2016's Best Go-Anywhere Snowboards

These four rose to the top at our Crested Butte, Colorado test

The best go-anywhere snowboards of 2016 (Inga Hendrickson)
snowboards

From backcountry powder to inbounds hardpack, these boards will go anywhere and do anything.

Head Disrupt ($379)

Head Disrupt snowboard
(Head)

Best For: All-terrain freestyle.

The Test: Head has been stepping up its snowboard game, and the Disrupt is direct proof. The twin-tip shape and Head’s zero-camber Flocka profile simplify switch stance for riding all over the mountain. “Lightweight and full of life, with great pop and soft tip-to-tail flex,” said one tester. It floats better than a traditionally cambered board and provides better edge hold than a rockered one, though a few testers wanted more stiffness on steep, technical terrain.

The Verdict: A playful all-mountain board for big air and smooth turns. 


Never Summer Swift ($590)

Never Summer swift
(Never Summer)

Best For: Powder gliding.

The Test: The Swift’s rocker-camber profile (rocker between the feet, camber underfoot extending toward the tips) provides an extra-long transition zone up front. That, plus the four-inch setback on the binding location and a wide nose, improves weight distribution for ideal float on big snow days. But the Swift proved fast and light in all conditions, thanks to the porous, fused-pellet base and blended light-hardwood core. One tester commented that the “torsional flexibility allowed for beautiful carves,” and the “camber helped lock the edges into steep terrain.”

The Verdict: A most-of-the-mountain dominator that excels in deep snow. 


Winterstick Seth Wescott ($750)

Winterstick seth wescott
(Winterstick)

Best For: Big-mountain charging.

The Test: Wescott, a boarder-cross champion and co-owner of Winterstick, wanted something that catered to his aggressive style. This is the result. “Definitely a board for powerful riders,” said one of our testers. The wide, rockered nose adds buoyancy, and the short, round tail enables quick turns. The tight sidecut made initiating edges easy, and the medium-to-stiff flex and tapered shape add control on groomers and off-piste slopes. Testers agreed that the light, strong aspen core made it playful and responsive.

The Verdict: Surfs with style. 


Burton Custom Split ($750)

Burton family tree custom split
(Burton)

Best For: Backcountry freeriding.

The Test: After two decades in the Burton lineup, the Custom now comes as a splitboard. Like the solid model, it’s a directional twin tip with a rockered nose and tail. But the Split adds traditional camber between the inserts and thin flat zones just outside them to help smooth out edge-to-edge transitions. Testers praised the board’s all-mountain capabilities, noting impressive stability on uneven terrain. “Easy to control and playful,” said one, while another called it “stout and supportive on steep slopes and over choppy snow.” 

The Verdict: Hits the sweet spot between flex and support. 

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