one world family tree backseat snowboard
(Photo/ Dean Blotto Gray)

The Best All-Mountain Snowboards of 2021

Whether you’re just getting started with snowboarding or you’re a seasoned rider, here are the hardest-charging, liveliest snowboards for exploring in-bounds terrain mountain-wide.

All-mountain snowboards are like hot sauce — they’re good on just about anything. From aggressive carving over groomers to carefree floating through powder, the boards featured on this list offer true quiver-of-one versatility. Though the definition of “all-mountain” varies by retailer and brand, all of the snowboards on this list perform well across a broad range of riding styles and snow conditions.

There are lots of excellent snowboards on the market, and innovative models are introduced with each passing season. To compile this list, we sifted through the crowded field and selected only the very best all-around boards.

Our extensive list includes powder-leaning models, park-friendly prize winners, and everything in between. No matter your budget or riding preferences, we’re confident this list includes the perfect all-mountain snowboard for you.

If you’d like to learn more about all-mountain snowboards and their features, jump down to our buyer’s guide and FAQ at the bottom of this article.

Feel free to scroll through and check all of our recommended buys, or to jump to the category you’re looking for:

Best Women’s Products

Best All-Around: GNU Ladies Choice

The GNU Ladies Choice ($580) holds a sturdy edge and cuts chatter down boilerplate moguls and hard-as-nails groomers, yet rips deep powder in the steeps.

This board handles wild variability like a pro. The twin-shaped design features a trademarked technology called Magne-Traction. The board’s edges are wavy instead of straight, increasing hold, especially on tough surfaces.

The asymmetric design — meaning, there’s a deeper heelside sidecut — helped balance transitions. We experienced zero wobbles in wide carves, on quick turns, or through ice chunks. It was secure on hard roller landings.

The hybrid shape (called C2x) is still flexible and playful. The GNU board has rocker between the feet, camber beneath the feet, and rocker on the ends. For increased control, we adjusted for lengthened camber and less rocker in the middle this season. That silhouette is really fun for charging moguls. Overall, this is a great choice for the intermediate to advanced rider.

Specs:
  • Profile: C2x profile is rocker between feet, camber beneath feet, rocker on ends
  • Shape: Asymmetric
  • Flex: 5 (medium)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes (cm): 139.5, 142.5, 145.5, 148.5, 153.5
Pros:
  • Magne-Traction edge hold
  • Lightweight core
  • Well-rounded
Cons:
  • Not the stiffest for aggressive carving

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Best Value: Burton Stylus Flat Top Snowboard

burton stylus snowboard

The Burton Stylus Flat Top Snowboard ($380) lets you steer ship. This comfy board doesn’t whip you around. It’s a perfect entry-level design for folks working on their foundation of linking fluid turns, getting speedier laps on the blues, and learning how to ollie.

In part, we can thank the construction and sandwich of materials, including the wood core and Biax fiberglass laminate. The latter has a soft torsional flex that’s forgiving rather than snappy.

The symmetrical nose, tail, and overall shape provide a balanced feel, which lends itself to learning to ride switch. Catching an edge with this board isn’t easy to do, given the convex base hovers its metal edges above the snow and there’s a nonaggressive bevel. The price tag isn’t shabby, either.

Specs:
  • Profile: Camber to rocker on the ends
  • Shape: Twin
  • Flex: 2 (soft)
  • Base: Extruded
  • Sizes (cm): 138, 142, 147, 152
Pros:
  • Easy to control
  • Slow, non-grabby edge-to-edge transfer alleviates quick catches
Cons:
  • Does not wrestle steep, rough, challenging terrain or love higher speeds
  • Channel board mount is directly compatible with Burton bindings. Otherwise, you’ll need specific additional hardware to connect bindings to board

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Best for Beginners: Lib Tech Cortado C2

lib tech cortado c2 snowboard

With that mellow nose and tail rocker, the Lib Tech Cortado C2 ($480) floats with ease through powder yet bites hardpack with camber beneath the feet. A quarter of the core is Paulownia, an extremely lightweight yet tenacious wood, which is partially wrapped with a fairly stiff fiberglass laminate for moderate drive. The edge features Magne-Traction, which jigsaws back and forth with high points that cut into the snow and hold extremely well on iffy surfaces.

All these elements equal a controlled rider experience that’s secure, fun, and a bit playful, even for some jibs. For the intermediate to advanced athlete, this board delivers across diverse terrain from ridgelines to glades.

Specs:
  • Profile: C2 profile is rocker between feet, camber beneath feet, rocker on ends
  • Shape: Directional
  • Flex: 7 (medium-stiff)
  • Base: Extruded
  • Sizes (cm): 142, 145, 148, 151, 154
Pros:
  • Magne-Traction edge hold
  • Partially stiffer fiberglass for moderate give
Cons:
  • Not the parkiest board in the lot
  • No upgrade to the C2x

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Best Powder-Leaning All-Mountain Snowboard: Jones Women’s Flagship Snowboard

jones snowboards flagship snowboard

The Jones Women’s Flagship Snowboard ($650) is a stiff, powerful, freeride-focused board with a contoured base that provides effortless float and turn initiation as well as solid board-to-snow connection. Also known as the 3D contour or spoon 3.0 base, the surf-inspired trait means the edges in the nose and tail are beveled by 7 mm — a subtle adjustment that creates a spoon shape.

The directional shape likewise allows quick turn initiation, even while accelerating down the steeps. And if this snowboard’s core was a music genre, it’d be heavy metal. The blend includes robust and light Paulownia wood plus bamboo stringers, all held together with a triple layer of relatively stiff fiberglass laminate.

For experts, this Jones board reigns. Despite the setback stance and decent taper, it can still stomp tricks — and switch too. This board is the basis for Jones’ bestselling Solution splitboard, which is great for exploring the backcountry.

Specs:
  • Profile: Directional rocker (more tip rocker than tail rocker, camber between bindings)
  • Shape: Directional
  • Flex: 8 (stiff)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes (cm): 146, 149, 152, 155
Pros:
  • Fast-charging with no give
  • Rips high-angle slopes
Cons:
  • Less playful for mellow spring days

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Best for Hard Carving: Rossignol After Hours Snowboard

rossignol after hours snowboard

Despite its affinity for aggressive expert and intermediate riders, the Rossignol After Hours Snowboard ($500) also feels pretty playful, even twin-like. Rossignol built Marion Haerty’s new pro model, the After Hours, to chase Freeride World Tour podiums. After all, the three-time champion knows a bit about how boards operate.

Urethane strips help transfer energy to the sidewalls, absorbing turbulence and locking in those edges on icy terrain. And the broad nose of this big-mountain blade floats like a dime.

Specs:
  • Profile: Rocker-camber blend
  • Shape: Directional twin
  • Flex: 7 (medium-stiff)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes (cm): 145, 149, 153, 156
Pros:
  • Queen for big turns
  • Handles high speeds
Cons:
  • Not your jib stick or pipe vehicle

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Best Freestyle-Leaning All-Mountain Snowboard: Never Summer Infinity Snowboard

never summer infinity snowboard womens

If we had to choose one board to rule them all, the Never Summer Infinity Snowboard ($510) would come darn close. This tried-and-true design delivers in tight trees laden with moguls, on dropping cliffs, through powder, on corduroy, and even on park laps. Equal parts solid and surfy, one of our GearJunkie testers had this OG model in her quiver for more than a decade before it started to feel limp.

The lamination includes three narrow layers that are lightweight and absorb a moderate level of vibration while providing midlevel stability — but don’t squelch the vivacity of the board. It’s super fun to shred.

The core is more flexy between the feet, so pressing rollers and performing ollies is snappy and giddy. And we appreciate the integrated stretchy plastic stabilizers below the binding mount, which disperse vibration to help reduce foot fatigue for big days and fast laps.

Specs:
  • Profile: Wide rocker between feet, camber under feet, gradual rise in tip and tail
  • Shape: Directional
  • Flex: 5 (medium)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes (cm): 142, 145, 148, 151
Pros:
  • Durable for the long haul
  • Playful yet dependable on hardpack
Cons:
  • The Vario Power Grip sidecut utilizes extra contact points, but we prefer the serrated edge of Magne-Traction
  • Not the ideal powder board

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Best Men’s Products

Best All-Around: CAPiTA Defenders of Awesome

CAPiTA defenders of awesome snowboard

CAPiTA’s Defenders of Awesome snowboard ($500) has been well-loved for its precision handling and all-mountain versatility for many years. This board has received slight tweaks and adjustments every year.

For the 2022 season, the DOA is mostly unchanged, aside from a slightly lighter core. We think it’s the best all-around, do-everything snowboard on the market.

For beginner and intermediate riders, the DOA’s aggressive shape will certainly take some getting used to. The stiff deck and pronounced contact points are excellent for fast and hard carving, but these traits will be best utilized by more advanced riders. But once you learn to put some extra muscle into your turns, this board is fully progression-orientated and can absolutely elevate your riding ability.

Strategically placed carbon stringers add plenty of springy pop to the DOA. Whether you’re in the park or launching off of side hits, this board is well-equipped for freestyle riding. It’s a little on the stiff side for presses and butters, but the nose and tail provide some welcome and noticeable flex.

Overall, the CAPiTA DOA deserves each of the many awards that it has amassed over the years. For intermediate and advanced riders looking to ride fast, carve hard, and explore every part of the mountain, we confidently recommend this snowboard.

Specs:
  • Profile: Camber between the feet, rocker in the tip and tail
  • Shape: Twin
  • Flex: 5 (medium)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes: 148, 150, 152, 153W, 154, 155W, 156, 157W, 158, 159W, 160, 161W, 162, 163W
Pros:
  • Versatile
  • Stable
  • Lots of pop
Cons:
  • Aggressive handling takes some getting used to

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Best Value: Arbor Element Camber

arbor element camber snowboard

The Arbor Element Camber ($450) does everything well — an impressive statement for such an affordably priced snowboard. Made from high-end materials and featuring Arbor’s light and fast Highland II core, the Element Camber is your key to the entire mountain.

Riders who gravitate toward the park will appreciate this board’s playful tendencies. Jibbing, hucking, and pressing are all well within the Element’s capabilities. When it comes time to zip down the groomers, the lightning-fast sintered base will have you flying past your buddies.

Because this board is a bit more flexible than others on this list, it’s relatively maneuverable and beginner-friendly. It chatters a bit at high speeds but ultimately finds a nice balance between speed and carving ability. Beginners can view this board as the next step in their progression toward more aggressive riding, while advanced snowboarders may find it enjoyably playful and effortless to ride.

The Element Camber board also includes Arbor’s Grip-Tech tri-radial sidecut. For all-mountain riders of all abilities seeking an unbeatable value, the Element Camber is the way to go.

Specs:
  • Profile: Traditional camber
  • Shape: Directional twin
  • Flex: 4 (medium soft)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes: 153, 156, 159, 160MW, 161W, 162, 165W
Pros:
  • Great value
  • High-quality construction
Cons:
  • Chatters at high speeds

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Best for Beginners: GNU T2B (Top to Bottom)

GNU t2b snowboard

For newer riders looking to develop skills and expand their riding across the whole mountain, the GNUTop to Bottom ($500) is a stellar progressive snowboard. Though the T2B performs well on groomers and in the park, it showcases its true glorious potential in deep powder.

GNU’s Mange-Traction technology is well known for its superior edge hold, especially on ice and hardpack. In addition to Magne-Traction, the newest T2B model employs an innovative C3 camber profile, which adds improved control to the riding experience.

The GNU T2B is all about versatility and mixed use. It’s got pop but not a crazy amount. It’s stiff, but you can still press the tip or tail and butter with relative ease. It’s the perfect snowboard for working on everything at once. “Top to bottom” is a fitting description of a board that will elevate your riding in all kinds of conditions.

Specs:
  • Profile: C3 profile is cambered underfoot with mild rocker between the feet
  • Shape: Directional twin
  • Flex: 5 (medium)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes: 158, 158W, 161, 161W
Pros:
  • GNU’s C3 profile improves on past models
  • Well-rounded
Cons:
  • Not ideal for aggressive carving

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Best Powder-Leaning All-Mountain Snowboard: Ride Warpig

ride warpig snowboard

The Ride Warpig ($530) has been a favorite among powder-seeking all-mountain snowboarders for more than five seasons. Despite its setback stance and directional rocker profile, don’t be fooled — this board is not a pure powder specialist. Instead, the Warpig thrives just about everywhere. From the park to the groomers, this eye-catching board is a quiver of one with an affinity for the deep stuff.

We love that the Warpig has tons of flex without completely sacrificing stability at speed. To create this unique combination of strengths, Ride has outfitted this board with a tight sidecut and a super-wide waist width. The Warpig has no problem with short radius turns and snappy maneuverability in the trees.

Longer high-speed carves are a bit more challenging for this board due to its rockered profile. The plus side of this profile shows itself in soft snow and powder. The Ride Warpig floats as well as just about any powder specialist. A tapered tail allows the beefy nose to rise up and glide over fresh snow with delightful ease.

Directional rockered powder boards are not usually known for their versatility, but the Warpig is an outstanding exception. If you’re the kind of rider that loves surf-style snowboarding but wants a board that will also perform well on the crunchier days, the Warpig is the one for you.

Specs:
  • Profile: Directional rocker
  • Shape: Tapered and directional
  • Flex: 4 (medium soft)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes: 142, 148, 151, 154, 158
Pros:
  • Versatile
  • Playful
  • Good value
Cons:
  • Not the best for long radius turns at high speeds

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Best for Hard Carving: GNU Essential Service

GNU essential service snowboard

The GNU 2022 Essential Service ($460) is the ultimate carving machine. This resort ripper can ride anywhere on the resort — providing maximum fun on icy groomers, spring slush, and everything in between.

GNU’s C2 rocker-camber hybrid shape is ideal for a true all-mountain snowboard. Between the bindings, the rockered section lets you lean back and float over powder, while the underfoot camber maximizes carving power.

As a directional twin, the Essential Service features a pointed nose, a blunt tail, and a slightly setback stance. Even with this directional design, riding switch feels natural on this board.

As always with GNU snowboards, the Magne-Traction technology offers superior edge hold while carving hard through icy terrain or bumpy chop. Like any board made for high-performance carving, the Essential Service has a sintered, lightning-fast base.

Specs:
  • Profile: Rocker-camber hybrid
  • Shape: Directional twin
  • Flex: 7 (medium-stiff)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes: 155, 157, 158W, 159, 160W
Pros:
  • Excellent edge hold on hard surfaces
  • Top-notch carving ability
  • Super fast
Cons:
  • Aggressive handling is not ideal for beginners

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Best Freestyle-Leaning All-Mountain Snowboard: YES. Typo

yes. typo- nowboard

The 2022 YES. Typo ($450) is an absolute killer in the park, but it rides well all over the mountain too. Though this deck is slightly stiffer than YES.’s beginner-friendly Basic board, it’s still clearly on the softer end of the spectrum. Soft and snappy is the perfect recipe for enjoying the terrain park, and the Typo is your ticket to supreme freestyle delight.

YES. is well known for pioneering many innovative design ideas over the years, and many of these have been expressed on the Typo. Their CamRock profile combines the responsiveness of traditional camber with the floatability of rocker. Additionally, UnderBite edges feature incuts beneath each binding to redistribute the rider’s weight and improve manageability and edge hold.

Though a beginner rider could probably learn to love this board, it leans a little more toward the intermediate or advanced crowd. The snappy nature of the Typo is an asset for hitting large jumps, but it also results in a noticeably squirrely ride that beginners just don’t need to deal with.

While technically a directional twin, the Typo is nearly a true twin, as the setback of the stance is minimal. Still, this minor detail does come in handy while floating through powder, even if that isn’t the primary purpose of this board.

If you’re looking for a pure powder surfer or a hard charger, you may want to look for something with a more aggressively directional shape. Overall, the Typo is a highly versatile freestyle snowboard.

Specs:
  • Profile: Rocker-camber hybrid
  • Shape: Directional twin
  • Flex: 5 (medium)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes: 149, 152, 155, 156W, 158, 159W, 161, 163W
Pros:
  • Capable of hitting big jumps and freestyle features
  • Versatile
Cons:
  • A bit squirrely and chattery at high speeds

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Best of the Rest

Women’s Ride Psychocandy

womens ride psychocandy snowboard

The Women’s Ride Psychocandy ($520) is the ladies’ iteration of the popular men’s Warpig with a few differences in the mix. Namely, this design sports a more manageable flex and a waist width that suits smaller boots. Also, there’s a broader variance of sizes for folks of all body types. And this is the greatest quantity of size options (six) offered by any women’s snowboard in our guide.

The Psychocandy is a volume-shifted shape, and this board is meant to be sized down from your typical decks. To verify the solid power transfer, pro rider Hana Beaman is known to get buck on this silhouette.

The core mixes lightweight, strong Paulownia wood stringers with Aspen, which we dig. For extra protection, double-level impact plates are integrated into the board beneath each binding, too. And the highest level of carbon stringers is added to that same zone for sensitive response. Indeed, this is a stalwart steed for advanced to expert snowboarders.

Specs:
  • Profile: Flat to rocker in the tip and tail
  • Shape: Directional
  • Flex: 5 (medium)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes (cm): 138, 142, 146, 150, 154, 158
Pros:
  • Rise in the tip and tail provides playful garnish
  • Very strong build
Cons:
  • Less lovable in tight trees

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Women’s Arbor Swoon Rocker

arbor swoon rocker snowboard women

As a true twin, the Women’s Arbor Swoon Rocker ($480) supports your surf-style needs in both directions down the mountain. That’s mostly due to the extensive true rocker shape that gradually decreases toward either end of the board — and zero camber. Yet, Arbor’s rocker — aka parabolic profile — also maintains contact points that are close enough to the snow in order to hit higher speeds, rail turns, and stomp landings.

The design also features a nifty sidecut called Grip Tech, which shifts the four primary ergonomic contact points from the rise of the tip and tail to either side of each binding. With a more central location, those spots offer more direct energy transfer to the snow for better turns, stability, and control.

Overall, the board feels snazzy with a nice pop yet balanced with the centered stance. The Swoon is a great maneuverable, all-around option for advanced and expert shredders.

Specs:
  • Profile: Rocker
  • Shape: Directional twin
  • Flex: 5 (medium)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes (cm): 140, 144, 148, 152
Pros:
  • Fairly lightweight build utilizing strong Paulownia wood
  • Playful yet stout
Cons:
  • Rocker can feel too loose for some

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Women’s YES. Hello

yes hello snowboard womens

For intermediate riders who like to dabble in all types of terrain, the Women’s YES. Hello ($450) fits the bill from the backside black diamonds to the long blue groomers. The hybrid camber-rocker design offers camber beneath the feet for solid ground connection followed by a bit of rocker toward the tips and tail for a floaty feel in pow.

The core is poplar wood, which is durable and offers a consistent flex for a predictable ride. This design also has a dip in the sidecut — dubbed the UnderBite — where the material pushes inward beneath the foot on both the heel and toe edge.

The result? Riders experience a more aggressive edge engagement while initiating a carve and through the arch of a turn, especially in hardpack. It also helps increase torsional flex of the board by bringing the powder drive beneath the boots.

Specs:
  • Profile: Rocker/camber/rocker
  • Shape: Directional twin
  • Flex: 6 (medium-stiff)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes (cm): 146, 149, 152, 155
Pros:
    • Handles turns well
    • Fun in powder
Cons:
  • Not a top-shelf option for park laps
  • Less of a speed demon

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Men’s Burton Custom Flying V

 burton custom flying V snowboard.

For beginner and intermediate snowboarders looking for maximum fun and an effortless ride, we recommend the Burton Custom Flying V ($630). With a mostly rocker profile and low to medium flex, this board prioritizes play over all else.

When carving at speed, the Flying V is surprisingly responsive, likely due to woven-in strips of carbon fiber. For such a playful and forgiving board, we appreciate that it can be powerful when called upon.

Advanced riders will likely find the Flying V just isn’t quite aggressive enough to rip hard carves on packed groomers and icy terrain. East Coast and Midwest riders should likely look elsewhere, as this board ultimately shines on powder and softer surfaces.

Butters and jibs are incredibly fun and easy with the Flying V. Thanks to the rocking chair profile, getting into a wheelie is as easy as leaning back a bit, and nose presses are equally effortless. When in the mood for a playful and surfy ride, the Burton Custom Flying V provides the goods — from the terrain park to the powder stash.

Specs:
  • Profile: Mostly rocker with some camber underfoot
  • Shape: Twin
  • Flex: 3 (medium soft)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes: 150, 154, 154W, 156, 158, 158W, 162, 162W, 166W
Pros:
  • Playful
  • Easy to butter and jib
  • Fun to ride
Cons:
  • A bit soft and squirrelly at high speeds
  • Not ideal for aggressive carving

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Men’s Arbor Foundation

 arbor foundation snowboard.

The 2022 Arbor Foundation ($330) is a beautifully designed and affordable beginner snowboard. This is one of the few boards on this list we recommend for new snowboarders. With a maneuverable, fully rockered profile and forgiving, soft flex, the Foundation is the ideal introduction to all-mountain snowboarding.

The riding experience of the Foundation is defined by natural float, catch-free tracking, and effortless steering. Built on Arbor’s most versatile core, this board is durable enough to hold up for many busy seasons of riding and progressing.

Easy maintenance is important in an entry-level board. The Foundation’s tough extruded base is scratch-resistant and simple to repair.

As you begin to improve, ride faster, and carve harder, the Foundation will begin to show its weaknesses. At high speeds, this soft and flexy deck chatters heavily, and it feels unstable in severely rutted terrain. Still, even advanced riders will find lots to love in the playful nature of this snowboard.

Ultimately, fun is the best path to progression. The Arbor Foundation will quickly instill a love of riding — beginning with your very first day out.

Specs:
  • Profile: Rocker
  • Shape: Directional twin
  • Flex: 3 (medium soft)
  • Base: Extruded
  • Sizes: 148, 152, 155, 156MW, 158, 159MW, 161, 162MW
Pros:
  • Fun to ride
  • Great for beginners
Cons:
  • Chatters at high speeds
  • Not ideal for aggressive carving

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Never Summer Swift

never summer swift snowboard

For a bonafide powder surfer, the Never Summer Swift ($650) is surprisingly versatile. Though we don’t recommend this board for the hardpack and ice of the East Coast, it can handle just about anything else with style. The fact it rides like an absolute dream in the deep stuff is really just the cherry on top of this high-end all-mountain workhorse.

A setback stance, rocker profile, and directional shape are common traits of a powder board. What sets the Swift apart from other powder boards is it feels surprisingly at home all over the mountain. Laying down trenches feels natural on this deck, and it can even handle the occasional jump or side hit with relative ease.

This is one of the stiffest boards on our list, so we don’t recommend it for beginners looking for a forgiving snowboard. Instead, the Swift is for the powder lover who doesn’t want to purchase a second deck for the days when the snow isn’t fresh. This is the rare powder machine that also manages to earn the “all-mountain” title.

Specs:
  • Profile: Rockered nose with camber underfoot
  • Shape: Directional
  • Flex: 7 (medium-stiff)
  • Base: Sintered
  • Sizes: 157, 162
Pros:
  • Excellent in powder
  • Versatile
Cons:
  • Not ideal for hardpack and ice

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The Best All-Mountain Snowboards of 2021: A Buyer’s Guide

What Is an All-Mountain Snowboard?

All-mountain snowboards are designed to handle various riding styles and types of terrain. A true all-mountain snowboard will perform relatively well on groomers, powder, hardpack, and everything in between. If you’re the kind of rider who likes to mix it up and hit the park on one run and a powder stash on the next, an all-mountain snowboard is the right choice for you.

All-mountain snowboards are also well-known for their value. Instead of owning multiple specialist boards for different styles and conditions, a single all-mountain board can be your answer to everything — kind of like a Swiss Army knife.

Because these boards aren’t specialists, they generally make some compromises in order to work well all over the mountain. For example, a good all-mountain board should ride well in the powder, but it probably won’t perform quite as well as an aggressively directional powder surfing specialist.

snowboarder riding snowboard on sunny winter day
(Photo/Eric Phillips)

Types of All-Mountain Snowboards

On this list, we’ve included many types of all-mountain snowboards. Each leans toward a certain style of riding. For example, our pick for best powder-leaning all-mountain snowboard will certainly rip all over the mountain, but it will truly shine when riding pow. We’ve also included freestyle-leaning all-mountain snowboards and hard-carving all-mountain snowboards.

Powder-Leaning All-Mountain

Powder-leaning all-mountain snowboards are the perfect tool for the deepest of days. Generally, snowboards in this category have a directional shape with a large, wide nose and a tapered-down tail. This is the ideal shape for maximum float in untouched snow.

Additionally, powder-leaning all-mountain snowboards usually have a rockered or hybrid rockered profile, which creates lift and keeps you happily afloat. On this list, the Ride Warpig and the Jones Women’s Flagship are our favorite boards for riding powder.

Freestyle-Leaning All-Mountain

Freestyle-leaning all-mountain snowboards will display their full potential in the terrain park. Designed with jumps, rails, and side hits in mind, these boards feature ample pop, skate-like snap, and stability to stick the landing in style.

Most freestyle-leaning snowboards have a true twin or slightly directional twin shape. Boards in this category tend to have relatively flat or mildly rockered profiles, though there are some exceptions to this. On this list, our favorite freestyle-leaning boards are the Never Summer Infinity Snowboard and the YES. Typo.

man splitboarding in the mountains
(Photo/Will Rochfort)

Snowboard Profile & Shape

A snowboard profile is the silhouette of a snowboard when viewed from the side if you were to set the board flat on a table and look at it lengthwise.

The profile is technically separate from the snowboard’s overall shape, but it’s also an ingredient that influences the shape category a board lands in — like adding cilantro or jalapeño to guacamole.

Imagine looking straight down at a snowboard that’s flat on the ground. The board’s shape is literally its outline, which is defined by the width from any side-to-side point, as well as the frame of the nose and tail.

Together, the board’s shape and profile create a unique feel underfoot. The various shape categories for snowboards listed below (directional, true twin, directional twin, asymmetrical, asymmetrical twin) are based on the profile and shape as well as the core materials and the flex they create.

Types of Snowboard Profile

Camber

This is the most traditional, old-school snowboard profile. With a cambered design, the center rises and the far ends of the board meet the ground where the nose and tail upturn. The sides curve upward a bit, too.

A camber board offers excellent edge control and a precise, aggressive, stable ride.

Rocker

Rocker is the opposite of camber, and it’s often called reverse camber. Lib Tech started this revolution with the original Skate Banana rocker board, so some folks refer to this feature as “banana technology.” It is a banana shape!

Instead of camber, the belly of the board presses into the ground, so it’s a convex or U-shape. The result is a superb float in powder, a more forgiving edge-to-edge experience, and a more surf-life experience in carves.

Flat

Flat is straightforwardly flat. But without the camber and upturned edges, those can more easily catch. But a flat segment of a board does provide a loading zone for popping as well as a great surface connection for rails or other jibs.

Hybrid Rocker/Camber

Some riders prefer the stability of camber or flat with the playfulness of rocker. There are countless combinations of these two profiles across nearly every brand.

One hybrid, for instance, is to have rocker between the feet, camber underfoot, and rocker on the nose and tail — a mustache, if you will. Others have a dual combo of flat or camber underfoot followed by a healthy dose of rocker throughout the nose and tail (or vice versa). But some have a tiny bit of rocker toward the tip and tail.

These incremental differences give each board a unique personality on the mountain and plenty of options for riders.

Types of Snowboard Shapes

Directional Snowboards

With a directional design, the nose is a different shape than the tail and has unique attributes. Generally, this means the tail is more rigid, providing an anchor when cruising fast. And the nose more easily lifts through clouds of powder.

True Twin Snowboards

If you were to draw a line across the centermost width of the board and fold it in half, each side would be the same. This design has a symmetrical shape (including the nose and tail and sidecut radius), flex pattern, and profile. The stance is completely centered.

A twin setup is an ideal choice for riding switch, which lends itself to freestyle terrain or park tricks, but can also be a very balanced feel for all-mountain terrain.

Directional Twin Snowboards

A directional twin is when there’s a slight variation on a twin design. So, the shape is nearly completely symmetrical with the same sidecut, flex, and profile for the nose and tail — except there’s a spin on an ingredient or two.

For instance, the profile could slightly differ between the nose and tail. The tail might have a stiffer core and flex compared to the nose. Possibly, the stance is setback rather than completely centered. Or, the nose could have a bit more rise for nice float.

Asymmetrical Snowboards

You know how the front of your body is proportionately different from its backside? An asymmetrical snowboard aims to help balance the human body, and it certainly feels different and fun to ride.

There are two ways asymmetry can be introduced in a board. A snowboard can have an asymmetrical sidecut, meaning the heel side is shorter and deeper. In contrast, the toe side is longer and shallower. This allows for easier, more balanced edge transfer between the toes and heels.

Some snowboard designs alter the core with softer materials beneath the heels along the backside of the board, compared to firmer materials along the toeside portion. Other designs blend both an asymmetrical sidecut and core.

Asymmetrical Twin

This design combines asymmetrical design features with twin features. The nose and tail will have the same shape, profile, and flex. But the toeside and heelside sidecut will differ, or the flex of the core material will differ between the toe and heel edge, or both.

Core Construction and Materials

A snowboard’s construction and materials fundamentally affect its riding ability and performance. Everything from flex to pop is a result of the various components the board itself is made from.

Perhaps the most foundational part of every snowboard is the core. Most cores are made from strips of poplar, bamboo, birch, or aspen wood. These strips are laid out from tip to tail and pressed into a structural length of flexible plywood. Materials including carbon and fiberglass are added above and below the core to elevate or reduce characteristics such as pop, snap, flex, chatter, and dampness.

The price of every snowboard is a product of the quality of its materials. For example, carbon fiber is considered a premium material, and snowboards with carbon components are known for their stability, power, relatively low weight, and relatively high price tag.

On this list, all of the included snowboards are built from industry-leading, high-quality materials.

Length

Though some riders believe in hard and fast rules for selecting the correct snowboard length, it’s ultimately a matter of personal preference. Board shape, rider height, rider weight, and riding style are all factors that should play into your decision about board length.

Most snowboards come in multiple lengths. Generally, longer boards offer a more aggressive ride and are preferred for hard, large-radius carves. If you’re the kind of rider who likes to absolutely bomb down groomers, we recommend a longer board.

On the other hand, shorter boards are often lighter, better for tight turns, and excellent for floating through powder.

(Photo/Eric Phillips)

Waist Width

Waist width is the width of a snowboard at its narrowest point. Width preferences vary from rider to rider, though there are a few general rules that are good to keep in mind as you choose a board.

Ideally, the waist width of your snowboard will allow your boots to just slightly hang over the edges of the board when placed in your bindings. When fitted properly, you’ll be able to use the minor overhang of your boots to apply leverage to the board and control your steering and speed.

If your board’s waist width is too narrow, your boots will overhang excessively and your toes may scrape the snow while carving. To determine the ideal waist width for you and your foot side, always check out your board, boot, and binding manufacturers’ sizing charts before purchasing.

Flex & Dampness

The flexibility of a snowboard defines its riding experience. There are two primary kinds of snowboard flex. Longitudinal flex refers to how much the board bends along its length. Torsional flex refers to how much the board bends side to side across its width.

On this list, we’ve given every recommended snowboard a flex rating between 1 (soft and flexible) and 10 (stiff and rigid).

Snowboards on the soft and flexible end of the spectrum are generally geared toward beginners and freestyle riders. These boards require less force to turn and maneuver and are often described as playful. If you’re going to regularly press into butters, you’ll be glad to have a board you don’t have to fight against.

Stiff boards are better for hard-charging and aggressive carving at high speeds. When you’re riding fast, stiff boards will feel more stable as they’re less likely to vibrate and chatter.

Dampness is a positive trait that refers to a board’s ability to cruise at high speeds without sending uncomfortable vibrations into your feet and lower body. As a trade-off, stiff boards require more work to turn and maneuver, and thus should be avoided by beginners.

Many all-mountain snowboards fall somewhere in the middle of the flexibility spectrum. Not too soft and not too stiff is a good place to be for boards that aim to perform reasonably well on all kinds of terrain.

Binding Compatibility

Most snowboards are compatible with most snowboard bindings, but it’s important to look into the manufacturer specifications of each before purchase. When purchasing bindings, be sure to select a size that’s compatible with both your boots and your board.

Effective Edge

This is the portion of the edge that connects with the snow while in a turn, which influences how a board feels. Typically, the effective edge is up to 35 cm shorter than the entire length of the board.

Sidecut & Sidecut Radius

Each side of the board is curved along the edge. The depth and curvature of that sidecut influence the type of turn the board will make as well as how the ride feels. A shallower sidecut makes a wider turn, and a deeper sidecut creates a tighter turn.

To measure the depth of a sidecut, examine the width of the board at its centermost, narrowest point. Then compare that waist to the widest width measurement of the tip and tail.

To conceptualize the complete turn of a snowboard, you can visualize the sidecut extending to create a full 360-degree circle. The sidecut radius is half of that imaginary circle. When riding, each full turn is only as long as the sidecut radius, which usually ranges from 20 to 33 feet.

Sidewalls

The sidewall is the material along the edge of a snowboard. Generally, it’s a plastic that protects the sides of the sandwiched core layers. Or, the fiberglass and topsheet layer could be extended to conceal the edge. The sidewall could also be a hybrid construction.

Snowboard Bases

A snowboard’s base is the layer of material that makes contact with the snow as you ride. In order to get the best performance out of your board, it’s important to take good care of your base, repair it when necessary, and wax it regularly.

There are two kinds of snowboard bases. Each has its own pros and cons.

Extruded Bases

Extruded bases tend to be found on entry-level and park-leaning snowboards. Made from melted polyurethane pellets, these bases are essentially one large piece of flat plastic. Because of this unified structure, extruded bases are durable and not very porous.

The main benefit of extruded bases is they require minimal maintenance. These bases are less likely to suffer gouges from riding over rocks or trees, and they usually only need to be waxed a few times per season. Most extruded bases come pre-waxed when purchased new. On this list, the Men’s Arbor Foundation is a great board with an extruded base.

Sintered Bases

Sintered bases are found on most midlevel to high-end snowboards. Unlike extruded bases, sintered bases are highly porous. To keep sintered bases functioning at their best, frequent waxing is essential. Riders with sintered bases should be especially aware of thin spots and obstacles, as the porous material is relatively fragile and can be easily gouged or damaged.

Repairing a sintered base tends to be more expensive than repairing an extruded base. When properly maintained, sintered bases offer a faster ride — especially in wet, sticky snow.

Backcountry Snowboarding and Splitboarding

All of the snowboards on this list have been designed with resort riding in mind. With that said, many of them would work well as part of a first backcountry setup. If you’re considering riding in the backcountry, it’s extremely important to be well-prepared. A beacon, shovel, and probe are non-negotiable gear, and an AIARE 1 avalanche safety training course is essential, too.

While strapping a snowboard to your back and hiking through the backcountry in snowshoes is a reasonable short-term plan, most backcountry riders will eventually want to transition to a more efficient splitboard.

Splitboards divide in half and can be used with skins just like backcountry skis. Once you’re ready to descend, the splitboard snaps back together and is ready to ride.

Though splitboarding can be a wonderful way to express your riding skills in the backcountry, the significant learning curve and financial investment required are barriers for many snowboarders.

Eco-Friendly Design Features

Some snowboard designs incorporate sustainable, eco-friendly materials. For example, the Jones Women’s Flagship Snowboard incorporates recycled plastic for the sidewalls. And Lib Tech manufactures snowboards in the U.S.

A leader in the realm of sustainability is Arbor. For instance, the Swoon Rocker has recycled steel edges, sustainably harvested bamboo, and bioresin from waste products that replaces petroleum-based resin. At large, the brand sources materials from highly renewable, well-managed forests.

Arbor’s wood and bamboo cores and the majority of their top sheets are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, a third-party nod that the materials are derived from responsibly managed forests. Its entire production line is solar-powered, too.

woman snowboarding on sunny winter day
(Photo/Eric Phillips)

FAQ

What Is an All-Mountain Snowboard?

An all-mountain snowboard is designed to ride in a wide variety of styles and conditions. While some snowboards are purpose-built for a certain kind of riding — such as park or powder — all-mountain snowboards can handle both and more!

What Is the Best Snowboard for Beginners?

On this list, we’ve selected the GNU T2B snowboard and the Lib Tech Cortado as our picks for the best all-mountain snowboards for beginners. Both of these snowboards are progression-oriented. They’re each relatively easy to control and maneuver, yet they offer high-quality construction and features that will support you as your riding improves.

How Do I Choose the Right Snowboard Size?

When you choose a board, the brand will have a recommended size chart based on weight and boot size. You want to be sure to not have any boot drag off the side of the board!

You’ll also want to consider your height and the type of riding you want to do. Back in the day, folks would stand the snowboard next to themselves and if the board reached between the chin and nose, that indicated the correct size. You can get an idea of the snowboard size with that method, but be sure to consider your weight and boot size, too.

Generally, if you want to ride more aggressively and in steeper, faster, rugged conditions, a longer board can help drive more control, damping, and power. A shorter board will be snappier, quicker to steer, and easier to ollie. It’s often a good choice for riding through the park, tight glades, and moguls.

Ultimately, the best size comes down to personal preference, so try to demo or rent a few boards before buying your own.

What Boots and Bindings Are Best to Pair With an All-Mountain Snowboard?

No all-mountain setup is complete without a good set of boots and bindings. The boots and bindings you choose should be aligned with your riding style and ability.

Just like boards, boots and bindings exist on a spectrum from soft and flexible to stiff and aggressive. Softer boards generally pair well with softer boots and bindings. Similarly, stiff boots and bindings are commonly paired with a stiff board to create the ultimate aggressive and stable riding experience.

What Are the Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Snowboards?

Often the biggest differences between men’s and women’s snowboards are sizing and shape. This includes the length, width, and sidecut ratio. Another big difference is the materials sandwiched in the core. Often, brands choose softer woods or laminates to better match the average woman’s stature.

Smaller men might find women’s boards compatible with their ride needs, and taller women also often opt for men’s boards. Ultimately, sizing is about choosing the right board for you and your shred style.

How Do I Maintain & Repair an All-Mountain Snowboard?

Would you drive your rig without an oil change? Snowboard maintenance is important! Make sure to wax your snowboard on the regular — every few times you ride — with wax that’s temperature-specific to your climate and conditions.

After finishing laps, it’s ideal to wipe down the snowboard, secure the bindings, and hang the board to store it. Make sure the edge stays deburred and sharpened with a whetstone and file.

If the base gets a gouge, you can fill and fix it with P-tex. For larger repairs or general maintenance, take your snowboard to a local shop for a base grind or a full tune.


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