Snowboarding has come a long way since Sherman Poppen made his daughter a "Snurfer" for sliding down the hills of Michigan in the early '60s. Improved board shapes, rocker design and manufacturing processes, coupled with better athletes and increased media attention (kudos, X Games and Red Bull), have pushed the sport into a new stratosphere. In this environment, each season introduces myriad new gear to consider once you've committed to rent that ski house with the sick jacuzzi. Most of the industry's technology slowly creeps forward with marginal improvements: things get better, but not way better. This year K2 dropped something that falls squarely into the way better category: their Ultra Dream Snowboard, a cunning combination of the brand's recent technological advances.
K2 is no stranger to alpine pursuits and the innovations that push them to the next level. Bill Kirschner, K2's founder, was was one of the first to build fiberglass snow skis, revolutionizing the sport. In the midst of the snowboarding explosion in 1994, K2 brought their formidable experience to the industry. Ever since they've remained one of the very top brands for snowboarding in the U.S.
K2 describes the Ultra Dream as "the all-terrain, all-everything dream machine", and if the mountains are your paradise, that's spot on. The board is shaped with K2's exclusive Back Country Shaping design, a new, more angular approach to powder/backcountry shaping. The BC design improves control and stability -- pretty critical when you're shredding through a birch field. The Ultra Dream also has Tweekend rocker shape for full tip-to-tail rocker function, a further improvement on K2's already industry-leading Baseline technology (laurels are not sat upon at K2), which pushes the Baseline rocker out to the very ends of the board to unlock as much rideable surface as possible. Perhaps most central to the Ultra Dream's success is its Bambooyah core. Inspired by extremely rugged bamboo skateboards, the cores are so strong that K2 literally dares riders to break them. Bambooyah cored boards like the Ultra Dream have two year-warranties (blended core) or five-year warranties (solid core) -- more than long enough for you to throw your very best Flying Tomato at them.
While there are more specialized boards out there, if conquering all riding conditions is your goal, the K2 Ultra Dream is the new industry leader and the best way to improve your seasons on the slopes. With that five-year warranty, the $550 price tag seems more than reasonable. How much was it you spent on that day pass again?
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers