An Expert Guide to Rome SDS Snowboards

Snowboard Expert Gaelen Mast details the history, athletes, and six of the most popular snowboards behind the company Rome SDS snowboards!

A snowboarder sitting on the ground with the bottom of his snowboard visible. The bottom of his snowboard says "ROME the MOD Series".

Norwegian snowboarder Ståle Sandbech at the Dew Tour 2013. Photo by Pssmidi

The Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate, or Rome SDS, is one of the most well-known, respected, and best snowboarding brands in the world.

If you’re considering Rome for your next snowboard, you’ve come to the right place to learn more about the company. Today we’ll be taking a full dive into Rome SDS, including a brief company history, its modern market presence, its riders, and, of course, its boards.

Humble Beginnings

Rome Snowboards was founded in 2001 by two former Burton employees: Paul Maravetz and Josh Reid. Maravetz and Reid left Burton to create a snowboard company that aimed to raise the bar for snowboarding equipment at the time. They felt the current snowboard market was mediocre and focused too heavily on sponsoring Olympic athletes—so they wanted Rome to be different.

Founded in Waterbury Vermont—a town with a population of just over 5,000—Rome didn’t start as much. Their initial collection featured just three boards and a glove line. However, over the past two decades the brand has grown to be one of the top snowboarding companies in the industry.

Modern-Day Rome Snowboards

Fast forward to the modern day; Rome is now owned by the Niedecker Group, a parent company located in Switzerland that owns several other snowboard brands such as Bataleon, Yes, Jones, and Flow. While this acquisition was made in 2018, the Nidecker Group has a hands-off management approach; so Rome’s creative, research and development, and design departments remain based in Waterbury. Thus the brand is still considered a local company for many East Coast snowboarders. Rome sells many products under the company name including boards, bindings, boots, on-mountain apparel, as well as streetwear. The actual snowboarding equipment is produced by a manufacturer in Québec, Canada.

From the very beginning, Rome has held an anti-establishment image, pushing the “by snowboarders, for snowboarders” mentality. Their entire brand image is centered around the idea of making the most out of your snowboarding, thrashing, and living the true snowboarder-dirtbag lifestyle.

Their motto is “ ‘Til the last patch melts, the edges rust off and the chairs stop spinning. All Ways Down.” With their current professional and amateur team, they now embody these core values of snowboarding counter-culture more than ever.

Who Rides for Rome Snowboards

The Rome team boasts a ton of male and female riders from all over the world, including seven professional-level snowboarders and 19 amateur-level riders. These riders can be seen in numerous videos on Rome’s YouTube channel, including the iconic 12 Months full films—a monthly web series documenting different team riders snowboarding in a variety of locations around the world.

Rome’s Snowboards

As previously mentioned earlier in this article, one of Rome’s first goals was to create snowboards that stand out. They’ve managed to achieve this by producing snowboards with technical innovations such as hot rods, diamond 3D tech, and the use of flax materials. Let’s take a quick look at these pieces of tech, as they are present in many of Rome’s most popular boards.

Hot Rods

Hot rods are perhaps the most well-known, proprietary technology in Rome boards. They’re thin rods that are inserted in the core of Rome boards and run from the tips of the board to the insert packs. These hot rods provide more pop, more power, and more response to provide a more lively riding experience. Each model of board Rome releases has a different hotrod configuration, and each of these configurations provides a slightly different board enhancement.

Rome tries to use the hot rod configurations to provide responsiveness where it will compliment the board’s intended riding style. To see all the different hot rod configurations, check out the breakdown on Rome’s website.

Diamond 3D Tech

Diamond 3D tech is a special uplifted shape on the nose—and sometimes the tail—of Rome boards that provides a smooth riding experience in variable conditions. Rome boards with Diamond 3D tech in only the nose are usually built for powder, as this technology helps the board float in deep snow. Rome boards with this Diamond 3D tech in both the nose and tail are known to be catch-free and stable when riding flat and are typically progression-oriented snowboards. To learn more about Diamond 3D tech, check out the breakdown on Rome’s website.

Flax Materials

New for their 2023 board collection, Rome has started using Flax materials in their boards in multiple ways. Flax is a textile material known to be incredibly lightweight and versatile. Rome uses it in both their sidewalls and underfoot as impact plates. Rome adds a flax layer between the sidewall and core of many of their directional boards to provide extra board durability, rigidity, and stability; all desirable traits in a hard-charging, directional snowboard.

Additionally, they also sometimes use flax impact plates underneath the insert packs on their boards to help absorb impact and increase the overall strength of the board. To learn more about how Rome uses this flax material in their boards, check out their site description.

Now that we have a better picture of what kind of technology makes Rome snowboards stand out, let’s look at some of their most popular boards from each riding discipline.

All-Mountain

The Rome Agent (left) and Rome National (right).

Rome Agent (left) and Rome National (right)

Versatile shred sticks to hit the whole mountain!

Rome Agent

This board has been around since the dawn of time; or at least since the dawn of Rome. In the 2023 board collection, riders have the choice of the Standard Agent or the Agent 20th Anniversary. Either way, they’ll be getting a true-twin, all-mountain snowboard that’s super versatile and perfect for almost any condition.

This board has a freestyle flair with a hot rod in both the nose and tail; but don’t for a second think this board isn’t capable of riding outside the terrain park. With a versatile medium flex, rocker in the tips, and camber underfoot, this board is great for the rider who needs one single board that can take park laps, rip up any groomer at speed, and even float through the occasional day of fresh snow.

Rome National

If the Rome Agent is your-friendly-neighborhood board, then the Rome National is its much more aggressive and high-end cousin. Whereas the Agent is an all-mountain with a freestyle flair, the Rome National is an all-mountain with a freeride flair. This means while it can rip up any groomer, it’s hungry for fresh snow, choppy terrain, and all the off-piste riding it can get. With a directional twin shape (extra large nose), a stiff flex, rocker in the tips, camber underfoot, hot rods, and flax impact plates, this is a hard-chargin’ ripper that’s perfect for the rider who needs something versatile but enjoys freeriding.

Freestyle

The Rome Artifact snowboard (left) and the Rome Party Mod snowboard (right).

Rome Artifact (left) and Rome Party Mod (right)

Park rat boards to get gnarly on jumps, rails, and everything in between!

Rome Artifact

The Rome Artifact, one of the company’s most popular freestyle boards, is known to be peppy and full of pop. Featuring a full-camber profile with the addition of hot rods, this thing will pop its rider to the moon if they aren’t careful. It also features a “double kick”, which is a two-part rise in the nose and tail that levels up the press game and makes landings off big kickers much more stable.

Rome was even so nice as to throw in some flax impact plates underneath the insert packs to further help absorb impact when a boarder catches a little too much air. This is the perfect board for the rider who wants to pop off of every jump, side hit, or roller they see—as well as get jibby on rails.

Rome Party Mod

A more relaxed park board than the Artifact, the Rome Partymod is great for stepping your jib game up on rails and boxes, but don’t think it can’t handle some air, either. With a flat profile underfoot, this board is forgiving and lets you experiment with butters and jibs without the fear of catching an edge or face-planting. It also features V-shaped hot rods in the tips which give it a ton of pop despite having a flat profile (flat profiles typically have less pop than camber profiles). The squared-off tips add an extra element of steez, and they’ll also help the rider spin in the air easier. The Party Mod is a board to turn the whole mountain into a skatepark.

Powder

The Rome Ravine snowboard (left) and the Rome Stalefish snowboard (right).

Rome Ravine (left) and Rome Stalefish (right)

Reserved for those deep days in a powder field or the woods!

Rome Ravine

The Rome Ravine is one of the most popular Rome boards for those extra-deep days. With a big-ol’ nose and a directional stance, this board will float through even the deepest powder without an issue. While it may not have the stiffest flex compared to other powder boards, it contains Rome’s Diamond 3D tech, and a large section of rocker, from the nose to the back insert, are designed for maximum float.

The back of the board also features a camber for great edge hold and carving abilities when you find yourself on a groomed run. This is a great quiver board for the rider who sees a lot of powder at their local mountain, but still needs to be able to ride groomers when the fresh pow pow is gone.

Rome Stalefish

Well, folks, it doesn’t get much more directional than this. Just looking at the Rome Stale Fish, it practically screams “POWDER!” With a 20mm setback stance, this board is very directional. It has a massive nose with a very short, swallowtail shape that helps the tail sink into the snow while simultaneously lifting the nose above it.

Like the Rome Ravine, it also features Rome’s Diamond 3D tech and the same rocker/camber profile. Additionally, it features flax wall inserts from the front insert pack to the nose that provide extra stability and decrease chatter when riding rough terrain. This is the board riders pull out when they see 12+ inches in the forecast and want to show off to everyone as they get fresh tracks under the lift.

Which Rome Board Is Right for You?

Now, hopefully, you’re stoked about the Rome SDS brand. However, at this point you might still be wondering which Rome board is the best choice for you.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be a hard choice. Here at Curated, chat with me or any other Snowboard Expert to determine which gear is right for you. It’s free, takes only a few minutes, and you can order the gear straight from our website. If you’re excited about the idea of Rome, check out my profile, and let’s find you the best board from their collection to make the most of your snowboarding.

Snowboard Expert Gaelen Mast
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Gaelen Mast
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Heya! my name is Gaelen and I've been snowboarding for longer than I haven't! I was practically raised by the mountain resort industry, my mother and father were both full-time "snowboard bums" when I was young and so I've been around ski resorts since I was a kid! As soon as I was legally able to w...

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