Snowboarding is one of the most exciting activities you can do this winter season. Imagine the thrill of descending a slope covered with snow while you stand on a board attached to your feet. It’s one way to enjoy the beauty of nature, compete with others, and at the same time, express yourself.
If you want to rip through snow, then you need to get a snowboard first. Snowboards these days come in various types, designs, and materials that it can be confusing to pick one. This article will help you shop for the right snowboard.
While snowboarding has been around for nearly a century, the modern snowboard we know today can be traced to the toy invented by an engineer, Sherman Poppen. He fastened two skis together and attached a rope to one end so that her daughter would be able to control her pace as she glided downhill.
Today, snowboards can be classified into five categories. There’s the all-mountain snowboard that can work on any terrain, the freestyle snowboard that’s best used in parks, and the freeride snowboard that is best for ungroomed snow. You may also pick the powder type, which is ideal for use in deep snow, or the splitboard, which is best used in the backcountry.
Here are the 10 best snowboards.
Best All-Mountain Snowboard: Burton Deep Thinker
Designed and built for advanced to expert riders, the Burton Deep Thinker is an aggressive, responsive, and aesthetically pleasing all-mountain snowboard.
Danny Davis, a world-renowned rider, is the designer of this retro-looking, directionally shaped snowboard. Noted for his smooth and creative style of riding, Davis created this board to transfer more pop in the tail with its slightly longer nose.
Moreover, some of the sections of its core are thinner than the rest for more energy and enhanced control. Varying core thickness also provides more flexibility and strength in strategic areas of the core.
Still, count on it to provide generous float and control. With its 7mm tapered design, riders should have no trouble initiating a turn or making an exit.
Stability is another strong suit of this snowboard. You can be assured of a secure onboard experience with its narrow waist width and stiff flex. And while the nose is long, there is minimal chatter, thanks to the stiff flex of the snowboard.
You’ll get your money’s worth with this all-mountain snowboard. Aside from its reasonable price, it can also be ridden all over the mountain, further justifying its price tag. While there are cheaper options, you can be assured that you’re getting the best all-mountain snowboard in the Burton Deep Thinker.
Best Bang for the Buck All-Mountain Snowboard: Jones Explorer
This product is a forgiving all-mountain type that’s affordable, making it the best bang for the buck all-mountain snowboard today. It’s ideal for beginners and intermediate users, as it is agile and versatile. It is maneuverable in-between bumps, thanks to its ease of use. Moreover, it provides average flotation with its blunted tip and rockered nose.
The Jones Explorer has a beautiful graphic that makes it stand out from the rest. But it’s not all about the looks as this snowboard is built to deliver top-notch performance. It feels agile, energetic, and strong on park laps and backcountry lines.
This snowboard can easily handle both powder and jump lines with its directional rocker profile. On the snow, it feels stable underfoot. The camber in between the feet has something to do with it. As for edge hold, this snowboard is best in hard snow, yet it can handle ice patches, too.
In short, the Jones Explorer is an affordable ride that offers good directional float. It’s arguably the best bang for the buck all-mountain snowboard in the market today.
Best Freestyle Snowboard: Burton Paramount Camber
The Burton Paramount camber is available in three lengths, which are 155, 158, and 162 cm. The board has a slightly bowed middle that straightens out when you put down your weight on it. This profile helps riders make powerful turns.
With the Paramount, intermediate to advanced users should be able to launch off a vertical slope quickly. The familiar twin-tip shape facilitates clean entry while the medium overall flex provides support and stability when stomping landings. It also gives riders versatility in performing all sorts of tricks and a balanced ride most of the time.
Aside from being durable, this snowboard has an FSC-certified Super Fly II core, which combines sturdy and lightweight woods for a great deal of pop. The build also remains lightweight; hence, you won’t feel weighed down when you ride across the slopes. Likewise, it is streamlined to create an excellent edge hold and provide more strength.
This snowboard features a mounting system called the Channel that would let you place your feet in an optimal position on the board. It also enables you to control where your feet would go for optimum comfort and performance.
Best Cheap Freestyle Snowboard: Rome Factory Rocker
When it comes to freestyle snowboard, the Rome Factory Rocker is perhaps the best value for money. Rome is a brand known for its high quality yet affordable freestyle decks, and the Factory Rocker is a prime example.
This freestyle snowboard has a pope core matrix known for its excellent combination of lightness and response. Built from warm and robust wood, it features two zones of light wood species. It also has rebound sidewalls with elastomeric compounds designed to absorb impacts when landing on a rail. So, this snowboard can let you enjoy longer snowboarding sessions.
The base of this snowboard is reliable, fast, and easy to repair. Rome also added bamboo stringers through the core for extra snap and energy. Those bamboo stringers won’t break down as quickly as other composite materials.
Another essential feature of the Rome Factory is the QuickRip Sidecut featuring two off-set sidecuts that lead to one sidecut zone in the nose. There’s also a sidecut zone in between the feet and another in the tail, giving extra contact points along the edge for much better turn initiation.
Rome also deviated from the norm by creating bumps called ‘mid-contact points’ at areas near the bindings. These add edge hold and enhance turning response at high speed while serving at contact points at slow speed.
Best Snowboard for Beginners: Burton Ripcord Snowboard
If you are a beginner who wants to take your snowboarding skills to the next level, consider getting the Burton Ripcord. It is loaded with features that can hasten your progression into a more skilled snowboarder, including a directional shape, channel mounting system, and soft flex. And, it comes from arguably the largest and most respected snowboard brand in the world today.
This snowboard has a 5mm taper directional shape, giving it a nose that is longer than the tail for enhanced pop. Beginner riders like you will benefit from the improved stability and control of this model. It also makes entry and exit easier while giving you enough flotation in deep snow.
It has a flat profile that would give you superior control, enhanced balance, and stability. Its channel mounting system, meanwhile, makes it compatible with major binding models, including that of Burton’s. You’ll have lots of stance options, and consequently, you’ll be able to ride on any terrain comfortably.
The core of this board is engineered with Squeezebox Low, which creates stiffer zones outside of your feet. This feature allows you to transfer more energy to the tip and tail and consequently improve your ride.
Best Powder Snowboard: Jones Storm Chaser
One of the first companies to come out with powder snowboards, Jones also has arguably the best powder snowboard today in the Storm Chaser. Designed by Chris Christenson, a renowned surfboard shaper, it has been in the market for several years now. The latest iteration features a carbon strip for improved long-term flex and extra pop. However, it looks remarkably like the previous models, particularly those released in 2017 and 2018.
The Jones Storm Chaser is lightweight with a medium to medium-stiff flex. It has a wooden core with bamboo stringers in the pocket of the sidecut, delivering power and superior edge response.
This directional powder board is designed for intermediate to advanced riders. It can easily handle power with its power-packed shallow tail.
You can also be assured of a stable ride with its progressive side cut. The core has also been lightened while the nose enhanced with web-fused carbon for reduced chatter and improved dampening.
The Jones Storm Chaser is a champ in the powder. You’ll feel like surfing snow when you ride on it. On snow, it is stable than most continuous rocker boards. It maneuvers well on powder, light, and fluffy snow. Plus, it is surprisingly easy to get in and out of the trees. Its fast base, meanwhile, lets it maintain speed and glide well.
Best Affordable Powder Snowboard: Capita Spring Break Slusher Slasher
The Capita Spring Break Slusher Slasher is not as refined as the Jones Storm Chaser, but if you’re a beginner or on a budget, this little powder/slush board should be a more practical choice.
As the name tells you, this snowboard is designed for springtime. It’s a specialized board that you can ride in slush and powder.
It is made of an FSC-certified Select Core with a wood grain that extends from edge to edge and tip to tail. Moreover, it has no knots or finger joints, resulting in enhanced response and a uniform flex pattern. Its Superdrive EX base, meanwhile, enables the board to resist abrasion and deliver a smooth glide.
The board features a party profile with the camber mid-section having a flat kick nose and mellow tail. This profile allows the board’s nose to rise above slush. Meanwhile, the radial sidecut is of a single radius design and responsible for the board starting a finishing a turn on the same arc.
The Slusher Slasher is perfect in slush with its profile and surface area. It is also a great board to carve with, thanks to its narrow turn line. Surprisingly, it is also pretty tolerable on uneven terrain. Because it is short, it can easily get around bumps.
However, this is not a board that would appeal to riders looking for speed. You can’t also expect it to perform well on jumps. And since it has no tail, this board is not ideal for switching.
Despite those limitations, the Slusher Slasher remains a good pick for riders looking for an affordable powder snowboard.
Best Splitboard: Lib Tech T. Rice Gold Member
With a split board, you can explore the backcountry. This type of snowboard splits into a couple of halves for touring and traveling uphill.
Skins backed with adhesive are attached to the base of the ski, providing you with traction on snow. You can then remove the skins once you have reached the top of the slope and transform it again into a snowboard.
There are many splitboards to choose from, but the Lib Tech T. Rice Gold Member is the prime choice for many advanced and expert riders. You’ll have to spend a fortune on this snowboard, though. Still, you can be assured of a smooth and thrilling ride with this model. This product is an ultra-lightweight, versatile, and durable split board that is worth your money.
This snowboard has a C2 profile that gives a balanced mixture of rocker/camber. The camber underfoot is worth mentioning as it makes flying this board easy. Then there are the seven Magne-Traction contact points that stick out and augment edge control and hold. Think of it as a serrated knife cutting into hard surfaces.
As for the skins of this split board, it can quickly hook up to the notched swallowtail. The core of the board is made of locally-sourced woods, such as Aspen, Birch, Balsa, and Paulownia.
Best Freestyle Snowboard: Never Summer Funslinger
The 2019 version of the Never Summer Funslinger continues the legacy of perhaps the best freestyle snowboard in the world. This product is a snappy board that excels in the park. It can be easily mistaken for a rail board, thanks mainly to its soft flex. And, it performs well on jumps and transitions.
2019 Never Summer Funslinger has an aggressive hybrid camber with the rocker placed between the feet and the camber underfoot located towards the tips. This feature minimizes the pressure over the contact points and makes it difficult to catch edges. But the camber remains stable and responsive just like more traditional models. You will also love the added flexibility and playfulness from the rocker zone placed between the feet.
This snowboard has an asymmetrical twin shape with a designated toe and heel edge, resulting in more power and control in the turns. The board is made of Press Flex Core with two separate flexing points, giving you a better hinge point for presses. The base, meanwhile, is of high-density construction for lasting durability and extreme speed.
Other extra features that make this snowboard a must-buy include the low profile tip and tail for enhanced landing stability and elastomeric underfoot stabilizers that increase stability without affecting speed.
Best Park Snowboard: Salomon Huck Knife Snowboard
The Salomon Huck Knife Snowboard hasn’t seen drastic changes since its 2017 model. Yet, it remains as the best park snowboard, ideal for people who spend most of their time in the park.
This snowboard is designed for intermediate to expert riders, and it is lightweight, fast, durable, and fun to ride. It has a medium flex and a quad camber, providing a decent response, pop, and agility. The camber underfoot leads into rocker zones at contact points for extra pop.
The board has True Twin shape, constructed the same from tip to tail, and assuring you of the same performance in both regular and switch. It has a curved Radial sidecut that gives you a grippy, fun, and agile edge.
The core is full Aspen wood, while the sintered base delivers superior speed. You should be able to go faster for an extended period with this board.
Other extra features of this board worth noting are the specially shaped core profile that gives an extra snap to ollies, and the triaxial fiberglass that enhances stability and durability. It also has carbon inlays for good response underfoot and freestyle edge bevel for freestyle riding.
Through the 90s, the construction of snowboards remained more or less like ski devices. Generally, boards were made of level blades and regular camber.
A decade later, snowboards started becoming more inspired by surfing equipment. These were originally sold for better riding on powder. Soon, snowboard designs started changing and so did riders’ preferences. A number of riders turned to these newly-designed, minimal-tailed boards for everyday practice.
Fast forward to 2019, and you will find varieties swarming the marketplace. Some think that for snowboard designing, this is the most inspiring-era. But then, who knows what innovation will make a grand entry in the future?
But right now, you can look around, browse through specifications, and choose from a wide range of available designs. The correct option will draw regular benefits on the mountain, performing better on each turn and providing you increased and delightful experience on the snow.
Selecting a snowboard is not an easy job. So many diverse kinds of boards are available that you can face a paralysis of choice! Before picking up a snowboard, it is better to know what your requirements are exactly. You should also consider the type of terrain where you will be using your snowboard.
Here are our recommendations for more of the best snowboards.
Jones Storm Chaser
Most of the boards are created for common folks. Then, there are some that are specially crafted for legends. This is one of the boards from the second category. Jeremy Jones was a legendary freerider, and this board was created for him by Chris Christenson, who himself was a gifted surfboard shaper and had spent 26 years in the craft of shaping boards.
The version created for Jones included a serrated edge. This technology produces a stable grip on the rail if the terrain becomes slippery. On powdery tracks, the enormous drift of the deck is supplemented by it swallowtail. This great board has become even better with the presence of a slimmer core crafted with carbon stringers and bamboo pieces. This provides the Storm Chaser with just a tad extra stiffness.
Ride MTN Pig
The MTN Pig has a somewhat unique look. It has a blunt nose with a half-moon shaped tail and a mostly monochromatic design, including the dominance of natural wood. These distinguishing features make it stand apart from most of the other boards.
The MTN Pig has polyurethane edges that reduce clattering while riding through any rough type of snow (also called “chunder”). This is to say that this board is not meant for soft and slow riding for any intermediate rider. The MTN Pig is tailor-made for hard and speedy rides. If you are not looking for those kinds of thrills, then this board is certainly not for you. However, if you enjoy riding as if there is going to be no tomorrow, then try out this board. You will not find big advertisements shouting out its unique characteristics, but the MTN Pig is an excellent all-mountain piece of gear.
The board has a stiff hybrid camber, built for high-speed rides and sharp adventures.
Lib Tech T. Rice Orca
This particular snowboard comes in three sizes: 159, 153, and 147. The inclination towards short and solid snowboards has been prevalent for the last few years. Large companies such as K2 scored an excellent response when they pushed a campaign of changing the mass by trimming down the board length and increasing the width. The new Orca snowboard exemplifies that increased volume change approach.
The Orca has a thick middle. The longer models are of 26.7 cm, and the 147 has 25.7cm. This increased width provides excellent performance in the powder and is a special comfort for riders with big feet. Wide, but not too wide, the Orca is fabulous for small, quick turns, providing a smooth ride in tight trees, whether the snow is fresh or has been skied out.
This board is manufactured by the Lib Tech company, which produces its boards locally and uses non-toxic substances in board-production.
GNU Head Space
The Head Space has an asymmetrical design and comes in four sizes. GNU has been pursuing this unusual design for pro models for years. It has created two models for freestyle athlete Forest Bailey. The Head Space is one of those two.
This snowboard has a hybrid camber – one in the front and another trailing the bindings. This provides a soft rocker between the rider’s feet. With a mellow flex, the Head Space gives you a solid foundation in difficult conditions. It has a core built from paulownia wood and sustainably harvested aspen, which produces loads of drift.
If you are looking for “budget boards,” then you will not find much difference between boards for entry-level riders and for pro-level. Almost all entry-level boards have starting prices close to $400-$450, and the priciest ones come in around $600.
The K2 company has introduced the Broadcast in a different freeride mold. This company has been manufacturing skis for many years and was among the first innovators to embraced the switch to thick skis for powder skiing. The Broadcast is a popular choice among the preferred freeride snowboards for 2019. Its price is an added attraction since it happens to be nearly $200 lower than some of the other boards in a similar category.
The Broadcast has a hybrid shape that depends more on camber, making it amazingly responsive. This snowboard is highly suitable for riders in the intermediate or above categories. It is excellent for fast riding. Its camber ensures a sturdy deck with plenty of rush.
When discussing legendary snowboards, the top of the list is always occupied by the Burton Custom. This board has been dominating the Burton production line for many years. The original Custom was produced in 1996. The generally exceptional freeride board is now accessible in two designs for the new season.
The Flying V version has a combination of rocker and camber, which makes it an outstanding snowboard for riders of intermediate skills. It is crafted for an all-mountain experience and carries the right balance of soft and stiff. With its average stiffness, an all-day ride will still be comfortable.
As for its camber, the Custom also covers a fairly balanced combination of camber and rocker. The board is quite perceptive but not overly so. That means you’ll be safe from getting caught in any rough edges in case your mind wanders off after a long day and your usually perky riding slips for a clumsy moment. This is another reason snowboarding has become a tad smoother than it used to be in the era of boards having only cambers. That was fine for expert riders who could handle sharp responses of the board. For less skilled riders, that kind of intense responsiveness was too much to manage.
This solid board is named after a legendary peak of the San Juan Mountains because of its functionality. The Storm is a preferred device for climbing and sliding down the steep slopes of mountains. It is crafted by a select bunch of experienced snowboarders from Silverton in Colorado. These snowboards from Venture feel exclusive. As soon as you slip them on, you can sense that this is a board crafted with love for the mountains.
Venture boards are generally thickly built, but for this new season, the Storm has been given a new, lighter core. The earlier heaviness provided strength in spades, but the new core takes off some of that weight.
The Storm possesses an unusual hybrid camber, which is flat, instead of resting between the feet. This is excellent for riding in powder but can turn slightly rough when out in the uneven snow.
Arbor Bryan Iguchi
The Arbor brand has two models that include a rocker and a camber variant. These models are tilted towards being stiffer. The camber version is an extraordinarily responsive board, the kind of which you cannot find anywhere else on earth. Before you even start using it, you will become aware of its weight. You will find it slightly heavier than most of the other models. Some riders criticize this for tipping the balance scales, but there are also others who admire the extra weight. Once you slip your feet in, you notice that that tail and the tip have a minimal rise. While riding in the fresh snow, this is quite helpful in keeping the board on top of the snow and protecting from sudden shifts.
If you are going to search for the best carving boards, then the Bataleon Carver will be among them. This snowboard is suitable for advanced riders. Those who are still trying to figure out how to keep their balance while making turns have a lot to learn before they can use this carving board.
It has a wide waist and depends on its range. Its board has a unique profile. On one hand, it has a traditional camber that runs from tip to tail, but its edges rise from left to right. This will give you all the drift and sharp input of a cambered product, but none of the drawback of edges that easily catch. Carbon stringers of medium stiffness run through the deck of the Bataleon Carver, rendering enough power for you to complete turns.
Salomon Sick Stick
Snowboarding is an art developed with the help of science, but what is the use of all this craftsmanship if designers do not make room for having fun on their snowboards? The good thing is, now designers are placing emphasis on the fun part of snowboarding and evolving their designs towards spirited, pleasant models that zing like arrows and strike as if competing with surfboards. The Sick Stick is the best example of “Return of The Fun-Loving Snowboarding.”
This multi-year old, run-of-the-mill model has been revamped to create specific shapes for different sizes. The traditional pintail that characterized this board has been given a farewell. Now, the model with the widest waist (the 151) also has the smallest deck. This one is designed to glide pass the turns in powdery terrain. The 157 is crafted as an all-mountain glider and has a linear design to tackle curves. The 162 is given extended length and its sidecut provides stability at a higher pace. This one is suitable for freeride performance.
CAPiTA Kazu Kokubo Pro
Kokubo’s pro model is a solemn all-mountain freestyle tool that’s handy to take out on any type of snow. Going by Kazu Kokubo’s exceptional reputation as a prolific snowboarder, it is not surprising that his inspiration is etched into these boards.
This pro model is a practical freeride board with traditional camber, a mild taper, and mid flex pattern completed by and a slim waist. Notwithstanding what conditions you want to test these boards in, you will not find these fine devices lacking in any department. Usually, riders will come up with one or two wishlists for their boards, but those who tested these boards were at a loss of words to find any flaw or suggestions for improvement. That is the perfection of craftsmanship that has gone into creating these snowboards.
This board provides support to the riders’ feet in all and different kinds of conditions. Try it, and your feet may want to remain glued to this pro model.
The Live is best suited for versatile terrain and is known for its durability. This board comes in a number of lengths, with some wide varieties too. The Live has a twin tip with moderate flexing. The board carries a positive camber and its tip and tail are adorned with usual rocker. These characteristics produce a quick response and steady hold, with a higher lightness. Its contact points are mildly elevated, which helps in minimizing catching and also increase its buoy.
The board boasts of two laminate layers of fiberglass that has an extra dose of carbon to produce a uniform flex and packs good drift. The board has a fused core that enhances its durability. It also has sidewalls crafted with malleable polyurethane to subdue the usual clang and clatter.
When you want a board that is suitable for all snow terrains, you can go for Goliath. You will be delighted with this all-terrain tool. It has all the qualities of a trustworthy board. It is solid, packs a pop, and provides a smooth ride. It contains three laminate layers of fiberglass to generate accurate body-flex, which also helps in performing quick ollies. The board makes good use of carbon to help with an extra load of snappiness, and the Kevlar makes sure that the added snap is achieved without any stiffness or extra weight.
The Goliath has slightly raised edges in essential sections. This is to give a brisk pop and steady grip of camber, ensuring catch-free execution, responsive shift between edges, and a robust carving. Its elongated nose is specifically designed to achieve float in powdery conditions.
Got freestyle riding on your mind? Then go for this zero-camber, stylish board and take advantage of privileges available to every level of rider. It has a multi-functional, medium flex grade, and a convenient, smooth aspect.
Academy has created this board with a Press Flex Core, which generates pop in the style of a more conventional chamber but does away with any catchiness. Its impressive Carbon VXR Laminate Technology is excellent for getting a fast response as well as enhanced body balance. Its special base quickens the pace and stability. The board’s tip and tail have a special Harmonic Damper, Elastomeric Stabilizers and FDS System that provide more balance by absorbing vibrations at all speeds, resulting in a proper, smooth ride.
This is a board that uses a ton of technology to deliver the slickest ride.
Before you make your choice, remember that the most significant component of your snowboard is its core. Normally, the core is built from different types of wood, which alter the character of the ride. Several manufacturing companies also use pieces from separate trees inside of a particular core. For example, you may come across a few Lib Tech boards that carry three distinct varieties of wood. There are also companies that produce cores from foam materials.
Manufacturers carve cores in a special way. Those areas are kept thin where you require increased flex and other areas are created thick. Although snowboards are manufactured using heavy machinery, you will be surprised to know that it also involves a lot of fine craftsmanship.
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