2013-14 Rossignol Angus Amptek, 161cm
Boot: Burton Ion
Binding: Burton Malavita
Days Tested: 15+
Locations: Thompson Pass, AK, Snowbird, Alta
The Rossignol Angus is marketed as an “all-mountain/freestyle” board, built to “manipulate the entire mountain” in all conditions.
I picked up the Angus to accompany my 2014 Travis Rice Split on my first trip to Alaska, and to finish out the season at Snowbird.
I knew I would need a stiffer, less park-oriented board than I generally ride (Burton Easy Livin’, Gnu Riders Choice) that was still capable of spinning and jibbing for the varied conditions the two regions would presumably present me with.
A few key features of the Angus caught my eye. Most notably, the Angus maintains a true twin shape through the tip and tail, but is set back 13mm to help it maintain float in powder. I anticipated this would lend to better spinning and switch riding without sacrificing performance in deeper snow.
Rossignol no longer makes a snowboard with traditional camber. Upon hearing this, I was shocked. Like Lib Tech/GNU, Rossignol is now one of the few snowboard manufacturers without a camber model in their line. This made me a bit hesitant since I’d aimed to bring a stiff, regular-camber board on my first Alaska trip, knowing camber would be a predictable, tried-and-true technology that would not throw me any curveballs.
The Angus instead uses Rossignol’s Amptek All-Mountain rocker that—unlike Mervin’s C2 technology that is rockered between the feet with a cambered tip and tail—is cambered between the feet and rockered through the tip and tail.
Since I’d be riding larger terrain in Alaska than I’d ever ridden before, I decided to size up with the Angus. I chose the largest model they made, the 161, knowing I would use every centimeter of the board when pinning it down the peaks on Thompson Pass.
For bindings, I mounted my Burton Malavitas, the same bindings I had been riding all season and felt comfortable on, knowing I would need their security and proven performance in Alaska.
Designed to keep the board floating on top of the snow, the reverse camber elements of the board excelled in the fresh Alaskan snow as well as the slush during the closing weeks at Snowbird.
Rossignol advertises the Amptek All-Mountain as 60% reverse camber throughout the tip and tail, and 40% traditional camber between the inserts. After riding the Angus for three weeks, this seemed fairly accurate.
It floated and stayed on top of the powder and slush well, a quality I attributed to the board’s reverse camber. This also gives the board a feel that is often described as ‘skate influenced’, due to the jib qualities that come with reverse camber.
Reverse camber tends to be more ‘buttery’ on hardpack as it rises toward the tip and tail where the contact points are slightly raised. I would at times lose an edge on gentle turns, something I don’t usually experience when riding on boards with slightly more camber underfoot.
The lack of stability was emphasized when going fast, as the board would often feel ‘loose’ underfoot and it was all I could do to lean back and hold on while riding over chunder and bumps. The blended camber design may have caused this lack of stability. I was often nervous dropping into cliffs or straight-lining out of chutes that I knew had sub-par run-outs since I didn’t have complete trust in the board’s steadiness.
Mervin’s C2, with camber through the tip and tail, offers the traditional characteristics of camber at the points of most impact—on the tip and tail contact points. This keeps the board stable at speed and better suited for holding an edge. The Amptek benefits in powder with a rockered tip/tail, but has to sacrifice in other areas such as stability and its ability to hold an edge.
I got the board with the assumption and expectation that it was a stiff all-mountain board, so it may simply be that I was demanding too much from it.
Though I’d hoped the Angus would be stiffer than the Riders Choice, after three weeks of riding the Angus I found it compared to the Gnu in terms of flex and stiffness. When compared directly to the Riders Choice, I found the RC, equipped with Magne-Traction technology, held an edge better and was more stable at high speeds.
The Riders Choice, being a park board that can also hold its own on big mountain lines, tended to have more snap and pop better off natural features.
When compared to the Travis Rice Split I had also brought to Alaska, the Angus was less of a ‘hold on and pin it’ board. I would opt to bring the Travis Rice with me when I truly wanted to get serious on a full commitment, no-fall line, or be 100% sure I could ride out through falling sluff or chunder without getting pulled down.
The Angus however, is softer, despite being rated by Rossignol as a 7/10 on their stiffness scale. This makes the Angus more playful, flexible, and easier to butter than the Travis Rice—not a negative attribute, simply a different style of riding.
The Amptek gave me the confidence to spin into fresh snow and ride out without the common head-over-heals tomahawk so many people get pulled into.
Though not the powerful and stiff board I was hoping for, the Angus is excellent in its own light, as it is a light, poppy, and playful board despite being a 161.
For fresh snow or slashing turns in spring slush, the Angus is a solid board to have underfoot, and one I will certainly enjoy making more turns on.