What is the best all-mountain snowboard? Is there even such a thing as one snowboard that can do it all? The debate goes on and remains snowboarding’s most contentious battleground (well, that and the whole Step-On thing). Many brands claim to have come up with the silver bullet, single snowboard solution that kills off the competition. You know the ones – the daily drivers, the all-rounders, the quiver killers, the one-stop-shops for park, piste and powder riding alike.
Don’t be too easily swayed, though, the easy answer isn’t always the truth. Colonel Sanders sold a hell of a lot of chicken, but I’m not sure anyone wants to know how he made it. All-mountain snowboards are virtually every brand’s best-seller, but it takes a little more scrutiny to pick out the best of the bunch. Every winter, the Whitelines crew round up our highlights, cut through the marketing jargon, and present our selection of the season’s best all-mountain snowboards.
“Many brands venture slightly off the fence, creating what you might call an all-mountain freestyle or all-mountain freeride snowboard”
In the list below, we’ve curated a selection of all the big hitters, hidden gems and complete curveballs that genuinely impressed us this season. But look, we get it. One man’s Michelangelo is another man’s Milli Vanilli. They won’t all be to your liking, and that’s fine. It’s a hell of a balancing act. Occasionally, some strike the treble twenty and split the stoke evenly between freestyle, freeride and piste. More often, brands venture slightly off the fence, creating what you might call an all-mountain freestyle or all-mountain freeride snowboard. These snowboards tend to have the edge when it comes to riding in the park over the backcountry, and vice versa.
How To Choose A Snowboard
- Stiff vs Soft Snowboards
- What Size Snowboard Do I Need?
- Camber vs Rocker
- Snowboard Shapes Explained
- Do You Need A Wide Snowboard?
What To Look For When Buying An All-Mountain Snowboard
Directional twins are often the shape of choice for all-mountain snowboards. For the most part, the board will feel and ride like a true twin and easily handle switch, but there will be some directional elements in its construction. This could be a slightly set back stance, elongated nose scoop, flex pattern, taper, etc. but never enough to make the board feel uni-directional.
CamRock and Hybrid cambers seem to have claimed this territory for the majority of all-mountain boards, but there’s still the odd sighting of a full camber, flat, or even rockered all-mountain snowboard in this year’s Buyer’s Guide – as well as this list.
Camber provides grip, power and pop to the snowboard, making it very versatile on the piste and suited for faster, more aggressive riding. Rocker offers increased manoeuvrability, float in powder and forgiveness but can feel unstable at speed. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why all-mountain snowboards tend to adopt a combination of the two.
Flex ratings are a personal choice and largely down to the type of rider you are, and the type of terrain you’ll be spending most of your time on. Generally, in this category range, flex ratings will sit somewhere between four and seven out of ten, striking a balance between playfulness and response. It’s not uncommon to find these numbers creeping close to double digits on some all-mountain options, though.
“We believe the following boards should be serious contenders for all-mountain shenanigans this season”
Of course, if you’re planning on spending a lot more time in the park this season, or lining up some big backcountry lines, or maybe heading out to Japan for the first time, you may be in the market for a more specific tool for the job. If so, check out our rundown of the best freestyle snowboards and best freeride snowboards for 2020/21 instead.
As with any purchase of new season snowboard gear, the choice is very subjective. But whatever your ability, budget, gender or feelings towards things that are gold and glitter, we believe the following boards should be serious contenders for all-mountain shenanigans this season. And hey, if in doubt, just pick your favourite graphic.