Maybe you’re looking for a new snowboard or you’re a total beginner who needs their first snowboard.
Either way, it can be tricky to know what type of snowboard to purchase.
When’s the best time to purchase a new snowboard?
👆 Pro tip: when purchasing a new snowboard you’ll find a mess of deals between March and June when the end of the season promises budget-friendly options.
That said, it can be difficult to purchase a snowboard a long time before the season starts as you’ll have to wait so long to be able to use it. Or if you just cracked your board and are looking to upgrade for the remainder of the season, we’ve got you covered. You don’t have to be patient – here’s our guide to the best snowboards for the 2021 winter season reviewed.
Best Snowboards – Reviews & Picks for 2021
Best Beginner Snowboards: Arbor Element Camber Snowboard
If you want the fun of snowboarding without the fuss, the Element Camber snowboard by Arbor is the best. It will help to speed up your learning while making you enjoy every minute on your board.
- 5mm taper
- 3–5° Fenders
- Hand-dyed ash Power Ply topsheet
- This snowboard is meant to have a slightly longer nose than tail and this feature provides you with more power in the tail and good control in the front.
- It has a 5mm taper for easier, smoother turning.
- It’s got a camber system. This camber system combines parabolic camber, Grip Tech and Uprise Fenders for a whirling ride and sharp, fully engaged performance.
- It’s got a dual-species wood core that’s both hard and soft. This prevents its weight from being too heavy.
- This board makes use of a lighter, more responsive version of the Highland core, Highland II core, which is made of hand-selected paulownia wood for reliable energy return and durability. This gives you better strength, response, and vital edge hold.
- It’s also built with Biax fiberglass (triax over biax specifically). This is perfect for beginners because of it’s soft flex, making it’s easier to twist the board when you’re barreling down the mountain. And you can take this puppy on any terrain without risk to damaging the board.
- The only downside to this board is that it can be tough to track down. It’s popularity as an all around beginner board makes this one fly off the shelves and sometimes hard to find.
- This beginner snowboard is perfectly symmetrical, which also enhances your balance.
- It’s got an extruded base that adds to your speed but doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
This beginner snowboard’s got lots of great features you want in a board, as long as you don’t mind the high price. Still, it’s proof that you can find a quality board for beginners for less than $500.
Best Powder Snowboard: Jones Hovercraft Snowboard – Men’s
Looking for a snowboard with a supreme float to carry you down when you’re blowing off work for a powder day?
This one, by Jones, has an easy tip to keep up and prevent you from sinking into that fresh fresh and will turn heads in the lift line with it’s finned rear.
- Spoon nose and fin tail
- Symmetrical twin shape
- Medium flex
- It’s a nimble, power-packed board that cruises over corduroys, floats on fresh, and stops over stone and debris.
- It’s got a distinct spoon nose and fin tail.
It’s got a Concave Speed Channel between the raised tail edges that improves glide.
It has a classic core that has been profiled for improved torsional response between the feet.
The steel edges and ABS sidewalls come from recycled materials.
- It’s crafted out of Super Sap® epoxy resin. This resin is formulated with bio-based materials, reducing the board’s carbon footprint by 33% over conventional all-petroleum-based epoxies. So you can shred hard and know you’re not damaging the environment. Phew 😌!
- It has a soft flex and camber base. This combination lifts the board’s edges off the surface to provide that perfect float, giving you little worry about catching an edge.
- If you’re an east coaster or stick to the groomers, this one is probably a bit much for you.
- This snowboard model comes in a couple color varieties if you’re not down with the basic black base design.
This is one of the best powder snowboards and it’s totally affordable. It’s the ideal piece for blowing off all your responsibilities and chasing powder on the steep and deep.
Best Powder Snowboards: Kemper SR “Surf Rider”
This stunning pink, blue, and white snowboard was inspired by David Kemper’s original, hand-made SR 140! Here’s why it’s worth investing in.
- Bamboo construction
- Gloss topsheet
- Medium-to-stiff flex
- The use of polyurethane on the sides of the board helps to reduce vibrations so that you can have a smoother experience.
- It has a medium-to-stiff flex.
- Its core is made out of bamboo/poplar. These are common wood choices for snowboard construction.
- This board has a camber with early rise bend. Camber boards are generally regarded as a solid choice for beginners because they allow you to achieve greater responsiveness and edge control when turning, while having stability when going faster.
- It also has an early rise, meaning that the board contains a subtle rocker in the tail and tip. What does this actually mean? The board’s edges have a shorter running length. The benefit of this is that it makes it much easier for you to take turns.
- The medium stiffness of this board means that it’s not suitable for you if you’re a park rider because then you’ll need to have a soft flex snowboard. However, this level of stiffness makes this one of the best intermediate snowboards.
- This snowboard has a gloss topsheet, which means that it has heat-printed graphics. This is also resistant to scratches.
This powder snowboard is a bit more expensive than other boards you can find on the market, it’s made with attention to detail to improve your riding experience.
Best All Mountain Snowboard: Kemper Freestyle Martin Gallant
This is another snowboard that’s like a work of art by Kemper. It’s inspired by Martin Gallant, who’s considered to be the godfather of Canadian snowboarding. This freestyle snowboard is light and versatile, so you can use it in a variety of riding conditions.
- Sintered base
- Triaxial fiberglass
- Camber bend
- This snowboard has a sintered base, which is best for free riders. It enables you to have more speed, while offering you greater durability and maintaining its wax very well.
- It comes with a camber bend, which is a popular bend and allows for greater edge control. It’s especially useful for advanced riders.
- This board has been made out of triaxial fiberglass. This is beneficial because it’s stiffer, helping you to achieve higher speeds because it holds the edge much better. This is a common material that’s found in higher-end boards.
- Some of the downsides associated with a sintered base include that it requires regular waxing and it makes the board costly to repair if it experiences damage. These can be difficult to deal with if you’re a beginner.
- It’s worth noting that a camber bend does have some drawbacks for beginners, because it’s not as forgiving as other bend types. This can make it difficult to learn.
- Like the previous board we featured in these reviews, this board has a sidewall made out of polyurethane. This makes it more comfortable.
Ready to take your snowboarding to the next level? Consider purchasing this board by Kemper. It’s so versatile it’s one of the best freestyle snowboards.
Best Wide Snowboards: Weston Backwoods Splitboard
Splitboards are worth considering – they’re a regular snowboard which splits into two halves. These halves essentially become skis for when you need to travel uphill in the snow so you can walk with them. Let’s check out this splitboard by Weston Backwoods.
- PU sidewalls
- 4000 sintered base
- Fine-threaded bolts
- This splitboard has a heavy tail that helps you to deal with kick turns when you’re on a steep slope.
- It’s got strong PU sidewalls to provide you with additional damping.
- It comes with a 4000 sintered base. This increases your speed while also giving the splitboard’s wax more durability.
- It makes use of fine-threaded bolts. This smooths the base finish so you can turn easier and enjoy faster speeds.
- This snowboard has been built with carbon fiber in its core. This gives you more pop while making the board responsive.
- It comes with rooted inserts to keep it strong and balanced.
- Its fiberglass laminate is triax stitched. This provides you with a more accurate and responsive experience, no matter what terrain you’re navigating.
- It’s also got forged stainless-steel tip and tail pieces. These increase the lifespan of your board.
- If you’re a beginner, this board might not be right for you as it’s marketed as suitable for intermediate and advanced snowboarders.
- This splitboard is sure to last you a long time, thanks to how it comes with Karakoram Ultra Clips included. These ensure more compression between the two halves of the snowboard and they’re adjustable so you will be able to enjoy the same amount of compression as your board gets older.
- The snowboard’s topsheet is eco-friendly. It’s a polyamide topsheet that’s made out of castor beans. This keeps it strong and makes it resistant to scratches.
- It’s awesome to purchase a board and know that you’re making a difference with the money you’re spending, so you’ll be glad that 10 percent of this splitboard’s profits go to AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) which works to support scholarships in avalanche education.
This splitboard is built with quality features, making it the best splitboard to purchase. It’s ideal for you if you need a more versatile board and it’s built to last.
Now that we’ve looked at the best snowboards in our reviews, let’s answer some important questions related to snowboards.
What are the 4 types of snowboards?
There are four main types of snowboards. These are:
1. All-mountain snowboards
These types of snowboards are versatile because you can use them on various types of terrain, such as powder surfaces and pistes.
They are also useful if you’re a beginner because they come with directional shapes. This mean their tails are narrower and flatter than their tips, and this helps you to keep your balance.
2. Freestyle snowboards
These snowboards are light and flexible. They really shine when you use them to perform tricks in half pipes and terrain parks.
They come with a limited edge grip so they’re not suitable for speed and carving turns because they lack stability. You can find freestyle snowboards that have twin tips or directional-twin tips.
By having a symmetrical tail and twin, this makes this type of snowboard easy to learn on. As for the directional twin design, this varies from the twin tip because it has a stiffer tail.
3. Alpine snowboard
This snowboard is narrow and meant for carving downhill because it’s designed to give you more speed. It’s a must to purchase if you want a board that will make quick edge turns a breeze while giving you the stability you need to enjoy speed.
Unlike other types of boards, the alpine has a shovel on the tip instead of at both ends – this means you can only ride it in one direction.
We can’t forget about the splitboard! This board splits in half so that you can use both halves as skis, which makes it ideal when you’re climbing backcountry slopes.
Splitboards are perfect for snowboarders who are confident and skilled in exploring various slopes and types of terrain.
How do you tell what size snowboard you need?
If you’re a newbie to snowboarding, you might wonder how to find the right board size. Luckily, there’s an easy way to find the correct snowboard size.
By taking your height in inches and multiplying it by 2.54 and then by 0.88, you’ll find the recommended board length for your height. This formula is a fantastic and useful way to help you find the right board size.
However, you also need to factor in your weight. If you are above average weight, it’s worth choosing a snowboard that will be longer.
Finally, consider what you’re going to be using the snowboard for. If you’re choosing to ride in the park or you want to do freestyle, you should choose a snowboard that’s on the shorter end of the size range (via Evo).
On the other hand, if you want to do all-mountain riding or powder riding, your board should be on the longer end of the size range.
Snowboard length is measured in centimeters, and it usually ranges from 129cm to more than 165cm – and alpine boards tend to be even longer than that. Snowboards for kids will be shorter, as will snowboards for women.
Should a snowboard be up to your chin?
This is something you might’ve heard as being important when it comes to sizing your snowboard, and there is truth to this rule!
Basically, this rule states that you should purchase a snowboard that is long enough so that when you put it on its end its tip can reach between your chin and nose. But this is a general rule at best because it does have limitations.
For example, this rule doesn’t take two important factors into consideration: your weight and boot size.
If you’re a bit outside of the weight range outlined by the snowboard you wish to purchase, that’s not a problem. You might find that if you’re slightly under the weight range that the board will feel a bit stiff, while being a bit over the weight range will make it softer.
When it comes to boot size, this is really important because it determines the binding size, which in turn plays a role in edge control and toe drag.
So, you need to look at the board’s waist width. If it’s too small, you could drag your toes against the snow when making deep turns. On the other hand, if it’s too large, then you’ll battle to control your turns.
Based on the above, it’s simply not enough to measure your board when it’s standing and see if it fits between your nose and chin – there are clearly other factors that you need to consider so that you can be guaranteed of finding the best snowboard size.
How long do snowboards last?
You’ve purchased a snowboard with your hard-earned money, and so it’s only natural to want to know what it’s lifespan will be.
Generally, a snowboard should last you for between 150 and 200 days of riding. You can play a role in making it last for as long as possible by treating it well. Its lifespan also depends on how regularly you use it.
It’s also worth knowing that you’ll generally get about 100 days of excellent riding from your board. After this amount of time, you will still be able to get good riding out of it but it won’t feel as amazing as it used to.
What about splitboards?
When it comes to splitboards, these tend to be a bit more durable than regular snowboards. The reason for this is because their bindings are specially designed for backcountry use. This makes the boards lighter and more durable.
Some important snowboard maintenance tips to keep your board in great condition include:
- Regularly waxing your board. This prevents it from being damaged by snow moisture. You should wax it every few days to keep it in excellent condition.
- Storing your board correctly. You should always make sure that you store your snowboard in a dry place indoors.
- Sharpening your board. If your board is feeling a bit dull, it could need to have its base edges and sides sharpened. A whetstone and file will enable you to do this or you could take your board to a snowboard shop where they can sharpen it with a machine.
When should you replace your board?
If your snowboard has holes in it, or it’s snapped or broken, you should definitely replace it because it’s just not safe to use in such condition.
Are snowboards unisex?
Some snowboards are unisex – you’ll see them listed as such when purchasing them online. Generally, though, there are some important differences between men’s and women’s snowboards.
- Men’s snowboards tend to have larger widths. This is to give them more space for the riders’ larger boot size.
- Men’s snowboards are stiffer. This is because men tend to have larger builds than women.
- Men’s snowboards are also a bit longer than women’s, for the same reason: they’re generally taller and heavier.
Of course, the above points are limited. Not every man is going to be heavier or taller than all women.
Therefore, you might find that choosing a unisex snowboard makes more sense for you. Ultimately, moving away from what male vs. female snowboards are about and choosing snowboards based on your specific measurements is the best choice.
How much should I spend on my first snowboard?
Before you purchase your first snowboard, there are some important things to consider. For starters, are you a casual rider? Do you have any experience?
You also need to think about the price you’re willing to pay for the board.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money for it. You can find quality boards for less than $500, as we’ve seen in our snowboard reviews.
Are used snowboards worth it?
Maybe you’re on a really tight budget and are considering purchasing a previously-owned snowboard. This is a good option, provided that you know what to look for so that you don’t purchase a dud! Here are some important things to know.
- You should always inspect the snowboard’s sidewalls. Make sure that there are no vertical cracks that point to the snowboard having suffered previous damage.
- Check for gaps. There shouldn’t be a gap between the sidewall and edge. You should also check that there’s no gap between the topsheet and sidewall. This is to ensure that water won’t be able to seep into these cracks and cause problems.
- Look at the core. It’s not easy to check the snowboard’s core, but this will help you out: take a good look at the board in broad daylight. Scrutinize it for any cracks or lumps, as these could point to previous damage that cracked the core but kept the topsheet and base of the snowboard intact. You can also run your hand along the board to check for previous damage.
- Keep an eye on the die cut. You should check the joints of the snowboard where different sections of color or pattern connect. If there are pieces that are damaged, this is a bad sign. You could repair them but once this type of wear and tear occurs it tends to spread.
- Check the base. If there are scratches in the snowboard’s base, these don’t necessarily have to put you off. As long as the scratches haven’t changed color – which points to the cracks being deep – then you’ll be able to fix them at home.
Purchasing a snowboard is exciting, especially if it’s your first one ever.
After reading our guide of the best snowboards on the market, you’ll have a better idea of how to spend your hard-earned money and ensure you can navigate those slopes with a board that puts in as much effort as you do.
We’ve also featured some important snowboard FAQs so you’ll be able to purchase the best snowboard, such as when it comes to the most effective ways to buy the correct snowboard size.
Now, get down and dirty, and join us out there!