With several resorts having already fired up their lifts and many more preparing to do so in the near future, the distinct aroma of shred is in the air as it wafts down from the peaks that are once again becoming blanketed in our favorite fluffy stuff. So what’s your weapon of choice this year? Are you going for a plank that will disassemble the park feature after feature? How about something that’ll keep you afloat when the powder seriously stacks up? Or perhaps you’re in the mood for a quiver killer that’ll thrive no matter what you ride? Whatever you fancy, have no doubt that there are a ton of great boards on the menu season. Here are our picks for the best snowboards of 2017 – 2018.
Stalk your target and execute through flawless precision with this freestyle focused true twin. A blend of everything you could want in a board profile includes a flat section from one binding to the other for stability you can trust, camber underfoot for incredible responsiveness, and a touch of rocker at the tip/tail for a touch of float and a heap of mean presses. That all adds up to a rip stick that’s supremely obedient to its master as an agile, but fun board that features a medium flex and lightweight, yet bombproof core. If you’re the kind of rider who envisions the whole hill as your park, the Assassin undoubtedly hits the mark. Born to kill and bred to thrill, this bad boy takes no prisoners. $499.95 – Backcountry.com
Our other freestyle fave hails from the wizards at Arbor who have done their fans the favor of crafting this board with both a rocker and camber option. So no more fighting, guys. We’re all winners here. Regardless of which profile you choose, you’re getting a crisp, poppy ride on a true twin with a medium flex and those wide, flat tips that just beg to be buttered, ollied, and nollied in an obsessive manner. Take a glance under the hood and you’ll find a poplar core made of 100% sustainably grown trees that delivers droves of durability. The Westmark simply oozes quality craftsmanship that is backed by Arbor’s unbeatable 3-year warranty. So go ahead and get wicked with it, because this beast can handle the most twisted run you can fathom. $449.95 – REI.com
Get off the groomers and ride the rowdy runs with all the aggression of a roided out wolverine thanks to this epic freeride/powder board from Slash. The Brainstorm fearlessly tackles chunder and crud while effortlessly floating the deep stuff due to its unique Backseat CamRock profile design. Plenty of rocker in the front keeps your nose out of trouble and a setback positioning won’t wear out that rear leg when you’re mobbing through fresh feet of snow. The core, sidecut and laminates all team up to create a poppy, reactive experience that gives you all kinds of confidence in the hairiest conditions. Did we mention there is Kevlar in this thing? While we wouldn’t recommend using it as a shield in a shootout, we can absolutely endorse its ability to hang tough no matter what you throw its way. $449.95 – Evo.com
For those who roam wherever the mountain calls, this board from Mervyn Manufacturing and Nicolas Muller serves as a skeleton key that unlocks the entire hill. A true all-mountain board at its finest, this piece doesn’t just do everything moderately well, but instead thrives no matter where you ride or what conditions you face. The profile is mostly dominated by camber, but there is still a mild rocker between the bindings, which really adds up to a best of both worlds scenario that enables shredders to charge steep, technical lines. With a flex rating trending towards the stiffer side and that classic Magne-Traction serration, you’ll be hard pressed to find a line this monster can’t devour. The Mullair isn’t all business though as it can still show off its playful side whenever you just feel like goofing off. There really isn’t anything that can stop this board. Well, maybe Superman could. At least we can all agree that Mullair v Superman would have been a better movie. $599.95 – Backcountry.com
Never Summer Maverix
Did we save the best for last? That’s certainly the case if you ask our Editor. Snagging the nod as the hands down Editor’s Choice for best snowboard of 2018, the Maverix is unique in many ways. First, you take your normal board length and then size up or down 10 cm depending on whether you dig a wide, agile, versatile plank with supreme edge hold or you’re into more of a floaty, surfy experience with unparalleled stability. Then you lay it all on the line and enjoy whatever Mother Nature offers as this all-mountain master slays in totality with a sense of smoothness that’s just not found in other boards. Ready for some bonus points? Never Summer offers the Maverix in both men and women specific models so everyone can get in on this divine action. $529.95 – Never Summer.com
These are OUR top picks for the best snowboards of 2018. Get your own. Just kidding, we can share. In fact, we prefer it that way, because we can vouch for how much fun these boards are, and after all, fun is what it’s all about. So take your pick, stay safe, and of course, have a full on blast this season!
Best Snowboards 2016 – 2017:
The time has come to saddle up on a new board for the impending season. You might not be able to ride it quite yet, but you can cuddle up with it at night, tell it all your hopes and dreams, and fantasize about the first lap of the year together. So which 2017 snowboards are worthy of sliding into bed with you for now and later deploying against the forces of the mountain? We’ve got you covered.
Like other Arbor models, this stick is hand-crafted with a custom core and an authentic woodgrain topsheet, but what sets the Wasteland apart is its edge-hold, control, and versatility. As their flagship all-mountain snowboard, Arbor has loaded the Wasteland with everything you need to thrive all over the hill. The Parabolic Rocker is perhaps perfection for this profile type as it stays loose, floaty, and playful when you want it and aggressive, stable, and responsive when you need it. A medium flex and twinish shape let you go anywhere and ride anything your little hardcore heart desires. A couple of the grooviest parts of the Wasteland is the unique tips that let you maintain top speeds in the deep stuff and the Grip Tech Sidecut that provides better board feel by moving your main points of snow contact beneath your feet. Take the mountains by storm this winter with the Arbor Wasteland 2017 Snowboard. $599.95 – REI.com
Two things really stand out when it comes to this flexy whip. The first is its incredible need to feast on all sorts of features. And the second is its undeniable ability to make you smile when you see the price tag. Seriously, it’s a true miracle that a board with this much flavor can be had for a low cost that will make your wallet breathe a sigh of relief. The Horrorscope employs an Urban Profile that keeps things flat between your feet, puts a bit of reverse camber further out and kicks up the tip/tail. This enables you to impose your will in the streets and throughout the park. Capita knows you’re destined to put this bad boy through the wringer, so that’s why they equipped it with some burly materials and tech beneath the wicked looking topsheet to keep it hanging tough no matter what the snow throws your way. $369.95 – Backcountry.com
Dissecting advanced lines like a surgeon, the Billy Goat makes quick work of rugged terrain. Dialed in by Temple Cummins on the steep and twisted slopes of Mt. Baker, this rip stick takes no prisoners. It was built to excel in not just the idyllic conditions of a powder day, but also in the worst weather Mother Nature can conjure. Powerfully precise, you can force the whole hill to bend to your will. Own any spine with controlled aggression or be the first to drop the gnarliest looking chute thanks to the tip to toe stability offered by this beast that was bred on the most unruly of mountains. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that one of our favorite things about GNU boards is that they are all built with environmentally friendly practices. Save the planet while you take it to Old Man Winter with the GNU Billy Goat Snowboard. $539.95 – Backcountry.com
K2 Joy Driver
One of our favorite powder punishers for the 2017 season is the K2 Joy Driver Snowboard. With a setback stance and rockered tips, this hunk pops pillows with authority. Camber beneath your feet and a super stiff flex let you assert dominance both in the fluff and through the crud. The core of the Joy Driver is one of the best out there as it is constructed with Bambooyah and Honeykomb tech that equals a wildly lightweight and durable ride. K2 is so confident in this board that they even slapped a 5-year warranty on it! That’s almost unheard of in the industry, so how can we not love a powerful powder board that promises to be there for you season after season? $599.95 – US Outdoor
Lib Tech Travis Rice Pro
If Travis Rice rides it, then this all-terrain monster deserves a spot in any best of collection. Forged in the crucible that is the mountains of Jackson, Wyoming, the T.Rice pro model is back again for another season of total domination. A stiffer flex pattern and a beautifully blended rocker/camber combo give you the goods to charge any line without hesitation. HP (horsepower) construction shaves weight while keeping all the durability you crave intact. And of course, like other Lib Tech boards, this one comes equipped with Magne-Traction serrated edges that deliver superior edge hold in all kinds of conditions. Team up with T. Rice this year and maybe you’ll score a film deal of your own. $599.95 – Backcountry.com
Last, but the opposite of least is the Ride Helix. One look at this wild child and you can be certain it’s unique. Asymmetric board designs have started to catch on over the last couple years and the Helix has shot to the lead of the pack. Both sidecuts are distinct and specially engineered to make turns more natural for a ride that feels native. Loads of pop, a medium flex, and a camber/rocker smoothie make every run your plaything. A Fusion 4000 Base is not only mega tough, but it’s just straight up FAST! Let your freestyle freak flag fly by ferociously attacking any feature you deem worthy of slaughter atop the Ride Helix Snowboard. $509.95 – Backcountry.com
There you have it. These have been our picks for the best snowboards of 2017. Now take your pick and shack up with that beauty, get to know each other intimately, and, when the time comes, prove your bond of love by annihilating some snow!
Best Snowboards 2016:
We’ve had a blast testing a fresh crop of boards this season, and are ready to declare a select few as most boss. Feast your eyes upon the best of the best, choose your whip, and make this season the most fun collection of snow days on record.
Never Summer Proto
It would be impossible to compose a list of the best and not include the Never Summer Proto Snowboard. This rip stick straight up does it all. Seriously, if you like a diverse on-hill itinerary, you have to consider this board. Whether it encounters park, powder, ice, double black diamonds, backcountry, or an urban jibfest, it can dish out legit performance. Never Summer slapped their fastest base ever on this medium flex plank, and it gets everywhere you point it in a hurry. Lightweight and powerful, the Proto can take whatever the mountain dishes out. $499 – Backcountry.com
The Who sang about a Teenage Wasteland. Shred heads are singing about the Arbor Wasteland. Those who dig on big mountain riding will experience the bliss of a board built to handle the most rugged terrain when they mount up with this slab. Carbon fiber has been installed at both ends to provide ample pop and truly impressive durability to help you rule any run. A rockered shape slays powder with ruthless precision. Grab the Arbor Wasteland Snowboard and issue the backcountry a real butt kicking. $599 – Backcountry.com
Lib Tech Jami Lynn Half Cap
Considering that Lib Tech makes so many dominant models, it is hard to pick just one. But since an industry legend is heavily involved with this piece, we will go with the Lib Tech Jamie Lynn Half Cap snowboard. There are a lot of crazy board profiles out there these days, but the Half Cap just features some good ol’ dominant camber that unloads a wicked thrashing of the whole hill. Featuring some earth-friendly EnvironMENTAL Construction, this all-mountain machine of destruction maximizes torsional control so you can dissect the most technical lines with authority.
Burton Custom Flying V
In case you haven’t heard, the Burton Custom Flying V Snowboard is kind of a big deal. It’s back again this season with even more of a ferocious attitude and deep hunger for the ultimate decimation of every slice of snow it sniffs. Superior edge-hold, crazy pop, and trustworthy handling in all conditions highlight this perennial fixture on the podium. The Burton Custom Flying V might not be the most creative choice, but nobody has ever ridden it and been able to keep the smile off their face. $599 – Backcountry.com
How about something a little different? If the Yes Greats snowboard looks a tad funky, that’s because it is. Funky fresh! This mean mountain masher has an asymmetrical shape that hyperactively accelerates your shred game to an all new level of radness. Traditionally shaped snowboards have a natural tendency to overturn on the toe side, but thanks to the unique structure of The Greats, that propensity has been eliminated for a more balanced ride. There is no hunk of the hill this board can’t obliterate, and it’s all thanks to Yes. $311 – Backcountry.com
Slash Happy Place
If you dig on the playful end of the spectrum, you won’t find more fun than the Slash Happy Place snowboard. All kinds of buttery, and full of poppy/pressy goodness, the Happy Place is perfect for all you freestyle freaks. A snappy core combines with CamRock tech and a super tough base to make this the ideal park piece. Unleash your entire bag of tricks with this smooth stick from Slash.
There are a lot of wicked new snowboards for the season, but these are six of the best. Pick the one that tickles your fancy so you can get out there and crush some snow. Last year we nailed it with our Best Snowboards of 2015 (see below).
Best Snowboards 2015 – 2016:
We know you’ve been waiting hear who staked up to make the top 5 best snowboards list. So, here’s the 5 top-rated boards to ad to your wish list this year:
Jones Mountain Twin
The Jones Mountain Twin is an all-mountain versatile board that rides anything. Get into every nook and cranny with the Jones Mountain Twin. From big drops to tight lines this board works for tricks, through the backcountry and lends itself to most any riders riding style. The Jones Mountain Twin is a playful board that’s ready when you want to go out for a long session. Built with a twin shape and directional chamber rocker profile set slightly back for the benefits of a twin, with a little extra power that handles any terrain. $499 – Backcountry.com
Never Summer SL
Never Summer SL is a freestyle board meant to take you all over the mountain and through the park. If you’re into hitting some sick tricks and cutting through the backcountry this board is built for the ride. Designed with a directional twin shape and a directional flex for easy switch landings the Never Summer SL floats on powder with a medium flex so you can maneuver with ease. The Never Summer rocker camber design makes for a loose feel with extra pop off kickers and control for freestyle riding in and out of the park. Lightweight wooden core fused with durable hardwood makes this board sturdy for a fast, hard and playful ride. $509 – Backcountry.com
Lib Tech T. Rice Blunt Tip
Lib Tech T. Rice Pro is an all-terrain freestyle board made for Travis himself, and others who shred. The twin sheet deck is handcrafted with two different nose shapes: one is blunted, one is pointed. Includes a power banana camber combo profile shape and delivers medium pressure with a camber under each foot contact point for a ride that’s buttery like breakfast toast. The Lib Tech board was designed by pro rider Travis Rice himself with medium flex for excellent float on pow. Power transfer internal sidewalls beef up your ride for added durability that fits your aggressive style. $696.95 – Backcountry.com
Arbor Coda features a bamboo top sheet that makes for a smooth ride all over the mountain. Made with a tip ‘n tail profile, it’s got extra fun float on powder. Built around an award-winning mountain system rocker design the Arbor Coda features grip tech side cut technology and a parabolic rocker profile. Made with superior edge control, bamboo reinforcements and original artwork by Tadashi Ura this board serves up a zen-like style that can handle your aggressive riding. Made for serious riders and dominating performance in any terrain you’ll be able to destroy kickers, ride powder, get through tight trees and handle technical riding with unmatched durability and speed. $499.95 – Backcountry.com
GNU Riders Choice
Gnu Riders Choice goes anywhere with a freestyle influence. Twin shaped deck and C2 BTX profile shape delivers a solid amount of camber between feet points and on the nose & tail for stability and tons of pop. The Gnu Riders Choice goes in and out of the pipe and park or through the backcountry, if you want with a mid to stiff flex rating and a wood core that handles hard-hitting styles. The asymmetrical edge with a side-cut radius was made with your ripping in mind. This board is great for regular and goofy footed riders. $549.95 – Backcountry.com