Best Overall All Mountain Snowboard
Never Summer Proto Type Two
Lightweight and floaty
Fun to ride
Awesome graphics and aesthetic shape
Ranking closely to its competitors in most categories, but edging them out where it counts, the Never Summer Proto Type Two
wins Editors' Choice for Best All-Mountain Snowboard. Its asymmetrical properties, which allow riders efficient edge-to-edge transfer, initiated and held heel turns better than any other contender. Its impressive scoring in other categories, cool shape, and eye-pleasing graphics make it a winner. Very playful but capable when the going gets tough, it floats in powder with its hybrid-camber profile and speed stability. It pops nicely, with medium-stiff flex, and it's lightweight and responsive, thanks to smaller radii sidecuts. Bonus: it's made in the USA.
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Best Bang for the Buck
Agile and stable
Graphics could be better
Slips on hardpack
Incredibly nimble and fun in all conditions, the Jones Explorer
takes the title of Best Bang for Your Buck. It has the smallest sidecut of the contenders, which helps make it responsive on groomers and hardpack. Had we tested it in bumps, it likely would have triumphed like Jonny Moseley in Nagano '98. If you don't know who Jonny is, click - this
. (We know he's a skier, but it's still rad.) The Jones seemed to be almost self-driving, entering and exiting turns with ease and precision. In pow, it felt similar to other contenders; it floated well because of the hybrid-rocker combo and surfy tip and tail. It's light too, but not the lightest tested. The Explorer offers better pop than fully rockered boards, and is not quite up there with cambered competitors. The Explorer is a splendid choice for anyone looking to have the best time on the hill, all while saving cash. It's hard to go wrong with this one.
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Top Pick for Railing Turns at Speed
Lib Tech Travis Rice Pro HP
Fun and floaty, with a good pop
Great turning action at higher speeds
Made in USA
Heavier than many boards
Not as great at slow speeds or firmer snow
With a rad shape and first-class graphics, Lib-Tech proves they rarely fail to produce innovative and well-built boards. Although the Lib-Tech Travis Rice Pro
is on the stiffer, heavier side (mainly because the size tested was larger than the rest), it was surprisingly fun and playful, making it our Top Pick for Railing Turns at Speed. If it were cambered, it wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable. Although it was larger than other models, it didn't feel it and rode smaller than expected. Once at speed, it dominated sweeping carves like Ayrton Senna in any of his six Monaco Grad Prix Formula One victories. (To get an idea what we're talking about, take a peek at this
.) Its Magne-Traction bumps bit into harder snow but released from those turns easily, a product of the rocker. It also performed well in pow, as do most rocker-profiled boards. It popped better than other banana boards, due to its medium-stiff flex. The only downside we found was that it wasn't as nimble at slower speeds on harder snow and groomers. Stiffer, heavier boards with longer sidecut tend to be less responsive if not pushed to their limits. This model was made to be pushed!
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Top Pick for the Weekend Warrior
Fun and floaty
Not great popping action
Really playful, forgiving, responsive and aesthetic, the Arbor Wasteland
is our choice for someone new to snowboarding or weekend warriors who want to push it more. This board is capable of handling anything you put in its way, and it's the friendliest of all tested. The combination of reverse camber, twin shape, medium flex, and middle-of-the-road sidecut make for a pleasing ride. Powder riding is difficult to get used to at first, and the reverse camber helps you stay afloat. Its medium flex makes it poppy and drives it through mashed potatoes and crud. And don't forget the classic wood finish!
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