Prior Fissile ($645)
Best For: Hurling down mountains at great velocity.
The Test: Despite the Fissile’s Pinocchio-like schnoz, its relatively narrow waist allows for quick edge transitions. One tester commented that the aggressive, torpedo-like shape “will carry you through high-velocity turns that you have no business making.” Note: You’re meant to ride the Fissile eight to ten centimeters longer than other boards, because the gradually rockered nose doesn’t engage until you’re steamrolling through powder.
The Verdict: Surprisingly competent on hardpack, the Fissile really shines in the deep stuff.
Arbor Terrapin ($500)
Best For: Playing in powder.
The Test: With a whopping 28-centimeter waist, the Terrapin merits a “wide load” bumper sticker. This broad-chested surfer slashes confidently through deep snow, thanks to its impressive buoyancy and shallow sidecut. But beware of hardpack: The 145 we rode yielded sluggish turns. One tester aired over a huge gap before concluding that the stumpy tail had trouble handling high-impact landings. Bouncing over pillows and launching off smaller jumps is the Terrapin’s bread and butter.
The Verdict: A compact deck designed to stomp and slash.
Burton Women’s Family Tree Story Board ($600)
Best For: Shredders jonesing to make big arcs.
The Test: The newest women’s branch on Burton’s blossoming Family Tree line, the slightly tapered Story Board (available in 147 and 154) captivated turn-and-burn technicians. With rocker adding float to the nose and camber delivering edging capability in back, the directional freeride shape is pliable in playful terrain yet reliable at speed. One tester recommended the medium-flex board for the rider who “loves to push her limits on the steeps.”
The Verdict: A sharp tool for leaving your mark on fresh snow.
Weston Backwoods Splitboard ($899)
Best For: Carving every mountain with conviction.
The Test: The Backwoods’ early rise, rockered tip, set-back stance, and snappy poplar-and-bamboo core earned high praise from snowboarding purists. “This board might be my favorite carver,” said one tester, “and it’s not even a true carver.” While the powder-friendly front is a little on the squirrelly side, a dependable carbon-reinforced tail delivers a stable landing platform. Pick your length: 152, 157, or 163.
The Verdict: A trench-digging, champagne-powder-guzzling work of art.