Have you ever wondered how to choose the best snowboard for your type of riding style? Maybe you’re someone who’s heart skips a beat at the thought of deep powder or maybe your friends can always find you in the park. Or maybe, you’re the kind of snowboarder who likes to try something different, depending on the day. No matter what you’re into, you’ll need the right snowboard to have the most fun. But how do you know which one to choose when there are hundreds of different options?
Here at The Adventure Junkies, we take pride in breaking down gear specifics and finding the best snowboards out on the market. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to choose the best snowboard and show you the best models of the year.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST SNOWBOARD
3 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST SNOWBOARDS
1. STYLE: WHAT TYPE OF RIDER ARE YOU?
What board you choose largely has to do with what type of rider you are. Snowboarders who go into all types of conditions – backcountry, the park, through groomers – typically do best on an all-mountain style snowboard. Think of it as a one-size-fits-all style. Park snowboarders should get a park (also called freestyle) type of snowboard, and freeride snowboarders are obsessed with steep, fast, slopes.
All mountain boards typically have great response, are medium flex, and sometimes have special features to cope with ice or hidden rocks. They’re a great board to try if you’re just starting out and don’t know what type of riding you like, or if you snowboard mostly at a mountain with all types of conditions.
Park (freestyle) boards are very flexible, responsive, and forgiving. Their shape makes it easy to pop and slide. These are nearly always twin tip so that riders can land and ride switch with ease. (Want to get better at park riding? Transworld Snowboarding has an entire archive of trick tips!).
Freeride snowboards are for chargers all about reaching the fastest speed possible. These boards tend to be a bit longer than the all mountain board, stiffer, and more durable. They are usually one directional instead of twin tip, making them just an extra bit faster.
You’ll want to make sure that your bindings and boots match the style of snowboard you choose, as there are specific types for those as well. You can read all about how to choose the perfect pair of boots in our guide, Snowboarding Boots 101. Oh, and don’t forget a helmet. Of course, we have a guide for choosing the best snow helmets, too.
Many snowboarders have the misconception that your snowboard length correlates to your height. While this is true to some extent, it’s your weight that matters more. Each brand and snowboard model is different, so you’ll want to look at their official size guide beforehand. Wider boards tend to be better for larger people and those who are lucky enough to frequently ride in powder.
Snowboards now come in all types of shapes but the main three are directional, true twin, and directional twin. Each have their own pros and cons.
Directional snowboards are popular among all mountain and freeride style snowboards because their shape allows the rider to get down the mountain as efficiently as possible. However, you can’t ride switch on directional snowboards, making it quite limiting in the park or for riders who like to go both ways.
TRUE TWIN TIP
True twin tip boards are symmetrical, with the dimensions of both sides of the board being exactly the same. This shape is the best for park riders or those of us who simply like to ride switch.
Directional twin boards are – surprise – a mix of twin tip and directional shapes. These do well for all mountain or freestyle conditions and are a bit less limiting than directional boards. Usually, the dimensions of the tips are the same, but the back tip is firmer.
Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/dennisvdw
BEST SNOWBOARDS REVIEWS
1. BEST SNOWBOARDS FOR ALL MOUNTAIN RIDING
NEVER SUMMER PROTOTYPE TWO
BEST FOR: Experienced riders who want a board that can do it all
STYLE: All mountain
SIZE OPTIONS: 152, 153 W, 154, 155 W, 157, 158 W, 160, 161 W, 164 W
PROS: Great for riders who like to ride switch in variable conditions
CONS: Not the best board for heavy powder
ARBOR POPARAZZI ROCKER
BEST FOR: Riders who explore the entire mountain in all types of conditions
STYLE: All mountain
SIZE OPTIONS: 141, 144, 147, 150
PROS: Comfortable, stylish, versatile
CONS: Deck color doesn’t always come as expected
SALOMON THE ULTIMATE RIDE
BEST FOR: Riders who go through powder one day and over jumps the next
STYLE: All mountain
SIZE OPTIONS: 150, 153, 155, 158, 161
PROS: Truly adaptable and great in all types of snow
CONS: Not the best board if you’re mainly in the park
NEVER SUMMER INFINITY
BEST FOR: Riders who need a board that can handle all types of conditions and terrain
STYLE: All mountain
SIZE OPTIONS: 142, 145, 147, 149, 151, 154
PROS: Stylish, durable, responsive
CONS: Might limit more experienced powder or park riders
2. BEST SNOWBOARDS FOR THE PARK
BURTON PROCESS OFF-AXIS
BEST FOR: Riders with a playful style and who are all about the pop
SIZE OPTIONS: 152, 155, 157, 159
PROS: Easy to get air, responsive, and flexible
CONS: Too soft for serious backcountry riding
ROXY SUGAR BANANA
BEST FOR: Riders who love to go switch in all types of terrain
SIZE OPTIONS: 138, 142, 146, 149, 152
PROS: Smooth riding, responsive, adaptable
CONS: Experienced riders might want a more specialized board
BEST FOR: Urban riders who play in the park
SIZE OPTIONS: 151, 155
PROS: Forgiving and makes for great jibbing
CONS: Not very responsible on hard carves
BEST FOR: Urban riders who are always in the park
SIZE OPTIONS: 138, 143, 147, 151
PROS: Can’t get much better for jibbing, rails, and small to medium jumps
CONS: Too soft for going steep and deep into powder
3. BEST SNOWBOARDS FOR FREERIDING
BURTON FLIGHT ATTENDANT
BEST FOR: Backcountry riders constantly going from powder to groomer runs
SIZE OPTIONS: 156, 159, 159 W, 162, 162 W
PROS: High quality, durable, and responsive
CONS: Directional shape might not be ideal for more versatile riders who like to dabble in the park
GNU LADIES’ CHOICE
BEST FOR: Stylish riders who play in the park
SIZE OPTIONS: 142.5, 145.5, 148.5, 151.5, 153.5
PROS: Unique deck pattern, responsive, can handle ice and slush
CONS: Not a great board for beginner riders