YES Optimistic 2011 Review by The Good Ride
The Yes Optimistic is pretty much the only directional board in YES’s line up. The Optimistic is a solid performer all over the mountain and does an excellent job for a non tapered directional board in the powder. For 2011 YES added a faster base and more of Nideckers high end tech to make this board a lot more aggressive and performance oriented. The best part of the upgrade is the faster base. Just so you know Nidecker is the company who makes these boards and they have been around since 1984. They are one of the best snowboard manufacturers out there but have never gained any recognition in the US. Not only is the Optimistic an all mountain ride it is what you would call an all condition ride as well. There are many hybrid shape snowboards that are great when the conditions are good but you find a boards true qualities when the conditions are less than ideal. The Yes Optimistic creates a consistent ride in almost any condition you would want to ride on. CamRock will have the stability and speed of a camber snowboard with the float of a rocker snowboard. It’s not as catch free as rocker in the middle but is much more catch free than a cambered snowboard. A Former Good Ride Favorite. 2011 Good Wood Award Winner!
Board Size 162 and 159 but the 159 was used all day’s except one.
Rider Specs- 5’10″ 200lbs size 9 shoe, 5’7″, 150lbs, Size 9.5 shoe, 5’11″ 165lbs Size 9 shoe, 6′ 170 size 10.5 shoe and a few more.
Bindings Used- Burton Co2′s, Flux SF45 aka Feedback, Burton Cartel Re-Flex, Union Force, Union Force SL
Boots: Burton Ions, Celsius Opus, Burton SLX. Burton Ruler, K2 T1 DB
The Yes Optimistic has had a lot of buzz lately because it won a Good Wood All Mountain award and it’s always tough to ride a board that has a lot of high expectations and rave reviews. It can often make you more critical of the board. In the Yes Optimistic’s case this did not happen and the name held true. This is a very stiff aggressive board but for some reason it doesn’t ride 100% that way. We can see why Transworld gave it an all mountain Good Wood Award. So far this year the YES optimistic is my (the editors) favorite board for my riding style. Some of the riders found it a bit too stiff and like a more playful ride but for those who like the stiffer all mountain flex the YES Optimistic is going to be up there at the top. If you can only afford one board for everything, like a more aggressive ride and aren’t that into rails the YES Optimistic might be one of the best choices out there.
Groomers- The YES Optimistic is very fun on groomers of almost any type. It’s fun on hard pack up to day after powder groomers. It’s fast base, hybrid camber and fun shape makes it a good ride carving regular or switch down any groomer. This has a fast, stable, predictible ride. If you are all about groomers then this is a great board.
Powder: It looks like a directional twin but the CamRock (Nideckers Rocker) is directional or set back to provide more float in deeper powder. The Optimistic also has a decent set back that that seems like it’s 1.75 inches back which is huge. I must be wrong in my measurements because I’ve never seen a directional twin this far back. We have been very lucky this year to get a lot of powder days in and the Optimistic was used on a few of those powder days. The YES Optimistic bordered on excellent when it came to powder. Most of the riders were fairly large and use to riding bigger boards when it gets deep. The 159 Optimistic had an effortless float and a very fast base that made traverses and flat spots easy to negotiate through. Also when we got into thick trees the Optimistic turned very well. Also the Optimistic has a pretty good set back combined with the directional rocker (longer rocker at the nose) that made it incredibly easy to stay a float in deep powder.
Turn Initiation- The Optimistic is very easy to turn but it might be a bit on the Good side of excellent. For a board this stiff its really easy to initiate a turn. It was fun to make short radius or long radius turns and whenever you needed the board to be somewhere it went without much fight.
Speed: We didn’t wax the base like we normally do when we get a board because it looked pretty good out of the factory. We were expecting for it to ride a little slower but this 159 kept pulling away from everyone on the flats. The one thing about this board is it would pick up speed quickly so you had to plan your line in trees well or you might end up eating pine. Not only is the base really really fast but the board is very damp and chatter free for a board with it’s nose/tail sticking up. It’s also very comfortable flat basing in a straight line and you don’t get that squirrelly loose trucks on a skate board feeling. Another thing we noticed is the base seems pretty sturdy.
Weight- The YES Optimistic runs a bit on the heavy side of things but it isn’t terrible. Despite some early problems with the build the YES is very well made and very sturdy. We would like to see it shave off a little weight for next year but it’s hard to really rip.
Edge Hold: The Optimistic holds an edge well in all conditions but that crazy blue east coast ice. Maybe it’s the side cut or the hybrid camber pressing the edges down between the feet but something about the optimistic creates great edge hold. It’s not going to have that crazy bite that many boards with magnetraction side cuts have but it has a very stable feel in most conditions.
Flex: Really stiff at first but after a few days it started to feel more on the medium side of stiff. Still this is right up there with the Capita Black Death in terms of a stiff flex but for some reason it’s more forgiving.
Carving- For a hybrid camber board that is almost like a rocker board the Optimistic is really fun to carve. It’s not as much fun as theRome Anthem or the Burton Custom X. It is still good for a belly scratching turn or two if the mood strikes you. It will be great holding an edge up a pipe wall as well. It still has a better feel on an aggressive carve than most hybrid rocker boards.
Switch: The marketing material of the YES Optimistic is very confusing. They say it’s a directional twin in some places and a directional shape in other. The reality is that the Optimistic is a Directional Twin that has a directional rocker which makes the nose rise up earlier than the tail. What does that mean when riding switch? If you have the Optimistic centered in stance the ride is a little off but if you set the stance back a little it seems more even. Either way you get use to it.
Rails/Jibbing: The YES is almost borderline rough when it comes to rails and jibbing. If this is your thing then the YES Optimistic isn’t your board. It’s just too stiff and will bonk you on any technical rails or jibs. Take a look at the Great Dudes of History for this task.
Pipe: Just the opposite of Rails. The Optimistic is going to be the Editor’s pipe board this year if Mammoth can ever make a damn pipe! What is up with all those stupid landing bags? Where is the efing pipe?! Ok sorry for the rant but our local mountain has not made a pipe yet and they have a ton of snow.
Jumps: For some this board might be too stiff but for others this could be ideal. If you are into back country booters the Optimistic will be one of the best choices out there. The Optimistic has decent pop and can be pretty springy for a board that looks so rocker like.
All in all the YES Optimistic is one hell of a good aggressive all mountain board that will ride well in almost any condition. If an advanced rider can handle the speed they could have a board that makes them ride better. An Expert will have a blast on this.
Intermediate - Expert
On Snow Feel
Hard to Soft