We’ll refrain from adding our voice to the collective waffle about how wonderful riding powder is – if that’s what you’re after, watch any shred-doc from 91 Words For Snow onwards and you’ll soon have your fill.
It is rather good, though, and many a board has been specifically designed to get after it at every opportunity. Common features to be found in a freeride board include a setback camber profile, extended nose, tapered tail and some good dampening in the core.
"Expect a prevalence of earthy graphics and muted colours; grizzled pow-hounds tend to shy away from neon"
They’re also usually pretty stiff (both from end-to-end and from edge-to-edge) in order to deliver a stable ride at even the highest speed. Furthermore, expect a prevalence of earthy graphics and muted colours; grizzled pow-hounds tend to shy away from neon.
Unlike some of the more offbeat shapes out there, these boards will more than hold their own on firmer snow too. Get them on a fresh stretch of corduroy, or some freshly-shaped banked corners, and appreciate the simple joy of turning (gah, we’ve started to sound like one of those movies after all...).
Among those that have turned our head this year are some high-tech debutants, a couple of retro throwbacks, an old favourite or two, and an oversized green meanie – take a look.
All boards are in alphabetical order. All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi - click any image to enlarge
Production: Tom Copsey / Andrew Duthie / Arian Schlichenmayer / Sami Tuoriniemi
Bataleon The One
As one of two boards in Bataleon’s ‘Elite Series’, The One features all of the brand’s top tech packaged in a sleek, pow-friendly design.
Triple Base Technology with extra-wide sidebases will have you ploughing effortlessly through the deep stuff, and you can even downsize a little thanks to the mid-wide waist.
Burton Flight Attendant
The directional shape and setback camber of the Flight Attendant make light work of any and all off-piste lines, but the clue’s in the name – unless you’re also getting this airborne, you’re doing it wrong.
There’s plenty of carbon-enhanced power for popping off natural features, and the sidecut makes it ride like a twin on firmer snow.
Head The Day
This one is more forgiving than most pow boards, with extra flex that makes it great fun to mess around with in the powder. Not that it can’t handle a good high-speed burn, thanks to the oversized nose and sintered base.
The Day is also proof that you don’t need to sell the kids to buy a quality pow board.
A modern freeride classic – with a few subtle changes for 2016/17, the Jones Flagship returns to convert yet more folk to its pow-chasing ways.
Super-stable and stiff, this blasts through the crud with ease. The new spoon design makes edge changes smoother than ever, allowing you to really let rip in on the steep and deep.
Originally inspired by Japanese powder guns, the Jones Hovercraft now lifts some of its design from the world of surfing.
The new convex nose and ‘Speed Channel’ at the crescent tail have raised this perennial freeride favourite to the next level. This could well be the Hovercraft’s biggest year yet.
Never Summer Twenty Five
This board simultaneously pays homage to Never Summer’s quarter-century milestone and delivers a freeride experience that’s bang up to date.
The combination of rocker and camber lets the Twenty Five tackle soft and firm snow alike, and carbon enhancements ensure that wherever you take it, you can push it to the limit.
This formerly limited-edition stick has now made it into the main Nitro range, so more folk than ever can enjoy its backcountry-freestyle design.
Built for the natural playground, the Nitro Mountain is just the whip with which to unlock tricks in the powder, with power and versatility in spades.
Rome Mountain Division
An explorer’s dream, the Rome Mountain Division is perfect for sniffing out hits and drops in the backcountry.
Pop power comes from the setback camber profile, as well as two carbon rods and a light-yet-snappy core. Whever the goods are there to be got, this is a fine weapon.
This isn’t just an exercise in nostalgia, even though the SIMS Blade’s shape and graphic definitely hark back to the days when powder was the only option for persona-non-grata American-made snowboarders
Its impressive tech means it’ll meet the needs of modern-day chargers who want something that can handle all aspects of freeriding.
The Völkl Alright is a big beast on paper, but get it under your feet on the groomers and it rides like something far smaller and nimbler
If you want something that floats like crazy in the pow but isn’t a handful on the fallow days, this will do the job.