In May, on the sun-kissed slopes of Kaunertal in Austria, I joined the rest of the UK snowboarding scene for the Spring Break Snowboard Test, for the snow.guide best snowboards 2016 review.
Over the course of 3 days we had various conditions ranging from hard-packed, slush, to powder, riding in glorious bluebird conditions on one day, to a complete white-out the next! The following snowboards are my top 5:
Burton Process Flying V
This board is impressive! Being fully loaded and dropping in at a budget seducing price of only £320, this has to be the best value-for-money board on the market.
The Burton Process Flying V has a profile that looks like it has been warped from being left out in the sun too long, with rocker at both ends for playfulness and float, but with camber under the bindings for stability and pop.
Although on the soft side,so ideal for park and pow, I found the ‘V’ to be very forgiving at speed, even over bumpy terrain. The camber under my feet generated a powerful pop, ideal for Ollies.
This is a fantastic all-mountain snowboard that packs a punch way above it’s price band. With a forgiving nature, the Burton Process Flying V is Ideal for beginners and intermediates. As well as being ideal for advanced (Groomer) snowboarders that prefer a softer, playful board but still want stability for charging a mountain.
Category: All Mountain
Value for money: 10
Overall Score: 9.5 / 10
Never Summer Proto
Never Summer claim that the Proto is the swiss army knife of snowboards and who am I to argue! An all-mountain and free ride snowboard in equal measures, the Proto attacks the mountain with no mercy.
The true-twin, rocker in the middle and extended camber under feet profile, gives a fun, forgiving and stable ride, even at speed.
Although, not ideally a freestyle board, the Proto is mid to soft flex with awesome pop and can still hold it’s own in the park.
Ideal for all levels from beginner to expert, if you only want to take out one board on a trip then you can’t go wrong with the Never Summer Proto.
Category: All Mountain and Freeride
Value for money: 8
Overall Score: 9 / 10
Smokin Big Wig
With it’s distinctive and unusual pepperoni pizza graphics and flat profile, the Smokin Big Wig oozes individuality and is one of the best all-rounder snowboards on the market.
There are no gimmicks, just a solid board with a cookie field bashing 6K sintered base. The twin-tipped flat profile gives it high stability without the jitters at speed and a free license to charge the mountain at will.
The Big Wig also has a playful soul with an ample amount of pop and flexibility. It is also even more forgiving than the Vatican, so great for stomping those hitters and riding out with your arse still in check.
Category: All Mountain
Value for money: 8
Overall: 9 / 10
K2 Cool Bean
The K2 Cool Bean looks like it has traveled in time from the 80’s with a one-size option of only a short 143, one-directional with a swallow tail to boot, and with it, it has brought back that element of ‘fun’ to snowboarding.
This is a board that you unleash on a powder day or for cutting through spring time slush as it is wide, with a long nose that is ideal for float. The K2 Cool Bean is stiff and aggressive but surprisingly stable and forgiving for it’s size.
The K2 Cool Bean is great fun but for advanced riders only.
Value for money: 7
Overall Score: 8.5 / 10
This is a very versatile snowboard and ideal for the more aggressive rider. The Typo has a camber profile under the feet with rocker tips which allows the board to be locked in for carving and gives stability at speed.
For hitting the park the Typo copes well as it is surprisingly nimble with good pop, but with the board being set slightly back, it really comes into it’s own when let loose on the mountain. It is a real powerhouse with plenty of aggression for charging, but also forgiving at speed.
A good all-rounder for intermediate and advanced snowboarders.
Category: All Mountain / Freeride
Value for money: 9
Overall: 8.5 / 10
Mark is also the manager of Jamie Barrow (Britain’s fastest snowboarder)