If shopping for a new snowboard leaves you smarting at how much a new deck can cost, look at it this way: it could be worse.
Here’s a collection of the some of the priciest snowboards available on the market today. We’ve excluded splitboards – it should go without saying that they naturally incur a higher cost – as well as rare eBay finds and gimmicky 'designer label' releases. Everything you see is freshly released, available to buy brand new, and made by a snowboard brand rather than a supercar company or Italian fashion house.
“Much like it is with computers and cars, today’s prototype is tomorrow’s standard class"
99.9% of us won’t ever get the chance to ride one of these, but they’re worth paying attention to all the same. Much like it is with computers and cars, today’s prototype is tomorrow’s standard class. Hide your credit card, sit back and prepare to be amazed.
Prices listed are recommended retail prices, or approximations in other currencies where stated (based on exchange rates available on 1st November 2016).
DISCLAIMER: Whitelines is not responsible for any damage to laptops, tablets or smartphones caused by inevitable spit-takes. Don’t drink and read, kids.
- 1. Lib Tech Travis Rice Climax
- £780 / €1000
At the behest of Mr. Rice it’s packed with carbon, as well as foam that kills unwanted vibrations. The latter is recycled, of course – this is Lib Tech we’re talking about – so if you buy this you can ride in the knowledge that there a few less plastic bottles in Washington State landfills.
- 2. Nidecker Ultralight
- €999 (approx. £900)
Not the most imaginative of names, but at least you know what this one’s all about.
The Ultralight is laced with carbon and Kevlar (the stuff you find in bulletproof vests), making it responsive enough for the gnarliest of descents. It’s certainly up to the challenge – it was an Ultralight that carried Emelien Badoux to Freeride World Tour glory in 2014.
The big selling point is the high-tech ‘Swiss Core’, which Nidecker say is the biggest thing to hit snowboarding in years. Time will tell if that’s true, but if you’re flush with Euros then you can find out for yourself.
- 3. Nitro Highlander
- £900 / €1,200
There can only be one... person out of a hundred that can afford to drop almost a grand on a snowboard, but those who qualify might want to take a look at the Highlander.
It features KOROYD in the nose and tail to bring the swing weight right down. This collection of short co-polymer tubes is used primarily in safety products, and Nitro have secured exclusive use of it for snowboarding.
We’re assuming it’s pretty special, because there isn’t much else in the Highlander that’s different to one of their Nitro's standard boards. We got a bit excited about ‘Diamond Laminates’, but it turns out that’s describing the shape rather than the material used...
- 4. Burton Custom Mystery
- £999 / €1,350
If you go to the trouble of building your own in-house snowboard R&D facility, you might as well push right up against the boundaries of tech. That’s exactly what’s going on here with the Burton Custom Mystery, the first board to be developed at Craig’s.
The name isn’t just a nod to a Craig Kelly pro model of old; it also neatly sums up how much we were able to find out about what’s going on under the hood. Needless to say it’s almost impossibly light, with a clever carbon layout and a ‘Methlon’ base (nope, us neither). Given that it’s based on the Custom, it’ll ride anywhere – but we'd advise staying well away from any rocks.
- 5. Jones Project X
- £1,200 / €1,500
An X always makes things sound cooler – but in this case there’s another reason for the name. Xavier Nidecker is the brains behind Jones’ most advanced (and most expensive) board to date, and he’s allegedly managed to shave off many a gram without compromising stability and chatter dampening.
Like any good magician, he doesn’t fully reveal his secrets. Case in point: the description from the Jones website.
“It’s built using a unique variation of ULTRA Construction that features multiple layers of Fusion Tech and Textreme Carbon."
A simple ‘abracadabra’ would have sufficed.
- 6. Spring Break Discount Time Travel
- $1,500 (approx. £1225 / €1360)
You don’t need to be uber-rich to get a taste of Spring Break, especially now that there’s a line of CAPiTA collabs to choose from too. However, the priciest board in Corey Smith's quiver verges on the eye-watering.
What do you get for your cash? Well, it’s a combination of bamboo and poplar that is – you guessed it – incredibly light, and it’s got proper surf-style fins made from rich mahogany.
That means it’s pretty specialist, even before you take its 172cm length into account, so only those with plenty of access to deep pow will get anything close to their money’s worth here. Then there’s that name – if this is the 'Discount', what the hell does Full-Priced Time Travel cost?!
- 7. Gentemstick Impossible
- ¥174,960 (approx. £1,365 / €1,510)
Coming in at a hefty 186cm, the Gentemstick Impossible is as pure a powder board as you could find – and the amount of wedge it’ll cos you could get you plenty of pure powder of a different kind altogether.
Taro Tamai is a master craftsman, so at least you know that a lot of love has gone into the Impossible’s construction. Plus if you’re using this right then you may get several years’ happiness out of it, as you float over bottomless pow fields and kick up insane rooster tails. Just bear in mind that, unless you live in Taro’s stomping ground of Hokkaido, that might be tricky...
- 8. WEST La Supreme
- 1800CHF (approx. £1500 / €1660)
Swiss-based manufacturers WEST have only been around for a couple of seasons, but they’re definitely not shy about stepping things up. Much like their compatriots at Nidecker, they approach the construction of their high-end boards with the attitude of a watchmaker.
The La Supreme is a collaboration with legendary shaper Reto Neiger, in his own snowboard workshop. Only ten boards have been made, so if you love a bit of exclusivity then La Supreme certainly delivers on that front. Besides, everything else in Switzerland is ruinously expensive, so why not your snowboard too?