Snowboards Review: Get The Best One in 2020
Singling out the next snowboard hasn’t been trickier. Imperceptible design variations, seemingly limitless options, and an avalanche of technical jargon-it’s enough to paralyze the ill-prepared shopper with indecision. Thankfully, Outside does the study for you.
Every spring we contact the very best boards from brands big and small, rally testers from all rides of life, wade through mediocre models, and hoist a few select winners high that beats all others. I’ve been running the twelve-monthly test going back five years, reviewing snowboard gear professionally going back seven years, and snowboarding for the better area of the past 2 decades. Here, to assist you in your search for an ideal board, we’ve come up with an authoritative overview of the best boards recently.
HOW EXACTLY WE Test Snowboards
Every year, about 30 testers-most recently, nine women and 21 men-converge for the twelve-monthly Outside snowboard test. In the first spring of 2019, we setup shop at Crested Butte, Colorado. We evaluate from 50 to 100 boards from a lot more than 20 companies, which range from corporate behemoths to mom-and-pop businesses (this past year it had been 56 boards from 24 companies). We generally test up to three boards from each brand, looking to add a men’s, a women’s, and a wildcard when possible.
Our testers represent a cross portion of the industry, including former professionals, up-and-coming competitors, shop techs, and instructors. Riders have a board out for a couple laps, complete an assessment form, swap out bindings, and repeat. That means up to eight boards and over 25,000 vertical feet of riding per tester each day.
We then put the scores from each test sheet right into a master spreadsheet, and after a few days, we have a fairly good notion about which boards are contenders and which are duds. On the last day, we box up the losers and inspire testers to take longer spins on 20 potential winners.
What things to Know Before You Search for Your Next Snowboard
Before you start looking for that magic shred stick, remember to know yourself. The more you can define your intentions, the better buying process will be. These five key considerations can help you get to know precisely what you want before looking for a new snowboard:
How can you envision your dream day of snowboarding?
Are you cruising the bunny slopes? Dropping jaws in the park? Scoring deep powder? Carving fresh corduroy? There are specialized boards for each and every of these areas of riding, and also do-it-all decks that get any job done.
Now awaken. What does reality appear to be?
Don’t assume all day of riding is a dreamy one. Do your home is on the East Coast and desire a board that holds an advantage in ice? If there’s a powder shortage, do you want to wander toward the park? Don’t just look for the board you want, look for the board you will need.
What boards perhaps you have enjoyed in the past-and what boards perhaps you have hated?
Did you will need more float on deeper days? Did you crave more pop? Was the size right however the flex too soft? In the event that you don’t have experience riding different boards, venture out and experiment. You can read snowboard reviews the whole day, but nothing will reveal your requirements like firsthand experience.
What’s your level of skill?
If you’re new to snowboarding, you desire a beginner-friendly board that’s on the soft side, simple to turn, and doesn’t break your budget. We didn’t include beginner boards inside our test, but directional twins just like the Burton Instigator, Gnu Chromatic, and K2 Standard are solid, affordable options that’ll be simple to learn on but still allow for progression.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced rider, you should think about the terrain you most enjoy and the design of riding you prefer. A sophisticated park rider, for example, has drastically different requirements than those of an equally advanced freerider.
What’s your budget?
There’s no secret for navigating snowboard costs. Generally, a far more expensive deck ($1,000 or even more) use lighter, pricier materials like carbon or employ complex construction techniques. However, a far more expensive board won’t necessarily go longer or improve your riding. We’ve fallen deeply in love with cheap, no-frills decks that are heavy, surprisingly durable, and a dream to ride. If you’re board shopping on a budget, shoot for something around $500 or less.
Buying Women-Specific Boards
What’s the difference between men’s and women’s snowboards? We understand this question at all times. The simple truth is, it’s minimal. While body types inevitably vary, individuals actually ride snowboards pretty similarly. Men shred, and women shred, too. Of course, guys’ bodies have a tendency to be bigger and more muscular, so men’s boards are usually stiffer and obtainable in larger sizes, while women’s options tend to be softer and obtainable in smaller ones. Ladies with big feet (women’s size 11 or more) will naturally gravitate towards men’s models, since women’s versions aren’t usually offered in wide sizes. Women-specific boards are also peddled toward women-sometimes extremely poorly-with both graphics and model names reflecting that marketplace. Think of it such as this: the ingredients in the recipe will be the same, however the portions and presentation are a lttle bit different.
Some brands build women’s boards from scratch. Others offer women-specific versions of men’s boards, the only dissimilarities being the sizing and flex pattern. Is one type much better than the other? Honestly, no. Our testers have loved and hated iterations of both ilks.
Can women ride men’s boards? Hell yes. Some boards, just like the Gear of the Year-winning Travis Rice Orca, for example, aren’t obtainable in women-specific models. Nonetheless it does can be found in sizes right down to a 144, which is plenty of to accommodate persons right down to 100 pounds. Quite a few strong female testers such as a stiffer snowboard and so prefer men’s models. By the same token, we’ve shorter male testers who choose to ride women’s boards. It’s 2020, people-ride what you would like to.
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