(Inga Hendrickson)
2021 Winter Buyer’s Guide

The Best Snowboards of 2021

Speed demons, air addicts, and powder hounds, meet your matches

Drew Zieff

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

K2 Alchemist ($700)

(Courtesy K2)

Unless you’re a weather wizard capable of conjuring blizzards at will, you probably spend a lot of time riding hardpack and leftover chop. So it’s no surprise that freeriders clamor for light, directional snowboards that dominate both deep snow and variable conditions. Behold the Alchemist, a tech-heavy ultralight charger that rips groomers, slays powder, and remains unruffled in weird bumpy snow. It might not turn lead into gold, but it turns mediocre days into epic ones. 

An aggressive carver’s dream board, the Alchemist is stiff in the nose and stiffer in the tail, with a midrange flex between the feet that adds maneuverability. Credit goes to a weave of chatter-absorbing Kevlar that’s tighter at each end of the deck and looser in the middle. On snow, the cambered weapon necessitates intentional turn initiation, but once engaged it feels stable and smooth and begs to go fast. The rigid tail, which K2 bombproofed with a pair of carbon strips, deftly tames both high-velocity maneuvers and harsh landings. Meanwhile, that braided Kevlar and a fiberglass insert lend the nose the negligible swing weight of a park board yet preserve its ability to bust through crud like a Hollywood stunt double through plate glass. Slight rocker in the tip plus a slight taper and a set-back stance help the versatile Alchemist keep pace with specialized powder decks, too. Few snowboards are as feathery as this one; fewer still shed weight while remaining stiff and damp. For advanced freeriders, K2’s latest is alchemy indeed.

Buy Now

Rossignol Revenant ($500)

Snowboards 2021 WBG
(Courtesy Rossignol)

Best All-Mountain Freestyle Board

If you’re a creative intermediate or advanced rider who treats the entire resort like a terrain park—spinning off cat tracks, dropping cliffs—­consider the Revenant, Rossignol’s new affordable all-mountain aerialist. “Stiff, snappy, dependable on edge, but still playful, with stable landing gear,” said one tester, who was particularly impressed by the board’s ability to rocket stratospheric ollies. The Revenant has a twin shape and a stiff, symmetrical flex pattern to match. Raving riders reported that it behaves flawlessly when riding switch and begs for you to spin it like a sugar-high toddler. Testers judged it a proper quiver killer, claiming that despite its freestyle abilities, the board is steadfast in all conditions. On icy runs, serrated edges will keep you locked into carves; on dreamy ones, the hybrid profile’s tip and tail rocker will keep you floating—no matter which way you ride.

Buy Now

Weston Hatchet ($650)

(Courtesy Weston)

Best Alternative Powder Board

On paper, a 152-centimeter direc­tional-twin powder board is an awful idea. But when the going gets deep, the portly Weston Hatchet—which seems like a true twin at first blush—is the life of the party. Short, fat, buoyant decks tend to follow a similar recipe: a wide nose with a small, slim tail. Not the Hatchet. Its rockered nose is notably longer than the tail, but the two are nearly the same width. This allows the park meets pow machine to land and ride switch in deep snow shockingly well. The Hatchet does have limitations: it’s overwhelmed by steep, gnarly straightlines, and some riders will be bummed that it comes in just the one length. But in playful terrain, midsize testers discovered that it has sufficient float, a rotation- and butter-friendly swing weight, surprising maneuverability, satisfactory ollie power, and a generous landing platform. And since many of us use powder boards outside of storm days, you’ll be pleased to know that the Hatchet is a riot on tracked-out resort runs.

Buy Now

From Winter 2021 Buyer’s Guide Lead Photo: Inga Hendrickson

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.