Coming Down the Pipe

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Best New Snowboards

Best New Snowboards

1. Venture Divide 161
TOURING
Ditch the snowshoes and grab the Divide, a backcountry-poaching split board with a sustainably harvested poplar-and-ash core—all part of the environmental bent of eight-year-old Venture. The bookmatched (read: symmetrical wood) core aligns grain, density, and stiffness edge to edge for a solid ride. The result: The Divide doesn't have the weaknesses of previous split boards, which tend to feel soft at the seam. It floated easily through waist-deep powder in the San Juans, thanks to its stiff construction and setback stance. Plus, with three available widths, there's one for every boot size. $1,200 (with skins); venturesnowboards.com

2. Nitro EERO 157 Tails Down
PARK & PIPE
With a new profile that slightly blunts and lightens the tip and tail, the 2008 Eero makes for smoother landings and easier spins than boards with more material at the ends. The ultralight poplar core provides ample pop and control for launching jumps, and the sidecut, with three different radii, keeps weight distributed evenly along the edges, so you can hold your line and maintain your speed in the pipe. Plus, a tridirectional fiberglass laminate stiffens the Eero, giving the rider quick turning without the worry of washout.
$470; nitrousa.com

3. Rome SDS Notch 158
POWDER
As quivers become rigueur du jour, a pintail fills the gap left by the ultralong, ultrawide powder decks of yore. The directional Notch quickly maneuvered through tight tree spaces to access powder stashes that few riders could reach, thanks to its shorter length and quick-turning radius. "She slashed up everything I could lay my hands on," one tester commented. Its low-density wood core and carbon-fiber strips at the tail deliver incredible longitudinal pop, while the tridirectional carbon layering keeps this powderhound torsionally stiff. Rome also kept the weight to a bare minimum by milling out any wood in the core not needed for strength. $500; romesnowboards.com

4. Burton T6 159
ALL MOUNTAIN
Burton updates its top-end T6 with padded inserts under the bindings at both the toe and heel. The technology, called Smooth Ride, takes the edge off when you need it (flat landings and cruddy snow) but is completely invisible when you don't, allowing you to ride faster and go bigger with less pain and fatigue. The T6 still has its trademark ultralight honeycomb core, which allows it to cook down groomers and powder stashes while maintaining the pop and balanced swing weight for the park. And the even power distribution along the edges means no second-guessing on sketchy turns. $800; burton.com

5. Rossignol Jones 162
ALL MOUNTAIN
This directional gun delivers all the freeriding prowess you'd expect from a board named after big-mountain pro Jeremy Jones. Rossignol split the poplar-and-fume core into three sections and overlaid strips of carbon and Kevlar on the outer two to deliver tremendous stiffness. The result is a board so versatile that it felt at home dropping the chutes of Jackson Hole, cruising the groomers at Brighton, and taking a lap through Copper's park. This ride also comes with a karmic bonus: One percent of each sale goes to Jones's environmental organization, Protect Our Winters. $530; rossignol.com

6. Atomic Rapture 156
FREERIDE
One tester summed up the Rapture in five words: "Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun." No one disagreed, as this deck quickly became a crowd favorite. A reverse-camber design, which lifts the tip and tail when weighted, makes the board feel shorter and buttery when flat but lengthens the effective edge for better turning on hardpack. With lightweight material at the ends, this all-wood-core board is easy to spin in the park, while titanium strips in the rear give it added pop. And thanks to tight tip-and-tail radii, it maneuvers deftly through the trees. $499; atomicsnowboarding.com

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