The Big Chief floated beautifully in fresh powder thanks to the rockered tip and tail with a bit of extra rise in the nose. It’s more of a yacht than a jet ski and definitely more of a soul carver than a slasher, but testers appreciated its stability and response when charging bigger, steeper lines.
Handling/Responsiveness On mellow, flatter terrain, the Big Chief was slow to turn. Once gravity got involved, bigger riders (over 180 lbs.) kicked up big rooster tails while railing this thing through blown-in couloirs and eating up chop from avalanche debris. One hard-charging tester found it “very fast edge-to-edge for a board of this kind.” Lighter riders enjoyed the ride on open faces but not in tight trees.
Float Setting the stance back on the Big Chief let the nose plane up through deep powder and allowed testers to pivot quickly on the tail through hoppy backseat turns. The high float factor also made the board nice and stable on landings for testers launching bigger cliffs and landing at high speeds.
Versatility “Definitely more of a pow/big mountain stick but I would ride this thing on all mountain [terrain],” remarked one tester who launched further than anyone off a steep cliff drop. The camber profile gripped the hill quite well on trickier uphill switchbacks, but stability is what makes this board capable of going anywhere, even at the cost of some weight on the skin uphill.
Stiffness Testers praised the Big Chief’s tip and tail stiffness as plenty adequate for sending big lines, but said it still had just enough torsional flex to initiate arcing turns without too much effort. There’s a surprising amount of pop in this deck, but be prepared to really throw some weight into it for maximum response.
Durability/Craftsmanship In an aggressive test where many boards were broken, the Big Chef held up through several days of abuse without the slightest top sheet crackle. Even as one of the few splitboards in the test under $900, Weston didn’t skimp on the glass, laying it on extra thick to keep the board damp and durable. Sold out of their local shop in Minturn, Colorado.