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Sequence Week: riding , chilling and testing

Text Denis Piccolo

Photo Camilla Pizzini

During the past winter, wandering around Europe between events, shootings and product presentations, we immediately realized that our Sequence Guide is probably the only product guide dedicated to the world of snowboarding produced in Europe. This is a reason for us to be proud but it is also an important responsibility towards the snowboard market and all enthusiasts who approach the purchase of a board, a boot or a binding.

Once the shock was over, the working process for the production of our guide began already with the first snowfalls. Everything always begins with the first seasonal openings, starting from Hintertux where the opening of Hot Zone is an unmissable event, then continuing with Kaunertal, Stubai, passing by the Stelvio. Why go there? During these first events we have the preliminary feedback from the real judges of the market: consumers.

We like to listen and understand the feedback of those who constantly practice our sport and what they think of new products in order to immediately realize if the tests we did a few months before have worked or we need to improve something.

The winter begins as the first business to business tests, we usually collaborate with Shop 1st Try in Austria, Rock On Snowboard Pro in France and Back to the Roots in Italy. During these tests all the buyers of the best European shops test the boards of the following year for a few days. As for a farmer who reaps the first fruits, for us this is the time to collect data, dozens or hundreds of interviews and feedback about boards of the new lines that will end up in our Drive. A few days later we fly to ISPO, where we talk with the designers of the collections to discuss the latest news of their brands. We examine them and try to get read the mind of those who designed, studied and produced that specific product. All this could probably be enough, but more than 10 years of experience with our Buyer’s Guide has taught us that we need a further test, our own one, where to invite the best buyers of the shops that distribute Sequence magazine in addition to coaches, ex pro riders and some amateurs, in order to have the most complete evaluations possible.

This year we organized the Sequence Test at Breuil Cervinia, in order to be another tool for consumers and professionals who can learn from the feedback obtained from the judgments of a pool of highly professional testers. The group was created in order to get a final judgment that is as objective, professional and reliable. The testers whom have been carefully selected can boast an important and diversified background in the various aspects of snowboarding: former athletes, coaches, guides, buyers and industry insiders.

Our method. The Sequence Week.

 

What the hell are the Sequence Tests?

Here at the Sequence Headquarters, adding up all the hot heads that collaborate to the magazine, there are countless years of snowboarding and thousands of kilometers of ridden slopes and off the beaten tracks. We all know very well how important it is to have the right tools and how fundamental it is, for us and those who choose their board through our guide, have simple but complete evaluations.

13 years of testing have let us develop an effective method for conceptualizing and implementing precise, detailed and reliable tests. Although it may seem a simple task, a good job requires experience, in-depth knowledge of the product and its history, an organization and a team of qualified and motivated people to test products with a critical eye over and over again, ready to investigate plus and cons of each of them.

 

How do we choose the products?

Every year we are invited to several sales meetings of the most important European snowboard companies, where the new products are presented to importers and retailers. There’s usually no time to arrive at the editorial office to read the catalogs, as it is already time to leave for the circus of the most important events such as ISPO, Rock On, 1St Try, Slide UK and Back to the Roots with which we work closely to have an idea about the direction of the market and what is worth at our tests to pay attention to.

Only at this point we request the models we have chosen to several companies, indicating a range of sizes that can be adapted to our pool of testers. We always ask to send us the boards in the same conditions as they come to the stores to evaluate all aspects, including packaging and finishing.

“13 years of testing have let us develop an effective method for conceptualizing and implementing precise, detailed and reliable tests. Although it may seem a simple task, a good job requires experience, in-depth knowledge of the product and its history, an organization and a team of qualified and motivated people…”

How do we choose the products?

Every year we are invited to several sales meetings of the most important European snowboard companies, where the new products are presented to importers and retailers. There’s usually no time to arrive at the editorial office to read the catalogs, as it is already time to leave for the circus of the most important events such as ISPO, Rock On, 1St Try, Slide UK and Back to the Roots with which we work closely to have an idea about the direction of the market and what is worth at our tests to pay attention to.

Only at this point we request the models we have chosen to several companies, indicating a range of sizes that can be adapted to our pool of testers. We always ask to send us the boards in the same conditions as they come to the stores to evaluate all aspects, including packaging and finishing.

 

What is the first step?

The most exciting moment arrives. We begin to receive all the selected boards in stock. Our eyes are like those of a child when he gets up on Christmas day and has to unpack his presents. All the boards are then organised and classified, and the grid is formed with the parameters that will build, together with the general impression, the final report. The boards are all checked and the measurements declared by the company compared with appropriate equipment.

Then the test sequence of the boards is prepared for each tester: for each of the tests, each tester will always mount the same binding, so as to get a result based on common basic parameters. The boards are pre-mounted for the first round of tests in the warehouse with the parameters of the first tester that will test them.

Important note: the boards are not waxed or modified in any way because our intention is to give feedback on the exact product the company sends to the stores and which will consequently end up in the hands of the final consumer.

How do we do the tests?

The group of testers consists of about 20 buyers from as many European shops, some coaches, us from the Sequence staff, a photographer and a filmer. We set off for the designated location, and for the second consecutive year we chose Breuil-Cervinia. The test obviously takes place over several days which are organized in this way: wake up at dawn so as to be in front of the lifts in time for the first chair. We build up the booths and we prepare the boards, set up a computer for data entry at the end of the test and a recorder to collect global impressions.

The Sequence staff at the booth, with the test sequence, prepares the boards for the next round and waits for each tester to collect their feedback. This operation is repeated until the lifts are closed for all the test days. The last day, at the end of the test, there is a meeting where the data is double checked and each tester is interviewed to confirm and / or implement their own judgments on the individual products.

 

Is the feedback from your testers enough?

The testers we select are certainly among the most experienced on the European scene, at the same time we also know how important it is to have as many evaluations as possible. We rely on technology and thanks to Google Modules we contact over 500 shops where Sequence is distributed through a survey to be filled out for each board tested by us: you can leave feedback only if you know the product well.

 

What do you do with the collected data?

Tired but happy we return to the editorial office, as all the data are collected, processed and compared with those provided by the companies. A copywriter, together with the members of Sequence staff who conducted the tests, compiles the texts of the review: this is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks because in just over 1500 characters the opinions and an impressive amount of data must be summarized. Once drafted, each individual review is checked and shared with the testers. At this point every products is sent to the photo studio, where it is shot in every single detail by our photographers.

 

What are you doing with all those boards?

Once the tests are completed, all the gear is returned to the companies and the final report is shared with them without possibility of modification. We believe that an honest and balanced report, the result of the opinions of experienced and reliable testers, as well as with very different styles and skills, can be a valid tool for evaluating the product from the consumer’s point of view. In a short time the Sequence Snowboard Guide is going to be printed out and then it’s your turn to open your copy of the guide, read and learn from this long but precious job.

Testers

Choosing testers is not an easy task. We rely on experienced riders, coaches, shop buyers, former pros and amateurs. This way we have a complete overview and feedback for all levels of snowboarding. What everyone needs to have in common is the desire to snowboard! If you want to join the next Sequence Week follow us on our social channels and write us!

Francesco Alderuccio
Role: Buyer – Strike Shop
Sizes: 175cm x 80kg
Years Riding: 22
Muse: Shaun White
Fav Resort: La Thuille Italy

Alberto Sala
Role: Buyer – Maxi Sport
Sizes: 188cm x 80kg
Years Riding: 13
Muse: Halldor Helgason
Fav Resort: Madesimo Italy

Sauro Galassi
Role: Buyer – Freshfarm
Size: 172cm x 73kg
Years Riding: 26
Muse: Halldor Helgason
Fav Resort: Madonna di Campiglio Italy

Furio Tenca
Role: Buyer – Freshfarm
Sizes: 180cm x 85kg
Years Riding: 13
Muse: Lucas Baume (aka Yung Doli)
Fav Resort: Madonna di Campiglio Italy

Simone Burlon
Role: Buyer – Loveboardshop
Sizes: 176cm x 85kg
Years Riding: 24
Muse: Danny Davis
Fav Resort: Italy

Pietro Galducci
Role: Buyer – Switch Firenze
Size: 191cm x 86kg
Years Riding: 10
Muse:
Fav Resort: Toscana Abetone Italy

Tommaso Ballini
Role: Buyer – Switch Shop
Sizes: 170cm x 75kg
Years Riding: 22
Muse: Halldor Helgason
Fav Resort: Alps Italy

Alex Stewart
Role: Pro
Sizes: 176cm x 73kg
Years Riding: 20
Muse: Too many to choose
Fav Resort: Everywhere

Damiano Giovanella
Role: Coach – Wild Academy San Domenico Varzo
Size: 169cm x 74kg
Years Riding: 28
Muse: Terje Hakonsen
Fav Resort: Macugnaga Italy

Gianfranco Bruce Battaglia
Role: Sequence Crew
Sizes: 182cm x 77kg
Years Riding: 14
Muse: Ivano Inglese
Fav Resort: Bardonecchia Italy

Denis Piccolo
Role: Sequence Crew
Sizes: 182cm x 78kg
Years Riding: 25
Muse: Giacomo & Filippo Kratter
Fav Resort: Rali Italy

Sara Tommasi
Role: Buyer – Freshfarm
Size: 172cm x 65kg
Years Riding: 23
Muse: Halldor Helgason
Fav Resort: Madonna di Campiglio Italy

Edoardo Repetto
Role: Buyer – Jolly Sport
Sizes: 178cm x 65kg
Years Riding: 20
Muse: D. Gardner
Fav Resort: Everywhere

Oliver Mondino
Role: Sequence Crew
Sizes: 178cm x 75kg
Years Riding: 25
Muse: JP Walker
Fav Resort: Limone Italy

Carmine Polignone
Role: Buyer – Loveboardshop
Size: 172cm x 73kg
Years Riding: 25
Muse: Travis Rice
Fav Resort: Italy

Matteo Provasi
Role: Buyer – Rider Shop
Sizes: 175cm x 90kg
Years Riding: 22
Muse: Peter Line
Fav Resort: Everywhere

Gianmarco Maiocco
Role: Coach – The Garden
Sizes: 180cm x 68kg
Years Riding: 13
Muse: Red Gerard
Fav Resort: Madonna di Campiglio Italy

George Boutall
Role: Sequence Crew
Size: 178cm x 90kg
Years Riding: 25
Muse: Louif Paradise
Fav Resort: Laax Switzerland

Francesco Mantovani
Role: Buyer – DF Sport Specialist
Sizes: 175cm x 73kg
Years Riding: 20
Muse: Xavier De Le Rue
Fav Resort: Madesimo Italy

Ferrè Simone
Role: Buyer – Maxi Sport
Sizes: 165cm x 65kg
Years Riding: 15
Muse: Shaun White
Fav Resort: Madonna di Campiglio Italy

Lorenzo Richetti
Role: Buyer – Strike Shop
Size: 178cm x 64kg
Years Riding: 12
Muse: Nicolas Muller
Fav Resort: Val Thorens

For better clarity, each test was divided into a textual part and a series of parameters and judgments, on a scale of values ​​from 1 to 5.

 

1) Global impression

The first part is dedicated to the global impression, a summary of a few lines wrapping up the impressions of our testers. Generally we start with the general feeling that the product has arisen and then we go deeper through the features and performances on various terrains.

2) We Like

Each product has its strengths and Achilles heels. We have summarized what we believe are the strengths in short but clear texts.

3) General info

This section contains information from the brand, as a camber type, shape and theoretical flex.

4) General specs

The paragraph summarizing the various measures of the tested model provided by the company and then verified by us in the laboratory.

5) Riding level

There are performing and difficult products as well as products with high performance for advanced riders that can be easily used by less experienced users: this grid gives you an idea of ​​whether the board is bread for your teeth or not. The higher the score, the better the board is for a certain type of rider.

6) Performance

We have established 10 different numerical judgment parameters and asked our testers to give their opinion after the global impression and the pros and cons. The ratings range from 1 to 10, where 10 is the maximum.

7) Riding terrain

Snowboard products are becoming more and more versatile, so we focused on all mountain and freestyle. A freeride product can be a great all mountain as well as an excellent all mountain can also be suitable for park riding. 10 dots means very suitable for that terrain, and vice versa.

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