Snowboarding is a sport that just keeps on giving. Whether you’re new to riding or have been on a board longer than you’ve been able to walk, we all share the same passion for the sport. And every season it just keeps getting better. The more time you spend in the mountains and on the snow, the more connected to snowboarding you feel.
Snowboarding’s popularity means you have a lot of different options when it comes to just about every aspect of the sport. From boards and boots to gear and apparel, the options are nearly endless. With a little research and some good recommendations, you can find the best equipment to match your needs and preferences. Here is a look at some of the best snowboards currently available so you can make the most of the upcoming season.
- Quick Summary
- Who Should Get This
- Best Snowboards in 2020: What to Consider
- Best Snowboards: Our Picks for 2020
- 1. Best Overall Snowboard – Burton Process Flying V
- 2. Runner Up – Arbor Element Camber
- 3. Best Park Snowboard – YES. Basic
- 4. Runner Up – Capita Defenders of Awesome
- 5. Best Budget Snowboard – K2 Broadcast
- 6. Runner Up – Arbor Foundation
- 7. Best Powder Snowboard – Endeavor Archetype
- 8. Runner Up – Jones Storm Chaser
- 9. Best Freestyle Snowboard – Solomon Assasin
- 10. Runner Up – Lib Tech Skate Banana
- Useful Tips & Resources
- Final Words
- Two of the best snowboards on the market are the Burton Process Flying V and the Arbor Element Camber. These two reliable options come from reputable brands. Not only do they perform well in many conditions, they are a blast to ride as well.
- If you love to ride in the park, you’ll want to take a look at the YES. Basic or the Capita Defenders of Awesome. Both of these have the playful characteristics and strong durability you need out of a park board.
- Boarders on a budget should check out the K2 Broadcast and the Arbor Foundation. These two models are affordable but still deliver excellent performance that makes them more than worth what they cost.
- Powder chasers will love the Jones Stormchaser and the Endeavor Archetype. When the snow gets deep, you want a board that lets you make the most out of every inch. These options do that and a whole lot more.
- For freestyle options that will let you perform well and play all over the mountain and beyond, have a look at the Solomon Assasin and the Lib Tech Skate Banana.
Who Should Get This
If you’re serious about snowboarding, you should get your own gear. Not only will that save you money in the long run by not having to rent every time you want to go riding, but it will also encourage you to get up to the mountain as often as possible. The best way to enjoy the sport is to spend as much time as you can in the snow. Getting your own equipment is important, and that starts with getting your own board.
When you are getting a new board, whether for the first time or to add another one to your quiver, you want to make sure you buy the best option available. We all have different preferences and styles, but the options on this list are meant to meet the needs of just about everyone. The boards are all well-designed and built with high-quality materials to meet the needs of all types of riders.
If you’re new to riding and just starting to get comfortable on the mountain, you might want to wait a while before you purchase a board. Renting a few times will give you a better idea of your skills and what you’re looking for in a snowboard. If you can, try to rent one of the options on this list and see if it matches your style or abilities. If you fall in love with it, you can then make a purchase based on experience rather than flying blind.
Best Snowboards in 2020: What to Consider
Type of Board
There are a ton of different snowboard categories out there. If you’re a seasoned rider, you probably have several different boards in your arsenal that are meant for different conditions and riding styles. Most boards are versatile and can be used in a wide variety of situations. However, there are some design and construction elements that make certain models stand out over others.
If you’re looking for a board that can perform well in a variety of situations and grow with you as your abilities progress, look for all-mountain or freestyle options. These types of boards are great riders who like to explore the entire mountain and spend their days roaming from big steep lines to the features in the park.
You might also be looking for a specialty board for certain circumstances such as powder conditions or the terrain park. If you get a board designed specifically for a certain type of riding, it will excel in that department. You might not get great performance in other areas of the mountain, but if you have the means to add several boards to your lineup, it’s a great idea to get one or two focused on your favorite styles.
It is also important to pay attention to your snowboard’s profile because it has a big impact on how the board feels and performs on the mountain. Profile refers to the curve of the board as it appears when you are looking at it from edge to edge. Different profiles will give different ride characteristics and every rider has their own preference.
Rocker is the basic profile that many are familiar with. A rockered profile means that the tip and the tail of the board curve up away from the snow while the center/underfoot portion remains in contact with the snow. This is oftentimes known as a ‘banana’ shape.
Camber is another common profile shape where the center of the board rises up off of the snow a bit if you look at it lying flat. All boards will have a slightly upward turn on the tip and tail to keep them above the snow while a cambered profile looks more like an ‘S’ with an extra curve in it. This profile can give a board more energy when the bend is pressed down, which results in a snappy or poppy feel when turning or performing in other demanding on-mountain situations.
Hybrid profiles are common in all-mountain boards and combine elements of both rocker and camber to give the rider the benefits of both. The amount of each profile on these hybrid boards can vary quite a bit, so there are no general characteristics to each. You might need to experiment with different hybrid profiles before finding one that works best for you.
Snowboards can also have a flat profile, although it is pretty rare these days. This is a good profile for certain powder conditions and is a versatile option. However, note that flat boards can also be hard to control and catch edges far more often than other profile styles.
You also need to consider your board’s flex. The amount of bend in a board, both tip to tail and edge to edge, give it defining characteristics that affect how it feels to ride and how it performs on the snow. The flex of a board is often seen as a number between 1 and 10, with 1 being soft and flexible and 10 being hard and stiff.
Stiff flex is best suited for experienced riders who want a board that can bust through the snow with ease or who love to go fast. Stiff boards can be harder to control but they are very stable. That means they perform well going steep and fast, but can be too much for beginners.
Medium flex is probably the most common flex, and it is seen in the majority of boards out there. You will especially notice it in all-mountain and freestyle options that are designed to handle a little bit of everything. This level of flex provides solid control and stability while still being soft and maneuverable enough to perform at a high level in a variety of conditions.
Soft flex is best suited for beginners because it’s easy to control due to the lightweight. Soft boards are also a great option for riders who love the park because they are easy to perform butters and presses on. Lighter flex will start to chatter at high speeds, though.
Almost all boards are a mixture of flexes. It is rare to have a 1 or a 10 on the scale. Medium-stiff or medium-soft are more generally seen flexes. You want to look for a stiffness that matches your abilities but also how you like to ride.
Shape is another consideration to think about when choosing a board. Symmetrical boards are the classic twin-tipped shape that are virtually equal in shape on the tip and tail. This shape will allow you to ride switch with ease and are good for those who like to spend time in the park. You will see the same performance whether you’re riding switch or regular, which is ideal in certain situations.
Directional boards have an asymmetrical shape that will create better performance in certain conditions, such as in powder or for speed. This shape is meant to be ridden in one direction and will be difficult, if not impossible, to ride switch. Some directional boards have a drastic shape, such as a dedicated powder board where there is a fishtail cutout in the tail.
There are also directional twin shapes that are slightly symmetrical. Such models are common in all-mountain shapes and allow for the control and playfulness of a twin type shape.
All of the boards listed here have quality wood cores and other key construction elements that make them great options for any mountain. Well-constructed boards are durable and strong, which goes a long way when pressing through tough conditions. Due note that higher-quality construction typically equates to a higher price, which is not great for budget boarders.
Most boards feature a wood core that is then sandwiched by other layers of build elements such as fiberglass, carbon, more wood, kevlar, or cork. You might have a preferred wood or build style that you like to ride, so it’s good to keep an eye on what materials your board uses.
Best Snowboards: Our Picks for 2020
1. Best Overall Snowboard – Burton Process Flying V
One of the best overall snowboards around is the Burton Process Flying V. This is a twin-shaped board that’s versatile and can handle everything from powder to the park to everything in between. It features a hybrid camber/rocker profile that gives you power and control with elements of pop and play mixed in. The shape caters to those who love to go switch without compromising high-end performance.
This board has an FSC certified Super Fly II 700G core made of premium-yet-lightweight wood to ensure stability and control without weighing you down. A tip to tail symmetrical flex gives it a well-balanced and playful feel no matter where you choose to head downhill. This is a solid all-around high-performance board that will meet and exceed the needs of just about anyone.
- Fun and powerful twin shape
- Super Fly II Core
- Flying V profile
- Versatile and capable in all mountain conditions
- Playful and still responsive
- On the softer side for an all-mountain option
- Can chatter ever so slightly at high speeds
2. Runner Up – Arbor Element Camber
The Arbor Element Camber is another great all-around board. Arbor is a brand well known for putting out high-quality snowboards that riders love, and they are committed to using sustainably sourced materials in their construction. This makes it a win-win for those who demand performance but who also want to make sure the wild places we all love to explore in the winter stay that way for generations to come.
This board has a trusted and true design. It features a directional twin shape for versatility and has a nice medium flex that makes it capable and responsive. It will let you carve through any condition with ease and is built with a System Camber technology that provides a poppy, playful feel without compromising performance.
- Great company
- Proven design
- Directional twin shape
- Medium flex is fun and versatile
- Fun and easy to ride
- Not the fastest board
- Better on hardback than powder
3. Best Park Snowboard – YES. Basic
Park rats will love everything that the YES. Basic has to offer. This is a simple board when it comes to design, but don’t let that fool you. This features all of the elements you need out of a park board, and even though it stands out when dropping in and hitting rails, it is also fun to take on other areas of the resort as well. The true twin shape is perfect for landing switch and, though it has basic in its name, it responds well in a variety of situations.
This board’s medium makes it fun to ride inside and out of the park, while the CamRock profile gives it a great and adaptive feel underfoot and in changing snow. This isn’t a speedy hard charger, but it will live up to any standard you might have in the park. The full poplar core gives it solid strength without sacrificing an inch of feel.
- Awesome in the park
- True twin shape
- CamRock profile is playful and energetic
- Fun to ride
- Will chatter at high speeds
- Not for big mountain pursuits
4. Runner Up – Capita Defenders of Awesome
The Capita Defenders of Awesome is another amazing board for the park. This is a true twin, symmetrically shaped board that’s perfect for hitting huge airs and switching it up in the snow. It features a slightly cambered profile with rockered tip and tail to allow for easy maneuverability, and has quick control in the pipe or any other park feature. The profile also gives the board a nice pop and fast response.
This board’s medium flex and soft feel make it truly shine up in the air. Highly-skilled maneuvers require serious ability but you also want a board that can keep up. Kevlar bound sidewalls and carbon fiber beams give the Defenders of Awesome serious strength alongside a medium flex that provides endless amounts of fun. It even features a Quantum Drive base designed to increase speed for a little extra airtime.
- True twin shape
- Great for big airs
- Easy to maneuver
- Highly responsive
- Better in the park than in powder
- Unique graphics a put-off for some
5. Best Budget Snowboard – K2 Broadcast
If you’re looking for an affordable snowboard that still performs at a very high level, look no further than the K2 Broadcast. K2 is a brand that has made its name in the skiing world, but its ventures into snowboarding have been well-received. This board is intended to be used all over the mountain. It will deliver consistent and reliable runs from hard packed groomers to deep snow and the park.
This model features a free ride directional shape that’s best-suited for going fast and riding hard. A camber heavy profile gives it excellent response and serious power under a wide range of conditions. The BAP core is reinforced with ICG 10 carbon glass to give you tremendous strength to tackle heavy lines without missing a beat. Combine all of this with a very approachable price, it’s a great option for any rider.
- Strong and durable
- Free ride directional shape great for hard charging
- Excellent response
- Not a great beginner board
6. Runner Up – Arbor Foundation
Another budget board that earns high marks is the Arbor Foundation. Similar to the Element model discussed earlier in the list, the Foundation delivers much of what its name implies: solid footing for you to be able to ride anywhere on the mountain. That versatility is highly sought after by those who want a board that can go anywhere.
This is a quality board constructed from a sustainably sourced Poplar and Paulownia wood core. That is then surrounded by recycled steel edges to give it strength and reliability when it comes to both flex and edge control. A parabolic rocker profile lends to easy transitions in and out of turns, even when you’re carving at full speed. This is a solid beginner’s option that will provide solid overall performance, but it may leave something to be desired for advanced riders.
- Great beginner’s board
- Reputable and recommended brand
- Quality construction
- Great for carving
- Easy to maneuver profile
- Not great at high speeds
- Not recommended for advanced riders
7. Best Powder Snowboard – Endeavor Archetype
Snowboarding in powder feels amazing. That is, as long as you have a board that can keep you afloat when conditions get deep. The Endeavor Archetype is more than capable of meeting the demands created by deep and heavy snow. This model provides a floaty-yet-functional feel that powder lovers everywhere will drool over. For that reason, it’s best suited for powder. However, it can also hold up in normal resort conditions.
The shape, design, and construction of the Archetype are all top-notch. A swallowtail cutout in the tail will help you to dig deep into powder lines while keeping you afloat even on the deepest days. This board is stiff, but that stiffness allows you to mob down steep lines at high speeds with ease. It is a fast, aggressive board best suited for those with plenty of experience in the snow.
- Great in powder
- Excellent construction and design
- Swallowtail cutout adds to powder prowess
- Fun and aggressive
- Too aggressive for the average rider
- May be too stiff for some
8. Runner Up – Jones Storm Chaser
The Jones Storm Chaser is another great option for powder riders. This is a short, surfy wide-by-design type of board that crushes powder with the best of them. It features a full rocker profile that excels in deep conditions and is a blast to ride on when the flakes really start to fall. The short and stubby design allows for a surfy feel that makes it playful and responsive. It is also quite easy to handle.
This board’s powder chomping abilities are enhanced by a 3D contour base that puts a little extra lift in the tip and tail to keep you afloat. The fishtail cutout allows you to dig deep into powder lines and sit back on the board when conditions call for it. This is an agile and aggressive snow eater that’s a ton of fun to use even on light powder days.
- Solid powder board
- Small and surfy design
- Easy to maneuver
- Fishtail cutout adds to powder capabilities
- Playful and fun
- Small length limits speed
- Great in powder, but limited performance in other conditions
9. Best Freestyle Snowboard – Solomon Assasin
The Solomon Assassin is a great freestyle snowboard that’s versatile, capable, and fun all over the mountain. Solomon set out to combine the best elements of their powder boards and full freestyle models to give riders an option that’s both capable and solid in a wide variety of ways. The result is an agile and highly responsive board that will live up to even the most demanding conditions.
The Assassin features a medium-stiff flex that allows it to charge through steep lines and variable conditions. A Rock Out Camber and Quadralizer sidecut gives it plenty of power to respond and react under intense and all-out use. The Aspen core coupled with a Popster Eco Booster with bamboo rods gives the board plenty of play and pop. That makes it both fun and capable.
- Excellent all-around performance
- Aggressive but playful
- Fun poppy ride
- Holds up at high speeds
- Not the best powder board
- Better suited for advanced riders
10. Runner Up – Lib Tech Skate Banana
Another solid freestyle option that offers plenty of play without compromising performance is the Lib Tech Skate Banana. Lib Tech is known for making unique and innovative snowboard designs, often by blending unique features with high-end performance. This board is a ton of fun and easy to ride, but it still delivers the performance you need and expect out of a high-end option.
This board features a freestyle twin shape that makes it approachable and appealing for riders of many varieties. That is then backed by a progressive profile that’s jibby, floaty, and fun. This model also features layers of Aspen, Paulownia, and Birch for a solid and strong construction that’s built to handle any condition. Its Magne-Traction edge gives you ultimate control even in less than ideal conditions. A solid, fun, and versatile snow chomping machine.
- Versatile and fun
- Good option for all ability levels
- Progressive profile
- Magne-Traction edge
- Strong and Durable
- Chatters at high speeds
Useful Tips & Resources
There are plenty of good options when it comes to the best snowboards out there. Every board in the above list will surely satisfy any rider, but that doesn’t mean you have to pick one of the ten choices we’ve reviewed. You can’t go wrong with any of the above but if you want to learn a bit more about how to pick out a great board, take a look at some of the advice listed here.
It’s also good to remember that safety is a major concern when pursuing any snowsport. Injuries can occur at any moment and you want to do all you can to prevent them from happening to yourself and anyone else on the mountain. Getting hurt is one thing, but being the source of injury for another rider can make you feel downright awful.
Always ride in control and be aware of others around you. You might be eager to get out there and rip on your new board, but one wrong move can cause a quick end to your season. Wear a helmet and always have a spotter if you’re going off any serious terrain features inside of the park or on other areas of the resort. For some more general safety tips, take a look at this.
Getting a new snowboard is always exciting. If you really love the sport, it can feel like your birthday anytime you’re out on the snow. Whether you are buying your own snowboard for the first time or are making another addition to your arsenal, the options listed above are some of the best ones currently available. Chances are, you’re going to want more than one. Try them out and see what option works best for you!
Do you have a favorite snowboard that is not on this list? How about a favorite snowboard of all time? Let us know in the comments below!