By Timmy Beatty, Graphiq
With prime snowboarding season fast approaching, it is time to gear up with the best, new snowboarding gear for the 2016 season. The most important item to check off that list is the product that makes all the winter fun possible - the snowboard.
Here at GearSuite, we have compiled a list of the best 2016 men's and women's snowboards in all the main categories, including All-Mountain, Freeride, Freestyle, and Backcountry; along with a few specialized boards to check out if you already have a favorite go-to snowboard and are looking for a little variety.
Note: GearSuite's Smart Rating is based on reviews and awards given by the experts in the field, including Transworld Snowboarding, Backcountry Magazine, Outside Magazine, and Whitelines Snowboarding.
#1. Best Men's "Bang for your Buck" Snowboard
The DC PBJ has already been a great deal for a few years. It was featured on Whitelines Snowboarding in 2014 and 2015, then took home a Transworld Good Wood Award in 2015 and 2016.
With an MSRP of just $350, it makes a great deal for such a well-received snowboard. With a camber profile and centered stance, DC is sticking with a classic design. Sometimes, you just don't mess with what works.
#2. Best Women's "Bang for your Buck" Snowboard
The DC Biddy was named a Whitelines Snowboarding Tester's Choice, while also taking home the coveted Transworld Good Wood Award. Coming in at just $320, it really stands out as being a tremendous value.
The rocker profile of the board makes it difficult to catch an edge, and very forgiving in the park. With the $320 price tag and catch-free design, this snowboard would be a great deck for any beginner looking to get into the sport.
#3. Best Women's Splitboard
The Prior Slaylok XTC is one of only six splitboards marketed towards women featured on GearSuite. Backcountry Magazine featured it as an "Editor's Choice" for 2016, commenting that it is "A dynamic ride that can be trusted to do it all when driven hard enough."
It's a shame that so few splitboards are marketed towards women. But if you're a female rider who doesn't like any of the options you find, you could have just as much fun in the backcountry on a shorter version of a men's splitboard.
#4. Best Men's Splitboard
The Amplid Milligram takes the prize for best backcountry snowboard for the 2016 season. Featured in both Outside Magazine's Buying Guide and as an Editors' Choice in Backcountry Magazine, there's something truly special about this board.
This Milligram is made of carbon, resulting in just a 5.5 pound snowboard. This makes it extremely light for getting up the mountain, yet stiff and stable for escaping the backcountry in one piece.
#5. Best Women's All-Mountain Snowboard
The Never Summer Aura earned a Transworld Snowboarding Good Wood Award and was featured in Outside Magazine's Buying Guide.
The board is brand new to the Never Summer lineup. The camber-rocker-camber profile allows it to float well in powder, while still being plenty poppy, and having the stability of a traditional camber board. As Outside Magazine noted, the Aura is best for "Doing It All".
#6. Best Men's All-Mountain Snowboard
The Lib Tech Travis Rice Gold Member received both a Transworld Good Wood Award, as well as Snowboard Magazine's Platinum Pick, arguably the two most coveted awards for snowboards.
The uniquely pointy shape and extremely stiff snowboard make it ideal for more of an advanced snowboarder. The snowboard is capable of being ridden both directions, but the tiny swallowtail make it an obviously directional snowboard. Both the nose and the tail are thinned out, making it ride like a snowboard a few centimeters shorter than it is. The unique shape and graphics will definitely make you stand out in a crowd.
#7. Best Men's Freestyle Snowboard
The CAPiTA Ultrafear is a perennial favorite among the snowboarding community. It received the Transworld Good Wood Award in 2013 and 2014, was a Snowboard Magazine Platinum Pick and Whitelines Tester's Choice in 2015 and has yet again received the Tester's Choice and Good Wood Award for 2016.
The unique, pointy nose, and dark and ominous skull graphics make this snowboard stand out among the crowd. This freestyle board is known for being incredibly poppy on all of the features throughout the park. The one drawback this snowboard has shown is a lack of edge-hold on icier runs.
#8. Best Women's Freestyle Snowboard
The CAPiTA Jess Kimura Pro has steadily become a snowboard recognized for quality. It was featured in Outside Magazine's Buyer's Guide in 2015, following that up with three awards in 2016 - the Transworld Good Wood Award, Whitelines' Tester's Choice, and Snowboard Magazine's Platinum Pick.
This may be labeled as a freestyle board, but the rocker-camber-rocker profile make it highly stable on groomers, floaty in the powder, and quite poppy in the park. If the deck's performance isn't enough to sway you, no one can stop talking about the graphics.
#9. Best Women's Freeride Snowboard
The Salomon Pillow Talk received the Tester's Choice Award from Whitelines Snowboarding, and was also a Snowboard Magazine "Platinum Pick."
The unique directional shape, pointy nose and rocker-flat-rocker profile allows this snowboard to float well in powder. Additionally, the tail stiffness gives this short board the stability of a much longer snowboard. It's a perfect gift for someone looking to give the gift of powder-shots to the face.
#10. Best Men's Freeride Snowboard
The CAPiTA Mercury received the Good Wood Award, Snowboard Magazine Platinum Pick, and was also featured in Outside Magazine's Buyer's Guide — earning it top honors as the best snowboard of 2016.
Mercury is brand new to the CAPiTA lineup for 2016. This board is meant for going hard and fast. The Mercury is extremely stable at high speeds. The directional shape and rocker-camber-rocker profile make it float well in powder, and it is known for being quite fun in the park. CAPiTA describes the Mercury as a freeride board, although it is more than capable across the mountain.
#11. Best Pure Powder Snowboard
The Jones Hovercraft's swallowtail shape, long nose, and set-back stance make it perfect for shredding on powder days. This powder-specific design will lift itself up through the deepest powder, even on flatter and slower runs. The stiffness of the board will keep you afloat in all but the worst conditions.
#12. Best Powder Surfer
Fairly new to the snowboarding scene are snowboards you ride without bindings, otherwise known as "powder surfers". These snowboards ride like a surf board... but in the snow.
The Skipjack Surf is Burton's answer to the new twist put on this beloved sport, as of late. These crazy hybrid boards can also be ridden like skateboards, with board spins and kick-flips not out of the question. This snowboard would make a great gift to any enthusiast who already owns a board for every day of the week.
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