I’ve always been a fan of anything that trains snowboard muscle memory (especially off the ski slope), so when I first saw the Aratik Board Trainer I knew it was something I had to check out for myself.
Matt at Aratik USA was kind enough to send one over for us to check out, so here’s a review of the Aratik Boardsports Trainer.
Aratik Board Trainer Review
The Aratik Board Trainer is a practice jib box that you can use to train snowboard box/rail tricks off the snow. Basically this means you can put in your yard, garage or even your living room and practice your snowboard jib tricks without any snow.
Using the board trainer allows you to learn and practice the movements and technique for a snowboard rail trick before you get to the ski slopes.
How exactly do you use the Aratik Board Trainer?
Basically you use the board trainer to mimic the same movements you’d make when you hop on/off a box or rail while snowboarding.
This means you can practice 50/50s, frontside boardslides, 180s, 270 on/off, presses and basically every other snowboard jib trick you can imagine and slowly build your skills up and learn the technique and feel of each trick.
Below is a video of how I use the Aratik boardsports trainer to take 50/50s and frontside boardslides through the stages of progression from learning the basic technique without a snowboard, then adding a snowboard, then increase the difficulty by adding the black spin top:
By the way, you don’t even need to practice the basic movements in your snowboard boots like I did. I just didn’t want to change in and out of my snowboard gear.
Alright, now that you know what practice jib boxes are used for, on with the review!
What you get in the box:
- Aratik board trainer
- Black spin top
It’s a pretty simple setup. You have the Aratik board trainer and you have the removable black spin top that you can fit onto the top of the board trainer when you want to up the difficulty or use it to spin onto/off the board trainer.
The entire Aratik Boardsports Trainer is made from recycled hard plastic (including the black spin top), which is what allows it to be pretty lightweight but still solid.
I checked the entire top surface of the board trainer and couldn’t find any rough or sharp corners that might stab you if you fall, everything on the surface was smooth and well finished.
I also tested putting the black spin top into each of the holes along the top of the board trainer and it was a nice tight fit, so no loose bits there.
There’s also a hole on the underside of the board trainer to hold the black spin top when it’s in storage, which I thought was a nice touch:
Overall, I’m very happy with the build quality and design of the Aratik Boardsports Trainer.
Performance (aka how does it grip to the ground, does it move etc. etc.)
I did do a quick check of the bottom of the board trainer to see how it gripped and it seems their solution was to have a slightly rough surface along the underside of the board trainer.
To check the underside grip, I tested the Aratik Board Trainer on both the carpet in the living room and the snowy/icy driveway outside.
Here’s what I found:
1) You want something grippy underneath
The board trainer gripped great on the carpet, but you definitely have to be careful using it on slippery surfaces. The rough underside can grip to things like lawns, carpet and even fresh, non-icy snow, but on things like hard ice or a tiled floor, there’s no grip.
It stayed in place when I used it on my icy driveway, but I’d still put something underneath it to be safe.
Something like a large, cheap rug to stick underneath it would be ideal if you want to use it on smooth/slippery surfaces. That way you get grip and you keep your snowboard safe from getting scratched.
2) It’s very solidly built
The whole unit is very solid. After using it for 20 min, there were some minor scratches from my snowboard’s edges, but nothing major or noticeable.
The plastic is pretty hard so you’d have to really slam your edge into it to do much to the plastic block. Pretty pleased with the unit on a whole.
How does it compare to building your own wooden box?
So the question is how does it stack up to building your own home-build wooden jib practice box.
Well, I’ve built my own wooden practice rail before, so here’s a quick breakdown of how the Aratik board trainer compares:
- It’s a lot lighter
- No work or hammering required
- Very portable vs. a heavy piece of wood
- No sharp pointy corners
- It cost money ($74.95 USD)
Would I buy or recommend it?
Would I buy it? Heck yeah. Sure I can make my own board trainer with wood blocks and some nails, but it’s not this portable or light or as well finished as the Aratik Board Trainer.
If your self-built wooden jib rail is anything like mine, it will be a little rough around the edges. There will be rough spots on the wood, splintering, sharp pointed corners that you don’t want to fall on and it’s kind of heavy and hard to move around.
For me it’s all about saving time, energy and the easy storage and portability that make me love the Aratik board trainer.
I can spend my time and energy to make something that’s heavy, hard to move around, hard to store and gives me splinters or I can just buy the Aratik board trainer and save myself the hassle.
I’d definitely recommend the Aratik board trainer if you want the simple, pre-built solution for practicing snowboard tricks in the comfort of your home.
ps: You can substitute the snowboard with a skateboard deck and some bicycle tubing to simulate a snowboard and bindings.
You’ll find that a skateboard deck is A LOT lighter to practice technique with and you won’t get tired as easily. It’s also a lot easier to lift and rotate a skateboard deck vs. swinging around your snowboard on flat ground.