“ Brand: Atomic / Equipment Type: Snowboard / Sport: Snowboarding „
I've owned several snowboards over the ten years I've been snowboarding and the Atomic Hatchet
is one I would happily recommend to anyone looking for a good board at a reasonable price.
The Hatchet was the board that launched ski manufacturer Atomic into the snowboarding world with
a bang quickly gaining respect among the snowboarders who had largely ignored attempts by other
ski brands to break into the snowboard market. The fact that the Atomic team were riding the Hatchet
straight off the shelf says something about how good this board is as I never seen any of the Burton
K2 or Palmer team riders on a £200 quid board at the time.
The original Hatchet came with great specs and a bargain price of around £200 at a time when many snowboard brands were charging £300 upwards for low to mid range boards. The Hatchet could be
found as low as £120 if like me you waited for an end of season sale which is an amazing price for
a good quality board with sandwich construction,poplar core and a sintered 7200 base usually only
found on boards costing twice as much at the time.
The hatchet is a twin tip with a centred stance which means both the tail and tip are the same to
facilitate riding switch (backwards) and switch landings riding kickers or rails in the park. The Hatchet
also has a 2.5 degree edge bevel which helps prevent accidentally catching an edge on rails or slightly mistimed landings.The flex is on the forgiving soft side which is great for take offs, landings, ollies and manuals but there's plenty of pop to get you airborne off kickers and onto rails with ease.
Although the board is marketed as an as an all mountain freestyle board the freestyle bias means
it's never going to excel at charging down the slopes at speed but if that's all you want you should
probably be looking at a stiffer freeride board. In a perfect world we'd all have a board for the park
and kickers and a separate board for high speed fun and powder but in reality most of us have to
make the choice of one board for everything.
While I wouldn't say it excels at speed in the days when it was my only board I've happily ridden the Hatchet all over the mountain and it's only when you really push it that it's slightly jittery at speed on piste runs. As I purposely bought mine at a shortish length for mainly park, on piste and using at an indoor snow centre I don't really expect it to be perfect at speed or in powder but while it's not perfect
it can still cope happily with being ridden in most situations.
The Hatchet is a great board for intermediate riders who want a board for freestyle that can also cope
with days all over the mountain but it's also an ideal choice for beginners looking for their first board.
The softish flex and twin shape make for a forgiving ride that's easy to turn and learn the basics but
still has plenty to offer when you're ready to progress so you won't outgrow it in a few weeks unlike
many of the beginner boards out there. My original Hatchet board was an 06 model which was the
camber type board the latest 2012 boards now have a rocker which should make it even easier for
new riders to get the hang of turns without catching an edge and ending up flat on their face or bum.
Due to the sintered base the board has to be waxed regularly but sintered bases run faster on snow
and tend to be lighter and more durable than the extruded bases. The downside of this is if you
do damage it they are supposedly more difficult to repair than an extruded base and if you don't wax
it regularly it will run a lot slower than an unwaxed extruded base due to the porous surface.
The graphics on the Hatchet have always been a bit dark and gothic with a tendency to feature
skulls which obviously doesn't appeal to everyone. Although the grraphics aren't really to my taste
I love the way the board rides and I can't say I spend any time looking at the graphics when I'm
riding it. For any girls who like the Hatchet but can't live with the skulls Atomic introduced a girls
version called the Fallen Angel complete with slightly less skull ridden graphics and a slightly softer
flex but still retaining the great ride characteristics and features of the Hatchet.
My original Hatchet stayed with me for 3 years during which it was used in parks, on piste and at the
local indoor snow slope. In that time the board lasted well and only required a couple of minor repairs
to the base due to hitting rocks under the snow at the end of the season. The board was serviced
regularly and the base and edges were still in reasonable condition and although it wasn't quite as springy as it was when new the board still had a bit of pop left when I gave it away to a friends son
to learn on and promptly bought another Hatchet to replace it.
The Hatchet comes in various sizes from 145 - 159 and includes wide versions of the 156 and 159
to accommodate those of you with boats masquerading as feet that would hang over the ends on
the standard boards.
For anyone buying their first board you should base the decision on length according to weight
rather than height. Although hire shops tend to use the theory that the length of the board comes
up to somewhere between your chin and nose this is mainly to get through as many hirers in a
short space of time so they can to keep the queues down. A rider weighing 8 stone will probably
struggle to flex a board designed for a rider weighing 14 stone like wise a heavy rider will flatten
the camber in a board designed for someone weighing 8 stone. Every board manufacturer has
different weight ranges for their boards so a rider who is 60kg might be fine for a 151 board in
one range but too heavy for a 151 in another. If you spend most of your time in the park or
playing on rails a shorter board is generally easier to handle for spins and tricks while a slightly
longer board is better for stability at speed.
The most recent suggested weight ranges I could find for the Atomic Hatchet are
The Atomic Hatchet currently costs around £180 - £200 for the latest model although shopping
around can save a fortune with previous seasons boards available for as little as £120 online.
Snowboard Atomic Hatchet 159 11/12 uni