By Steve Woodfield
With winter on the way, now is a great time to use your ReShip.com address to find a great deal on the best winter gear of year. Today we’ll begin an on-going series discussing the top equipment for enjoying the snowy months with five of the best snowboards released this year.
Historically, snowboard manufacturers produced boards in specific categories—freestyle, all-terrain, freeride, powder, and so on. Of course, most of us can’t afford a complete quiver, so we’re seeing more and more boards that do it all: float in powder, respond in bumps, pop off kickers, and plow through chunder on the way back to the lift. We’re calling these all-arounders burly twins because many of them have freestyle roots but are fortified to be more durable. They’re jib ready (true twin tips) but with armor and stiffness that hit the sweet spot between noodly and iron fisted. If you’re a beginner or intermediate, a burly twin is ideal for you because of its midlevel flex and alert response. Just beware of advanced boards. Their aggressive sidecuts and powerful cores can make them feel squirrelly and out-of-control underfoot.
Twin boards used to belong to freestyle riders, shining most on kickers and rails. But because they were soft and often chattery on uneven snow, they are less fun outside the park. Tides have turned, and manufacturers like Never Summer are experimenting with stiffness and pop—and it’s working. Enter the all-terrain twin Proto CT. Credit the use of burly P-tex sidewalls and a wood core concoction, which adds pop while cutting weight. Plus, rocker between the bindings blended with camber at the tip and tail makes it breach like a porpoise in powder and hold an edge when it counts. Big feet? The wide-waisted CTX pleased testers with size 11 feet.
This year’s Flagship has carbon fiber (in the topsheet and stringers) to bolster the FSC-certified poplar-and-birch core, resulting in added responsiveness and lower weight. But none of its good qualities dropped off. A directional shape and rocker toward the tip and tail continue to keep this board glued to the fall line, where it rode best at high speeds and made lightning-fast turns. A blunt nose diminishes swing weight, and Magne-Traction technology held an edge where many boards washed out.
Beginners will love the Ultra Dream because of its stable profile (flat between the bindings and rocker at the tip and tail) and forgiving flex. Plus, a set-back stance creates a shorter tail, making turns easy to engage. The Ultra Dream surfed everything from a dusting to a one-foot dump, and it’s no slouch cruising groomers.
The iconic Wasteland keeps getting better with age. In the past few years, it has integrated Arbor’s approach to rocker: a heavier arc underfoot and gradually less toward the tip and tail, with medium flex.