If a snowboarder ever tells you that “it was better in the 90s", you can bet the farm that they were already a fully grown human by then. For groms trying to learn in the days of dial-up internet and Beanie Babies, options were limited - so much so, in fact, that the vast majority of pre-pubescents found on any given mountain would be on skis.
Fortunately, things have moved on considerably since then. From just one or two companies catering to the young team, now just about every major brand worth its salt has at least one kids’ board in the range. Where once the problem was not being able to get any gear at all, now it’s knowing where to start.
Not only are there more boards to choose from, the differences between each are more pronounced. Some aim to unlock your grom’s inner freerider, whilst others are designed to give them the confidence and control to take on park features without it ending in a bonanza for the Tooth Fairy. Of course, there are plenty of all-rounders too.
"For groms trying to learn in the days of dial-up internet and Beanie Babies, options were limited... fortunately, things have moved on considerably since then"
We grabbed as many 2017/18 kids snowboards as we could, and put them under the feet of three experienced, resort-dwelling young testers aged 9, 11 and 13.
We’ve also roped in their Team Manager (aka Dad) to pass his eye over the kit. He’s offered the all-important perspective of the parent, and after years of trial-and-error he's now well placed to offer key tips for How To Choose The Right Snowboard Gear For Your Kids, so be sure to check those out too. Plus don’t forget to check out the latest kids snowboard bindings, as they are hugely important at this stage too.
Visually the boards run the full gamut of styles - from decidedly kid-friendly, cartoonish graphics to subtler, scaled-down versions of adult boards - but knowing how they perform on the hill is still the most important thing.
With all of that in mind, here’s what kids snowboards are worth looking out for, and why.
Scroll down to view the best kids' snowboards, or skip to a particular brand using the links below
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Arbor Helix Kid's Snowboard 2017-2018
Based on the Formula from Arbor's adult range, the Helix is techier than most grom boards out there - and looks a lot more 'grown up' to boot.
It's primarily a rocker board, but the sidecut has been altered to created extra contact points that boost grip.
When you don't need them they're pretty much anonymous, allowing your young charge to fully appreciate the easy-going reverse camber.
Bataleon Mini Shred Kid's Snowboard 2017-2018
If you're after a board-and-bindings package, look no further.
The Bataleon Mini Shred is available with matching minders, and the combination is a winner in anyone's book.
Triple Base Tech can help with the fundamentals, but is also helpful when venturing into the park or powder. If your grom is a quick learner, they won't outgrow this in a hurry.
Burton Chopper Kids' Snowboard 2017-2018
You'll struggle to find a longer-serving grom stick than the Burton Chopper.
Edge catch prevention is at the forefront, with a flat profile that's been given a no-hang-ups tweak. Thanks to a massive size range, the Chopper will suit a kid of pretty much any age.
The ever-present collabs are still there too, with DC Comics among the tie-ins for 2017/18.
Flow Micron Chill Kids' Snowboard 2017-2018
Got a kid that loves to charge? The sintered base of the Flow Micron Chill might be what they've been looking for.
The outline is pretty eye-catching too, and itentifies this board as more suited to the more confident young riders out there.
Thanks to some wider sizes, kids with disproportionately large feet are well catered for as well.
Gnu Recess Kids' Snowboard 2017-2018
With so many Gnu boards going down the asymmetric route, it's cool to see that it's been applied to a kid-stick too.
The Recess will be a lot of fun for the rider who already appreciates some of the nuances of heelside and toeside turns, but it's nothing that beginners can't grasp quickly.
Plus it's a rocker, so low-consequence riding is very much on the table.
Head Evil Youth Kids' Snowboard 2017-2018
Our testers were quick to praise this board's all-rounder chops.
From messing around on the piste to really going for it at speed, it can do it all with style.
The price is right, too, so it's easy to see why the Head Evil Youth is one of our top picks for 2017/18.
Head Rowdy Jr Kids' Snowboard 2017-2018
If you're a long-in-the-tooth rad dad who still yearns for cap construction, get the Head Rowdy Jr and find out if your kid will love it as much as you did.
The lack of sidewalls makes it tough as nails, and help keep the cost down too. For very young groms with freestyle in mind, this would be a great choice.
Jones Discovery Kids' Snowboard 2017-2018
Jeremy Jones & co. set out to make a proper, hard-charging kids' board, and with the Discovery they pulled it off.
Tech borrowed from Jones' stellar adult range of freeride boards ensures this is capable of progressing any young rider who's keen to spend as much time as possible blasting through pow.
Jones Prodigy Kids' Snowboard 2017-2018
Here's another one that looks and feels like something designed for adults rather than kids. Our testers adored it, though.
If your kid isn't keen on being talked down to (other than in height terms), this could be the board for them.
Rome Gang Plank Mini Kids' Snowboard 2017-2018
Here's a junior version of one of the best all-mountain snowboards of 2017/18.
Sharing much of the original Gang Plank's DNA, this is a board for the more confident rider who's ready to dabble in a bit of everything.
Plus your kid will feel like they're riding the same board as mum and/or dad, which will be good if they've moved beyond cartoony graphics.
Rome Mini Shred Kids' Snowboard 2017-2018
The diamond-shaped base of the Rome Mini Shred gives riders all the stability of a flat base, but with even less chance of an edge-catch-to-scorp.
It's not just for beginners, though; once they're ready for freestyle, they'll appreciate how well it handles boxes, rails and presses too.
There's also a matching Rome Mini Shred binding that's worth checking out.
YES FunINC Kid's Snowboard 2017-2018
Maybe your kids aren't quite ready to go full send like the YES crew, but here's a solid foundation from which any keen pre-teen can develop their riding.
The only YES board with a rocker profile, it'll float better than most true twins in the powder. As for freestyle, it's ready to take on the park as soon as the rider is.
All that, and it looks great too.