Testing snowboard gear is fun, obviously - but that doesn’t stop it from being a major undertaking that runs all season long, visiting several resorts in pursuit of the best snowboards, bindings, goggles and more.

It's worth it, though - trade shows are all well and good for seeing what new, fresh ideas have come along, but nothing beats real-world testing.

"Trade shows are all well and good for seeing what new, fresh ideas have come along, but nothing beats real-world testing"

It all begins in La Clusaz, France, home of mentalist skier Candide Thovex. For this week it’s all about the snowboards, though, as dozens of brands roll into town for Avant Premier to give us a first look at what’s in store for 2017/18.

Bitterly cold but blessed with overnight dumps, we got a first-class look at how the new steeds handled both bulletproof piste and fluffy pow. After that it was straight into Shops 1st Try, a similar setup in the Austrian resort of Skijuwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau with more than 70 brands in attendance.

Later in the season we joined the Burton Step On test event, and headed to the Bataleon Lodge to try the latest in Triple Base Tech design. We also checked out the Vans Snow Days in Les Arcs, and returned to La Clusaz to see what Korua Shapes had lined up for their third season.

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As always, testing kicked up a notch in the springtime, with events such as the TSA x Treeline Shred Week and the Subvert Slushy Social giving us a chance to focus more on park and jib boards. Closing out the season as always was Snowboard Spring Break in Kaunertal; with the event enjoying the best conditions in years (perfect powder in May?!), it was another opportunity to break out the specialist powder boards as well the all-rounders.

"There’s only so much we can test ourselves, of course, which is why we enlist the services of an experienced and dedicated Test Team"

There’s only so much we can test ourselves, of course, which is why we enlist the services of an experienced and dedicated Test Team. Alongside the usual mountain guides, coaches, shop crews and seasonaires is our new Grom Team, a three-strong ripper squad who tried out the best kids snowboards for 2017/18, as well as the best kids' snowboard bindings.

With more gear tested than ever, the Whitelines Buyer’s Guide is the ideal first port of call for anyone looking to up their arsenal. Why not start by checking out the best snowboards for 2017/18?

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