Freeride snowboarding is a blast. Whether you love to explore the backcountry or are on the hunt for hard-to-access lines hidden right inside your local resort, the discipline has a lot to offer. It is also a demanding and oftentimes challenging, style. As such, it’s important to have the best possible equipment so you can tackle it to the best of your abilities.
If you take freeriding seriously, you need a board that’s going to help you push limits and explore uncharted terrain. In the following sections, we will take a look at some of the best freeride snowboards on the market. Each one stands out for freeriding purposes due to the many high-end attributes they have to offer.
- The Jones Mind Expander is the best freeride snowboard option out there. As the name implies, this board will expand your horizons on the mountain and let you crush huge lines.
- For a versatile and affordable freeride board, take a look at the Ride Warpig. This is a fun snowboard that will aid all of your freeriding adventures inside and outside of the resort.
- Another freeride monster is the GNU Hyperkyarve C2X. This option excels in big mountain situations where you need high performance and serious control.
Who Should Get This?
Freeriding is all about exploring natural features and exciting terrain. If you love riding powder, steep & deep lines, trees, and have the urge to venture into the backcountry, you probably consider yourself a freeride snowboarder. This is a demanding and challenging style. In order to take things head-on, you need to get a board that can handle shifting weather or rapidly changing conditions.
Freeride boards are aggressive and built for high performance as well as excellent control. If you’re a beginner or more of a freestyle rider who likes to stay in the park, a freeride board might be a bit out of your league. The high-performance nature of freeride boards means that they can be too much to handle for inexperienced riders, and their stiff flex makes them less-than-ideal for the terrain park.
Best Freeride Snowboard: What to Consider
Most freeride snowboards have a directional shape that’s designed to enhance performance. That means they are not always intended for riding switch. Even so, the directional shape can allow for extra float in deep powder or better edge control with design elements such as a cutout tail. Each freeride board will vary in shape, but they are almost always directional.
If you want the ability to ride switch and still freeride, you can get an option that uses somewhat of a twin-directional shape. This is a good middle ground that will allow you to both launch huge airs and ride switch without taking away from the benefits of a directional shape. A true-twin freeride board is hard to come by.
You want you freeride board to be stiff. That will give you better performance and control when zipping down steep, uneven terrain. A soft board will simply not cut it when it comes to freeriding. All of the boards listed here feature a very stiff flex that caters to the demanding nature of the style. You want control and stability. A stiffer board excels in both areas.
Board flex is typically described on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the stiffest. For a freeride board, look for a stiffness of 8 or above. These ratings will vary slightly from brand to brand, but you want a higher number no matter what board you pick. Softer boards are more forgiving and good for beginners, but they simply won’t provide the level of performance you need when taking on serious runs.
Assess Your Style
Freeriding is a broad term. It’s important to take a look at your individual style, which refers to the way you like to ride and the types of conditions you most often find yourself in. This can help you further decide which freeride board is best for you.
If you like to chase powder, a wider board with a cutout tail will allow you to float and carve like you’re on a cloud. If you love going fast, look for a cambered profile that will give you plenty of pop, response, and stability when you’re really hauling. Freeride boards come in many different shapes and sizes. Matching the board to your style can help you find one that perfectly fits your situation.
Best Freeride Snowboard: Our Picks for 2020
The Jones Mind Expander is a freeriders dream. This board will allow you to easily conquer any feature that comes your way. It has a playful feel, but still offers powerful performance in a way that allows you to get the best of both worlds. This also features a surf rockered profile and a hybrid directional shape to create a versatile and stable board that can crush huge lines and float through powder. The bamboo core cuts down on weight and increases edge response alongside turning ability.
- Excellent freeride board
- Hybrid directional shape
- Playful and powerful
- Lightweight bamboo core
- Good edge response
- Durable ABS sidewalls
- Not for beginners
- Flame-like tie-dye graphics not for everyone
2. Ride Warpig
Another amazing freeride option is the Ride Warpig. This board is built for the backcountry, and one powder line on the Warpig will make you understand why. It features a unique asymmetrical shape with a blunted nose that’s intended to reduce weight and improve durability while also increasing turning control. A rockered profile allows for awesome response in changing conditions and makes this board able to really bomb.
- Great backcountry performance
- Blunted nose reduces weight and improves durability
- Rockered profile for good response
- Sintered base said to increase speed
- Not the fastest board
- Compact shape takes some getting used to
The GNU Hyperkyarve C2X is another solid choice for the freeriders out there. This one is my personal favorite due to its playful nature alongside its exceptional performance. Its hybrid directional shape combined with a slight tail cutout makes this one a monster on big mountain lines, while magne-traction edges allow you to carve and curve as you surf down the snow.
- Fun to ride
- Excellent control and performance
- Big mountain monster
- Magne-traction edges for added control
- Durable and powerful
- Simple graphics
Useful Tips & Resources
Freeriding can take its toll on your body, especially if you’re headed into the backcountry. It pays to be in shape, so you can hike up big slopes and still enjoy yourself thoroughly on the way back down. While there’s no better way to get in shape for snowboarding than actually snowboarding, here are some good tips to help you prepare yourself for the season.
Also, whenever you head into the backcountry, you need to be safe. Your life very literally depends on it. Here are some good snow safety rules to keep in mind at all times.
Freeriding is my favorite snowboarding style. It allows you to be creative while also pushing the limits of your abilities. Plus, working hard to earn fresh powder lines is the ultimate expression. If you’ve never tried freeriding, I would highly recommend it. Get out there and challenge yourself!
Do you consider yourself a freerider? Are there any good freeride boards we left off of this list? Let us know in the comments below!