For each style of snowboarder there is an ideal snowboard, the perfect tool to allow you to ride your best. Whether you like charging down groomers or playing in the terrain park or anything in between, there is a snowboard catered to that style of snowboarding. In our men’s snowboard buying guide, we’ve compiled a list of some of the latest and greatest snowboards to help you sift through the options and find that perfect board. Before we get into our snowboard recommendations, let’s break down some need-to-know info when shopping for a new snowboard.
Getting the right snowboard size is imperative when shopping for snowboards. Snowboard length is loosely based on the weight of the rider; i.e a 160-pound snowboarder will want a 154-162cm snowboard. However, the length of the board will also come down to preference. A longer snowboard will control better at high speeds, but be a little less maneuverable and agile than a shorter board.
The width of your snowboard is also important and depends on boot size. Snowboarders with longer feet will need a wider board so that their toes don’t hang too far off the edge and drag in the snow. On the flip side, you also don’t want a board that is too wide, as it will be very difficult to control. Use OnTheSnow’s snowboard sizing guide to find the right snowboard size.
In-bounds snowboard styles can generally be broken down into the following categories: All-mountain, freeride, freestyle, and powder. The stiffness, shape, and rocker/camber of the boards are the factors that determine what style of riding each snowboard is best for.
All-mountain snowboards are the multi-tool of the snowboard world, designed to perform well in any terrain on any type of snowpack. If you like to ride everywhere on the mountain, from groomers to glades to park, all-mountain snowboards are for you.
Freeride snowboards are built for riders who spend most of their time off the groomed trails, charging hard through varied terrain. Freeride snowboards will usually be desired by more experienced and aggressive riders. They are typically on the stiffer side and ridden in longer sizes for better control at high speeds through choppy snow, and have a cambered profile for responsive carving.
Freestyle snowboards are usually built with a softer flex and ridden in smaller sizes, optimal for lapping the terrain park or bouncing through the trees. Freestyle snowboards generally have more rocker for more playfulness, and are appealing for their maneuverability. Newer snowboarders may lean toward a freestyle snowboard as they are more forgiving and easier to control.
Powder snowboards are designed for surfing through deep snow. They tend to have a wide nose for maximum surface area which facilitates floatation, and the bindings are generally set further back on the board for keeping that nose on top of the snow and to have the steering generated with your back foot. Much like freestyle snowboards, powder snowboards are built with rocker to be extra playful in the deep stuff.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics to know before buying a snowboard, let’s check out some of the best gear available this season.
Capita Mega Merc (All-Mountain)
“Behold!” declares Capita. “The consummate anytime, any-place, all-terrain, snow-slaying device: The MEGA MERC.” The Mega Merc is a top-of-the-line all-mountain snowboard. The Capita Mega Merc snowboard has a mid-level flex that handles well at high speeds, while still being playful enough for bouncing off jibs and side hits. It has positive camber underfoot for responsive carving, with reverse camber at the tip and tail for surfing through powder. For the insatiable rider who loves tearing up any terrain, the Mega Merc is the machine for you.
Amplid Singular Directional (All-Mountain)
The Amplid Singular Directional is a do-it-all snowboard, perfect for on-piste, off-piste, park, and everything in between. The HEX02 honeycomb in the tip and tail of the Singular Directional make this a lightweight board—easy to swing around—and the VISCO DAMP 2.0 dampens vibrations over chopped up snow at high speeds. It also features a low camber with early rise that offers a poppy, playful feel, while still gripping through hard carves and floating through powder. “Carving early morning groomers at mach 5, attaining freestyle cred in the park or plowing effortlessly through waist-deep powder—the habitat of this new wonderboard is simply in every terrain and all snow conditions,” write the boardmakers at Amplid.
RIDE MTNPIG (Freeride)
The RIDE MTNPIG snowboard is a beast, and one of the more aggressive snowboards on the market, designed for hard charging through any terrain. The snowboard is stiff with a directional shape that is highly responsive at top speed. The half-moon split tail allows for control in deep snow, while the long effective edge increases edge hold. The Carbon Slim Walls reduce the overall weight of the board, while also dampening vibrations and increasing energy transfer. “The MTNPIG is running wild and fast through the mountains, growing fat on powder, and should only be approached by an advanced rider,” write the experts at RIDE.
Jones Mind Expander (Freeride)
Jones’ directional snowboard is great for all types of riding—from deep powder to park—but excels in freeriding. The Jones Mind Expander is a directional board for optimal maneuverability; it bobs and weaves through the trees with ease and still charges down hardpack with authority. This Jones snowboard features a softer flex between the feet for smooth and easy turn initiation, with stiff flex at the tip and tail for holding an edge in variable terrain. The Mind Expander blurs the lines between freeride and freestyle snowboards, making it an excellent option for just about anyone.
YES Greats Uninc (Freestyle)
The Greats Uninc is a crossover snowboard, or a contradiction as YES likes to call it. This is a playful snowboard that performs in the park, but still can lay down mean carves on-piste. It has an asymmetrical twin tip, with asymmetrical flex that creates a wildly versatile snowboard. The YES Greats Uninc snowboard pops, bops, twists, and turns through features like a dream, but is stiff for a park board, making it highly responsive on groomers and choppy snow alike. YES describes the Greats Uninc as “a high-performance twin that delivers better edge hold and greater stability on landings that will leave a permanent grin on your face.”
Never Summer Proto Slinger (Freestyle)
The Proto Slinger snowboard from Never Summer is an awesome choice for a freestyle board, or for newer snowboarders looking for a fun, smooth ride. It has a super soft flex for playfulness and forgiveness when throwing tricks in the park or off side hits. The Shockwave Rocker Camber makes this a really flowy board, and the asymmetrical edge holds on hard carves. The Proto Slinger is not a one trick pony, however. “Not only is this board the end-all be-all of freestyle snowboards,” Never Summer boasts, “it also excels where a freestyle snowboard isn’t supposed to. It’s a pow floating, trench digging, huge boosting, soft flexing oxymoron.”
Bataleon Surfer (Powder)
It’s all in the name: Surfer. The Bataleon Surfer snowboard was designed for those who like it deep. “The wide, hull-like nose generates unparalleled lift—plowing through deep snow, surfing through slush and mowing over bumps,” write the board-smiths at Bataleon. This is a really soft-flex board that makes it easier to press and maneuver through powder. Despite being a powder hound, the Surfer still performs all over the mountain. The aggressive side-cut and deep swallow tail maximizes edge grip over hardpack.
Rome Ravine Select (Powder)
“The Ravine is a playful, yet hyper-responsive board designed to make light work of pow days and bring a freestyle flavor to groomer days,” writes Rome. The Ravine Select is an all-mountain snowboard that can rip groomers, glades, park features, and more, but truly excels when things get deep. The Directional Diamond 3D Nose lifts up on the snow like a charm. The nose rocker is super playful, while the tail camber gives you a grip on packed snow. The Ravine Select is an excellent all-around snowboard for riders who live in areas with a ton of annual snowfall, but who still like to get out in any snow conditions.