2024 Favorite Alternative Freeride Snowboards from The Good Ride
The Good Ride’s 2024 Favorite Alternative Freeride Snowboards is a real list from average objective riders with unparalleled snowboard gear knowledge.
Why Should You Trust This Best Of/Top/ Alternative Freeride & Short Wide Favorite’s List?
* THIS IS NOT A PAY TO PLAY Alternative Freeride Favorites list. These boards are here on their own merit by best effort objective reviewing.
* I’m an Average rider with a good memory who’s ridden about 800 different models of snowboards. More if you count different versions of the same models.
* I extensively test and compare more than anyone else. I often do same-day comparisons with the same boots and bindings.
What is an Alternative Freeride/ Short Wide Snowboard?
These are tapered and directional like Freeride boards but ride a little to a lot shorter and wider. They ride big for their length.
2024 Alternative Freeride/Short/Wide Snowboards
Positives/Swipe Right: Fast Base. Damp. Great for straight-lining. Top-notch float in pow. Still somewhat slashy in pow.
Negatives/Swipe Left: Not fast turn initiation. Not as turny as some on groomers.
The Jones Hovercraft 2.0 has a more tapered directional setback shape vs. the older model. It has a mellow camber from almost the tail going to a decent amount of rocker before the spoon nose. The Hovercraft 2.0 has an exceptional float and a much easier turning experience in pow than it does on groomers. It can even slash a bit. It’s very damp and great for those that like to straight line but it can also carve very well. It’s more turny than the older Hovercraft but still, not a super turn board compared to others on this list.
Where To Buy:
Positives/Swipe Right: Directional Float. Great in soft/uneven snow.
The K2 Excavator is a tapered, directional, shorter, wider, pretty setback ride. It’s got a mellow but long directional camber from a little before the tail to a little more before the nose. You definitely ride this shorter and wider but it doesn’t feel smaller, more bucky and bouncy. There is a turny sidecut that likes across the groomer to circle carves but can go straight too. Other than a slower base than I’d expect for this price point, you have a board that turns well, has enough tail for getting air, and pops well doing both. It floats pretty well in powder, too, and it’s a very good short wide for more directional riders.
Where To Buy:
Positives/Swipe Right: Lots of easily accessible pop. Feels slashy and turny but still pretty centered on board. Very good surfy steep angle terrain float.
Negatives/Swipe Left: Not as setback for those that like low-angle pow.
The Rome Stale Fish has a good bit of taper and is pretty directional, but it has this more centered feel. There is a decent amount of camber from the tail to a little before the Diamond nose with lifted sides. It rides a little shorter/wider, but you can size up a little in powder, where it floats super well. It has this slashy/turny surfy feel to it but you aren’t set up way back on the board like a snowsurf ride does. It’s a pleasure to turn on groomers, too, and it pops so easily and so high.
Where To Buy:
Positives/Swipe Right: Great grip but still stable in all conditions. Fun to turn and good float.
Negatives/Swipe Left: 5×2 inserts per foot that are pretty wide.
The YES Hybrid is a board I’ve enjoyed for many years now, and it has a really solid grip as well as stability in all conditions. It has a pretty tapered, directional shape with a disrupted sidecut near the inserts that grips very well. Then, it has a moderate camber with an early rise before the tail and a little more before the nose. I find myself recommending this a lot for people who see hard snow but want to be ready for a good pow day as well. There are two honorable mentions here. The Lib Tech Orca and Gnu Gremlin. The hybrid has the stability of the Gremlin but the float of the Orca in pow but with a faster base than both, so I find that I’m often recommending it over both. You can go Gremlin, though, if you want more pop, and you can go Orca if you want a looser slashy ride.
Where To Buy:
Positives/Swipe Right: Great Pop. Good base glide for the price. Very versatile. Not bad switch.
Negatives/Swipe Left: Can get a little bucky.
The Salomon Dancehaul rides shorter/wider and is tapered/directional but has a more centered feel compared to many on this list. Of all these boards, I felt the most comfortable throwing it around switch, buttering, and just playing around on the mountain. It still floats pretty well in powder when set all the way back and is very fun to turn. It can get a little bucky/bouncy in uneven snow, but man does it pop easy and high on an ollie. This is a great one-board quiver for those who want a short-wide.
Where To Buy:
Positives/Swipe Right: Great for bigger feet due to the wider tail than many on this list. Great float in pow. Fun to turn on groomers.
Negatives/Swipe Left: More for Mid/Wide foot riders. Could use a little more pop.
The Nidecker Mellow is a mildly tapered, very directional board that you ride a good bit shorter than you would most all mtn and freeride boards. It’s got a very set-back camber with a lot of early rise but still carves pretty hard on groomers. All that early rise helps compensate for minimal taper, and it is a very easy floater. Davey had a time on the 155, and I really enjoyed the 150, even though I’m a size 9. It feels wide in the tail and can be a little more challenging to turn in uneven snow for me, but I still really like it. It rides a lot bigger than you would think for the size, but still feels pretty forgiving. This has lots of appeal for bigger-footed guys, and its recommended weight range is very conservative. You can for sure go heavier.
Where To Buy:
Positives/Swipe Right: Unparalled Dampness and pop. Drives hard with front foot weighted carves. Fun turning experience in pow with the lifted sides. Likes to go straight and fast.
Negatives/Swipe Left: Not as much easy low-angle float as some of the boards on this list. Not as turny as the sidecut would lead you to believe.
The Amplid Surfari is pretty tapered and directional but not super set back. It has a decent amount of camber with a touch of early rise in the tail to a little bit more before the nose. The nose has lifted sides, but they don’t bleed into the effective edge, so you only feel it in powder. The float isn’t exceptional compared to many on this list, but there are two very special things about the Amplid Surfari. One is you can really front foot weight your turns where most need some to a lot of back foot weight. Two, is you have an incredibly damp board, which is quite uncommon for having this much dampness. It’s truly a special all-conditions ride.
Positives/Swipe Right: Really great for carving and air. Pretty damp.
Negatives/Swipe Left: Not as good in hard uneven snow as it is in soft uneven snow.
The Korua Transition Finder has a pretty tapered directional shape that runs shorter I prefer the 154. It’s got a good bit of camber with a touch of early rise before the tail but a decent amount before the nose. It’s got such a satisfying spring out of the turn and like almost all Korua boards it is a really special carver. It will adapt to any kind of turning radius you like to engage in and offers really satisfying pop-out of each turn. You can also get a lot of air with it, and it’s not set back all the way to the tail like many of Korua’s more snowsurf-style rides. It still floats very well in powder, too. If you want lighter and popier with a faster base at the expense of chatter reduction in uneven snow, you could go Transition Finder Plus.
Where To Buy:
Positives/Swipe Right: Super Fast Base. Amazing turning experience. Solid float in pow.
Negatives/Swipe Left: Not a ton of camber and not a high-speed carver.
Last but far from least is the Gentemstick Mantaray. This is a board that has inspired many shapes from many different brands (some on this list) over the years and is a very special board. You have a pretty tapered shorter/wider directional shape that you ride more the size of an all-mtn or mtn freestyle board. There isn’t a lot of camber, and it’s not an amazing hard/high-speed carver, but for some reason, it’s a blast to turn. It’s got an amazing base and really solid edge hold for not having any disruption in the sidecut. The float in powder is really good but a bit behind some of Gentemstick’s super floaty, really set-back snowsurfers. They only make a 156 for the US, 154 for everyone, and then the Baby Mantaray for women and smaller men. There is a Giant Mantaray, but it’s a softer flex. My only real complaint is there aren’t more sizes. Lastly, this doesn’t change much or at all year to year. After I ride the Gentemstick Mantaray, I think about it for days.
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