Expert Review: Jones Stratos Snowboard · 2022Published on 06/24/2022 · 7 min readThis review is my own honest opinion of the snowboard, which I bought with my own money in February 2022.
Small jumps in France. All photos courtesy of Tyese Messerman
About this Review: This review is my own honest opinion of the snowboard, which I bought with my own money in February 2022.
For an intermediate to advanced rider looking for a one-quiver board, the Jones Stratos Snowboard is high on my list! It is poppy, solid in powder, loves to carve, and makes tight turns in trees and moguls easily.
About the gear
- Model: 2022 Jones Stratos
- Size: 146cm
- Height: 5ft 7in
- Weight: 130lbs
- Experience: 23+ years
- When I bought it: February 2022
- Days tested: 5+
- Mount position: +12 / -9
- Boots: 2021 Ride Sage
- Boot Size: 9
- Bindings: 2022 Union Juliet
- Where I’ve used it: California and Oregon
- Terrain: Groomers, trees, chunder, powder, park, moguls
How it performs
What I was looking for
Carving was my top priority when looking at boards. I was looking for a one-quiver type board that was really fun to carve on, had some pop, and was good in powder. I was interested in a directional board but still wanted the versatility to hit jumps in the park if the opportunity presented itself.
Why I chose this gear
After reading a lot of reviews, the Stratos consistently rated high in carving and speed, and many people said that the slightly softer flex between the feet with the stiffer flex at the tip and tail made it poppier and more freestyle oriented, so I went for it!
In this category, I also highly considered the Yes. Hel Yes and the season eqpt. Nexus. The Stratos has just a little softer flex than the Hel Yes, which appealed to me, and Jones simply had more of a long-term reputation at the time so I went with them over season eqpt.
What I love about it
- Speed: On groomers, this board is really fun to get going fast. It loves to make quick carves yet holds speed really well. I had the 146, which turned out to be a little small for me, so I’d have to assume if I had the 149 it would excel even more at high speeds. The base feels very high quality as well, and it glides fast when I hit a get-back trail or a flatter section of the mountain.
- Edge hold: The edge hold is fantastic on the Stratos. It uses Jones’s Traction Tech 3.0 technology which has three sidecut bumps on each side of the bindings for better grip. I wouldn’t say it is quite the hold that a Magne-Traction board offers, but it’s close. If I center my stance right over the bumps, it provides maximum edge control, whereas if I set the bindings back for powder, it won’t be quite as useful.
- Turns: I don’t think I’ve had this much fun turning and carving on a board in a long time! It really excels at tighter turns, but bigger turns are fun too. If I hit a narrow get-back trail while still keeping some speed, this board will carve super fast and super tight.
- Groomers: Lots of boards can be used on groomed runs just fine, but the Stratos actually thrives when carving groomers. I usually get bored after a few runs if there’s no powder and off-piste is no good, but the Stratos keeps me engaged and having fun even on those days. It really excels on groomers and maintains speed well.
- Powder: The Stratos is really fun in powder! It has the ability to set the stance back pretty far to optimize float. I think the 3D Contour Base helps it float well too, and Jones says that the blunt nose adds to helping it cruise through powder effortlessly as well.
- Trees: The Stratos rates very high in trees for me. It has a fairly narrow waist, which helps its ability to make tight turns, and it feels very nimble and easy to maneuver when flying through trees. It’s really fun to make slashy carves close to trees and when powder is added in it’s a great time!
- Moguls: Again, this board excels at making tight turns, even on moguls. It is easy to throw around and doesn’t catch an edge easily.
- Backcountry: This board is pretty lightweight, so for strapping to a backpack and boot packing up a hill, it would probably be a solid choice. I find that in the backcountry, I hit varied terrains, sometimes choppy or bumpy hard-pack snow, and this board doesn’t really shine in those conditions. When the terrain gets bumpy, this board gets chattery and less stable, so depending on the conditions it might not be my first pick for backcountry runs.
- Park: I wouldn’t say this is the board for jibs or boxes and rails, but it is surprisingly fun on jumps. Small and big alike, I felt very stable leading into the jumps, and it actually has a lot of pop. It’s also really fun to hit little side hits and features like those at the Flow Park at Mt. Hood, or something similar.
- Weight: The Stratos feels lightweight and poppy. I don’t feel weighed down at all while riding it. Its V-Core also means it is softer through the middle and slightly stiffer on the tip and tail, which not only makes it more maneuverable, but makes it have a lightweight and playful feel as well.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Durability: I think the core materials and the base are high quality and durable, however, many Jones boards I have ridden end up getting chips on the topsheet quite easily, and the Stratos is no exception. I’m not sure if this is due to the sustainable eco-friendly design, which could be worth it, but nonetheless, it gets more chips on the topsheet than some of my other boards.
- Switch riding: Being a directional board it isn’t ideal for riding switch, but when I have my stance more centered, it isn’t awful either. I tried to do a full run switch and it wasn’t that fun, but to land jumps and things like that it can hold its own!
- Stability: The stability of this board greatly depends on the conditions for me. On smooth groomers and in powder, I feel very stable, but on uneven terrain not so much. Damp bindings, like the Now Conda or something similar, definitely help reduce the chatter felt from uneven terrain. Any tracked-out powder that turns heavy or bumpy, ungroomed terrain, or uneven hard-pack gets chattery.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with this gear was also my first day ever riding at Mammoth Mountain in California. It was a groomer day, so I wasn’t as stoked as I normally would be to get out and ride, but we lapped the top steep bowls at Mammoth, and the way this board carved had me smiling all day! It was fast and poppy and just perfect for the day we had. I came out of that day loving the Stratos and couldn’t wait to ride it more!
Value for the money vs. other options
I really love this board, so if you can afford it I would say go for it! That being said, I think it is a little more expensive than other boards that ride similarly. It is about $80 more than the Hel Yes and $130 more than the season Nexus MSRP. The Jones boards have more features, though, so in my opinion, the Stratos is worth the money. I do think you’re paying slightly more to support a brand that highly values sustainability and environmental outreach if that’s your jam.
For an intermediate to advanced all-mountain rider who wants a free-ride board with a freestyle flair, the Jones Stratos Snowboard could be a solid board choice. It is the perfect “one-quiver” board to take on trips, or simply just own one board. It’s not your super-stiff, point-and-drop kind of board like the Flagship, but it really shines at carving, powder, and being playful.