As our skateboarding compadres often like to remind us, snowboarding’s an expensive sport. Travel, uplift, warm clothing; even before you make your first turns there’s a lot of stuff you need to factor in, and most of it's expensive.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of boards that come in at relatively affordable prices. They’re all still a fair bit north of your average skate deck, but then there’s a lot more going on under the graphic.
Which brings us on to tech: snowboards at the lower end of the price spectrum naturally feature less of it than their more expensive counterparts. Most feature an extruded base rather than a sintered one, which isn’t as fast, and the core is often made from one variety of wood without any carbon or other synthetic augmentations.
However, don’t instantly assume that means they're not as good. At all times, think about your own requirements; a Bugatti Veyron ain't ‘better’ than a Transit van when you’ve got a couch to shift.
"Snowboards at the lower end of the price spectrum feature less tech... but don’t assume that means they're not as good"
Likewise if you’re not going to be ripping down the corduroy or popping to the moon off the XL kicker line, you’re usually better off with something simple. Or perhaps you’re eyeing up a few stairsets around your home town ahead of the next dump, in which case it’s pointless shelling out for a high-end charger if you’re just going to thrash it in the streets.
Out-and-out beginners should also check out our entry-level boards, but for everyone else these ten are definitely worth a look, regardless of your budget. Remember that whatever you buy, the key is to look after it properly – and one advantage of less expensive boards is that they don't requre as much upkeep!
All boards are in alphabetical order, other than the category winner which can be found at the end of the list.
All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi
Production: Ed Blomfield / Mike Brindley / Andrew Duthie / Sami Tuoriniemi
- Burton Process
- Price: £320
Both the camber and ‘Flying V’ versions of the Burton Process were a hit with our test team.
The Process gives you Mark McMorris-approved performance without requiring his bank balance.
If you’re after something even more freestyle friendly, check out the Burton Process Off-Axis version for the same price.
- CAPiTA Horrorscope
- Price: £270
Whether you want to lap the park or tear up the streets, the CAPiTA Horrorscope has got you covered.
Everything about this has been made with freestyle in mind, particularly rails and ledges, so for a seriously small amount of cash you’ll be deepening your trick bag in no time.
- DC Ply
- Price: £270
A freestyle stick with a loose, skate-like feel, the DC Ply is definitely one for those who love their tricks and prefer the pop of camber.
At that price it would also suit anyone looking for a designated dryslope/indoor board, allowing you to keep another for trips to the real stuff.
- K2 Raygun
- Price: £300
The Raygun has a lot in common with another K2 board, the Turbo Dream.
It boasts similar all-mountain credentials but with a bit less of the tech, making it a great option for those who need a one-board quiver at a low cost.
- Nitro Addict
- Price: £299
Coming in at just under three hundred quid, the Addict is another low-cost all-rounder.
It doesn’t demand much of its user, but is capable of taking on as much as other, more expensive models.
It’s also a little wider than average, so will prevent those with larger feet from getting toe drag while carving.
- Ride Crook
- Price: £340
The Crook has been part of Ride’s line for years, winning over park rats and jib kids – as well as most of the brand’s pro team – with its impressive freestyle chops.
It’s built to last too, so consider this one if you’re looking to smash rails all season long.
- Rome Brigade
- Price: £300
Often it’s worthwhile shelling out a little more for a board that’s well suited for all conditions and terrains. So if you can get a true all-mountain board for one of the lowest prices out there, that’s what they call a win-win.
The Rome Brigade was a hit all over the hill, from the park to the powder.
- Salomon Villain
- Price: £350
The Villain is a modern classic that’s popular with those who spend most, but not all, of their time in the park.
It’s a quality freestyle stick that’s capable of handling any size of feature, but it also scored high for piste-bashing thanks to its responsiveness and sheer carveability.
- Slash Happy Place
- Price: £319
Despite the low price tag, the Happy Place features pop-boosting carbon and a sintered base. However, it’s softer than your average park stick, so you can really press the shit out of the piste one minute and get serious speed and airtime the next.
The unusual camber profile – unique to this board – works like a charm. While it’s made for freestyle, there wasn’t anything our testers felt it couldn’t be applied to.
- WINNER - YES Basic
- Price: £325
It’s hardly a surprise to see a board called the Basic come in for a under £350, but it’s a genuine revelation once you’re riding it. The ‘Underbite’ sidecut really works, giving you an intuitive turning experience that you’d expect from something a lot pricier.
Yes, it has an extruded base, but its straightline speed didn’t get any criticism from those who tried it out. It’s fairly stiff too, so unless you’re actually trying to break a speed record then you’ll get on just fine with the Basic.
The shape and profile make it terrific for freestyle, so it’s definitely an all-round killer. With so much performance at such a low price, you could put your leftover cash towards one of this year’s more offbeat offerings for the ultimate two-board quiver.