There's no doubt that snowboard production has been flipped, turned upside down, and done a 360 in the last 5 years or so. Companies are thinking outside of the box, abandoning traditional concepts and every idea is being tried and tested.
What this has done is give you every single option of shape and construction; camber, rocker, combo-rocker, anti-camber, zero camber, flat base, cam-rocker, jib-rocker, twin, flying-v, directional, magne-traction, frost-bites, wing-tips... the list goes on!
With so many options it's now close to impossible to know which board best suits your level and type of riding.
But in all this confusion is it possible that we have found the perfect combination for an all-mountain board that really can do it all, wherever you next snowboarding holiday takes you?
In the past it was almost necessary for a serious rider to have at least two, if not a whole quiver of boards in their armoury for different terrain. Typically this meant one soft, shorter board for freestyle and another stiff, longer, more responsive board with added float in powder and for big mountain riding.
Of course the all mountain option has always been there but it was very rare to find the perfect all round board that would not sacrifice performance in one of the extremes of freestyle or freeriding... until now.
Naturally this recent exploration in board design has produced both good and bad results, with some boards becoming even more specific to freestyle or freeride, performing amazingly well in their chosen conditions, but hugely lacking in versatility.
If we could take snowboarding trips, get dropped off by a heli and ride powder every day I’m sure we would. But let’s face it, this isn’t going to happen unless you win the lottery or get sponsored by Red Bull! Even still you’d need to be able to get home, through the resort, on those hard pack groomers.
Early models such as the K2 Gyrator (the original fully rockered powder board) suffered from this lack of versatility, as it was almost impossible to hold a solid edge on normal terrain. Although as a twin freeride board the Gyrator was revolutionary in making powder riding; in both directions and off-piste freestyle, much easier.
Rider feedback has since been pushing brands to find a complete solution to all the mountain's demands, a board to slay all boards and they are getting really close. The realisation that as snowboarders we are always coming across different terrain and changing conditions is also fuelling this search.Early models such as the K2 Gyrator (the original fully rockered powder board) suffered from this lack of versatility, as it was almost impossible to hold a solid edge on normal terrain. Although as a twin freeride board the Gyrator was revolutionary in making powder riding; in both directions and off-piste freestyle, much easier.
Not only that, but surely the perfect day involves all aspects of snowboarding? An early morning hike followed by an awesome backcountry bowl and waist deep tree runs, onto euro carving perfect corduroy groomers and an afternoon of park laps. Isn't all this possible on one board? Well yes, yes it is.
By testing all the extremes of what is possible in board design, manufactures have been able to unite the best qualities and eliminate the worst, to produce boards that perform at a high level in all-terrain.
Today's all-mountain boards give all the performance without any of the sacrifice and have the versatility needed to shred in powder, lock down on rails and cover the whole mountain between, in that one perfect day.
More and more often this combination of freeride/freestyle construction is being favoured.
The Jones All-mountain Twin with its balance of old and new tech has become one the best all-round boards. It has incredible float in waist deep powder due to rocker at the tips, combined with the uncompromising grip of Magne-traction and camber between the feet to rip through hard pack and ice, yet with its twin shape and poppy mid flex pattern is still a perfect freestyle weapon, with the power and stability to hold its own in any terrain.
The trend in these updated all-mountain boards is to reduce the length and increase the width, keeping the same surface area for stability and float with a lively, more responsive feel.
Combining the benefits of both the pop and control of camber or flat base, between the feet and the float and catch-free zones of rocker, in the tips, all in a twin board with directional stiffness.The trend in these updated all-mountain boards is to reduce the length and increase the width, keeping the same surface area for stability and float with a lively, more responsive feel.
The main sticks leading the charge in this new line of all-mountain boards are the Jones All-Mountain Twin, Smokin Superpark, Yes The Greats, K2 Parkstar and many more are following in their path.
With continuing advances in board tech, and seemingly no boundaries to what is now possible.
There's no doubt in my mind that you really can shred in all terrain and enjoy the freedom that awaits you as you stand on top of a mountain with no limits on where your board can take you.