs it did have me fully extending my legs on euro-carves and even trying to slingshot spins out of toe-side Vitelli turns. It’s solid and reliable on piste but there’s no denying that it is happier at speed and on steeper terrain. As soon as powder is involved it really shines though – blasting through chop it planes nicely and makes bumps fun to jump off, safe in the knowledge you’re not going over handlebars when you land.
I’ve really enjoyed riding the Trout Trap, but with so many powder shapes out there now, who is this the perfect choice for? After logging many days in all conditions, I’d say this is an ideal powder board for the experienced rider who likes to ride fast and get deep in the trees. An aggressive freerider who wants the float and agility of a compact powder shape in tight terrain but doesn’t want to give up the solid feel of a traditional hard-charging freeride board around the mountain. While some short powder boards are surf slashers only, this is something much more versatile. The Trout can slash and surf on the deepest of days, but it can also hold an edge through a tight chute and remain stable at speed in bigger terrain. If that sounds like your kettle of fish, this Trout will have you hooked.
Here’s Greg from Trapper explaining about the Trout Trap:
More info on the Trout Trap can be found on the Trapper page here, and the split version here.
Disclosure: The Trapper Trout Trap was provided by Trapper snowboards.