So winter finally made it’s way to the USA and guess what: Christmas is just around the corner. After returning from mountain biking trip to Utah over Thanksgiving to a snow covered Durango, Colorado, I took out my snowboarding gear and clothes and started to take inventory of what I have and what I need. A new board is definitely one of my priorities so I’m going to share with you all my top five snowboard list for this season. My style is to only ride one board, and I always lean towards the most aggressive board in the women’s line.
Best Snowboards for Women
1. Venture Oracle
Venture Snowboards out of Silverton, Colorado introduced a women’s snowboard line for the first time ever to start out 2016-2017 season. The line consists of two snowboards: the Oracle and the Tempest. Because the female line is new this season, I have not yet had a chance to ride either of these boards. However, the Oracle was constructed with the same materials and specs as the Venture Zelix which I was able to ride several times in various conditions. Like all Venture snowboards, it is constructed to handle huge mountains and deep powder. What was most impressive about the Zelix/Oracle was its responsiveness in the tight trees and chutes. It’s a super agile board for being so stiff and stable in deep snow. The Venture Oracle is #1 on my Christmas list.
2. Never Summer Proto Type II
In 2015, Never Summer introduced a new technology which involved having a designated heel-side edge of the board which was the feature of the male snowboard the Never Summer Funslinger that everyone was raving about. The thought behind this technology is to provide better stability in the board by adjusting the pressure points in the heel since more weight is generally on your heel versus toe. Since the Funslinger got such good reviews, the technology was applied to a female board, the Never Summer Proto Type II, which was rolled out in August 2016. I was able to ride this board for a month last March. I could absolutely see the difference in edge hold, especially in hardpack. I would say this board is more playful than it is stable and it does float in deep powder. I loved the graphics on this board: if you’re a goofy rider like me, you’ll look at a grizzly bear. Regular riders are looking at a 10 point buck.
3. Niche Sonnet
Niche is one of my favorite snowboarding companies of all times, based on the mission of the company alone. The Salt Lake City company prides itself on environmentally friendly snowboards. They use recycled materials and alternative environmentally friendly materials when possible. The Sonnet is an all mountain women’s snowboard. I rode this board at SIA at Copper Mountain and was really impressed by how it handled. In choppy conditions that day, it was very stable. I could tell it would float deep snow nicely. It was snappy and fun to pop over rollers. I loved the board and can’t rave enough about how great the company is.
4. Arbor Swoon
Arbor is a California company that has been making snowboards for over 20 years. What’s cool about Arbor’s fleet is for some of the boards, they give you the option to chose either rocker or camber. Many companies have deemed camber as obsolete; however, if you like to ride the pipe, lay down fat carvers on groomers, or you’re just simply old-school, it’s awesome that Arbor provides the camber option. The Arbor Swoon is the female that comes in either camber or rocker. The Swoon is designed as an all around board with a stable and responsive ride. For a more floaty feel, the rocker version of the Swoon is a great option. The camber version is best for a more poppy feel and aggressive ride.
5. Hel Yes
The 2017 Hel Yes is the female big mountain board of the Yes line. It is slightly directional and has the “underbite” technology, which is technology on the edges that distributes the weight of the rider so that the edge hold is stronger and a smoother transition of turns. It’s a board that handles so well on big lines that it is pro-rider Helen Schettini’s board of choice. It’s got rocker in the nose and tail providing for float on powder and camber underfoot which allows stability in the chop. It’s a great all around board for aggressive female riders.
I hope everyone has a great Christmas and even better season. Pray for snow!
Past best women snowboards winners: (2015/2016)
COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO – This past week, I had the opportunity to ride several of the 2015-2016 snowboards at the SIA On-Snow event at Copper Mountain. Luckily we had a few inches of fresh snow both days, so I was able to test out each board in variable conditions.
When looking for a snowboard, I prefer a board more on the stiff side, usually the most aggressive board in the line. With the recent reverse camber/camber technology, boards can be playful without compromising stability, truly creating all mountain boards for all conditions. I took each board I rode at SIA through the trees, bumps, groomers, and chop to see how it performed in all conditions.
Best Women’s Snowboards 2016 I tested
Never Summer Aura Review
The Never Summer Aura is a brand new board for the 2015-2016 season. I’ve been riding the Never Summer Lotus (replaced by the Raven) the past four seasons and absolutely love it. A few seasons ago, I bought a Never Summer Infinity in same size as my Lotus after reading multiple reviews and it receiving a general consensus of it being the best all mountain board.
I took it to Wolf Creek after a 21 inch dump, and my nose kept sinking even after setting my bindings back. There was also a lot of chatter in the chop which was opposite of the Lotus.
Don’t get me wrong, the Infinity is a super fun board: it’s fun to spin and really responsive, but if I had to choose between stability and playfulness, I will always choose the former. The Answer = The Never Summer Aura. Never Summer released a men’s board this season, the Funslinger, and every guy I know that has ridden the Funslinger is raving about this board. They applied the same extended camber under foot technology to Aura which is supposed to increase stability without foregoing flex and responsiveness.
It didn’t even take an entire run to notice the difference between this board and all other boards I’ve ridden. It barreled straight through the chop, yet it was so quick through the trees and bumps. It was easy to spin and ride switch. By run three, I felt as if I’d been riding this board forever; it did exactly what I wanted it to do!
Willing to bet the Never Summer Aura will be one of the top women’s snowboards 2016.
Venture is a snowboard company out of Silverton, Colorado and has a reputation for making boards that handle the biggest mountains. They do not make men’s/women’s specific boards. All their boards come in different sizes and anyone who wants to and can ride a Venture is welcome. I rode a 2014-2015 Zelix last November at a demo Venture was holding, but the snow was man-made so it was difficult to tell how the board actually rode.
It did feel a little heavy, but I could tell it would do well in powder. When I stopped by the Venture tent at SIA, I told the guys I rode last year’s Zelix, and they told me 2016 is a completely different board.
They weren’t kidding. This board handled like a champ. It was still really stable, but lighter than the 2015 version and much more responsive. I had a blast riding this board through luge-like chutes in the trees at Copper.
I had never ridden a Rome prior to riding this board. I was always curious about Rome because two of my buddies, both incredible riders with very different styles of snowboarding, have owned a Rome and have had good things to say. I was surprised by how much pop the board had and how easy it was to handle.
It was fun jumping over groomed rollers on this board. It felt really stable, yet I was able to play around on it. Even though I only got to ride it for a few runs, it seemed it would be fun to ride in all conditions. I would never judge a board by this, but the graphics are pretty sweet for next year’s Gold, too.
Rome Gold – $349.99 from Backcountry.com
I was really impressed by this company out of Salt Lake City, Utah, that prides itself on the eco-friendliness of the materials used for their snowboards. They use wood veneer for the top sheets, poplar for the core, and bamboo for sidewalls instead of plastic; recycled steel and materials for the edges; and hemp strings for pop, among other innovative materials and methods to reduce our carbon foot.
As snowboarders and skiers, one thing we all have in common is our love for the mountains and inherently the Earth.
Despite my respect for what these guys are doing for our environment, I only had moderate expectations for the performance of the boards. However, I was surprised with how well the board actually handled. The materials they use made the board really light which at first made me skeptical as to how it would perform stability-wise.
I noticed slightly a bit more chatter than the other four boards I’ve highlighted, but really not much. The magne-traction on the edges made the board fun to carve. After I was done riding the Sonnet, I asked Niche for a catalog of their 2015-2015 line. They gave me a wooden thumb-drive with all of the information I needed. They seriously stand by renew, reuse and recycle mentality. It’s awesome.
Rossignol Diva 2016
This years Diva snowboard is marketed as a freestyle board; however, when I told the guys at the Rossignol tent what I liked to ride, they recommended this board. It was surprisingly much stiffer than I thought it would be, and it also had really quick edge-to-edge responsiveness.
I was able to ride it quickly and easily through tight trees. It was a fun and easy board to maneuver.
Well that is the first part of out best snowboards 2016 list. This article covered the women’s side of things. Be sure to check back for the mens!