The 7 Best Snowboards of 2012

Rossignol Krypto Magtek Snowboard

Testers were wowed by Rossi's entire snowboard line this year, but the Krypto rose to the top. Both edges of this directional twin-shaped gun are rimmed with multi-radius sidecut, which allows for seven contact points instead of two, ensuring bear-trap grip on hard snow. It's been seven years since this tech launched, and testers are still raving about its edge-to-edge response, predictability, and strong hold on short- and long-radius turns. Camber between the bindings and a rockered tip and tail blended seamlessly for light-as-air float and snappy transitions. One tester summed it up: "Smooth switch riding, nice poppy feel on rollers, and great torsional flex between bindings. This all-mountain board can be taken out any day in any conditions." 'Nuff said.

Responsiveness: 5 (out of 5)
Versatility: 4

Rome Mod Rocker Snowboard

Rome Mod Rocker
Rome Mod Rocker snowboard (Courtesy of Rome)

THE SELL: A twin-shaped freestyle powerhouse with more energy than a pogo stick. THE TEST: Reverse-camber boards are quick and responsive, but they're also generally devoid of pop off the tip and tail.  Until now. By inserting thin carbon tubes along the length of its thinned-out core, Rome upped this board's longitudinal and torsional kick. In fact, every tester sounded off on the Mod Rocker's ease ollieing. And the Kevlar impact plates beneath the bindings absorbed compression and increased response. All that snap didn't trip us up, though, thanks to its less catchy rockered tip and tail. THE VERDICT: An energetic freestyle board with no vertical limit.

Responsiveness: 4.5
Versatility: 3

Venture Odin Snowboard

Venture Odin
Venture Odin Snowboard (Courtesy of Venture)

THE SELL: A big-mountain beast that can hold an edge. THE TEST: Handcrafted in Silverton, Colorado, and designed by freerider Johan Olofsson, the Odin is flat (no camber) between the bindings, with a rockered tip and tail. Even at high speeds, which was when it rode best, we never missed a turn, whether we were flossing through trees or slashing down steep faces. And with a 40mm setback stance and tapered shape from tail to tip, the Odin plowed through powder, chunder, and even the occasional rock pile—and emerged unscathed. It's also available as a splitboard. THE VERDICT: This bomber, freeride-focused hard-charger likes room to roam.

Responsiveness: 4
Versatility: 3

Ride Berzerker Snowboard

Ride Berzerker
Ride Berzerker snowboard (Courtesy of Ride)

THE SELL: Built for big-mountain powder-house Jake Blauvelt to dominate every type of terrain. THE TEST: The directional-shaped Berzerker features a setback stance and hybrid rocker-camber profile (rocker in the nose, microcamber from the front binding back), which provided float and kick exactly when testers needed them. Between the layers, carbon reinforcements laced edge to edge at the binding zones added snappy, precise control on everything from groomers and chopped-up pow to fresh lines in the steeps. Plus, testers could not find its speed limit. Available in wide for bigger feet. THE VERDICT: A responsive, crud-busting board for just about everyone.

Responsiveness: 5
Versatility: 4

Lib Tech Attack Banana EC2 Snowboard

Lib Tech Attack Banana EC2
Lib Tech Attack Banana EC2 snowboard (Courtesy of Lib Tech)

THE SELL: A quiver-killing all-terrain freestyler. THE TEST: Lib's latest design, EC2, puts rocker between your feet and progressively increases camber from the bindings out. It took some getting used to. The inverted-handlebar-mustache profile focuses most of the pressure underneath your stance, making for greater edging power and pop. The result was too much power for intermediate riders, but it paid big dividends for the more aggressive in our crew. One bummer: the ding-prone exposed nose and tail could use a metal edge wrap. THE VERDICT: A forceful freeride board for experts.

Responsiveness: 4.5
Versatility: 4

Burton Nug Directional Snowboard

Burton Nug
Burton Nug snowboard (Courtesy of Burton)

THE SELL: A small dog with a big bite. THE TEST: The Nug is designed to be eight to ten centimeters shorter than your normal board, thanks to elongated contact points and shorter sidecut. The size suggests the park, but this thing thrives in the deep stuff, thanks to a shovel-shaped nose. It turned in powder like a shortboard on a Waikiki wave and, with added flex between the feet, ollied like a skateboard. Testers who had never surfed or skated weren't sold on the Nug's hull-shaped base, calling it squirrely, especially on scratchy hardpack. But surf and skate aficionados couldn't get enough. THE VERDICT: Never mind the out-of-the-box shape—no board is more fun on a powder day.
Responsiveness
: 4
Versatility: 3

Salomon Man's Board Snowboard

Salomon Man's Board
Salomon Man's Board snowboard (Courtesy of Salomon)

THE SELL: A directional twin that's solid, speedy, and ready to charge anything. THE TEST: This brawny board was stiff yet more responsive than expected, making for a predictable and lively ride in virtually all conditions. "The hybrid camber-rocker handled jumps and drops easily," commented one reviewer. Even our biggest tester, a six-foot-five rider, found the Man's Board "solid yet snappy." It's easier on the earth, too: a sustainably harvested aspen core with bamboo and basalt stringers and cork sidewalls collectively reduce the amount of resin, plastic, and fiberglass by up to 40 percent compared with a standard board. THE VERDICT: Best suited to aggressive riders who turn the entire mountain into a terrain park, though the stout, freeride-like flex is not optimal for butters, boxes, and rails.

Responsiveness: 4.5
Versatility: 4

K2 Company Snowboard Bindings

K2 Company
K2 Company (Courtesy of K2)

TEAM DRIVEN: K2's riders wanted a sleek, lightweight two-strap binding. They got it with the Company, which features canted footbeds for added leverage on turns and ollies, extra damping material to minimize vibrations and fatigue, and cored-out toe straps and highbacks to save weight. The sum of these parts is a highly responsive, comfortable, medium-flexing all-mountain binding.

Rome The Mob Snowboard Bindings

The Mob
Rome The Mob (Courtesy of Rome)

MOB MENTALITY: Simplicity is a theme in bindings this year. Testers appreciated Rome's one-piece plastic base plate because it's light underfoot and enhanced board feel. The Mob offers adjustable highback canting, giving riders maximum leverage and comfort across all terrain.

Burton Diode EST Snowboard Bindings

Diode EST
Burton Diode EST Snowboard Binding (Courtesy of Burton)

MICROMANAGEMENT: Testers applauded Burton's Diode EST for its ultralight and responsive characteristics, crediting a carbon-fiber-and-nylon-composite high-back and Burton's infinite-stance Channel interface. We especially like that the heel loop and base plate move independently, which improves comfort and lateral flex.

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