Best Buys

Best Freeride Snowboards For 2022-2023

From surfy powder turns to backcountry couloirs, here are the best freeride snowboards to head off-piste with this season

Freeriding. The clue’s in the name. Rather than being confined by artificial boundaries, man-made features, a prescribed set of rules, or even a specific environment, snowboarding’s freeride fraternity prefer to venture into more unchartered territories on the mountain. From bottomless conditions in Hokkaido’s legendary powder fields to the high alpine, death-defying faces of Chamonix, there are as many world class freeride destinations as there are best freeride snowboards to choose from.

With such a broad spectrum of terrain comes an equally diverse range of tools for the job. We could have broken this list into freeriding’s ever-increasing splinter factions: big-mountain, carving, backcountry-freestyle, powder, and even those that claim to do a little bit of it all. But where’s the fun in that? Much better to line them all up, Usual Suspects style, and collectively appreciate their weird and wonderful designs.

“There are as many freeride destinations as there are snowboards to choose from in this category”

It shouldn’t take a particularly discerning eye to pick some of key differences between some models. Other features may be harder to spot. With that in mind, here are the key considerations to keep in mind when choosing your next freeride snowboard.

Turns for the soul (Pic: Ed Blomfield)

What To Look For When Buying A Freeride Snowboard

Surface Area
It doesn’t take a BSc in Physics to understand that surface area is a key component to how well a snowboard floats, but it certainly takes an open mind to consider some of the more eccentric freeride shapes appearing on the market these days. Whether you’re looking at a more traditional 160+cm freeride snowboard, the increasingly popular volume shifted snowboards or anything in between, the rule remains the same: the bigger the surface area, the better the float.

Shape and Outline
Convention dictates that a snowboard must be directional in its outline to perform away from the pistes. While we don’t disagree that a setback stance, tapered shape, stiffer flex in the rear and countless variations of directional nose and tail designs all play their part, the necessity for a directional outline simply doesn’t hold true these days. Freeriding has increasingly seen freestyle and switch riding move into the backcountry and snowboard shapes are adapting to meet the demand.

Take your time on this decision. Are you only ever going to ride this snowboard in bottomless powder? Or do you want/need something that can carve up groomers, or navigate down an icy couloir when you beat the morning sun to the drop-in, too? In most cases, some form of rockered section will feature in the nose of a freeride snowboard. After that, however, there’s an abundance of flat, cambered or hybrid profiles to suit every rider’s needs.

Freeride snowboards tend to come in at a higher price point than your run-of-the-mill park or all-mountain deck. That’s understandable, though. The last thing you need on a trip to the backcountry is a slow running base or construction that can’t withstand the forces of high-speed descents or the odd rock poking through the surface.

Expect to see high quality sintered bases, powerful cores with a blend of different wood species, performance-enhancing additives, like carbon, Kevlar and basalt, and even brands’ latest innovations in state of the art innovations on show in this snowboard category.

“Whichever freeride deck you opt for this season, never venture off-piste without the correct avalanche safety equipment and plenty of practice using it”

Above all, whichever freeride deck you opt for this season, never venture off-piste without the correct avalanche safety equipment and plenty of practice using it, as well as some experienced company or a mountain guide.


Best Freeride Snowboards 2022-2023

Jones Mind Expander Snowboard 2022-2023

Whitelines Choice Winner: Best Men’s Freeride Snowboard
PRICE: £540 / €600 / $600

When the Jones Mind Expander first appeared, it was hard to say whether or not it would have staying power. The quality and fun factor were undeniable, but it cut right across the rest of the Jones brand’s identity – a brightly-plumed parakeet amongst a pack of padding snow leopards.

Fortunately for us all, it found its audience and spawned more variants than a certain infamous airborne virus. While we’d encourage you to check out the twin, split, youth, women’s and ‘Ultra’ versions, this year we’re singling out the original and best.

Who Is The Jones Mind Expander For?

The best way to get out of a rut is to dig new ones! If your standard all-mountain board isn’t doing it for you anymore, take this out on a slushy day and see if you can’t rediscover your joie-de-vivre in amongst all the carving and slashing.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Jones Mind Expander here


K2 Passport Snowboard 2022-2023

Whitelines Choice Winner: Best Unisex Freeride Snowboard
PRICE: £465 / €530 / $530

For 2023, K2 have expanded their unisex offering with the all-new Passport. This is your ticket to ride just about anything, with a lively personality and rider refined features that focus on piste and pow.

The Passport is built for deep days and steep days. It’ll be a reliable companion for specialised riding and, while it will prefer a blower day after a couple feet of fresh snowfall, you’ll still get that high-end performance on an overnight light dusting. The stiffer flex and performance oriented construction do place a bit of a barrier to entry here, so rookies might want to look toward something a bit more mellow.

Who Is The K2 Passport For?

You’re a confident rider who prioritises powder missions and days spent carving up the corduroy. Your park days are probably mostly behind you (or you have a specific freestyle quiver deck for party laps). You ride fast and hard and need a snowboard that can accompany you when you want to push your limits.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 K2 Passport here


Amplid Kill Switch Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: €590, $590

No changes to the Amplid Kill Switch for 2022/23, or indeed any of the brand’s head-turning ‘Future Shapes’ subdivision of boards. Amplid’s two-season approach is sustainability done right.

It’s something Amplid can easily afford to do, given how ahead of the curve it usually is on board design. Everything about the Kill Switch screams ‘cutting edge’, even without the racing-car-grade materials you’d expect to find in such a board. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun.

Who Is The Amplid Kill Switch For?

If you’re browsing in Amplid’s Future Shapes line, our guess is that you want something atypical and exciting. The Amplid Kill Switch certainly fits the bill, but is a little less radical than some of its shorter, stubbier brethren. It’s also one of the more versatile models in the range, even if it is primarily designed for powder.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Amplid Kill Switch here


Bataleon Cruiser Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £400 / €460 / $460

Bataleon’s calling card is of course Triple Base Technology, and while there are obvious benefits for park riding (less chance of hooking up on rails and more forgiving landings) the original concept was all about more efficient turns. That’s what they’ve tapped into with the new Cruiser – a long-nosed, set back freeride weapon that corners like it’s on rails even at warp speeds. It’s no slouch in the pow either.

Who Is The Bataleon Cruiser For?

If your park days are largely behind you but you’ve still got the minerals to go fast and tackle steep stuff, you’ll find a lot to love about the Cruiser. Don’t be fooled by the name: it sounds like a mellow entry-level board but it’s got a pretty stiff flex better suited to experienced shreds.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Bataleon Cruiser here


Bataleon Party Wave Twin Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £400 / €460 / $460

The lines between resort and backcountry boards are often blurred, not so much the lines between freeride and freestyle- and this is where the new Bataleon Party Wave Twin muscles its way into the crowd. The OG Party Wave made…well, waves, when it was released a while back and short, fat powder boards have been all the rage since. But why stop there? The bods at Bataleon have taken it upon themselves to alter their winning formula and produce a true twin powder board that loves to pop, butter and spin in the sidecountry and beyond.

It may look super niche, and juuust a little bit weird but the Party Wave Twin is the product of the consummation of the long awaited marriage between park and pow. Don’t be afraid to size down, the width is making up the surface area you’ll be losing in the length, and in turn gives you a more agile and nimble ride.

Who Is The Bataleon Party Wave Twin For?

You love powder, buuuut you also find yourself drifting off to the park whenever you get a spare lap. Why not combine the passions? If lofty back 1’s off pillows and big slashes on windlips make your nipples tingle then you’re sure to love what’s on offer here.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Bataleon Party Wave Twin here


Burton Hometown Hero Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £590, €660, $660

There have been several new additions to the Burton Family Tree this season, but we’re still enamoured by the ol’ faithful. The Burton Hometown Hero is precisely that: a favourite amongst locals; a reliable and consistent workhorse that can keep up with the stallions; and prance with the show ponies just as easily.

Designed to pay homage to Burton’s heartland Vermont, and built to last winter after winter the Hometown Hero is a charger for deep and steep powder days, tree run tango’s, laid out carves and everything in between.

Who Is The Burton Hometown Hero For?

Well, thanks to the multitude of Heroes (Men’s, Women’s, Youth, Split) the range of users is about as broad as can be. Riding-wise, though, it errs more on the freeride side of all-mountain, with a chargey personality and a precise nature. So if that sounds like your bag then come on in.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Burton Hometown Hero here


CAPiTA Spring Break Slush Slasher 2022-2023

PRICE: £385 / €419 / $430

Why do we go snowboarding? Cos’ it’s fun as hell, right? Corey Smith’s fleet of party wagons are a staple in the CAPiTA line, fully embracing the weird and wonderful side of snowboarding, they bring creative shapes and experimental thinking very much to the forefront.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of riding the Spring Break Slush Slasher before, then saddle up buddy because this is pure, unadulterated good times. With a more responsive profile and a deeper sidecut for 22/23, we already loved the board but the updated Slush Slasher had our team of testers raving.

Who Is The CAPiTA Spring Break Slush Slasher For?

You’ve been around the block a few times, this is by no means your first rodeo and you’re looking for something a little different to inject some joy into your days on the hill. Powder is preferable, but you’ll happily settle for a warm spring day blasting around with your crew.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 CAPiTA Spring Break Slush Slasher here


CAPiTA Mega Mercury Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £685 / €750 / $800

We’ll be the first to admit that some of snowboarding’s tech jargon has become pretty alien, but then again, Mercury is the first planet in the Solar System, so who better to champion rocketship-esque technology?

And that’s exactly what you’ll find here. The Mega Merc takes advantage of the creme de la creme of CAPiTA’s bag of tricks, wrapped up nicely in their iconic Mercury outline. It’s Monsieur Longo’s board of choice so that should tell you all you need to know in terms of its favoured habitat and pop-ability. Proceed with caution.

Who Is The CAPiTA Mega Mercury For?

You’re an experienced rider who isn’t afraid to splash a little cash to get a truly next level experience. You’re probably a fan of the OG Mercury, but looking for something premium that’s noticeably lighter, faster and stronger.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 CAPiTA Mega Mercury here


Gnu Banked Country Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £530 / €580 / $600

Back in the Whitelines 100 for the second year running with a few choice upgrades for winter 2023, the Gnu Banked Country once again had our test team frothing. It devours steeps, chomps up powder bowls and eats technical descents for breakfast.

There’s no shortage of snowboards that talk a big game and claim to dominate across a variety of terrain, but the Banked Country is a ride that knows exactly the terrain it’s built to govern. In bounds or off the beaten track, you get a consummate playmate that wants to ride hard and fast, and won’t be afraid to take any prisoners.

Who Is The Gnu Banked Country For?

Rookies, this one ain’t for you. The Banked Country is for confident, athletic and advanced riders. You’re a fiend for powder, but Mt Baker Banked slalom is the highlight of your year. One board to encompass both your passions. How delightful.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Gnu Banked Country here


Head e-Pulse LYT Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £520 / €600 / $659

Head has a long history of experimenting with electronic chips in snowboards. As far back as the mid-2000s it was offering versions of the KERS system (a name familiar to motorsports fans), and it’s still at it today with what it’s calling EMC (Energy Management Circuit) Technology. The Head e-Pulse LYT aims to harness this technology to deliver a smoother ride from lighter materials, but it’s far from a one-trick pony.

Who Is The Head e-Pulse LYT For?

This one is for those keen on carving, charging and dropping the odd cliff here and there. Spinners and flippers need not apply. If you also like your board tech to come with a dollop of complicated physics, you’re laughing.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Head e-Pulse LYT here


K2 Special Effects Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £525 / €600 / $600

Okay, so it might not look like the most versatile board in your locker, and while it can do more than you potentially give it credit for, there’s no denying that the Special Effects is a quiver board. One of the special ones you wait anxiously for the best conditions to pull it out, and when you do, boy oh boy, is it worth it.

Short, shapely and extremely bodacious, the Special Effects has our pulses racing. We’d classify the Special Effects as primarily a freeride snowboard, but not in the sense that you’d ride it down Corbet’s Couloir, think less ball shrinking descents and more undulating hills covered in fluffy white gold. You’ll want to size down significantly with this one, but just trust the process!

Who Is The K2 Special Effects For?

The Special Effects is admittedly possibly more of a special occasion board, surfy turns on blower pow days or party laps slush slashing in the spring sun, but pretty much any rider who wants something specific to suit those occasions will find a chum here. It might be a bit much for a complete newbie, but otherwise you’re hot to trot.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 K2 Special Effects here


Lib Tech Lost x LIB Rocket Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £555 / €630 / $630

The flagship board in Lib Tech’s Lost x Lib Collection, the Rocket was dreamed up by legendary surf shaper Matt Biolos. Our favourite place to ride the Rocket was in the spring slush, but that’s not to say it can’t handle firmer conditions or steeper terrain. The profile and construction of the Rocket mean it’s a veritable demon in deeper snow and it’ll dig a trench with the best of them – just as any great freeride focussed snowboard should!

Who Is The Lib Tech Lost x LIB Rocket For?

You’re a strong rider who wants a powder board that can be taken out of the locker any day of the season. You’ll ride a bit of anything, but your park rat days are probably behind you. Surfy turns and eurocarves are more your bag than front boards and down-flat-downs.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Lib Tech Lost x LIB Rocket here


Moonchild Malibu Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: €579

Moonchild Snowboards was borne out of creative frustration. After churning out boards for other brands, two experienced shapers resolved to make their own. And they didn’t hold back.

A browse of the ‘Skunkworks’ range on their website shows just how far they’re prepared to go in search of a new snowboarding experience: reverse camber meets reverse taper, various “experimental holes” (including a full-on kitchen spatula design), and even a powsurfer with a real denim topsheet. Bonkers, yes – but endearingly so.

Who Is The Moonchild Malibu For?

If you need a break from the norm (but are still hopeful for a hell of a lot of pow days) then the Malibu has your name on it. Ideally you’ll have already had some experience with unconventional boards that have noses bigger than Cyril Sneer, but it’s not a requirement.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Moonchild Malibu here


Nidecker Mosquito Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £585, €630, $650

Of the three models in Nidecker’s ‘Snow Surf Quiver’, the Mosquito is our number one pick. It’s a great example of a modern volume-shift design that can be ridden around 10 centimetres shorter than your standard deck. An updated silhouette for 2022/23 sees slightly more angular corners but, honestly it’s more of a cosmetic change. Performance remains much the same – and that’s a good thing. With that stubby tail and extended nose it’s a dream to ride in powder, but the beauty of this one is just how well it carves and slashes across the whole mountain. Unleash your inner John John!

Who Is The Nidecker Mosquito For?

Riders who are happy to swerve the park and try something a bit different. They love greybird days in the trees, and agile turns on the piste. And they probably own a wetsuit.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Nidecker Mosquito here


Rome Ravine Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £470 / €530 / $530

Despite all the shapes on offer these days, few snowboarders actually load their bags with more than one deck – especially if they’re flying. The all-mountain, one-board-to-do-it-all quiver killer therefore remains the biggest segment in the market. In the past, these were almost indistinguishable from park decks, being twin tips with a stiffer, slightly directional flex and/or a subtly set back stance (see Burton Custom). But what the new wave of silhouettes has proven is that fully directional boards – done right – can still mix it on jumps while delivering proper, grin-inducing float in powder. Enter the Rome Ravine.

Who Is The Rome Ravine For?

Riders who don’t want the stress or expense of choosing from multiple boards, but who’d like something a bit more exciting than a bog standard directional twin. And these days, that’s most people.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Rome Ravine here


Salomon Sight Snowboard 2022-2023

PRICE: £335 / $380

Drawing inspiration from the new Salomon Highpath, the redesigned Sight is a genuinely good choice for those who’re balling on more of a budget or looking to take their first dip into the endless pool of freeride snowboarding.

The flex and profile tend towards a mellow option for either more inexperienced riders, or those who prefer to make surfy turns rather than threading the needle down super gnarly turf. It’s an adaptable snowboard that takes some really clever Salomon tech and tones it down into an affordable and attainable package. And all for less than 400 bucks, what a bargain.

Who Is The Salomon Sight For?

You’d err towards the freeride side of all-mountain riding and are looking for a budget friendly option to open the doors for you. Despite taking inspiration from some heavy hitters, the Sight’s easy going flex and mellow ingredient list earmark it as one that can be used by everybody, from novices all the way to pros.


Selected for the Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2022-2023 Salomon Sight here




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