Which all-mountain snowboards are best?
Snowboarding is the most fun you can have on a mountain. There are different ways to use a snowboard, from racing down groomed runs to swooshing through powder to catching air off the half-pipe. For each of those ways to play, there’s a type of board to make the best of it. But what if you want to do everything? That’s where an all-mountain board comes in. For that, you can’t go wrong with the Lib Technologies Terrain Wrecker Snowboard.
What to know before you buy an all-mountain snowboard
There are a few things to consider when you’re in the market for a new all-mountain snowboard, including your height, weight, gender and shoe size, and of course your skill level.
There’s a lot that may go into determining the length of the board you should buy. Your riding style, skill level, height and weight and the terrain the board is intended for can all factor into the decision.
For an all-mountain board, the main thing you need to do is look at the manufacturer’s size chart. Find one that matches your weight and boot size and you should be good to go.
You might be tempted to buy a larger board that your child can grow into, but even if they’re growing rapidly, it’s best to stick with a board intended for their current size. You want them to enjoy their time on the mountain, not suffer on a stick that’s too big for them to learn and control. Consider renting if you know they’ll only be using the board once or twice before they outgrow it.
An all-mountain board is intended for use in all types of terrain. It works on groomed runs or in the backcountry, and you can also have fun in the park. They’re great for beginners but they’re also good for anyone just looking to have fun and who doesn’t know where the day will take them. Compared to other board types, all-mountain boards have a slightly set-back stance, a slightly deeper side cut and usually a directional flex. Most snowboards are all-mountain.
Other specialty board types are:
- Freestyle: These are the boards for catching air and doing tricks. They have twin tips and they’re typically shorter, more flexible, lighter and livelier.
- Freeride: These boards are built for speed. They have a more set-back stance, a more pronounced tip and a side cut to help with the turns. They work well in steep sections and can handle both powder and groomed trails.
- Powder: Powder boards are taller than average with a wide nose and tapered tail. They’re intended for deep days, not everyday groomed runs.
- Split: Split boards do exactly that: they split, converting into two pieces that can be used like cross-country skis to climb slopes. Then you can put the boards back together again and ride down on a single snowboard. Who needs lifts?
What to look for in a quality all-mountain snowboard
An all-mountain board is stiffer than a freestyle board but softer than a freeride board.
An all-mountain board will be either direction, meaning there’s one preferred front end for riding or direction twin, meaning it’s got a pronounced front end but you can ride it backwards if necessary.
A freestyle rider usually rides centered on the board, meaning there’s just as much room behind them as in front. Freeriders are set much farther back. An all-mountain board has a setback somewhere between the two.
If you’re an aggressive rider or if you ride often in hard, icy conditions, a board with good edge-hold is important.
Extruded vs. sintered base
The base of the board is made in one of two ways: extruded or sintered. The technical details of the construction aren’t important here, but the end result is:
- Extruded bases are cheaper to manufacture, cheaper to repair and easier to maintain. They have a less porous surface that requires less waxing. They also don’t hold wax well, they’re slower than a waxed sintered board and they’re less durable. Extruded bases are good for beginners, freestylers and less aggressive all-mountain riders.
- Sintered bases hold wax well and are faster when waxed. They require more maintenance than extruded bases. They’re also more expensive and cost more to repair.
How much you can expect to spend on an all-mountain snowboard
Snowboards for kids and lighter riders can be found for as low as $200, but a good all-mountain snowboard usually goes for $400-$600. You can spend $1,000 or more for high-end specialty boards.
All-mountain snowboard FAQ
What else do I need with my snowboard?
A. At a minimum, you need snowboard boots and bindings to fix the boots to the board. Safety gear such as wrist guards and helmets is also highly recommended.
Is the brand name important?
A. Not really. There are a lot of good boards from lesser-known manufacturers, so just find one that works well for your needs and matches your price range.
What’s the best all-mountain snowboard to buy?
Top all-mountain snowboard
What you need to know: This board is snappy and energetic for fun in the park, groomed trails and through the trees.
What you’ll love: The ride feels like a twin but still has good setback for directional riding. It’s a playful, versatile, go-anywhere board.
What you should consider: It’s a good board at a good price, but with a graphic design that might appeal more to younger riders than grizzled adults.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top all-mountain snowboard for the money
What you need to know: This is another versatile and snappy directional twin that can take you from the park to the slope.
What you’ll love: This is an all-mountain board that can hold its own in the park, so you’ll do just fine with your ollies and kickers. The hybrid “sintruded” base splits the difference between sintered and extruded.
What you should consider: The price is great, but it might not work as well as other boards in deeper snow.
Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Directional shape and medium flex make this a good choice for runs in all conditions.
What you’ll love: This is a lightweight board that’s a pleasure to ride for intermediates to experts who like to do a little bit of everything, but maybe don’t spend as much time in the park as they used to.
What you should consider: The board is a bit aggressive for beginning riders.
Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry
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Michael Ray writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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