Best freeride snowboards

The 5 Best Freeride Snowboards for 2019-2020

What makes the best freeride snowboard?  Is it the materials used, the shape, flex, or the size? 

Understanding these specs help you understand how a snowboard should perform, but the truth is the best freeride snowboard depends on your own preferences and how you like to flow as you ride.

Freeriding is a broad category that encompasses a wide range of riding conditions and styles.  Knowing this, we accept that no single board is an end-all for everyone, so we researched a variety of snowboard designs. While we can’t choose for you, we believe there is a perfect freeride board out there for every rider just waiting to be found. 

Luckily for you, we’ve analyzed the specifications and benefits, as well as the downsides you need to be conscious of when searching for your next freeride snowboard.

Below we jump right in and show you Our Top Overall Pick and Runner Up selections for the best freeride snowboards this year. Then we get into three of the top choices for alternative freeride shapes.  The pros and cons of each product are described to help you understand the various features and benefits along with anything to look out for. Then we’ll guide you through how to select your perfect freeride snowboard. 

Let’s get started.

Top Overall Pick:

1. Jones Flagship

The Flagship inspires confidence and outshines most others in technical terrain.  Its proven performance pedigree paired with some of the snowboard industry’s most sustainable manufacturing methods makes it our top choice for best freeride snowboard.

Jones Flagship
  • Tapered Shape, 12.5mm
  • Directional Flex pattern
  • V-core
  • Blunt Nose
  • Traction Tech 3.0

Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

OVERVIEW

I can’t say enough about this awesome redesigned snowboard. Ideal for freeriding, the Flagship is completely redesigned for the 2019-2020 season with an all-new shape. 

Also, Jones’ continues to innovate its manufacturing methods and has constructed the Flagship with more environmentally friendly materials.  In particular, they use what they call Super Sap Bio Resin, which is a new plant-based epoxy resin instead of a standard petroleum-based product.

This ride features a directional hybrid camber profile for unmatched edging on hard snow and a somewhat mellowed flex for better float and quicker turns in powder.  The new Flagship still carves straight-lines with incredible precision too. 

The new Flagship isn’t a super-stiff board (medium-stiff) but stiff enough to handle even the most technical riding you can throw at it. The new flex pattern gets a little softer towards the tail, allowing better control so you can handle busting through chop. If you’re looking for more stiffness then consider the Carbon Flagship.

If you’re looking to up your game, this board handles like a dream, whether you’re in pow, trees or pushing through moguls all day, speed and control are never an issue. 

SPECS

  • Lengths available: 151, 154, 158, 159W, 161,162W, 164, 165W, 169W 
  • Flex rating: Medium-Stiff
  • Base profile: Rocker/Camber/Rocker (Backseat Camber)
  • Shape: Directional Tapered
  • Stance Setback: Not Specified – Stance is centered over backseat camber but you’re not centered on the board considering the long nose

PROS

  • Better uneven terrain performance
  • Balanced power
  • Carves like a beast

CONS

  • Not for beginners or even intermediate riders
  • Woodgrain look topsheet may be too plain for some

BOTTOM LINE

Jones kept a lot of things that we loved about the older model Flagship but improved on this classic with more taper and new materials. The Flagship is an excellent freeride snowboard that surpasses expectations for carving in deep powder, or riding trees, and for straight-lining. If you’re an advanced to expert rider and you like it deep and steep, this board is especially worthy. 

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Runner-up Pick:

2. Lib Tech T. Rice Gold Member

Lib Tech T. Rice Gold Member Snowboard is a board that rips anywhere on the mountain. The Gold Member is directional but still freestyle-ish, has a hybrid profile shape, and is lightweight, but a stable freeride snowboard.

Lib Tech T. Rice Gold Member
  • NEW FOR 2020 - LIB TECH - GOLD MEMBER FP SNOWBOARD MENS
  • ALL MOUNTAIN / FREERIDE - DIRECTIONAL
  • TRAVIS’ NOTCH TAIL LIGHTWEIGHT DIRECTIONAL
  • PERFECT FOR THE HOME RESORT OR AK
  • ECO SUBLIMATED BIO-BEANS TOP

Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

OVERVIEW

The Gold Member is set-up for taking you from the park into the backcountry. It’s a smooth, powerful board that will keep you entertained all over the mountain with the ability to bomb down for happy hour. 

It’s a bit on the stiffer side of all-mountain. More on the lower realm of freeride with a slightly directional flex with a tad softer nose than the rest of the board. 

Even though it is has a slightly loose feel, this board is super stable. It’s one of those boards you can carve tight turns on but don’t have to worry about it washing out and shows very little chatter in the tips.

This board grips an edge when carving, but be prepared to really work for it and know if you get in deep, you’ll have to drive hard into this board.

Lib Tech T. Rice Gold Member features a hybrid camber profile, paired with a directional shape and lightweight core construction.  This board gives you the tools necessary for decent float, high power, and quicker turn initiations.

Whether it’s steep and deep in fresh pow or hard carves in the backcountry, this board shreds.

SPECS

  • Lengths available: 157, 159, 163, 167W
  • Flex rating: Medium 
  • Base profile: Hybrid Rocker (Camber/Rocker/Camber)
  • Shape: Directional tapered
  • Stance Setback: 3/4″

PROS

  • Great carver
  • Lightweight and lively
  • Speedy

CONS

  • Slightly loose feel
  • Limited size options

BOTTOM LINE

The Lib Tech T. Rice Gold Member is a premium board.  It’s ultra-lightweight, smooth-riding, and engineered for stability, handling, and control.  The performance it offers supports a freeride mindset even in the gnarliest of terrain.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Also Great:

3. Gnu Mullair

The Mullair is superb for those looking to rip. This board is perfect for someone who can handle speed and carve on hard-packed snow with the best of riders – but can also tear it up in powder.

GNU Mullair
  • NEW FOR 2020 - GNU - MULLAIR SNOWBOARD MENS
  • CORE: Balsa/Aspen/Paulownia II: Sustainably Harvested, Lightest, Strong, And Poppy
  • GLASS: Tri-Ax/Bi-Ax Silky Smooth Bio Fiber Dampener
  • TOP: Eco-Sublimated Bio Beans: Tough And Environmentally Friendly
  • BASE: Eco-Sublimated Sintered : Fast, Tough, Holds Wax

Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

OVERVIEW

The Gnu Mullair is a pretty stiff board that might not float as well as some of its rivals, but more than makes up for that with its dynamic hard turning, pronounced grip, and of course, lots of speed.

This board is constructed of sustainably harvested Balsa, Aspen, and Paulownia II.  These woods are combined with ‘Tri-Ax / Bi-Ax Silky Smooth Bio Laminates’ to produce a light, strong, and poppy snowboard. 

This GNU snowboard comes with super-high molecular weight outer sidewalls prepared from a soy-based elastomer.  The sidewalls are laminated to five internal wood layers, for utterly bombproof construction.

Combine all this with Magne-Traction for unreal edge hold and control in all conditions, and you get a sweet board that’s fast, tough, holds wax, and is environmentally friendly.

Certainly not for the beginner, or even lower-intermediate rider – you should be an intermediate-advanced rider to handle this one.

SPECS

  • Lengths available: 155, 159, 161, 164W
  • Flex rating: Medium-Stiff 
  • Base profile: Hybrid Camber (Camber/Rocker/Camber but with mild rocker in the center, mostly a camber board)
  • Shape: Tapered Directional
  • Stance Setback: 1”

PROS

  • Holds edge solid
  • Speedy and stable
  • Fun in trees

CONS

  • Floats mediocre
  • Not ideal for switch

BOTTOM LINE

Overall the Mullair is a phenomenal board. You’ll feel at home on groomers, in the backcountry, or blasting through trees. But its best asset lies in carving and ripping the mountain. To me, this board was all about speed carving and playing in powder.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Alternative Design Freeride Picks:

4. YES Optimistic

Looking for something different that deviates from the typical freeride design but still rips? The Optimistic, from Yes, is phenomenal for those searching for a super stiff ride that edges like a sports car and can make tight turns, all while bombing down runs fresh with powder.

YES Optimistic
  • Length: 151cm, 154cm, 157cm, 161cm
  • Profile: Modern Camber
  • Shape: directional
  • Flex: stiff (9 of 10 on Yes.' scale)
  • Effective Edge: [151cm] 1166mm, [154cm] 1188mm, [157cm] 1210mm, [161cm] 1246mm

Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

OVERVIEW

At first, the Optimistic appears to be a powder specific board. However, the way it carves, its stability in long and tight turns all with speed and power, make it a solid freeride snowboard. 

The Optimistic has a stiff torsional flex pattern to provide for stable turning and has a wider waist width making it easier to roll on edge even at high speeds.

Not for the beginner in mind, this deliberately designed board is aimed for intermediate/advanced riders who love nailing fast turns and riding bottomless powder, not just tooling around the mountain. 

Yes Optimistic has one of the most tailored sidecuts out there. The aggressive sidecut and UnderBite Technology is what makes this board stand out and perform excellent anywhere from deep powder to the firmest of surfaces

Reaction, better float, stability, and precision edging on a variety of snow conditions make the Yes Optimistic a sweet ride for the advanced rider. 

Pro Tip: Test ride this board one size shorter than your usual, and you will expose this board’s full usefulness. 

SPECS

  • Lengths Available: 151, 154, 157, 161 
  • Flex Rating: Stiff 
  • Base Profile: Hybrid-Rocker/Camber: C4 (Rocker/Camber/Rocker)
  • Shape: Directional
  • Stance Setback: No Setback

PROS

  • Great float
  • Precise edging 
  • Solid in hard/icy snow

CONS

  • Tricky to get the correct size
  • Feels very rigid when turning
  • Not comfortable to ride switch

BOTTOM LINE

If you’re an advanced snowboarder looking for a stiff carver, then the Optimistic’s abundant features are worth the ride. Its unmatched ability to hold a tight turn radius provides you with the tools you need to bomb down any mountain. Now, it’s too much for beginner boarders but perfect for advanced intermediates and above. And, it’s awesome in all snow conditions, but only if you can hang.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


5. Bataleon Carver

The Bataleon Carver is a carving machine – hence the name. Built for those riders who are all about the turn n’ burn society. Everything about this board is constructed for life on the edge with plenty of aggression and response.

OVERVIEW

With the Carver, you get Bataleon’s Triple Base Technology.  This is a patented 3D shape design with a camber profile for good edge control, while it’s turned up edges at the contact points result in it being less catchy.   The Carver goes beyond the traditional shape and has been specked out for faster edge changes that deliver a much snappier ride than the basic shape. The unique base profile on this board also results in good carving ability.

The Carver’s profile balances the benefits of camber and rocker into a single design that uplifts the widest points of the tip and tail. This allows you to reach higher speeds, catch less edge, produce pop, float powder, and initiate turns all while rocketing blazing fast.

To make this board feather-light, hollow carbon tubes have been inserted into a milled section of the wood core parallel to the board’s sidecut. This design reduces weight while storing significantly more energy and delivering precise edge control.

Another feature that rocks on this board is the tips uplift at the broadest points of the nose and tail.  This results in smoother turn initiation, increasing float, and vastly improve handling on rough terrain.

Whether you’re rocketing yourself into epic turns or shredding through trees, you can bet Bataleon’s Carver can handle it. We just hope you can ride a 158.

SPECS

  • Lengths available: 158
  • Flex rating: Medium-Stiff
  • Base profile: Triple Base Technology (3BT) camber and rocker 
  • Shape: Tapered Directional
  • Stance Setback: 1″

PROS

  • Best carver
  • Meant for speed
  • Plenty of aggression and response

CONS

  • One size only
  • Prone to a bit of chatter

BOTTOM LINE

The Bataleon Carver snowboard delivers an epic ride and is known for carving everywhere it goes. If you have the guts to put this board on edge and bomb down the hill, you’ll be rewarded with incredible precision and blazing speed with every turn. 


How to choose the best freeride snowboard?

The best freeride snowboard for you is going to come down to personal preference.  But what design features should you be looking for in a freeride snowboard?

A convenient way to understand a freeride snowboard is to think about how it differs from an all mountain snowboard.  This is a good approach because many riders start off with an all mountain board and then transition to freeriding as their experience and ability grows.

For discussion purposes, it is helpful to think of the typical all mountain board as being designed for groomed runs with the capability to run through the park and still be able to take on basic freeriding situations.  But they are not optimized for either park or freeriding. In general these boards tend to be true twin shaped with a medium flex.

In contrast, a freeride snowboard is going to shift away from the park side of the spectrum and be optimized for performance in more challenging, steep, ungroomed terrain.  Typically manufacturers design these boards to be directional, stiffer-flexing, and tapered from nose to tail.

Freeride designs are optimized and can be depended on more in critical freeriding situations you may find in the most challenging ungroomed resort runs or in the backcountry.  These designs are more stable at higher speeds for straight-lining and carving but still produce good float in varying snow conditions. On the other hand, these freeride terrain-tailored, stiffer designs are going to be harder to handle and less forgiving in situations you might encounter in the park.

Graphic showing range of use of freeride and all mountain snowboards
Freeride vs. All Mountain Snowboards Application Diagram – Darker red indicates greater optimization for each snowboard type.

In general, consider the following when choosing a freeride snowboard:

  • Flex: Medium-Stiff to Stiff for quick response, control, and carving
  • Shape: Directional, tapered shape with a slight setback stance for float and rear-biased weight distribution for quick turns and to help keep your nose up so you stay on your feet through rapidly changing terrain (e.g. powder/ice/crud)

Conclusion

So this concludes our summary of the best freeride snowboards.  We’ve reviewed speed demons, wicked carvers, super stiff, and mid-stiff snowboard options for you to test ride.

Freeride snowboards are becoming more popular with intermediate to advanced riders. The five we reviewed are no different, so they’re not recommended for the newbie boarder.

Thanks for checking out my review, and as always enjoy the ride and be safe out there!

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