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Best Freeride Snowboards 2018-2019

Chosen by the Whitelines Test Team

If freestyle snowboarding and its trickery hold zero attraction for you, then you should look at finding yourself the best freeride snowboard for your specific interest. The good new is that now, more than ever, there’s a wealth to choose from that tick all manner of boxes.

Once again you’ll need to drill down into your preferred kind of freeriding to get the best snowboard for your riding style: freeriding itself can be broken down broadly into on-piste blasting, riding gnarly powder lines with drops, natural terrain freestyle, and mellow playful pow runs including getting lost in the woods. For each kind, there are specific shapes and flexes that will function best.

With all of the above the chances are you’ll be riding forwards most of the time, so such boards will be directional in shape and flex to give you the maximum drive and control through your turns and ride up over powder. While some (if not all, what with the recent trend of taking fishes and big guns into freestyle terrain) will handle runs through the park, they’re definitely less able to perform as well across the spectrum as an all mountain board.

“…On-piste blasting, riding gnarly powder lines with drops, natural terrain freestyle, and mellow playful pow runs…”

When it comes to the niches of freeriding you’ll benefit from a softer, longer and in many cases more rockered nose to ease you into turns and float over pow, while a little extra width can aid buoyancy and carvability. Drilling down more, if you’re looking to go fast on hardpack or in the powder you’ll appreciate the extra response and stability from a stiffer model while tackling mellower faces and tight trees can be helped by having less torisonal stiffness, tighter sidecuts and shorter lengths than you might imagine.

So strap in and take a look at our testers’ best freeride snowboards of 2018-2019.

Scroll down to view all the best snowboards, or skip to a particular board using the links below

Bataleon Party Wave | Burton Deep Thinker | Jones Hovecraft Split | Jones Mind Expander | K2 Cool Bean | KORUA Shapes Pencil Split | Lib Tech Orca | Nidecker Mellow | Nidecker Tracer | Rome Ravine | Salomon Pillow Talk | Salomon Sick Stick Split | YES Optimistic


Bataleon Party Wave Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £349/€399

Straight off the bat, here’s a board that proves beyond doubt that freeride boards aren’t just for beardy ice-axe types.

The Bataleon Party Wave is short, fat and soft, making it ideal for spontaneous funboarding. Mostly in the powder, but not exclusively – and wherever you take it, you’ll have a blast.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Bataleon Party Wave here

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Burton Deep Thinker Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £499/€579

This stick from Danny Davis and Burton is a far stiffer number, but again it’s not a one-trick pony. Indeed, it’s one for doing all the tricks you can.

The tapered shape and setback camber make it great in the deep stuff, but it’s lively enough for upping your backcountry freestyle game.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Burton Deep Thinker here

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Jones Hovercraft Splitboard 2018-2019

PRICE: €849

Looking for your first splitboard? This would be a good place to start. The Hovercraft is dynamite in the powder thanks to the shape, but far from unforgiving.

Even if you’ve burned through countless pairs of skins, this has lots to offer. Japanese-inspired shaping is even better when you’re way out of bounds.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Jones Hovercraft Split here

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Jones Mind Expander Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £479/€549

Surf-style snowboarding remains on the up and up – and no-one’s doing it better than Jones. The Mind Expander’s directional rocker profile and bevelling is built for the smoothest possible ride, whether it’s in powder or slush.

Our test team were over the moon for this one – and with a women’s and kids’ versions also available, everyone can enjoy it.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Jones Mind Expander here

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K2 Cool Bean Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £369/€399

It’s been around for a few years, but somehow the K2 Cool Bean still feels fresh. There are plenty of short ‘n’ stubby boards out there, but this one takes the cake.

The volume shift allows you to stay on top of things at all times, and the shape lets you pivot through even the tightest trees.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 K2 Cool Bean here

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KORUA Shapes Pencil Split Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: €699

This beast comes courtesy of Switzerland’s carving specialists, although it’s obviously better suited to deep powder than freshly-groomed corduroy.

It’s perhaps not one for newbies, but seasoned splitters looking for a medium-stiff backcountry missile will adore the KORUA Pencil splitboard.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Korua Shapes Pencil Split here

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Lib Tech Orca Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £529/€599

Another board from Travis Rice? Yep – but this one is unlike any of the others in his considerable quiver.

The Lib Tech Orca is only available in one (short) size, and isn’t as geared towards gung-ho charging as the rest. Leave the first descents and instead take to the trees on this fun little curio.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Lib Tech Orca here

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Nidecker Mellow Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £399/€449

Here’s another one from the surf school of thought. The Nidecker Mellow is, as the name suggests, built for laid-back shredding where you let the powder carry you along like a wave.

Meanwhile the carbon-enhanced base ensures that, when it’s a groomer-razzing day, you’ll leave your crew for dust without breaking a sweat.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Nidecker Mellow here

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Nidecker Tracer Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £399/€449

Team Nidecker know a thing or two about carves, and nowhere is that made more clear than with the new Tracer.

The asymmetric edges, long camber profile and triax fibreglass (with added Kevlar) make getting your elbow down an absolute joy. We reckon there’s not a more head-turning board out there this year.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Nidecker Tracer here

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Rome Ravine Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £449/€529

Another new one, the Rome Ravine boasts odd shaping in the nose and tail, but don’t worry – it’s all the better for it. Float is in no short supply, and it makes light work of cruddy terrain too.

The spoon-esque nose is great in the deep stuff, but it’s not so directional in design that you can’t chuck a few shapes while you’re there.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Rome Ravine here

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Salomon Pillow Talk Women’s Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £399/€449

The recently-revamped Salomon Pillow Talk is a board that every female backcountry fiend should be looking at.

Depending on which length you go for, you get a short ‘n’ stubby tree hunter or a more balanced ride. Either way, the Pillow Talk gives you all the benefits of Salomon construction (and Salomon pricing), with added Wolle Nyvelt flair.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Salomon Pillow Talk here

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Salomon Sick Stick Splitboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £699/€799

Another of Wolle’s creations, the split version of the Sick Stick gives you a very similar experience to the solid version, with the added bonus of being able to venture further afield.

The made-to-measure skins are a massive advantage too, resulitng in less headaches and more accessibility for novices.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 Salomon Sick Stick Split here

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YES Optimistic Snowboard 2018-2019

PRICE: £525/€599

While a lot of downsized boards are built for nipping through the trees, the YES Optimistic maintains all the hallmarks of a hardcore carver.

It’s stiff, cambered, responsive and lightning-fast on groomers. Meanwhile the pin tail and wider nose ensure that you won’t have to work too hard in the deep stuff.

Selected for The Whitelines 100 – take a closer look at the 2018-2019 YES Optimistic here

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