A powder board is probably the most fun bit of gear you can purchase. No, it’s not the most versatile, nor will it be the board you use the most (unless your local hill is, like, Wolf Creek). On the other hand, since even those of us who live in the mountains only get to break out our powder snowboards like 10-20 days a season, it’s a part of your quiver that can stick around for a while.
Riding pow feels like surfing, and for tons of snowboarders this’ll probably be the closest they ever get to actual surfing (no, you can’t count those 3 days in Sayulita when you rented a fun shape and stood up in the foam next to some 9-year-old from Arizona on a family trip taking her first surf lesson). So while we at Mountain Weekly may think landlocked bros are really stretching when they call themselves pow surfers, if you feel like pretending you know how to surf, here’s our list of sick powder boards.
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Best Powder Boards 2020
With a birthdate of 1983, the Never Summer Swift is just a couple years younger than the sport of snowboarding. But they’ve taken this OG flagship and updated it into a pow shredder that can perform even when you’re not crushing the deep. The big fat early rise nose keeps it floating from turn to turn and the bat tail (Never Summer’s trademark take on the swallow, which I’ve found more versatile than otherswallows) lets you boat through the pow but is surprisingly stable in hardpack. And NS’s Fusion Rocker Camber Profile ensures the board’s surfy feel can transfer to riding even in not-so-perfect conditions.
Jones is one of the first companies founded almost exclusively on riding the backcountry so it makes sense that its Storm Chaser is one of the top pow boards out there. If your interest is truly carving through the soft like a surfer down a wave, go no further than a shape designed by surf shaper Chris Christenson. With a perfect rocker and a fat waist for extra floatability, you’ll stay on top of the white wave, and its FSC Bamboo Surf Core ensures pop. But with Jones’ dedication to backcountry performance (including details like Rounded Recycled ABS Sidewalls), you’ve got a plank guaranteed to dominate booter laps as good as if not better than anybody else.
First thing I thought when I saw the Burton Deep Thinker: Craig Kelly’s Burton Air with a blunt nose. For all intents and purposes the first big mountain charger, Burton’s Air shows through in the shape of the Deep Thinker (especially that tail), its directional-oriented ride, and the fact that it may just be the top-of-the-line. While this is a great pow charger, of all the boards here this is the most you could get the most use of at the resort too on groomers in between pow stash runs; I had a great time linking sloughy laps with leg-burning groomer straightlines on the Deep Thinker, a great Burton powder board. With a longer nose but shorter (though squash instead of swallow) tail, and a camber rocker profile that would allow you to actually turn on hardpack (imagine doing that on a dedicated pow board), this may be a quiver buster that also dominates the soft and deep.
When would you use the Bataleon Surfer LTD and its super exaggerated nose and tail? I want you to close your eyes. In your daydream, you just looked out your window and there’s a foot-and-a-half of fresh snow on the picnic bench in your yard. You have to dig out your car. You race to your nearby mountain pass and you and your buddy put in the booter. This board is made to ensure that’s the most heavenly down you’ve ever had. The 3D shaped Swallow Tail is literally made for one thing: flying over and through bottomless pow. Their 3BT build marries lightness with serious durability, while their super-popped up concave nose looks more like the hull of a skiff than a snowboard. This is probably the least versatile board on this list. But it’s also the one most guaranteed to take you to Nirvana on the occasion that you do get it under your feet in that winter sweetness. If you only get a few pow days, make them count; and if you get a ton, this board’s a no-brainer.
Yeah, the Lib Tech Skunk Ape kills it shredding pow. But it also kills it hitting kickers. Dropping bomb cliffs. And playing in the sastrugi, the variable, even the bulletproof. The Skunk Ape’s magnetraction ensures it holds in ice, while the big fat shape not only ensures float, it also decimates the dreaded toe drag (my nemesis since I have size 12 feet). It’s got that rocker-camber-rocker blend that seems to balance float with precision, and its shape and size means the board can hit rails at the park into hardpack just as well as it can butter a tree outside the gates and stick the 10 foot drop to pow. I was able to lay in turns nearly parallel to the grown without my toes dipping in; that’s a first (at least since I stopped rocking my epic Palmer plates).
The Rossignol Sushi resembles a fish; like, some massive, piscine water-flyer you can use to soar through an ocean of white. The slight swallow tail keeps it simple, giving you a sturdier landing pad than others with their big ’ol flared out quills. A fat, light nose, tapering basically steadily throughout to the tail, this is for sure a classic soul surfer shape. It’s only available in 144, but even at 144 it floated my 6 feet and 200 pounds of meat, though where I really fell in love was in throwing super-tight s-turns. Sure, it’s cool-looking with its ’90s Japanese powder boards surf-inspired shape. But riding this fun little Sushi in some spring cement is pretty delicious.
Alright, we had to put the Cool Bean on here because it’s just so damn popular. Think of it as a happy medium between price and performance, between size and shredability. The Directional Rocker Baseline kicks up the nose a decent amount, the stubby swallowish tail bumps just a little. The super-stiffness of the plank helps make up for the size and the shape makes it a decent bullet if you want to try and trench groomers on your pow board (that’s your thing?). And of course it shreds in pow. Plus it has 3 size options, from 138 to 150 so I was able to jump on the 150 and throw my weight into variable snow without worrying that I’d overpower the plank. All-told, it’s maybe the most user-friendly of pow-specific planks, and really a great entrance into the world of deep-only riding.
Best Powder Snowboards 2019
by Cody C.
Moss snowboards, with roots in Myoko, Japan have an incredible lineup. A creative based powder snowboard company it is hard to not find something that will rip. The Swallowtail is a little different than most. Available in 4 sizes 150cm, 158cm, 162cm, 170cm, The 150cm and 158cm have softer tails, to allow flex while turning which most swallowtails don’t. Also with having a forward stance, it allows for longer turns and a more traditional board feel, as you go back you make the sidecut tighten up giving you incredible turning ability.
The Jones Mind Expander is an all-mountain directional board with a different take then your normal resort board. It is going to be more of that surfy feel with the ability to do it all. Our Editor seems to be a fan as well as he picked the splitboard version of the Mind Expander for Editor’s Choice at the Outdoor Retailer show. The Jeremy Jones and Chris Christenson (OG Surf Shaper) collaborated on this design adding in Jones spoon 3.0. That is a rounded or “spoon” contour on the nose and tail to allow for incredible glide and flotation as well as quicker turning!. (Imagine pouring water on the bottom of a spoon) Mixed in with a one of a kind “Surf” Rocker makes it an incredibly nimble and agile board, but it doesn’t compromise the solid underfoot feel! Toss in some carbon stringers for dampening and pop, you truly have a surfy/solid board that is sure to be around for the future! Editors Note Hands down one of the top powder boards I have ever ridden.
Lib Tech and the Goat have done it again. The Orca, directional in shape, but capable of riding both ways is an all-mountain/powder board for the ages. With an abnormally wide waist and magnatraction, this board can rail a turn on hardpack on those days that the resort hasn’t seen a reset, as well it adds volume for those DEEP days that you and your buddies won’t soon forget. Along with being one of the best powder boards of the year, the Orcha also took home the award for the best snowboard for 2019.
Its camber is c2x or rocker between the bindings, camber under the bindings and rocker on tip and tail, it will be sure to keep you afloat! The Lib Tech Orca a medium to stiff flex so it will be geared more for the intermediate to the advanced rider! This board is going to set some new expectations as far as the eye can see, so grab the buddies and go fish!
Weston, originally from Minturn, Colorado has been making an impact on the past couple seasons with snowboards and splitboards made for every condition with great rugged graphics! The Weston Logger is a little different then the other boards on here in the sense it is a twin tip. This board is a flat cambered board with some rocker in the nose and tail to allow you to have a good platform for spinning, jibbing, lumber in the woods as well as flotation when you’re in the deep stuff. These guys are based in Colorado and know a thing or two about playing in deep snow. The Weston Logger has a blunted nose and tail look which seems to be an industry-standard due to swing weight reduction and unique look. Weston has an incredible line up for all conditions and riding styles all across the board! Be sure to check out their mobile showroom coming to a resort parking lot near you!
Nitro teamed up with Powder aficionados, Austin Smith and Bryan Fox to create the Quiver Series. This is a 3 part series including the quiver Cannon, Mountain, and Pow. All of which were created for different powder riding scenarios.
We are focusing in on the burliest board of the bunch, the Quiver Cannon. This board is not for the faint of heart. Blazing in at a size of 183 cm, this board is meant to be ridden in the deepest powder, and steepest lines, where turning is optional. With the cam out camber and its tapered swallowtail, you can say this board won’t be getting bogged down on the deep days anytime soon. If you’re looking at straight-lining some serious lines, this would be the stick that would allow that.
Lib Tech T. Rice Pro Snowboard – ($599)
Lib Tech, if you haven’t heard of them I’m sure you live under a rock. With every year being a different shape or different graphic made by the legend Jamie Lynn, it’s easy to see why they are a snowboard powerhouse. With a strong connection with Jackson hole local, Travis Rice, we will be targeting his pro model. Probably one of the most versatile boards on the market with sizes from 150-164.5, and the option for blunted or pointed ends if you’re looking for more of a park-specific or powder specific option. The camber profile on this is the C2BTX, or rocker between your feet, then camber, and rocker again on the nose and tail. With the addition of Magne-traction edges, this makes it a great turning board that will engage its edge very quickly, and precise. You also have the option to get the Travis rice pro in an HP (Horsepower) version that is made with higher quality material, making it lighter and stronger. As well you can select the Split version, with K clips included.
The Travis Rice Pro deck is going to be a great board for people looking to get an entire range of riding out of one board. From park kickers to pow lines and cliff drops, ripping turns on a steep groomer or just casually cruising with your buddies on a low vis day, this board is meant to do it all.
Korua Asytoni Snowboard
Next, up on the list, we have the Korua Asytoni. Korua is an emerging Swiss-based snowboard company that is making creative shapes for ripping powder turns. With a unique spin on their 6 board line, each shape holds something different than the last. With almost every deck being a swallowtail, it’s easy to say that these boards are pow slayers.
The Asytoni is an Asymmetrical board that you can get specifically for a regular or goofy rider. Clocking in at 168 cm in length, this board will run wild if you’re willing to go along for the ride. The asymmetry on this gives you that extra turning power on your frontside turns making the nose easier to swing around at that length. The float camber they have on every board is camber, binding to binding, with the nose being rockered for ultimate float and stability underfoot. This is a creative, unique board that is tried and true on the lines in AK. If you’re looking to turn some heads with a one of a kind board, that is capable to go to the edge if not past it, this would be a great option.
Interested to learn more about powder surfing. Check out this piece we put together on Powder Surfing Facts and History.