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The Best Snowboards of the 2016/17 Season

From powder to park, these 11 snowboards stand alone as the best to hit your local snowboard shop for 2016.

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Chase Pellerin

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with our picks for winter 2016/17. You can still find last year’s picks on page 2.

All board sizes are listed in centimeters.

Each winter, the market is flooded with hundreds of new snowboards with almost as many camber profiles and shiny graphics. Marketing slogans are ripe with hyperbole and without proper knowledge, it is easy to be misled. While picking the “best snowboards” can be somewhat subjective based on riding style and snow conditions, it would be downright impossible not to have fun on these boards. They cover all of the bases, from park noodle to powder board, and represent the best technology to hit the shelves of your local snowboard shop this season. The relationship between rider and board is an important one where trust is built and settings are dialed. Each of these boards are worthy of your confidence and will win you over the moment you hit the snow.

Yes Greats UnInc

Board Style: Park
Camber Profile: Multi
Shape: Asymmetrical Twin
Sizes: 152, 154, 156, 158

Those of us who are old enough to remember UnInc rejoice in their return. UnInc was, after all, a special collection of boards produced by Burton for Romain de Marchi, DCP, Gigi Ruf, Mikkel Bang, JP Solberg and Danny Davis. When Burton cut the program, DCP, De Marchi and Solberg left to start Yes Snowboards. The latest in the Yes series of Greats boards harkens back to the old UnInc graphics but infuses a modern asymmetrical design for the highest-performance shredding.

Learn More: Here

Salomon Premier

Board Style: Splitboard
Camber Profile: Multi
Shape: Directional
Sizes: 157, 163

The design of the Salomon Premier is unique among the splitboard world. Instead of splitting into two pieces down the middle like most, the Premiere splits apart into three pieces; the middle piece folds in half to be stored in your backpack. The result is two narrower skis that provide more maneuverability for touring, but a complete board that doesn’t sacrifice on the displacement needed to stay afloat in the deep powder on the way down.

Buy Now: $1,300

K2 Party Platter

Board Style: all-mountain
Camber Profile: flat
Shape: directional
Sizes: 143, 150

We recently outlined why short powder boards are so awesome, specifically highlighting the Party Platter. It’s fast, nimble, and still has enough float to shred the deep stuff. Most powder boards are lackluster at best on groomers, but the Party Platter holds its own, and can even dabble in small-side hits and all-mountain riding.

Buy Now: $550

Ride War Pig

Board Style: all-mountain
Camber Profile: reverse
Shape: directional
Sizes: 148, 154

The Ride War Pig is a quiver killer: It handles deep snow with the best of them, then turns around and takes to the park like a madman. It also has a fairly stiff flex, which allows it to handle heavy landings and steep off-piste pitches easily. If you’re the type of rider who likes to take on the entire mountain, the War Pig is your best option.

Buy Now: $530

Camber Profiles Explained

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Traditional Camber: A traditional camber is the classic profile that has been found on skis and snowboards for decades. It consists of a positive arc from the center waist of the board out to the ends where it then mellows into the tip and tail. If you lay the board flat on a table, the center waist of the board would not touch the table.

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Flat Camber: A flat-camber profile is exactly that: flat. The board lays flat on a table throughout the midsection, underneath the bindings and into the tip and tail where it then kicks up.

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Rocker: Rocker is the polar opposite of traditional camber. When placed on a table, a board with a rocker camber profile can be rocked back and forth with only the midsection of the board touching.

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Multi Camber: Multi camber encompasses countless variations on the above profiles. From camber beneath bindings and rocker in between to flat between the bindings and rocker outside of them, virtually every board manufacturer has their own take on multi camber.

Burton Skeleton Key

Board Style: all-mountain
Shape: directional
Sizes: 154, 158

The Burton Skeleton Key is a limited-release Family Tree board developed in the Craig’s facility at Burton’s Burlington, Vermont headquarters. Its unique shape was designed for a style of riding like that of Red Bull pro Ben Ferguson, who likes to use directional boards in the park. But even out in the backcountry and down on-piste runs, the Family Tree performs exceedingly well.

Learn More: Here

Never Summer Proto Type Two

Board Style: all-mountain twin
Camber Profile: multi
Shape: asymmetrical twin
Sizes: 152, 152W, 154, 155W, 157, 158W, 160, 161W, 164W

While the Proto Type Two may be classified as an “all-mountain twin,” it excels most in the terrain park. Large jumps, double kinks, hips, jibs and bonks all get swallowed up by its freestyle features: a low-profile tip and tail, a Durasurf XT sintered base and RDS 2 damping system.

Learn More: Here

Jones Ultra Mountain Twin

Board Style: freestyle
Camber Profile: multi
Shape: twin
Sizes: 154, 157, 158W, 160, 161W, 162, 164W

Jones Snowboards is most closely associated with all-mountain and powder boards, but the Ultra Mountain Twin is all about freestyle. Its Camrock camber profile features a gentle positive camber in the center of the board, which then tapers out to reverse camber outside the bindings. The result is a board that’s playful but still has enough chops to handle heavy landings and slightly off-axis exits.

Learn More: Here

Capita Kazu Kokubo Pro

Board Style: all-mountain
Camber Profile: multi
Shape: directional
Sizes: 151, 154, 157

That this board was designed and named after pro rider Kazu Kokubo says it all. If you aren’t familiar Kazu, you should be. This board is designed specifically to cater to Kazu’s riding style: a charging, fast and fluid approach to big backcountry cliffs and booters. Even if you spend less time in the backcountry and more time on the groomers, the Kazu Pro is still a super fun ride and will reward riders of all skill levels.

Learn More: Here

Rome Sawtooth

Board Style: powder
Camber Profile: multi
Shape: directional
Sizes: 153, 157, 160, 164, 167

If you’re the type of rider who likes to rip at Mach 10, the Sawtooth is your prime choice this winter. It rewards riders for hammering down the mountain in a straight line, arcing massive euro-carves across the snow, or charging in the backcountry. It’s a beast of a board, and expert riders will love its incredible edge hold and stability at high speeds.

Learn More: Here

Rome Agent Rocker

Board Style: all-mountain
Camber Profile: multi
Shape: almost twin
Sizes: 151, 153, 155, 157, 159, 156MW, 158MW, 160MW, 162MW

Best Do-It-All Mountain Slayer: The Agent Rocker has been in the Rome line since 2010 and is a riff on their highly acclaimed all-mountain board, the Agent. Designed for the rider who likes to do a little bit of everything, the Agent employs Mtn Pop 2.0, a camber profile with a rocker in between the bindings and traditional camber just outside of them. If you are the type of rider that likes to hit some side country for untouched lines and then cut back in to hit the park on the way down, the Agent Rocker is the perfect choice.

Learn More: Here

Yes 20/20


Board Style: powder
Camber Profile: flat/3D powder hull
Shape: true twin
Sizes: 146, 150

Best Planing Hull: Perhaps the most innovative shape to come out of the snowboard industry this year, Yes Snowboards’ 20/20 features a concave tip and tail to optimize powder-riding capability. When riding in either direction, the 20/20’s concave nose pulls air in and under the board, generating lift. The concave tail then funnels snow out the back, causing the tail to drop. The 20/20 is also wider than your standard board and rides longer than the two sizes it is available in: 146 and 150.

Buy Now: $649

What the Pros Are Riding: Gigi Rüf

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Bindings: Union Contact Pro / Union Ultra
Board: Slash ATV

Why do you ride the ATV?: To me a camber board equals full reaction. As I take on the whole mountain, I want to lead into turns with the board. I want to have almost like a pogo stick, like a jumping stick, rather than something soft that gives out. To absorb landings, I put the tail down. I just need that spring that the camber has and when I spin and land out of a rotation. The camber — the “far-out contact points” as I call them — they just make me stop the rotation.

Slash Spectrum

Board Style: park
Camber Profile: flat
Shape: true twin
Sizes: 148, 151, 153W/154, 157

Best Park Board for Getting Weird: Ridden by pros Johnnie Paxson and Nic Sauve, Slash Snowboards’ Spectrum is the best board for the park rat. With a true twin shape and a soft, forgiving flex, the Spectrum is easy to press and get weird on. Flatland tricks, butters into rails and jumps — nothing is out of the question.

Learn More: Here

Capita x Spring Break Powder Hole

Board Style: powder
Camber Profile: surf rock multi
Shape: directional
Sizes: 163

Best Snow Surfer: Designed by all-around badass Corey Smith, the Powder Hole is the perfect ride for deep sunny days with your friends. Its uniquely surfy feel is perfect for getting into the white room making a few cutbacks on windlips and fins. If your quiver has been lacking a full-out powder board, the Powder Hole is one of the best, and most fun, available.

Learn More: Here

Niche Theme

Board Style: park
Camber Profile: traditional
Shape: true twin
Sizes: 148, 151, 154, 157

Best Traditional Park Board: With riders like Scott Stevens popularizing unique and innovative tricks using reverse-camber boards, it’s easy to forget the place that a traditional-camber board has in the park. The Niche Theme is a no holds barred, do it all park board. On larger jumps and hits the sturdiness from the traditional camber keeps you planted while still being playful enough to take on rails, bonks and other creative features in today’s parks. As an added bonus, the Theme is also constructed from eco-friendly materials like Snappy Sap Bio-Resin and sustainable poplar cores.

Buy Now: $460

Capita Defenders of Awesome


Board Style: all-mountain/freestyle
Camber Profile: multi
Shape: true twin
Sizes: 148, 150, 152, 154, 155W, 156, 158, 158W, 160, 161W

Best Board if You Ride the Whole Mountain Like a Park: Capita’s Defenders of Awesome came as somewhat of a surprise to this list. Occupying a similar sector of the market as the Rome Agent Rocker, it takes a lot to stand out but the DOA does just that. Historically, Capita’s boards have been noodley and not as durable as other boards on the market. As of late, however, they have beefed up sidewall and core construction, making the DOA a force to be reckoned with.

Learn More: Here

Burton Parkitect

Board Style: park
Camber Profile: traditional
Shape: true twin
Sizes: 150, 154, 157

Best Rail-Slaying Park Board: A favorite of Burton pro rider and rail slayer Zak Hale, the Parkitect will take down any triple kink you can throw at it. Its traditional camber allows you to pump through the kinks and absorb the abrupt direction change. The Parkitect also feels at home all over the park, eating up every freestyle feature you can muster the courage to hit. If you think park and rail boards are reverse camber exclusively, think again.

Buy Now: $480

Salomon Villain

Board Style: park
Camber Profile: rock out camber
Shape: true twin
Sizes: 147, 150, 153, 155, 158, 155W, 158W

Best Board for Destroying the Streets: The Salomon Villain holds down a spot in our best boards list for the second year in a row. (It is the only board to carry over from last year’s list.) This year, the Villain comes with updated Triax fiber and an all-new Slingshot Sidewall. The Villain was designed in collaboration with X Games medalist Loif Paradis and is also the favored board of Bode Merrill, who rode it in his winning segment for X Games Real Snow in 2014. If you haven’t seen his part, his one-footed miller flip ender is otherworldly.

Buy Now: $449

Hightide Mfg Hippy Slasher

Board Style: powder
Camber Profile: traditional
Shape: directional
Sizes: 150, 153

Best Canadian-Made Snowboard: Hightide Mfg produces boards that are “handmade with machines in BC,” and if your days are filled with snaking runs through the trees and putting S turns into untouched bowls, they make your next snowboard. Designed to be ridden 6 to 10 centimeters shorter than your typical powder board, the Hippy Slasher is an absolute blast; it’s the equivalent of what a “soul surfer” would ride at his home break.

Buy Now: $596

What the Pros Are Riding: Stale Sandbech

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Bindings: Rome Targa
Board: Rome Mod

Why do you ride the Mod? It is a really powerful board that works great for all terrain and it is really poppy and playful at the same time, which works great for big jumps. I normally ride the same board for everything, but change up the size of the board depending on what conditions I am riding.

GNU Zoid

Board Style: all-mountain
Camber Profile: multi
Shape: asymmetrical
Sizes: 158

Best Asymmetrical Board: If the Yes 20/20 is the most innovative shape to hit the shelves in 2016, then the GNU Zoid is by far the weirdest. Its asymmetrical shape looks like someone had a few too many before taking to a blank with a bandsaw. The odd shape, however, translates to a high-performance, albeit unique ride. Testers of the Zoid tout its ability to hold an edge, and if you are like us and enjoy laying down a big euro-carve, you’ll enjoy seeing just how close your face can get to the snow.

Buy Now: $650

K2 Cool Bean

Board Style: powder
Camber Profile: multi
Shape: directional
Sizes: 144

Best Fish: Even though it is only available in a markedly short 144, the Cool Bean’s wide waist and massive spoon nose provide ample float — even on the deepest of days. The fish cut at the tail allows it to drop, keeping the nose up and tail down. An overall surfy feel makes for a fun board that is agile enough to weave the trees on East Coast powder days.

Buy Now: $500

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