As ski slopes close across the country, snowboard retailers are now winding down operations and looking forward to next year. As a result of the double whammy of and the early end of the season thanks to a warmer than normal winter and coronavirus concerns, their end-of-season stock is larger than normal, on a variety of snowboarding gear.
This is good news for you. Rather than slim pickings of the top snowboards on the market today, we’ve noticed decent stock of even more common snowboard sizes — something that isn’t always the case.
Whether you’re looking for surf-inspired styles with widening noses and an ever-expanding range of tail shapes that perform in powder, a poppy park board with a pressy nose, a free-riding pow slayer stocked with backcountry tech, or an all-mountain shredder, we have plenty of options for you. Below is a list of the boards that we think are among the best available.
Best all-mountain snowboards
Thegets its name from its unique shape, which makes this a purely directional board with positive camber in the back and rocker in the front. The result is one of the best all-mountain freeride boards on the market right now. Testers repeatedly laud this board for its performance and control, equally at home in wide-open trails and trickier tree runs. The cambered back will give you all the control you need on the groomers, and the rockered front equally dependable stability in the pow.
One of its best features is its price, though. Burton tends to price its boards a bit too much on the high side for our tastes, especially when so many other board makers are offering equally well-performing boards for hundreds less. The Skeleton Key is an exception to that rule, and possibly one of Burton’s best boards overall.
K2 — like Burton — has been around for a long time. So it’s nice to see that the board maker produce a deck that pays homage to its long history in the sport. Theis that board. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, the Broadcast leans on the tried and true directional cambered board profile that has been around since the start.
The Broadcast is surprisingly nimble everywhere, but it doesn’t excel at any one particular type of riding style or terrain. We could see this board being the perfect one for someone new to snowboarding who is not exactly sure what they need. But even after you move on to bigger and better things, we think the Broadcast will be that board that will always have a place in your board rack.
A directional twin, theis a snowboard that will feel a bit out of place in the park. But you’ll love this anywhere else — it features impressive performance in a variety of conditions and terrain, riders say. That is what you want out of an all-mountain board, a jack-of-all-trades that leaves you feeling confident that you can tackle just about anything that the mountain throws at you.
The Range features a cambered profile with early rise in the tip and tail, giving you superior control in carved turns, and gives the board an overall feeling of control at high rates of speed since it so tightly grips the snow. As long as you’re not trying to ride switch too often, we don’t see any negatives to this board for a large majority of riders, making it one of our top picks.
is a top choice in women’s all-mountain boards for its versatility and response. The board features a cambered middle and rockered ends, which give you the stability of a camber board, and the playfulness of a rockered board when straight downhill ripping isn’t enough. Testers report that the board has just the right amount of float thanks to those rockered ends, with edges that protrude out more from under the bindings to give better control.
While Yes isn’t the first to do this type of edge — Lib Tech’s been doing a much more prominent version of this for many years — it does add a good degree of control to the more playful boards. The slightly directional nature will make this board much more fun outside the park, but not enough that you can’t take a lap or two through some features without fear.
Capita’shas long been a favorite, and there’s good reason for it. As a twin-tip board, you’ll be able to use this just about anywhere, riding it any way you like. Its cambered nature makes it better suited for all-mountain use over the park, however. While it is not as aggressive as other boards on our list, the Birds of a Feather seems well-suited for a beginner with a few good days under their belt. Intermediate riders looking for a board that can grow with their abilities might also find this board attractive.
Testers and riders say the board has a good deal of versatility and maneuverability, which has to do with the way it’s constructed. While the board transitions from no camber to a slight rockered profile outside of the bindings, underneath the board is positively cambered. The result is a better connection with the snow at the points where you need it most. We’re impressed.
Best park snowboards
Capita’s DOA has long been a favorite of terrain park enthusiasts; in fact, the board has won top honors in some lists every year of its eight-season existence. The board maker isn’t resting on its laurels, and theis its attempt at upping the ante once more. The board features Capita’s Resort V1 Profile, combining a powerful camber section that goes 5cm past the inserts with stable flat zones and rockered tips. The result is even more impressive handling and versatility than the DOA, with no chatter at high speeds.
Testers and riders report that the board feels both predictable and stable, and it feels like you could throw just about anything that you can at it and still have the board beg for more. If you’re an aggressive rider looking to rule both the park and the backcountry like a boss, the Super DOA might be your next board.
has one group of people in mind: Those that crave speed. Its stiffer profile than most park boards targets those that are looking to master park features that require speed like the pipe or the larger jump lines. If you’re looking for a more playful board, you might walk away disappointed.
Riders report that the board has a good deal of pop, but is much stiffer than you’d expect out of a park board. Maybe it might be more accurate to label this an “all-mountain freestyle” deck, but we’d think the folks who purchase this particular board are more likely to spend most of their time in the more advanced features of the park. For this reason, we’d recommend this board only to the more advanced riders out there.
Theis our recommendation for park riders looking for a dependable board in the park, but one that is stable enough to hold its own elsewhere on the mountain. That’s often a problem with park boards overall: They’re naturally more flexible construction can present all kinds of problems elsewhere, especially at higher speeds. That isn’t the case with the Box Knife.
Riders report that the board handles well at higher speed, and while it does well on rails and features without catching an edge, it can hold an edge surprisingly well for a park board elsewhere. In all conditions, the Box Knife seems to be up to the task, and with a price below $500, it seems like a perfect buy for the park enthusiast.
We realize we’ve given a lot of page space to Capita boards this go around, but there are just so many of the company’s boards that are worthy of mention. Thecaught our attention for two reasons: Price and performance. In the park, it’s perfect with a softer than average flex. We find this a perfect board for those looking for something more playful and buttery versus bombing through the park’s larger pipe and jump features.
We recommend this board for those looking for a primarily park-capable board. While you’ll be able to take the SMF just about anywhere, it’s best suited for park use. And its price is one of its best features, with a retail price that’s about 20% to 30% lower than most other options, you won’t have to break the bank to buy it.
For the ladies that prefer the jump line more than the park features, we strongly recommend theWith a stiffer flex that is more suited to give you good pop off the jump and confidence on landings, we feel this board is your best bet. It’s rocker-camber-rocker profile still provides it with enough playfulness to make it fun just about anywhere on the mountain.
Testers lauded the board for its predictable response even when taking the board to its limits, something that a lot of softer flex park boards lack. Just take your standard park board outside of the park at some speed and you’ll see why. The K2 Lime Lite can nearly do it all.
If the seemingly endless options for less aggressive women’s boards bother you, we recommend taking a look at the instead. It is one of the most aggressive women’s park boards on the market right now, and is extremely stable and comfortable to ride — making it one of the best park jump boards available out there.
Sure, it might be too stiff for those of us looking to ride the rails, but if you envision yourself catching big air this winter, this is the board to be on. Testers report that the board offers a dependable and predictable ride, exactly what you want for the park’s more challenging features.
Best cheap snowboards
We understand that not everybody has the money to spend on a top-end board. So can you find quality equipment for cheap? The answer is yes, as long as you’re aware of its limitations. Here are our recommendations.
System snowboard bundles
System is not a big name when it comes to snowboard manufacturers, however on Amazon their package deals have become quite popular. Available for both men and women, the package includes a board, bindings, and boots — basically all you need to get going on the hill beside your clothes. The features their MTN snowboard and APX bindings and boots, while the includes their Flite snowboard, Mystic bindings, and Lux boots.
The MTN board features a camber-rocker-camber profile, perfect for beginners, and the Flite a similar profile as well with a slightly more forgiving flex intended to suit female riders better. Buyers report that these boards are perfect to start on, however, you’ll need to purchase a new board within a season or two once you begin to progress. Our recommendation is to consider this board only if you’re unsure whether you’ll enjoy the sport — as it’s one of the cheapest ways to get it all at a price that’s less than most bigger name snowboards themselves.
Flow’s been around for a long time, and we spotted their snowboard package on Amazon which gets you all you need at a great price. You’ll the Flow Featherlite snowboard, Haylo bindings, and Siren Lux boots, which paired together have just the perfect amount of forgiveness and flex to help you progress naturally. But don’t think this is just some cheap setup — while you’ll likely long for a better board in a season or two, any of the equipment will last much longer than that, allowing you to replace it with better equipment piece by piece.
The Featherlite features a rocker-camber-rocker profile, which will help you float through powder with ease, and lessen the risk of catching an edge. Flow’s patented (and honestly wonderful) rear entry bindings make strapping in easy. The boot liners are even heat-moldable — a feature you often lose in cheaper boots, but not here.
How to pick the right snowboard
Picking the right snowboard can be a challenging experience considering the hundreds of options available. Here, we hope to give you a little background on various things to look for.
All mountain or park?
For the vast majority of us, an all-mountain board is going to be the best bet. Most all-mountain boards sit on the stiffer side of the flex scale, offering you a great deal of stability and eliminating chatter. If you plan to go fast, you’ll want a stiff board, but for those of us looking for a little more fun, a forgiving ride is much better.
If you see yourself getting into park riding eventually, stick with a medium flex board, or perhaps a board slightly more to the softer side. Do remember as you loose stiffness, you also lose stability at higher speeds.
If you plan to spend the majority of your time in the park, then a park board is best. Here, you’ll only want a stiff board if you plan to tackle the pipe or the big jumps. Otherwise, a softer board will make tricks easier to complete. Don’t be scared to take these park boards outside the park, though, most will be able to handle most trails just fine.
Camber or rocker?
Another term you’ll run into during the buying process is “camber” or “rocker.” Which you choose depends on your goals on the hill. Below we’ve listed the benefits of each.
- Superior control at high speeds
- Better grip in harder snow
- Better edge hold when carving
- Better float in soft snow and powder
- Easier to maneuver, a more playful feel
- Better in the park with reduced edge catch risk
Some boards incorporate both rocker and camber in some fashion in their board designs. You can find this information in the descriptions of the board itself. Which one you choose is a matter of preference, and what conditions and terrain you’ll find yourself in the most.
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