It's been a while since we've checked in with the mad snowboard scientists at Signal Snowboards. In their ongoing efforts to experiment with the techiest, wildest, most multi-functional snowboard builds, they've come out with one of the most aesthetically pleasing board designs we've ever seen – an all-glass board. You go to the resort to see snow and mountains, why not get a clear view from beneath your feet.
Our first instinct when presented with the idea of a glass board was that the thing is going to shatter like fine China in the middle of a demolition derby. But, for the latest episode of Every Third Thursday, the guys at Signal ignored that type of conventional wisdom. They traveled to Italy and tapped into the glassmaking expertise of the locals. What followed was a one-of-a-kind process that created a glass board that was actually rideable ... if only for a day.
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The five-day process started at the factory of Vetreria Aurora, a company that specializes in crafting glass into functional things like doors and shower cubicles. The experts there machine-carved two rectangular pieces of glass into matching snowboard shapes. The glass was then baked in the oven atop a one-of-a-kind insert built specifically to give the board its tip and tail lift. Then, the inserts for binding mounting were carefully drilled into the glass.
Had they ridden it at that point, it would have surely shattered like a wine glass on concrete. Instead, they took it to a Viraver Technologies, where it was tempered with a process more commonly used for windshields. The two tempered pieces were bonded together with a graphics insert, baked in a vacuum bag and popped out looking like a piece of fine crystal, ready to shred some snow crystal.
Not being ones to just hang their creations on the wall, however wise that might be, the Signal crew put the riding characteristics of glass to the test at Abetone ski resort. From the video, the board looks a little slippery, given its lack of metal edges, and doesn't exactly glide as reliably as freshly waxed P-tex. It also doesn't take long to start spidering like a windshield hit with a falling rock.
Given that the board couldn't survive a single day on the slopes, we don't think Signal will be broadening its retail line-up to include an all-glass board anytime soon. Still, it made for an interesting experiment. Check out the experiment in the video below.
Source: Signal Snowboards