Dimensions (mm): 298-250-287
Turn Radius: 8.77 m
Setback: 40 mm
Actual Tip-to-Tail length (straight tape pull): 160 cm
Boots: Nike Zoom Kaiju
Bindings: Union Force
Stance: Regular – 15/-12, 23.5 in. wide.
Test Locations: Snowbird, Utah
Days Ridden: 25
Venture Snowboards is an independent manufacturer in Silverton, Colorado, that has made a name for themselves in the splitboard category. Venture offers everything from the true-twin Helix split, to the reverse-reverse Euphoria. Here in Utah, at least, I mostly see Venture’s splits in the local shops—and in the lift lines, for that matter—so when I noticed the Odin in their lineup, I was interested to see how it stacks up against the Jones Flagship.
According to Venture, the Odin “is the result of a close collaboration between legendary big mountain rider Johan Oloffson and Venture’s founder and design engineer, Klemens Branner.” It’s also not available in a size under 160 cm long, so I expected this thing was probably going to be a stiff, unforgiving big-mountain weapon.
The Odin’s camber profile is subtle: flat from the outside of the inserts to the center of the board, with subtle rocker at the tip and tail. Venture uses a “quadratic” sidecut, which engages the snow farther from the waist and increases stability. They also rate board flex on a scale of 1-11, and the Odin receives a 9—no board in their lineup rates higher).
When the Odin showed up at my door in November, I was immediately impressed by the quality of the build; I couldn’t find a single imperfection in the base, topsheet, or edges, and it didn’t appear to need any additional tuning before I put it on snow.
Utah was blessed with enough early snow this year to get some of the more interesting terrain at Snowbird open sooner than usual. By the latter part of November, however, when the Odin arrived, much of that terrain began to look like a minefield. Riding was relegated to jib laps on groomers, and I found myself reaching for shorter, softer boards, such as the Never Summer Proto CT and Capita DOA.
The Odin, by comparison, is considerably longer, much stiffer (and tapered), and is in no way suited for jibbing. As such, I spent my first day railing down variable groomed runs in Gad Valley, following closely behind friends on race skis, and was immediately impressed by how well the Odin’s sidecut gripped and how easily it initiated turns. I’d previously spent weeks sliding through turns on hardpack on every other board in my quiver, and in comparison instantly felt more confident on the Odin—completely locked in on virtually every type of snow.
Equally as important, where I had found it difficult to scrub speed on the Jones Flagship, it seemed comparatively easy to kick the tail out and rein in the Odin when snow conditions or crowd congestion necessitated a more moderate rate of speed. Even better, on short, steep pitches that beg to be straightlined/flatbased, the Venture remained stable, and I had a hard time getting it to wobble.
When I did turn, the sidecut of the Odin, while not terribly aggressive, did prefer a longer-radius turn. Not to say that it won’t make a short-radius turn, but it did require a bit of muscle, especially at slower speeds.
Despite the lack of coverage (and my better judgment), the confidence inspired by the Odin persuaded me to make some early season laps on Snowbird’s Silver Fox and the upper Cirque, with conditions ranging from chalky windbuff to boilerplate and steep mogul fields.
On steep chalk, I got the same locked-in-yet-loose-when-I-needed-it-to-be sensation that I found on the groomers, which I would attribute primarily to the combination of quadratic sidecut and flat camber profile between the contact points.
Of course, not everything is smooth, chalky windbuff, but on the Odin it didn’t seem to matter. Dropping into Hanging Bowl in the early season means a small (4-5 foot) drop to a fast, bumpy run-out, usually to chopped-up pow. Conditions like this, I found, are where the Venture absolutely rules, thanks in large part to its flex and dampness…