Best Snowboards

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Fifteen years ago, it was easy to pick out a snowboard. All you had to do was decide whether you wanted a freestyle or freeride board (maybe, but unlikely, a carving board), compare a few prices and features among the handful of top brands, and find a local shop to buy it at. While actually buying the board is easier in 2011 thanks to the number of online snowboard shops and shopping comparison engines out there, deciding which board to buy is exponentially more difficult. Not only are there multiple times more brands out there, Snowboardingbut there are far more specialized categories of boards.

Try sorting through the never-ending sea, and it can quickly become frustrating and mind numbing. We've cut through all that mess and provided some short, simple recommendations. Consider this your industry cheat sheet.

Best Snowboards Overall:

Just like there's a difference between a high-end sports car (Porsche 911) and a high-end sports car (Bugatti Veyron), there's a difference between a high-end snowboard and a high-end snowboard. The former refers to the average $600 board that provides a solid, style-specific blend of construction and components. The latter refers to boards that are near or over $1,000 and use expensive, high-tech components that you previously only read about in relation to F1 racing and DARPA-funded projects. These near-military grade boards are essentially a look into the future of riding. One day these materials will probably show up on more affordable boards, but for now, they're limited to these advanced research projects.

Lib Tech Cygnus X-1 BTX 157 Snowboard

Ever wonder what would happen if the mad scientists at your favorite snowboard factory just went ape wild with research and development money? The eco-friendliest, speediest, most techified snowboard that you've ever seen in your life. Also probably the most expensive. Read Full Review

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    Lib Tech Cygnus X-1 BTX 157 Snowboard

    Head I.CT KERS Snowboard

    Typically you do the work when snowboarding. The Head ICT KERS does some of the work for you, optimizing your energy input and stabilizing the ride through component-based reactions that you'll hardly be able to wrap your mind around. Read Full Review

    Head I.CT KERS Snowboard

    Burton Vapor 159 Snowboard

    A camber board that is as light as its name implies, the Burton Vapor was one of the original four-figure snowboards. This board is light but stable thanks to carbon components and camber profile. Read Full Review

    Burton Vapor 159 Snowboard

    Palmer Honeycomb Snowboard

    The Palmer Honeycomb bears the surname of one of the true originals of snowboarding. And it packs just as much originality of design as the man himself with things like a honeycomb core and graphite base. Read Full Review

    Palmer Honeycomb Snowboard

    Burton Method Snowboard

    The board company that's been innovating the longest and hardest, throws more money into a board than ever before. What results is a fast, responsive, lightweight board that practically drives you down the mountain. Read Full Review

    Burton Method Snowboard

    Best Mens Snowboard:

    Not all snowboards are made equal, especially these days. Almost every modern board specializes in different types of riding and different types of terrain. When designating our best men's boards we looked for boards that might be labeled specifically (i.e. "freestyle" or "big mountain") but can still perform all over the mountain. Because on any given Sunday, you're only riding one board--and if the upper mountain starts dumping while you're strapped into your park board, you shouldn't have to ignore it.

    Never Summer Proto CTX Snowboard

    New for this season, the Proto CT is a combination of the EVO and SL models. The board is an all-mountain weapon that shreds wherever it goes. Read Full Review

    Never Summer Proto CTX Snowboard

    Burton Nug Snowboard

    The Burton Nug is a small board that rides bigger than it stands. You get all the control of a short board with the float and stability of a bigger stick. Read Full Review

    Burton Nug Snowboard

    Lib Technologies Skate Banana Original BTX Snowboard

    The Lib Tech Skate Banana delivers top-notch park performance thanks to its banana shape. That same banana shape provides an out-of-body level of flotation on the deep stuff. Read Full Review

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      Lib Technologies Skate Banana Original BTX Snowboard

      Arbor Element RX Snowboard

      The Arbor Element RX may look like a simple tree trunk, but it's a complicated machine with fine-tuned characteristics. True rocker shape, sure-grip edges and bamboo inserts help to deliver a performance-driven ride in all kinds of conditions. Read Full Review

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        Arbor Element RX Snowboard

        Rome Mod Rocker Snowboard

        The Mod Rocker throws down (er...kicks up) all over the mountain. The design is lightweight, versatile and primed to make you look like a hero on even the simplest trick. Read Full Review

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          Rome Mod Rocker Snowboard

          Best Womens Snowboard:

          It took a while for the industry egos to admit it, but the fact is: girls rip. We're seeing more and more pro females progressing the upper end of the sport and more and more women getting involved at the ground level. In response, companies are making more and more women's boards for all over the mountain. Girls no longer have to settle for a short guy's board and can find a snowboard dialed in for their profile. And that's not just pretty graphics, but a smaller, narrower board designed to turn and respond to a women's size and weight.

          Roxy Women's Eminence C2 BTX Snowboard

          A true Olympic board, the Roxy Eminence C2 BTX led Torah Bright to greatness. While your average day on the mountain might be a little more humble, this board's all-terrain versatility and rocker profile will ensure you kill it in your own right. Read Full Review

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            Roxy Women's Eminence C2 BTX Snowboard

            Never Summer Womens Lotus Snowboard

            The Never Summer Lotus is a freeride board that rides the whole mountain with ease. More advanced riders will love this board in powder, park and groomers alike. Read Full Review

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              Never Summer Womens Lotus Snowboard

              GNU B-Nice BTX Series Womens Snowboard

              The Gnu B-Nice is as all-around a board as you can find. Drop from feathery bowls to icy, tracked-out groomers on through the park on one board--and smile the whole way down. Read Full Review

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                GNU B-Nice BTX Series Womens Snowboard

                Burton Womens Feelgood Snowboard

                The Feelgood's camber profile, Frostbite Edges and responsive build will deliver the utmost control, power and stability all over the mountain. The ChannelM6 binding mounting system gives you unlimited flexibility so that your feet, legs and ride always 'feel good'. Read Full Review

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                  Burton Womens Feelgood Snowboard

                  Ride Snowboards Ride Compact Snowboard - Women's

                  The Ride Compact is both fun to ride and durable thanks to features like its soft, rubbery sidewalls and big steel edges. The twin rocker shape will keep you spinning and jibbing all season long. Read Full Review

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                    Ride Snowboards Ride Compact Snowboard - Women's

                    Best Freeride Snowboard:

                    Freeride snowboarders need the stability and confidence to tackle everything from big, open powder fields to tight, twisty tree lines. A springy freestyle banana just isn't going to hack it. Riders that plan to leave the park and pipe in favor of full-mountain exploration should look for characteristics like stiffness, large sidecut radius, fast sintered base and directional shape. A rocker can help in powder, but can cause instability on high-speed transitions, so look for either a rocker-camber hybrid or full camber design.

                    The Flagship Snowboard by Jones Snowboards

                    The biggest big mountain board from the world's biggest big mountain rider, the Flagship offers everything you need to get after it all over the mountain. You can rely on rocker-camber float and stability and Magne-Traction hold. Read Full Review

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                      The Flagship Snowboard by Jones Snowboards

                      Salomon Snowboards Mans Board

                      What would you expect from a "Man's" Board? Unwavering stability, fast response, ship-like float and no flamboyant graphics? Done. Read Full Review

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                        Salomon Snowboards Mans Board

                        Venture Johan Olofsson Signature Odin Snowboard

                        The Odin is built to the specifications of big-time pro rider Johan Oloffsson and tested in one of the last true bastions of the rough-and-rugged Wild, Wild West. So yeah, it's a big-terrain cowboy. Read Full Review

                        Venture Johan Olofsson Signature Odin Snowboard

                        Never Summer Premier F1 Snowboard

                        Never Summer has been one of the true snowboarding innovators for years and the Premier F1 is what it innovated for freeriding. The board's versatility shows in nearly every aspect, and it won't let you down no matter what part of the mountain you're riding and what type of mood Mother Nature is in. Read Full Review

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                          Never Summer Premier F1 Snowboard

                          Yes. Pick Your Line Snowboard

                          Another board that wears its heart on its sleeve (or spines on its topsheet), the Pick Your Line lets you do just that. You get some F1-racing style materials like carbon and Kevlar wrapped up in a freeride-built rocker-camber package. Read Full Review

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                            Yes. Pick Your Line Snowboard

                            Best Splitboard Snowboard:

                            No tool in the world of snowboarding has the potential to unleash unbridled adventure and fulfillment like the splitboard. The splitboard is your ticket to untracked snow fields, first descents, incredible views and lifetime-making runs. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility; few tools in snowboarding have the power to make you miserable like a bad splitboard on a long backcountry mission. Unlike every other type of board, the splitboard has to get you up the mountain, snap together and tackle some of the sketchiest, grittiest terrain on the map. So you'd better pick the right model.

                            Jones Snowboards The Solution Splitboard

                            The Solution delivers a versatile, all-terrain ride in a splitboard package. It's solid enough for steep, sweeping carves, but reactive enough for tight, swift tree lines. Read Full Review

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                              Jones Snowboards The Solution Splitboard

                              Never Summer SL Split Snowboard

                              The Never Summer SL Split gives a little uphill muscle to the light, nimble all-mountain freestyle action of the standard SL. Already a hallmark of versatility, the SL now adds a whole new type of terrain. Read Full Review

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                                Never Summer SL Split Snowboard

                                Rome Whiteroom Split Snowboard

                                One of the best splitboard deck values on the market, the Rome Whiteroom is a lightweight, versatile splitboard that costs a few hundred bucks less than other splits. The board still manages to squeeze in the latest technology, though. Read Full Review

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                                  Rome Whiteroom Split Snowboard

                                  Voile Mojo RX Split Snowboard

                                  The Voile Mojo RX is the marque splitboard from one of the true inventors of the discipline. For the price of other splitboards, you'll get an all-mountain split package with mounting hardware and climbing skins. Read Full Review

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                                    Voile Mojo RX Split Snowboard

                                    K2 Panoramic Split Snowboard

                                    The Panoramic Split is the first splitboard effort from leading snowboard guru K2. The board features three years' worth of tech and is one of the best deals on the market. K2 also offers the Panoramic in a package with hardware and skins. Read Full Review

                                    K2 Panoramic Split Snowboard

                                    Best Freestyle Snowboard:

                                    Whether your home is the terrain park, halfpipe, homemade kicker or street, you need a board that offers the flex, spin and control needed to master the full bag of tricks. The board should practically think for you, springing off of takeoffs and eating up landings, letting you focus on the demanding physics of your latest move. Get one of these award-winning boards and start focusing on your steeze, not on how to break in your new ride.

                                    K2 Happy Hour Snowboard

                                    The K2 Happy Hour may look like a weird powder or carving board, but it's the latest in funky, freestyle design. So far everyone's loving its versatile, park-savvy shred. Read Full Review

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                                      K2 Happy Hour Snowboard

                                      GNU Park Pickle BTX Snowboard

                                      The Park Pickle gives you an all around curvaceous shape designed to shred the park. Throw in Magne-Traction edges and you have an all-out mountain slayer. Read Full Review

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                                        GNU Park Pickle BTX Snowboard

                                        Smokin Superpark Snowboard

                                        The Smokin Superpark was built by the riders that live and breath Tahoe snowboarding. 'Nuff said right there, but if you need more convincing, the board gives you a delicate combination of rocker float and swivel with camber and Magne-Traction hold. Read Full Review

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                                          Smokin Superpark Snowboard

                                          Nitro Rook Snowboard

                                          The Rook is everything a freestyle rider demands: flexible, catch-free design, durability and flowy, zero camber profile. The Rook gets it done no matter what you're hitting. Read Full Review

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                                            Nitro Rook Snowboard

                                            Rossignol Men's Trickstick Amptek Twin Freestyle Snowboard

                                            The most customizable board that you'll get your hands on this season, the Trickstick lets you tune its shape and look. It also delivers a freestyle-oriented rocker-camber pattern. Read Full Review

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                                              Rossignol Men's Trickstick Amptek Twin Freestyle Snowboard

                                              Best All-Mountain Snowboard:

                                              Two decades ago, you chose between a freestyle and freeride board, and you rode your pick all over the mountain, all season long. Nowadays, you have so many different options built specifically to charge different aspects of the mountains that you can get the perfect board for every scenario. But sometimes the scenario is that you only have money for one board and you want to bounce from the park to the street to the slackcountry. That’s why you don’t just need an all-mountain board, you need an all-out quiver killer. Top all-mountain boards can do it all effortlessly.

                                              Never Summer Proto CTX Snowboard

                                              One of the most buzzed about boards of the season, the Proto CTX rolls design from Never Summer's Evo and SL into one board. It will deliver top performance whether in the park or on the fringes of the resort. Read Full Review

                                              Never Summer Proto CTX Snowboard

                                              Lib Technologies Travis Rice Pro Snowboard

                                              From the clips of "The Art of Flight" to the slopes, lips and park of your local hill, the Travis Rice Pro model rips anywhere. It has a C2 BTX rocker-camber profile, Magne-Traction edges and other top Lib Tech technology for your pleasure. Read Full Review

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                                                Lib Technologies Travis Rice Pro Snowboard

                                                Burton Nug Snowboard

                                                A board that rides big but packs small is the essence of all mountain riding. You can shrink down from your regular board size thanks to Burton's meticulously calculated dimensions and materials. Read Full Review

                                                Burton Nug Snowboard

                                                Ride Snowboards Manic Snowboard

                                                A mellow rocker and innovative, shock-absorbing "Slimewalls" serve as the foundation of this versatile board. Enjoy it in the park, on the slopes and beyond. Read Full Review

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                                                  Ride Snowboards Manic Snowboard

                                                  Capita Totally FK'N Awesome Snowboard

                                                  This board is more 80s than a love child born of a Kirk Cameron-Molly Ringwald fling--but in a good way. It may be 80s in look, but its build is all 2012, featuring a camber-rocker hybrid and carbon reinforcements. Read Full Review

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                                                    Capita Totally FK'N Awesome Snowboard

                                                    Best Powder Snowboard:

                                                    Powder riding is the essence of snowboarding. Floating weightlessly across unblemished fields of light, feathery powder is a feeling that every rider should get as often as possible. In order to maximize your pow pow enjoyment, you'll want to consider a dedicated powder board, a board that floats better than anything short of a water-going vessel. They may look goofy and be less than ideal for anything but powder, but once you rip that first fresh line, you'll be glad you bought one.

                                                    Unity The Whale Snowboard

                                                    The Unity Whale uses a big, wide, rockered nose to keep you riding high in the deep stuff. Its design also gives you fast turning and solid control. Read Full Review

                                                    Unity The Whale Snowboard

                                                    Prior Fissile Snowboard

                                                    The Prior Fissile is a powder board designed to be versatile. Whether you like your powder delivered in an alpine bowl or tight, saturated trees, you'll like indulging in it with the Fissile. Read Full Review

                                                    Prior Fissile Snowboard

                                                    Lib Technologies Birdman Btx Snowboard

                                                    The Birdman may sound like a character from a B-level horror flick, but this benevolent board is anything but scary. It provides a large, rockered platform for powder and hardpack slashing all over the mountain. Read Full Review

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                                                      Lib Technologies Birdman Btx Snowboard

                                                      Jones Hovercraft Snowboard

                                                      The Hovercraft is the powder board from one of the most famous powder riders out there. No one-trick pony, The Hovercraft is more like a versatile big-mountain board with powder tendencies. Read Full Review

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                                                        Jones Hovercraft Snowboard

                                                        Salomon Snowboards Sick Stick

                                                        Less drastic than your average powder board, the Sick Stick delivers a solid combination of freestyle, all mountain and powder riding with its tapered twin shape and Pow Rocker. The Sick Stick is a good versatile board for those that can't afford a board dedicated to powder. Read Full Review

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                                                          Salomon Snowboards Sick Stick

                                                          Best Kid's Snowboard:

                                                          While experienced snowboarders have the luxury of knowing exactly what they want from a snowboard, the young groms really have no idea. What they need is a board that basically thinks for them, something that's flexible, easy to turn and control, and conducive to learning. Parents tend to like a snowboard that doesn't break the bank, and since beginner boards tend to be cheaper boards, you'll be able to find the right ride for the right price. These days, many of snowboarding's top brands offer kids boards.

                                                          Burton After School Special Snowboard Package

                                                          The Burton After School Special provides an ultimate blend of low price and solid performance. It's the perfect "intro to snowboarding" package. Read Full Review

                                                          Burton After School Special Snowboard Package

                                                          Nidecker Score Jr. Snowboard

                                                          The Score Jr. has some of the same great technology used on Nidecker's adult boards shrunken to a kid-sized board. It will give children the tools they need to develop. Read Full Review

                                                          Nidecker Score Jr. Snowboard

                                                          Salomon Team Kids Snowboard

                                                          The Salomon team is a cheap, easy-to-ride snowboard that'll serve beginners well. It is soft and durable, two qualities that your child will put to use. Read Full Review

                                                          Salomon Team Kids Snowboard

                                                          Burton 2012 Youth Custom Smalls Flying V Snowboard

                                                          The Burton Custom Smalls Flying V gives kids the benefit of a rocker-camber design. Float, stability and liveliness are all within play. Read Full Review

                                                          Burton 2012 Youth Custom Smalls Flying V Snowboard

                                                          Nitro Demand Kids Snowboard

                                                          The Nitro Dmand is a performance-packed board that will let progressing riders rip all over the park and mountain. Its Gullwing rocker-camber, Powercore and all-terrain flex will help riders improve and excel. Read Full Review

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                                                            Nitro Demand Kids Snowboard

                                                            Best Budget Snowboards:

                                                            Snowboarding is expensive, plain and simple. Before you even start shelling your weekly income on lift tickets, lodging, fuel, food, apres, etc., you have to put out a few hundred on board, boot, bindings, clothes and accessories. You're in the hole before you've even taken a turn. Do yourself a favor, particularly if you're just getting started: Buy a cheaper board. Beginners and intermediates won't benefit much from all the technology of a more expensive board anyway, and there are many quality boards for under $350. Think about it this way: Every $50 to $100 you save is one more day of riding.

                                                            Rossignol Men's Trickstick Amptek Twin Freestyle Snowboard

                                                            Reviewers are loving this board and so is your bank account. The $300 model gets rave reviews for its park-savvy, customizable ride. Read Full Review

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                                                              Rossignol Men's Trickstick Amptek Twin Freestyle Snowboard

                                                              Nidecker Axis Snowboard

                                                              The Axis combines some quality build elements like CamRock, 6000 sintered base and Vibra-Kevlar absorption for less than $300. You get a solid platform for taking your skills to the next level. Read Full Review

                                                              Nidecker Axis Snowboard

                                                              Ride Snowboards Manic Snowboard

                                                              The Manic packs serious Ride technology in a low-priced stick. It is the cheapest men's board to walk away with a 2012 Transworld Good Wood Award. Read Full Review

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                                                                Ride Snowboards Manic Snowboard

                                                                Morrow Fury Snowboard 2012

                                                                At $270 (MSRP), the Morrow Fury is the cheapest board here. That doesn't mean Morrow skimped, though. Morr-Rock delivers solid freestyle performance while the wood Performance Core and cap construction deliver stable responsiveness. Read Full Review

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                                                                  Morrow Fury Snowboard 2012

                                                                  Burton Clash Snowboard 2012

                                                                  The Burton Clash gives beginner and novice riders the advantages they need without the high price they don't. You'll learn quickly and painlessly on this low-priced board. Read Full Review

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                                                                    Burton Clash Snowboard 2012
                                                                    Leave a Question or Comment
                                                                    1 comments

                                                                    I got the new Burton Mayhem last Christmas and absolutely loved it. My buddies and I went up to Collingwood and stayed at a Blue Mountain cottage for the weekend. The slopes were fantastic and the snow was plenty of fun as well. I highly recommend anyone who's looking for a fun board to check on the Mayhem! =D

                                                                    Posted on 6/30/2009 7:49 am | Reply