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Burton Cheetah Snowboard
BEST FOR: Hard-charging powder fiends.
THE TEST: It may look bizarre, with its swallowtail and tapered nose, but Burton’s new Cheetah, developed by freerider Terje Haakonsen, works like a fish surfboard does on waves. It floats like butter on every snow surface, no matter how uneven. And its traditional camber (a big downward bend at the chest of the board) gives it tons of horsepower. It felt space-age light underfoot but still left deep heel-side trenches without getting squirrelly. For a powder board, the Cheetah beat expectations on hardpack.
THE VERDICT: Unleash the Cheetah for snowcat sessions, heli laps, and deep days in-bounds.
Never Summer Cobra Snowboard
BEST FOR: Building confidence.
THE TEST: Never Summer’s Proto CT won Outside’s Gear of the Year award in our annual Winter Buyer’s Guide because of its ability to treat the whole mountain as a terrain park. Here’s its all-mountain cousin, the Cobra. You get the same light swing weight and smooth transitions, while a similar shape—blunted tip and tail and rocker between the feet, with camber outside the bindings—provides just as much bite on edge. But its directional shape, with an elongated nose and setback stance, made it stable on steeper unconsolidated slopes and in deep powder.
THE VERDICT: Intermediate riders will appreciate its steeps-to-cruisers versatility and midlevel flex.
Capita DBX Snowboard
BEST FOR: Freestyle riders who like to jib on natural terrain.
THE TEST: We expected the DBX—built for urban-freestyle rider Dan Brisse—to be a flexy noodle made mostly for hitting, say, city staircases. No way, said testers. This directional twin-tip ripped all over the mountain. Whether riding snow-filled glades, cruising groomers, hitting boxes, or launching off backcountry kickers, the DBX was a dream. In fact, the rocker in the nose and tail, extending from traditional camber between the feet, inspired testers to do nose presses and ollies.
THE VERDICT: Ride it on rails or rip it down the fall line, the DBX is a quiver killer for snowboarders always looking for their next air.
Ride Machete GT Snowboard
BEST FOR: Aggressive riders who love stiff boards.
THE TEST: Built like a freestyle board—its twin-tip design is ideal for spinning, jumping, and jibbing—but with beefed up durability and firmer flex, the Machete GT won over our six-foot, 200-pound testers. It was enough board for them to press against and still feel supported on uneven steeps. The GT was noticeably snappy and more responsive than past iterations, thanks to a new sidewall construction that has more carbon on the outside edges of the board. Just don’t take it in powder. The centered stance makes it hard to float the nose.
THE VERDICT: Excels on firmer snow. Riders who need a lot of board under them will love hitting features in and out of the park.