How We Review Snowboard Gear

Nothing is better than trying gear your self but if you can’t, we are here for you and this is how we do our snowboard reviews. We go to on-snow demo’s and also borrow gear for extended periods of time. Most of the videos you see are from the on-snow demo’s but most of the time we get additional days on the gear you see us talking about. Some people think there is a stock pile of gear here but we give all boards and binding back that we review. Sometimes companies don’t want boots or clothing back after we stunk it up so we keep that. We don’t want to be influenced by free gear and we only ask for gear that makes our favorite lists.

Remember this isn’t an exact science but just a general guideline so you can get an idea of what might work best for you.

This rating sytem isn’t really about good or bad but more about what you prefer. Its not an exact science but just a general guideline.
On Snow Feel Loose Turn Initiation Slow Flex Stiff Edge Hold Soft Snow
Semi-Stable Med/Slow Medium/Stiff Med/Soft Snow
Stable Medium Medium Medium Snow
Semi-Catchy Med/Fast Soft Hard Snow
Locked In Fast Noodle Ice
These are more rated from poor to excellent but the ratings are not an exact science.  It’s just a general guideline based on our time on the board.
Powder Excellent Speed Excellent Switch Excellent Jibbing Excellent
Great Great Great Great
Good Good Good Good
Average Average Average Average
Poor Poor Poor Poor
Carving Excellent Uneven Terrain Excellent Jumps Excellent Pipe Excellent
Great Great Great Great
Good Good Good Good
Average Average Average Average
Poor Poor Poor Poor

The Addition of the 3/4 Snow Flake Rating– Starting Summer 2014 there is a 3/4 Snow Flake rating.  For example if you see 2 3/4 Snow Flakes it means its Average bordering on Good.


How well does the board ride in the fun stuff? This is rated mainly on the boards ability to float and how much it reduces rear leg burn. So this rating is really important for those that ride in thicker snow like you find in Tahoe, Baker or Whistler but it gets less important if you ride in light fluffy snow like you find in Colorado or Utah. We mainly ride these boards in some of the thickest pow out there so if we say it floats here it floats everywhere.

On Snow Feel 

This is one of the most telling ratings of how a board is going to feel under foot and it determines the general personality of the board between the feet.  We help you determine if it’s a board with some consequence if you fuck up or is it super forgiving or somewhere in between. One rating isn’t better than the other but instead it’s more about personal preference.

  1. Loose means it’s probably the best when it comes to not catching an edge and make skidded turns but conversely it’s not easy to one foot or flat base. Great for beginners or riders who like to spin around a lot or spend most of the day in the park ect.
  2. Semi-Stable means it can feel stable on softer snow but in harder snow it can start to feel loose between the feet. Pretty easy to skid turns too. Generally great for riders of all levels and can often spin out instead of catch an edge.
  3. Stable feels stable between the feet at all times in all conditions. Almost as easy as semi-stable when it comes to skidding a turn. Often it’s not game over if you mess up and the edges often don’t catch unless you really fuck up. Generally great for riders of all levels.
  4. Semi-Catchy means it’s stable but can be catchy in certain situations if you aren’t careful so its usually more for more advanced to expert technical riders. A bit challenging to skid a turn if you find your self suddenly off your game and trying to regain your composure.
  5. Locked In means it feels like the board is on a rail and you have to be a strong technical ride who is always on his game. Not easy for someone who doesn’t know how to turn correctly or charges hard but looses control often.  If you don’t know how to turn right or screw up a lot it can lead to hard, quick and often nasty falls.

Turn Initiation

How fast your board turn from edge to edge. One isn’t’ necessarily better than the other because different people like boards to turn differently.  For example many riders who like to straight line everything generally a board that has slower turn initiation where people who like darting in and out of trees like faster turn initiation.


Carving to us is something unique to turning. We see carving as next level turning.  Its laying hard into a turn in an attempt to bring your body almost parallel to the snow.  It looks more like a surfer making a bottom turn on a big wave. The rail is buried in the snow and most of the base is visible on the turn.  Some see carving as just making good turns and leaving a very thin line behind you with every turn.  We don’t see it that way. To us that is just making good technical short to wide radius turns.
***A lot of people think that edge hold is all that matters when it comes to a carve and that isn’t true. What is more important is how the board holds into the carve and how it springs out.

Edge Hold

How well does your board hold its edge in all types of snow conditions? The rating here is from “Icy” to “Soft Snow”.  Lesser edge hold is better for jibbing and the rating “Icy” is pretty much self explanatory.  The only thing to look further into on the “Icy” is sometimes boards that excel in ice can also be a little grabby in softer snow.  It’s not always the case so make sure you read into the in depth review on edge hold.  


How does the board bend in the center and tip/tail. Is it easy to butter or press?


Does the board ride well at high speeds?  Is it damp and stable when you pick up speed or does it chatter or feel squirrely like a skate board with loose trucks.  Also how well does the board hold it’s speed in the flats.

Uneven Terrain

Often times Speed and a stiff flex comes at a price and this is why I created this category to help you understand how a board handles less than ideal conditions. Often times speed comes at a price.  Think of a super fast board as like a race car.  Race cars are usually meant for perfect tracks and have very stiff shocks.  If you drive it home from the track it’s a pretty rough ride.  You have seen those too fast too furious cars have a shitty time trying to get over a 4 inch speed bump in a parking lot. Some really stiff fast boards can be just like this when it comes to bumpy terrain. They are amazing in perfectly groomed snow and fresh powder but take them into some bumpy snow and it feels like the board is trying to punish you. Some people ride only when its good but many don’t have that luxury. Boards that handle Uneven Terrain well are often like the soft riding SUV’s or Cross Over’s you see on the road today. Their lifted frame and soft shocks are awesome with parking lot speed bumps or handling a rough road but suck when it’s time to pick up speed or power through a high speed turn. 


Does your board ride well with either the nose or tail forward?  Can it turn well and does the tip and tail flex the same on a butter/press.


How well does a board ollie, hit small jumps, medium jumps and big jumps? Is it easy to spin and even more importantly how does it land.


Can the board handle an extra beating to the base and rails? Will you feel comfortable on rails, boxes and other features in the park?


How comfortable does it feel climbing the pipe walls to get you into the air, and more importantly, how easy is it to come back down? Does it drive well from wall to wall when you are in the flats?  Is there sufficient edge hold to feel comfortable in an icy pipe wall.

Approximate Weight

This is the LEAST important category and barely worth mentioning unless it feels light or feels heavy. I give you my take on how boards feel for their size when I pick them up without bindings and when I ride them up the chair but here are my reasons for not really getting too technical about the weight.

  1. I compared a few boards from different companies with similar specs that I classified as “feels normal”. I was surprised at how close they all were in weight and only varied by a few ounces. When I compared other feels normal boards that were taller or smaller the weight incrementally increased or decreased.
  2. Weights from the same board also vary.  Wood cores do not all weigh the same.  Snowboard companies do their best to make them very close but wood grows and isn’t made. That’s one of the reasons snowboard companies don’t post their weight.
  3. One other thing to remember going ultra light usually comes at a price.  Ultralight boards often don’t have the durability and dampness as boards that are normal or heavy. So if you are looking for a board that might be easy on your knee riding up a chair it could be worse for your knee coming down the mountain because it’s not as damp.