All Mountain Snowboard Guide

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Published in Whitelines Magazine Buyer’s Guide Issue, Winter 2010-2011

Academy Rhythm Snowboard

ACADEMY RHYTHM : £335

SIZES: 140 / 145 / 148 / 151 / 153 / 155 / 156 / 159

THEY SAY: The perfect park and all mountain board.

WE SAY: A nice, stable mid-wide twin with a classy mix of aspen and poplar in the core. The rocker version will suit those who spend more of their time in the park, while the cambered ones work well for those who like to shred a bit of everything.

TESTER SAYS: “Super-fast base and quick response edge to edge.”

AMPLID PARADIGMA : £450

SIZES: 153 / 156 / 159 / 163

THEY SAY: The most versatile board on the mountain.

WE SAY: Amplid’s do anything work horse. This board features the German brand’s ‘superlight’ wood core, which has extra dampening elements to make carving up corduroy and cutting through crud easy.

TESTER SAYS: “Light, poppy and turns easily, but still holds an edge at speed.”

APO SELEKTA : £325

SIZES: 145 / 149 / 153 / 155 / 157

THEY SAY: A skateboard for snow.

WE SAY: An Apo classic, this mid-flexing true twin is a favourite with park rats all over the French Alps for a reason. The rocker will make butters, spins and presses as easy as pie. More of a jibber’s board than a proper piste carver though.

TESTER SAYS: “Faster and more effortless ride with the new sintered base.”

ARBOR DRAFT : £360

SIZES: 143 / 147 / 149.5 / 153 / 155 / 158.5

THEY SAY: The perfect platform for kinking or pressing any feature.

WE SAY: Pitched at the jibby end of the all-mountain spectrum, this board’s soft fl ex and rocker profile might mean it’s less stable at speed but make buttering easy and help you recover sketched landings.

TESTER SAYS: “Bronze edges make it more forgiving on rails.”

ARBOR WESTMARK : £400

SIZES: 150 / 153 / 156 / 159

THEY SAY: Delivers critical pop, durability and control.

WE SAY: With a mid-range fl ex and a true twin shape, this board is designed for park slayers who want aboard that’s still playful, but stiff enough for all but the biggest kickers. A jack of all trades.

TESTER SAYS: “Dives into turns and crazy fun on the jibs.”

ARBOR ELEMENT RX : £490

SIZES: 153 / 157 / 161 / 165

THEY SAY: Style and performance – on mountain, in the park, and beyond.

WE SAY: A stiffer all-mountain offering. The added length on the tip and tail helps it fl oat in powder. One for hard charging and dropping cliffs rather than jibbing about.

TESTER SAYS: “Carving with Arbor’s ‘Grip Tech’ is solid, effortless and inspires you to push your riding. Super-stable.”

ARTEC ALT ROCKER : £255

SIZES: 146 / 152 / 156 / 158 / 162

THEY SAY: Take freestyle riding to new frontiers.

WE SAY: This board’s fl ex designed for riding reasonably fast, but it’s snub-nosed shape means its also relatively easy to spin and butter. Not designed with anything specific in mind, but capable of handling pretty much anything. Also pretty cheap.

TESTER SAYS: “Nice, solid entry-level rocker. Holds up well at speed.”

ARTEC GABE TAYLOR : £280

SIZES: 147 / 151 / 155 / 159 / 163 – 155W / 159W / 163W

THEY SAY: An amazing board to ride for throwing down.

WE SAY: With a reasonably aggressive sidecut and a stiffish flex, this board is designed for freestyle riders who like to go big. At the same time, its blunt nose and tail mean it’s OK on jibs as well. Well-suited to Mammoth local Gabe Taylor then.

TESTER SAYS: “Top quality construction and feel and at that price they’re virtually giving them away!”

ATOMIC HATCHET : £260

SIZES: 145 / 149 / 153 / 156 / 159 – 156W / 159W / 163W / 166W

THEY SAY: A sweet ride for beginners and pros.

WE SAY: A simple, well-made, go anywhere stick. Not one for specialists in any one area, but it has all the tech you need, and at that price, who’s complaining?

TESTER SAYS: “A solid all rounder that’s well packed with tech for the money.”

BATALEON EVIL TWIN : £350

SIZES: 151 / 154 / 157

THEY SAY: The perfect twin board taken to the next level.

WE SAY: Bataleon’s bestseller has been taken back to the drawing board, tweaked a bit and put out there once again for your entertainment. And, once again, it’s aimed at jibbers, park rats and anyone who enjoys not catching their edges.

TESTER SAYS: “Good fl ex, perfect park board. Sinks a bit in powder, but it’s not really meant for that.”

BATALEON GOLIATH : £355

SIZES: 153 / 157 / 161 / 164 – 157W / 161W

THEY SAY: A true do-it-all shred machine.

WE SAY: A freestyle twin with a reasonably stiff poplar and beech composite core. Ridden by none other than the UK’s Tyler Chorlton, this is designed for spinning big, and riding hard as well as throwing in the occasional butter.

TESTER SAYS: “Classic Bataleon board, awesome straight down-the-middle ride.”

BATALEON JAM : £395

SIZES: 157 / 161 / 164 – 161W

THEY SAY: The Swiss army knife of snowboards.

WE SAY: Towards the stiffer end of Bataleon’s range, the Jam is designed for aggressive freestyle riders.  The Triple Base Tech will help you to not catch your edge as you’re charging down pistes. Probably too stiff for beginners or jibbers, but great if you wanna go big in the pipe.

TESTER SAYS: “Really grips on the hardpack and cuts through all crud easily.”

BATALEON ENEMY : £700

SIZES: 157 / 161 / 164

THEY SAY: Hands down the sickest board we’ve ever made.

WE SAY: Pitched right at the top end, this is a stiff freeride type board aimed at those with a passion for fast, precision riding. The price might put it out of some people’s reach, but you get a silly amount of tech for your money.

TESTER SAYS: “Feels stupidly light underfoot. It’s nimble and agile and turns very smoothly, especially when you’re gunning it.”

BURTON LOVE : £400

SIZES: 152 / 155 / 158 / 162 – 157W / 159W

THEY SAY: “We can’t live without your soft, tender fl ex.”– Always, Keegan & Mikkel

WE SAY: A silky soft freestyle stick aimed at the jibbier end of the all-mountain spectrum. Like Messrs Bang and Valaika, this kills it in the park and on rails. A nice, easy ride.

TESTER SAYS: “Soft, buttery and sweet. Held an edge surprisingly well at speed too.”

BURTON SHERLOCK : £400

SIZES: 154 / 157 / 160 / 163

THEY SAY: Floats like a dream.

WE SAY: Designed by Burton as a powder-loving freestyle rider’s stick, this has special dampening features in the core to make your ride smoother, whatever the terrain. Not really a jibber’s board, but great for pissing about everywhere else.

TESTER SAYS: “Perhaps lacks grip on the hard pack, but that’s cos it’s super-playful.”

BURTON JOYSTICK : £420

SIZES: 150 / 154 / 157 / 161 – 156W / 159W / 163W

THEY SAY: Our most award-winning board has been upgraded.

WE SAY: The Joystick is a softish-feeling all-mountain board with a V-rocker that makes it buttery. But Burton have added ‘Jumper Cables High Voltage’ so it’s still pretty poppy too. Not a board for specialists perhaps, but a pretty special one.

TESTER SAYS: “This is the most fun I’ve had outside of a shower in a very long time. ” [WTF? – Ed]

BURTON EASY LIVIN’ : £430

SIZES: 152 / 155 / 158

THEY SAY: Acts as a guide to help riders freely explore reality.

WE SAY: A Fear and Loathing-inspired twin ridden by the bearded Shaun White-slayer Danny Davis. A mellower fl ex and an easier ride then most pipeboards, but then Danny’s mellower than most piperiders.

TESTER SAYS: “Camber keeps it really poppy, but maybe a bit soft for true pipe jocks.”

BURTON CUSTOM : £450

SIZES: 151 / 154 / 156 / 158 / 160 / 163 – 158W / 162W / 165W / 169W

THEY SAY: Affinity for all things freestyle.

WE SAY: The Custom is the best-selling snowboard ever for a reason. The classic camber version is the more stable one, but the rocker-camber combo is more playful. Not really one for specialists, but doesn’t really have a weakness either.

TESTER SAYS: “With the camber under the feet, it’s edge hold is insane and it’s hugely poppy.”

BURTON CUSTOM X : £550

SIZES: 152 / 156 / 158 / 160 / 164 – 159W / 162W / 164W

THEY SAY: Packed with power, precision, and pop.

WE SAY: A stiffer, beefed-up version of the Custom aimed at more experienced freestylers who want a precision shred machine. Not one for novices, but great for carving into corduroy, boosting big out of the pipe or popping off a big windlip.

TESTER SAYS: “Blasts through any chop in its way and sticks a solid edge. To be ridden at Mach 10.”

BURTON T7 : £660

SIZES: 156 / 159 / 162

THEY SAY: A cushioned cruise missile.

WE SAY: This is Terje’s board. Built for speed and precision carving, its camber profile and Aluma flycore make it stupidly poppy, while keeping it light as well. No wonder the sprocking cat still boosts massive methods off anything and everything!

TESTER SAYS: “Light as a feather and so, so fast! Beginners beware though – this is a board for people who can really ride.”

BURTON VAPOR : £880

SIZES: 155 / 157 / 159 – 162W

THEY SAY: The dream machine.

WE SAY: A super-high end pipe board built with the best riders in mind – at least those who can afford that price tag. What you get for your money is a collection of the best tech ever put into a board, making it super stable and super-light.

TESTER SAYS: “Awesome board that just wants to go fast. Amazing in the pipe.”

BURTON METHOD : £1,300

SIZES: 155 / 158 / 162

THEY SAY: The ultimate riding machine.

WE SAY: The hype is probably justified on this one, and although that price tag looks astronomical, it might even be worth it. You simply won’t find a better board for carving, and with that rocker-camber combo this’ll kill it on any terrain.

TESTER SAYS: “It’s amazing! Super light! Super fast! Super stable! Super edge hold! Super good looks too! The only bad thing is the price.”

CAPITA QUIVER KILLER : £370

SIZES: 155 / 157 / 159 / 161

THEY SAY: All terrain attack vehicle.

WE SAY: The poplar core and camber profile keep this stick poppy, and the directional shape makes it great for slashing pow or carving groomed pistes. The flex might make it a bit stiff for most beginners, but it’s designed for hard-charging freestylers really.

TESTER SAYS: “Quick edge to edge and stable at speed. Cheap too!”

CAPITA INDOOR SURVIVAL : £400

SIZES: 154 / 156 / 158 / 160

THEY SAY: At the centre of all true chaos and selfdestructive debauchery there is always a tortured soul.

WE SAY: Jibby twin with a profile that combines a flat base between the bindings with rocker at the tip and tail to keep the board feeling playful. This means it’s a bit twitchy at high speeds, but there’s also a conventional camber version.

TESTER SAYS: “Carves hard, works in the pipe and handles heavy snow conditions.”

CAPITA MID LIFE : £420

SIZES: 155 / 158

THEY SAY: True twin mid-wide freestyle.

WE SAY: A relatively stiff flexing twin with a poplar and beech core that makes it poppy as hell. Carbonkevlar insert strips and the camber profile add to the springiness.

TESTER SAYS: “Sweet, poppy and fast. Perhaps a bit heavy, but would suit an aggressive rider looking for a jibby stick.”

CAPITA BLACK SNOWBOARD OF DEATH : £500

SIZES: 159 / 162 / 165

THEY SAY: Revolutionary all-terrain freestyle.

WE SAY: A high-end rocker-camber combo board perfect for charging hard, carving and getting stuck into pretty much any kind of terrain. Its stiffish flexmans it’s not for beginners, but then the skull probably told you that anyway.

TESTER SAYS: “Immediately felt stable and safe on the piste. You can really drive into turns and hold a solid edge.”

CONTRABAND BURROSO : £300

SIZES: 152 / 155

THEY SAY: Chewing gum with rebound!

WE SAY: With a rocker profile that helps in pow and a flex that’s still soft enough to butter on the piste, this is a truly go-anywhere board. The rocker means it’s not as stable as some, but that makes it more lively.

TESTER SAYS: “Super poppy and loose. A fun board for the whole mountain.”

CONTRABAND NERO : £350

SIZES: 152 / 155

THEY SAY: For the rider who doesn’t want to play second fiddle in the park.

WE SAY: With a polar and beech composite core and a camber profile, the Nero is designed to make pipe and kicker riding a pleasure. That camber means it’s not the most butter-friendly, but will still handle most rails.

TESTER SAYS: “More pop than a variety pack of Pop Tarts! This board is sick.”

CONTRACT COBRA : £350

SIZES: 157 / 161 / 164 – 161W

THEY SAY: A true freestyle board and a team favourite.

WE SAY: A nice, mid-range all-mountain board for a competitive price. Contract’s corrugated ‘Snake Transition’ means it holds an edge well on hardpack despite the freestyle flex. A cheap option for all-rounders.

TESTER SAYS: “Very good all mountain board. Easy turning, good response on kickers.”

CONTRACT 3D SWELL BOARD : £400

SIZES: 152 / 158 / 164

THEY SAY: The only truly slay everything snowboard on planet earth.

WE SAY: Contract make bold claims of this flagship stick, but it largely lives up to them. The ‘Snake Transition’ helps it hold an edge beautifully, while the flat profile helps it pop nicely. Not the easiest ride for beginners though.

TESTER SAYS: “Great concept, the Swell powers through all the turns!”

DC LAURI PRO TONE : £290

SIZES: 156

THEY SAY: Pearled out and ready to roll.

WE SAY: A version of one of DC’s jib boards, Lauri’s Heiskari’s pro-model features some serious reverse camber, making for easy rail-riding and butters. Perhaps a bit soft for real piste chargers though.

TESTER SAYS: “Nice progressive fl ex – I like the skate feel on the jibs. ”

DC MLF : £310

SIZES: 150 / 158

THEY SAY: The go-to board for park riders.

WE SAY: A true twin aimed at park rats, and sold for a price park rats can afford. The relatively stiff flex helps it handle big kickers, and the snub nose helps reduce the swing weight.

TESTER SAYS: “Holds a good edge but not soft enough to be a proper jibber’s board.”

DC IIKA PRO MLF : £320

SIZES: 154

THEY SAY: Look for a Backstrom in the graffiti.

WE SAY: A specially tuned version of the MLF featuring Iikka Backstrom’s special graphic, this is basically a park board with extra ash in the core for added stiffness.

TESTER SAYS: “A nice mixture of park feel and all mountain flex. Nice everywhere I tried it.”

DC DEVUN WALSH PRO : £370

SIZES: 154 / 157

THEY SAY: The lightest, most responsive board available from DC.

WE SAY: Devun’s embraced reverse camber this year, but only a tiny bit. The basically fl at base, combined with its stiff fl ex makes it poppy as hell. Built for dropping cliffs in the Whistler backcountry, not for jib kids.

TESTER SAYS: “The ash stringers down the rails give this super light board awesome pop.”

DINOSAURS WILL DIE MAET : £330

SIZES: 148 / 152 / 155 / 158

THEY SAY: The do anything go anywhere board in the DWD line.

WE SAY: It’s an odd name for sure, but the Maet is a pretty normal board – soft- flexing and able to do most things pretty well. Extruded base means it’s not the fastest, but it’s capable of handling most things.

TESTER SAYS: “Soft enough to play with, but still stable at speed.”

DRAKE URBAN : £260

SIZES: 149 / 153 / 156 / 158

THEY SAY: Rule every park and street session.

WE SAY: A soft stick at the jibby end of the all-mountain spectrum. There’s no rocker on this version, meaning it still has enough pop for bigger kickers, but the ready de-tuned edges tell you it’s primarily a rail board.

TESTER SAYS: “Very jibbable ”

DRAKE DF2 SMILEY : £290

SIZES: 150 / 152 / 154 / 156 / 158

THEY SAY: Extreme freestyle power with all around manoeuvrability.

WE SAY: Smiley is Drake’s reverse camber tech – a continuous rocker which gives this board a lively feel. This means it’s not the most stable at speed, but for presses and butters it’s spot on.

TESTER SAYS: “Fun. Bendy, snappy and responsive. For playing in the park and on boxes.”

DRAKE RISTO MATTILA PRO MODEL : £350

SIZES: 153 / 155 / 157

THEY SAY: Risto’s ultimate freestyle machine.

WE SAY: Risto Mattila has been around for years, killing it in the pipe, on big airs and in slopestyle comps. The conventional camber and mid-fl ex helps him do all of that. Like Mr Mattila, this freestyle board doesn’t specialise in one particular area.

TESTER SAYS: “Sick graphic – who wouldn’t want to ride a half naked chick in stockings?”

PRO SET-UP

Jake Blauvelt

Height: 5’9”
Weight: 65kg
Board: Ride Highlife 158
Bindings: Ride Double Agent
Boots: Ride Jackson
Jacket: Oakley Primed Jacket
Pants: Oakley Primed Pant
Goggles: Oakley Crowbar
Stance: Regular
Width: 22.5 inches
Angles: +18, -12

DRAKE DF1 : £370

SIZES: 153 / 156 / 158

THEY SAY: Slash the whole mountain with top speed and power.

WE SAY: Drake’s standard cambered all-terrain killer, the DF1 has been a staple of the company’s line for years. Not as playful as rocker boards, but stable and good at speed. Drake’s ‘Gum Walls’ tech helps it cut through crud.

TESTER SAYS: “Super solid with great flex and pop.”

ENDEAVOR RC : £325

SIZES: 148 / 151 / 153 / 156 / 159

THEY SAY: For the rider who wants a fun, mellow board to throw around on runs.

WE SAY: Pitched at the easy-riding end of the all mountain range, this is almost a jib board. With a cheap extruded base and soft fl ex it’d suit jibbers and beginners rather than carvers or pow riders.

TESTER SAYS: “Nice easy board to ride. Held its edge really well for a rocker.”

ENDEAVOR NXT : £349

SIZES: 154 / 157 / 159 / 162

THEY SAY: Not for the beginner or slow poke on the hill.

WE SAY: Features a wide high nose for added fl oat in pow and a slight taper towards the tail. Definitely too stiff for most park rats, but this isn’t just a freeride board – it’s built for taking tricks to the backcountry, Whistler style.

TESTER SAYS: “If you like gunning it and doing dropshere and there you’ll like this.”

FLOW VERVE : £230

SIZES: 149 / 153 / 155 / 158 – 155W / 158W

THEY SAY: Freestyle fortitude at a fine price.

WE SAY: An easy-flexing rocker board that won’t set you back too much, thanks to the extruded base. Not the fastest, but if park-riding, dome or dryslope is your thing, then this for you.

TESTER SAYS: “Nice, soft and forgiving. Would suit a beginner, but lively on jibs too.”

FLOW QUANTUM : £320

SIZES: 150 / 152 / 155 / 158

THEY SAY: Total domination across the board.

WE SAY: Scotty Lago rides this board, and its stiff flex, rocker-camber combo and fast base help him kill it in the pipe. Novices may find this a bit too stiff.

TESTER SAYS: “Held an edge really nicely, but still forgiving when I scrubbed a landing.”

FLOW TEAM : £350

SIZES: 150 / 153 / 157 / 159

THEY SAY: The team is your board of choice.

WE SAY: This mid-range board actually packs a lot of tech in, especially given the price. A rocker-camber combo and a medium fl ex mean it’ll handle most things, and a high grade sintered base means it’s pretty quick too.

TESTER SAYS: “Felt a bit fat round the waist for proper euro-carving, but so sick in the park.”

FORUM SCALLYWAG : £300

SIZES: 151 / 155 / 158

THEY SAY: Shiver me timbers, a plank with pop!

WE SAY: Forum have added pop zones to the ‘Chilly Dog’ profile of this board, aiming to make it more responsive. Carvers may still find it a bit unstable at high speed, but it’ll suit park rats and jibbers.

TESTER SAYS: “A jibber’s wet dream! Was super easy to butter and spin.”

FORUM HONEYPOT : £340

SIZES: 151 / 154 / 157

THEY SAY: This is not only a snowboard, it’s also an idea, a concept, an experiment.

WE SAY: Takes the ‘Combo Platter’ used in the Holy Moly and puts it into a softer flexing twin. The idea is to keep the pop of camber, and combine it with the raised edges of rocker boards.

TESTER SAYS: “Buttery and soft. A bit twitchy at speed, but who cares when you can spin this easily?”

FORUM DESTROYER : £360

SIZES: 148 / 152 / 154 / 156 / 158 – 154W / 156W / 158W

THEY SAY: Built for all-out destruction of the biggest features.

WE SAY: A park board that’ll take you under the ropes as well. The more stable camber version will suit those who love carving and charging hard, while the livelier ‘Chilly Dog’ Destroyer will suit park-focussed riders.

TESTER SAYS: “It’s pretty gnarly and not for the faint hearted, but as a higher end freestyle rider, you will get a lot from it.”

FORUM CONFLICT : £410

SIZES: 154 / 157 / 160

THEY SAY: The Conflict redefines freestyle riding.

WE SAY: A high-end, stiffish freestyle twin built for boosting off big backcountry booters, John Jackson style. Intermediates and jibbers will probably find this too stiff, but aggressive freestylers will love that.

TESTER SAYS: “Sick! Really quick, fl oats beautifully in powder and kills it on kickers.”

FORUM HOLY MOLY : £550

SIZES: 152 / 155 / 158

THEY SAY: The Holy Moly is the best park board in the world.

WE SAY: There’s a lot of tech in this board, including Forum’s new Combo Platter. This lifts the edges under your feet to stop them from catching so easily. It’s built for big kicker and cliff riding, not novices -perfect for Andreas Wiig then.

TESTER SAYS: “This board is really punchy. Good for jumps.”

FTWO BLACKDECK : £325

SIZES: 148 / 152 / 157 – 162W

THEY SAY: Light and pure.

WE SAY: Ftwo’s flag ship all-mountain board, this is fast thanks to the brand’s lightest poplar and abachi composite core. Not really a jib stick, but remember, Ftwo make race boards – so when they say something’s quick, it’s damn quick.

TESTER SAYS: “Nice and lightweight, super fun off big kickers.”

GNU PARK PICKLE : £425

SIZES: 147 / 150 / 153 / 156 / 159 – 156W / 159W

THEY SAY: Twin asymmetric magne-traction banana for ducks!

WE SAY: Gnu’s park slaying machine. The banana profile keeps it frisky, while the magne-traction and asymmetric side-cut help it hold an edge. A bit too stiff for most novices.

TESTER SAYS: “So sick. Obviously rips park, but surprisingly good for carving too.”

GNU RIDERS CHOICE : £470

SIZES: 151.5 / 154.5 / 157.5 / 161.5 – 158W / 162W / 166W

THEY SAY: Rider-designed all-terrain freestyle.

WE SAY: A park-focussed board featuring Lib Tech’s ‘C2Banana’ profile – a combination of rocker between the feet for a lively feel and camber at the ends for added stability. Not the lightest in the world, but poppy as.

TESTER SAYS: “Just plain good fun. Snap, crackle and pop!”

GNU DANNY KASS : £470

SIZES: 153 / 155 / 158

THEY SAY: Danny’s favourite twin freestyle banana.

WE SAY: Danny Kass does pretty much everything pretty well, and his board reflects this. With the ‘C2Banana’ it’s floaty enough for pow but stable enough for hardpack. Not a specialist pipe stick though, despite Danny’s Olympic medals.

TESTER SAYS: “Nice smooth fl ex, good all-rounder.”

HEAD TEAM : £350

SIZES: 148 / 151 / 154 / 158 / 161

THEY SAY: Makes your spins easier.

WE SAY: Head’s flagship freestyle twin features a honeycomb core, making it lighter than most boards. It’s probably too stiff and snub nosed for learners, but that’s a good thing if you want to ride the pipe.

TESTER SAYS: “Nice, snappy, and responsive. Good for the pipe or in the park.”

K2 TURBO DREAM : £380

SIZES: 153 / 156 / 159 / 161 – 157W / 160W / 164W

THEY SAY: Multiply ultimate response by freestyle perfection.

WE SAY: A stiffer all-mountain board with a rocker profile that’ll keep you a float in the pow and make pressing easier on the piste. A bit too stiff for rails perhaps, but a great freerider’s all-rounder.

TESTER SAYS: “Seasonaires need this – it’s a perfect, versatile little piece of wood.”

K2 SLAYBLADE : £400

SIZES: 153 / 156 / 158 / 161 / 164 – 159W / 163W / 166W

THEY SAY: The industry’s first flatline-equipped stick.

WE SAY: The Slay blade quickly won over critics when it replaced the classic Zeppelin last year. Its completely flat shape means great edge hold, and it carried Brit Ben Kilner all the way to the Olympic halfpipe semi-final.

TESTER SAYS: “Fast, responsive, poppy. Makes you feel ultra stable at high speed.”

K2 FAST PLANT : £420

SIZES: 151 / 154 / 157 – 156W / 159W / 162W

THEY SAY: Whatever you thought about snowboards, hit reset.

WE SAY: K2’s jib rocker combined with a decent stiffness rating makes this a playful and surprisingly poppy little beast. They also reckon it’s basically indestructible and they’re offering a 5-year warranty on it!

TESTER SAYS: “Good pop for a rocker board and handled pow well. Too rigid for beginners but butters nicely if you know what you’re doing.”

K2 ZERO : £500

SIZES: 156 / 159 / 162

THEY SAY: The pinnacle of 23 years of product development.

WE SAY: This is a pretty damn special board – but then it ought to be at that price. Having said that, the flatline profile, the super-light core, the harsh mellow dampening system and all the other tech make it well worth it.

TESTER SAYS: “Stiff fl ex makes carving a dream. Superstable at speed.”

LIB TECH SKATE BANANA : £424

SIZES: 148 / 151 / 152 / 156 / 159 – 156W / 159W

THEY SAY: The original all-terrain, all-conditions quiver killing freestyle banana.

WE SAY: This is the board that kicked off the rocker revolution in snowboard design. Buttery and playful, it’s not built for massive speeds, but it still holds an edge nicely thanks to its ‘magne-traction’.

TESTER SAYS: “This board is brilliant! It excels in all conditions, in pow and in the park.”

LIB TECH TRS : £470

SIZES: 148 / 151 / 154 / 157 / 159 / 162 / 167

THEY SAY: Total Ripper Series.

WE SAY: Like a slightly softer version of the Banana Magic, this will handle pretty much everything. The flex makes it a bit more forgiving, but the ‘magnetraction’ means it’ll still hold an edge nicely.

TESTER SAYS: “Fantastic! Not as skatey as the Jamie Lynn, but super grippy in firm conditions.”

LIB TECH TRAVIS RICE : £470

SIZES: 153 / 157 / 161.5 / 164.5

THEY SAY: Travis’ favourite all-terrain freestyle stick.

WE SAY: Trice surely needs no introduction, and this is the stick that lets him do all that crazy balls-out shredding. With a ‘C2 power banana’ rocker-camber combo, this will be super-stable at speed. It’s pretty stiff though, so not one for beginners.

TESTER SAYS: “More playful than you’d think, solid, but by no means a plank.”

LIB TECH BANANA MAGIC : £600

SIZES: 152 / 157 – 158W

THEY SAY: Olson’s dream construction.

WE SAY: Stiffy shall-mountain twin that’s more at home in the baker backcountry than the streets of Seattle. With a bio-plastic topsheet made of beans and not a shred of fibre glass in it, this board is eco-friendly too.

TESTER SAYS: “Aimed at better riders but still pretty forgiving for a £600 board.”

NEVER SUMMER EVO : £465

SIZES: 142 / 148 / 151 / 153 / 155 / 158 / 161

THEY SAY: For shredders who spend most of their time John Jackson in the pipe and park.

WE SAY: Solid enough for gunning it at big kickers and riding the pipe, but not really a carving machine. The ‘Press Flex’ core, with softer portions between the feet, is designed to help when pressing rails.

TESTER SAYS: “Stable at speed for a short board. A good blend of stiffness and playfulness.”

NEVER SUMMER SL : £465

SIZES: 151 / 153 / 155 / 158 / 161 / 164

THEY SAY: High performance freestyle board that does it all.

WE SAY: A stiffer version of the SL designed forgoing bigger, and dropping cliffs. Dampeners in the hardwood core help when shredding at speed. Not a beginners’ board, but more experienced freestylers could do a lot worse.

TESTER SAYS: “Stiff enough for going quick with a good amount of edge grip.”

NDK THE PAM : £390

SIZES: 145 / 149 / 154 / 157 / 158 / 162

THEY SAY: Who hasn’t dreamt of being rescued by CJ Parker on Malibu Beach?

WE SAY: A reasonably high-tech, but still soft flexing freestyle stick that’ll forgive most mistakes. Apparently the ‘Pam rock’ rocker-camber combo on this board was inspired by Pamela’s body shape!

TESTER SAYS: “Soft, playful, and let’s face it, damn good-looking. Loved riding her!”

NITRO T1 : £350

SIZES: 149 / 153 / 156 / 159 – 152W / 155W / 158W

THEY SAY: One of the most fun twins on the market.

WE SAY: A soft-flexing board from Nitro that holds an edge and pops nicely thanks to its fl at base construction. Not stiff enough to break the sound barrier on, but its special ‘Rail Killer’ edges, make it great in the park.

TESTER SAYS: “Great edge super hold and stable on landings.”

NITRO TEAM GULLWING : £360

SIZES: 152 / 155 / 157 / 159 / 162 – 157W / 159W / 162W

THEY SAY: The perfect fit for our Gullwing camber tech.

WE SAY: A soft-flexing board from Nitro that holds an edge and pops nicely thanks to its fl at base construction. Not stiff enough to break the sound barrier on, but its special ‘Rail Killer’ edges, make it great in the park.

TESTER SAYS: “Great edge super hold and stable on landings.”

NITRO ROOK : £380

SIZES: 152 / 154 / 156 / 158

THEY SAY: The go to board this season.

WE SAY: Nitro have reinforced the core of this park killer with Kevlar – yep, the same stuff that stops bullets. Apparently this helps on high-impact landings. This is a park board, but a pretty high-end one.

TESTER SAYS: “Frisky freestyle board, but still stable when it comes to piste.”

PRO SET-UP

John Jackson

Height: 5’11”
Weight: 81kg
Board: Forum Conflict 160
Bindings: Forum Shaka
Boots: Forum Formula
Jacket: Special Blend Circa
Pants: Special Blend Annex
Goggles: Von Zipper Feenom
Stance: Regular
Width: 23.5 inches
Angles: +21, -6

NITRO BLACK LIGHT : £430

SIZES: 157 / 160 / 163

THEY SAY: The Blacklight was built for speed.

WE SAY: A high-performance, freestyle board that will carve like a dream thanks to its aggressive sidecut. The ‘nanotech wax infused’ base is super-fast, but I wouldn’t bother trying to jib on this beast.

TESTER SAYS: “Sweet! So quick. And nice and light so it spins easy.”

NITRO EERO ETTALA : £430

SIZES: 155 / 157 / 159

THEY SAY: Eero is a tech wizard who does his shit big and drops hammers.

WE SAY: Everyone loves Eero. He rips on rails, kickers, and in the backcountry, wins X Games Golds, and he’s still totally unassuming in that way a lot of Finnish people are. Likewise, pretty much everyone will love this board, except maybe beginners.

TESTER SAYS: “Good stiffish board for the park.”

OMATIC AWESOME : £300

SIZES: 153 / 156 / 159 – 155W / 158W

THEY SAY: You’re tired of sailing the seas of cheese looking for a new board.

WE SAY: A pretty high-tech board for the price, this features Kevlar inserts, tri-axial fibreglass and a sintered base. It’s ‘park-tuned’ rather than pow tuned, but it’s Todd Richards pro-model so it’ll do most things well.

TESTER SAYS: “Fun off rollers and kickers and never felt like it was too stiff to mess around on.”

OMATIC CELEBRITY : £330

SIZES: 148 / 152 / 155 / 158 / 161

THEY SAY: The high-performance ride that puts Mr Vito on the contest podium.

WE SAY: A relatively stiff rocker board is pretty rare, but then so is a pro snowboarder who’ll go on US reality cheese-fest Dancing with the Stars. Stiff enough for Louie Vito to ride pipe on, so not really a jib-stick.

TESTER SAYS: “Surprisingly friendly considering the stiffness of the board. ‘BS [rocker] Technology’ works a treat.”

PALMER PULSE : £330

SIZES: 153 / 156 / 159 / 162

THEY SAY: Forgiving and playful, yet incredibly agile and exact.

WE SAY: An easy-to-ride twin that’d suit people looking for a do-anything board. Improving riders will appreciate the forgiving fl ex. Not really built for speed, but the camber between the feet should stop it washing out too badly.

TESTER SAYS: “Great fun board ideal fl ex for park and all mountain riding.”

PALMER BURN : £450

SIZES: 154 / 157 / 160 / 164

THEY SAY: The new Burn is great at everything.

WE SAY: This may look pretty pricey for an all-mountain twin, but it’s packed full of tech – with Palmer’s Nomex honeycomb core near the nose and tail and their ‘Feels like Flying’ rocker-camber combo, which helps it do everything well.

TESTER SAYS: “Great fl ex for park and all-mountain riding. Stable and reliable.”

PRIOR MFR : £455

SIZES: 158 / 162 / 165 / 168 / 172 / 176 – 162W / 165W / 168W

THEY SAY: Provides incomparable edge hold and fall line speed.

WE SAY: Coming in at the more freeride-focused end of the all-mountain spectrum, this rocker-camber combo is built for pistes and powder. Not the best park rat’s board, but then MFR stands for ‘Men’s Freeride’ so you’d be silly to expect that.

TESTER SAYS: “Cuts through crud like a dream, and floats sweetly in pow.”

RIDE ANTIC : £330

SIZES: 151 / 154 / 157 / 160 / 163 – 158W / 162W / 165W

THEY SAY: Epitome of all-round performance.

WE SAY: The Antic will happily carve up piste and cut through crud. Benefits from Ride’s Low Rize rocker as well, which means it’s still playful. Not one for specialists, but a good all-rounder.

TESTER SAYS: “Perfect for a progressing intermediate rider to take it to the next level.”

RIDE MACHETE : £340

SIZES: 152 / 155 / 158 / 160 / 162 – 157W / 161W / 164W

THEY SAY: Rock out with your pop out.

WE SAY: A lovely mid-range board aimed at people who want a true twin that won’t feel totally out of place outside the park. It’s got the rocker shape for butters, but that fl ex and Ride’s ‘Pop rods’ mean its still poppy as well.

TESTER SAYS: “Lively, buttered well, but still really stable. Good switch too.”

RIDE DH : £365

SIZES: 151 / 153 / 155 / 157 / 159 – 153W / 156W / 159W / 162W

THEY SAY: What legends are made of.

WE SAY: The DH has been one of Ride’s most popular boards since it was released, and it’s easy to see why. Poppy, but still soft enough to be reasonably forgiving. If you still like camber on your park/jib boards, give this a go.

TESTER SAYS: “Maybe too stiff for a beginner, but a good all rounder for everyone else.”

RIDE DH2 : £380

SIZES: 151 / 153 / 155 / 157 – 153W / 156W / 159W / 162W

THEY SAY: Habit forming without the hook.

WE SAY: Like a stiffer version of the DH, this will help more experienced riders go bigger and faster. Ride’s ‘Pro Rize Rocker’ is very close to being completely flat, meaning more pop, but less forgiveness. Not an intermediates board then.

TESTER SAYS: “This is a high-end freestyle beast which delivers when lapping the park.”

RIDE SOCIETY UL : £440

SIZES: 151 / 154 / 157 / 160

THEY SAY: The King of Pop lives on.

WE SAY: This board has more pop than most on the mountain, thanks to its pop-rods, with even its urethane-infused hemp topsheet helping add springiness. Too stiff to be a rail or buttering board, but great for aggressive, big freestyle riding.

TESTER SAYS: “Sweet carver and so, so poppy! You’ll never land on the knuckle again.”

RIDE HIGHLIFE : £430

SIZES: 155 / 158 / 161 / 164 / 167 – 159W / 163W / 168W / 172W

THEY SAY: Jump aboard this intoxicating Ride.

WE SAY: Ride have tried something pretty unique here – the rocker at the tip and the tail are different. There’s more uplift in the nose for extra pow, while the tail is flatter for increased pop, making it brilliant in the backcountry.

TESTER SAYS: “Took a bit of getting used to going switch, but sweet at speed and in pow.”

ROME MANUAL : £265

SIZES: 153W / 156W / 159W / 162W

THEY SAY: The big ticket to years of progression.

WE SAY: The Manual’s made for people with bigger than normal feet. People with big feet who want a good board at a very good price. Not the most tech stick in the world, but does pretty much everything pretty well.

TESTER SAYS: “Nice price for what you get. Good having a dedicated wide model as well.”

ROME HEADLINE : £320

SIZES: 154 / 156 / 158 / 160 / 163

THEY SAY: Eco-friendly fun from Snow domes to summits.

WE SAY: Rome have used a lot of recycled materials in this board, but this isn’t just a hippy free-ride stick. It’s stiff enough to charge hard in powder for sure, but still poppy enough for the park.

TESTER SAYS: “Poppy as, and great all-over the mountain, though not really a rails board.”

ROME AGENT : £420

SIZES: 146 / 149 / 152 / 154 / 156 / 158 / 160 – 156W / 158W / 160W

THEY SAY: The gold standard, reinvented again.

WE SAY: This is one of Rome’s classics. A stiffish flexing twin that’s designed with the park or pipe in mind, but will also feel comfortable everywhere else. This camber version is not particularly forgiving, but it’s not meant for novices anyway.

TESTER SAYS: “Holds an edge very well – a great kicker board.”

SALOMON DRIFT : £270

SIZES: 148 / 152 / 154 / 156 / 159 – 154W / 158W / 162W

THEY SAY: Double dose of freestyle.

WE SAY: A soft-flexing true twin designed with park rats and rail-slayers in mind. With its extruded base, this isn’t the quickest board around, but it’s tough and easy to repair after late-night street sessions.

TESTER SAYS: “Really fun, rocker saved me from going arse over tit a few times!”

SALOMON TITAN : £320

SIZES: 148 / 151 / 155 / 158 / 162

THEY SAY: Less effort, more power.

WE SAY: An all-rounder aimed slightly more at the piste carver than the park rat, this benefits from a light core construction and a fast base. Poppy and responsive, this will work well on kickers, but less well on rails.

TESTER SAYS: “Turned really easily for a stiff stick and holds an edge really well.”

SALOMON OFFICIAL : £350

SIZES: 148 / 152 / 155 / 158 / 161

THEY SAY: Fact: Award-winning freestyle.

WE SAY: An all-rounder with camber between the bindings for stability and raised contact points to help with sketched landings. Still stiff enough to be poppy, making pipes and kickers easy. Not a beginners stick though.

TESTER SAYS: “Rode everything well! Couldn’t fault this. Sick board.”

SALOMON GRIP : £350

SIZES: 151 / 154 / 157 160 – 158W / 162W

THEY SAY: Grip it and rip it!

WE SAY: This features Salomon’s flatbase rocker combo, with an upturned tip and tail for easy fl oat in the powder and better pressing in the park. This means its not as stable as some all-mountain sticks, but it’s nice and frisky.

TESTER SAYS: “It’s very hard to catch the edge with this board. Soft, yet poppy when needed.”

SALOMON SPECIAL 2 : £360

SIZES: 147 / 150 / 153 / 156 / 159 / 162 – 158W / 163W / 166W

THEY SAY: Banked Slalom badass.

WE SAY: A stiff twin made for people who like to bomb it around at warp speed, rather than meander down the mountain jibbing everything. Salomon’s ‘Ghost Light’ core keeps the weight down, and the ‘Rubber Rails’ help dampen speed vibrations.

TESTER SAYS: “Classic cambered, fast snowboard that tears the mountain a new one.”

SALOMON BURNER : £380

SIZES: 160 / 163 / 166 / 171

THEY SAY: Bomb through it.

WE SAY: With a tapered directional shape and a superstiff flex, this is a board built for going fast! Obviously not as good as a twin-tip in switch, but for carving, pow-shredding and ripping around, it’s hard to find better at this price.

TESTER SAYS: “Quick, slick and carves like a beast!”

SIGNAL OG : £360

SIZES: 151 / 153 / 155 / 157 / 159 / 163 – 155W / 159W / 163W

THEY SAY: Every board is one of a kind.

WE SAY: With its medium fl ex and camber profile, this board does most things well. It’s not the techiest thing on the market, but then it doesn’t cost the earth either. Plus Chris Dufficy and Matt Hammer ride it, so it’s gotta be pretty good…

TESTER SAYS: “Ideal for a seasonaire wanting a classic all mountain snowboard.”

SMOKIN’ BUCK FERTON : £485

SIZES: 151 / 155

THEY SAY: Buck Ferton is a snowboarder’s snowboarder.

WE SAY: A rockered, snub-nosed stick aimed at grubby park rats. Soft-flexing, but will still hold an edge nicely thanks to the ‘magne-traction’ they licensed off Lib. Oh, and then there’s that name…

TESTER SAYS: “Love the snap and power on this thing!”

STEPCHILD SALARY MAN ­SUCKS‑ : £300

SIZES: 149 / 152 / 155 – 152MW / 155MW

THEY SAY: One of the most popular boards in our line.

WE SAY: The Salary Man is the latest incarnation of the popular ‘Powder Sucks’ Stepchild – a name which should tell you everything you need to know about this board. It’s aimed squarely at park rats. The weird thing is, it’s actually pretty good in powder…

TESTER SAYS: “Super easy to spin and play around on. More pop than a school disco.”

STEPCHILD EXPAT : £360

SIZES: 155 / 158.5 / 162.5 – 158.5MW

THEY SAY: High-end directional board.

WE SAY: This update on last year’s Corporate is still lamenting the excesses of corporate America – with one of the sickest graphics we’ve seen this year! Built for pow-charging, this is a board you can get away from all that on.

TESTER SAYS: “Bit stiff for me, but no doubt it’ll suit amore aggressive rider.”

STEPCHILD HEADLESS HORSEMAN : £365

SIZES: 151 / 154 / 157

THEY SAY: The Chi guy has lost his head, but that shouldn’t stop you getting some.

WE SAY: A new addition to the Stepchild range, this stick features a rocker shape that’ll make pow-riding easy. To counter the lack of pop that rocker boards sometimes suffer from, Stepchild have added a stiffer core.

TESTER SAYS: “A sweet board – a bit stiff for beginners I guess, but I loved it. Especially in powder.”

VOLKL SQUAD ROCKER : £450

SIZES: 152 / 155 / 158

THEY SAY: The pro team’s ultimate freestyle weapon!

WE SAY: Both the more frisky rocker and the more solid camber versions of the Squad are made for pissing about in the park. The original grip-taped Squad was the board that made Volkl cool, and it still rocks.

TESTER SAYS: “Playful and powerful, it will kill the whole mountain.”

VOLKL CASHEW : £385

SIZES: 157 / 162

THEY SAY: The ultimate backcountry freestyle performance.

WE SAY: A rockered board with a tapered directional shape that makes pow riding a breeze. The tapered shape means you can still ride just about ride switch, but that’s not really going to be your top priority on this board.

TESTER SAYS: “Sweet in powder, and holds an edge nicely on the piste too.”

WEEKEND HEIKKI SORSA PRO SERIES: £320

SIZES: 153 / 155 / 157

THEY SAY: Just like Heikki Sorsa, this board can ride and handle most anything.

WE SAY: Weekend’s boards have been making quite a splash, and looking at this relatively rigid true twin, its easy to see why. Bit stiff for beginners perhaps but sweet for anything else.

TESTER SAYS: “A real grower and an excellent playful all-mountain board.”

YES GREAT DUDES OF HISTORY : £390

SIZES: 149 / 152 / 154 / 156 / 159 / 162

THEY SAY: Be a great dude of history.

WE SAY: With a graphic lifted straight from Bill and Ted’s end of year report, and a whole load of tech straight out of the Nidecker factory, this rocker camber combo will kill it anywhere. And look sick too.

TESTER SAYS: “Flex pattern was sturdy, responsive and not for the inexperienced, but masses of potential if you treat it right.”

YES OPTIMISTIC : £430

SIZES: 149 / 152 / 154 / 156 / 159 / 162

THEY SAY: Optimism is the message.

WE SAY: A reasonably stiff flexing directional stick designed for killing it in pow and popping monster ollies. It features Yes’ fastest sintered base and their ‘Power Core’ with a poppy mix of ash and poplar woods.

TESTER SAYS: “Powerful ride. This board is fast and very responsive.”

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