It's snowboarding season, both with the X-Games and the Olympics around the corner. Here in Colorado we take it pretty seriously, and if you're the type that's hiking that extra mile to find that fresh powder, then you know you have to have the best gear.
Luckily Colorado has a pedigree of having some of the top snowboarding manufacturers around. As a world-renowned ski and snowboard destination, it's no surprise that you'll find plenty of options to choose from.
We got a chance to ride the latest and greatest this season and these are the standouts for the 2018 season:
Founded in 1999, Venture Snowboards specializes in handcrafted snowboards. Attention to detail and over 17 years of experience has put this Silverton, Colorado outfit on the map.
Type: Men's All Mountain
Intro: The flagship board from Venture, the Paragon is for those that want one board for every situation. It allows you to ride almost anywhere from mountain to the park without having to compromise. While still an all-mountain board, the Paragon has a noticeably light weight and had more pop than expected.
The transitions from edge to edge responded smooth and graceful and chatter was minimal at higher speeds. Because of its unusual poppiness, this board responds well to hitting jumps and tricks along your runs. I preferred this board on groomers as opposed to powder days, but you won't have any control issues.
Flex & Stability: You'll find a mid-range flex with outstanding stability that Venture is known for.
Ideal for: This is an ideal board for those looking for a single board to tackle every aspect of the mountain. Its turning control is outstanding and has a fair bit of pop for those looking for something a little more playful.
Type: Women's All Mountain
Intro: The women's all mountain Oracle is an absolute home-run by Venture. Favoring a freeride style, this board was able to tackle everything from groomers to powder based on its light design. Our riders appreciated the snappiness in its turns as the combination of soft nose and stiff tail helped maked carving a breeze.
Narrow enough to be super speedy and responsive on the slopes, this snowboard will literally get you going anywhere on the mountain. An outstanding design & color scheme also complements the outstanding quality board that venture has made.
Flex & Stability: Medium flex with great stability. The softer nose and stiffer tail give a unique feel that really pays off. Very stable underfoot with limited noticeable chatter and excellent carving transitions from edge to edge.
Ideal for: Beginner & Intermediate. For those that like to mostly ride groomers with the occasional park or even back country. Not as stiff as we were expecting, so this board is read to tackle all conditions from powder to hard snow.
Never Summer Industries
One of the most popular snowboard brands in Colorado, Never Summer Industries, has made a name for itself as one of the worlds premier independent snowboard manufacturers.
Intro: Nimble! That's what comes to mind when we got to strap into this Shaper Series board that features the Fusion Rocker Camber Profile. But before we dig into the specs we have to give Never Summer some love for producing one of our groups favorite designs across it's entire portfolio. The Insta-Gator is simply eye-catching and we couldn't wait to put it to the test on the mountain.
This is one of those boards that is ready for any situation and allows you to ride anywhere from mountain to the park without compromise. We found the board behaved very well across various snow conditions and provided snappy turns at will. The Never Summer rocker camber profile truly shines on this board and gave us strong edge holds while also providing decent pop.
Flex & Stability: Mid flex will provide a forgiving ride and give you versatility for any situation.
Ideal for: This board felt extremely versatile and easy to engage turns, which will be ideal for beginner to intermediate riders. Great on any snow conditions, you really can't go wrong with this outstanding looking board.
Intro: What I would call the flagship of the Shaper Series from Never Summer; The Maverix is quite simply one of the best snowboards you'll find. Ready for any situation on the mountain, thanks to the Fusion Rocker Camber Profile, the Maverix grips the snow unlike anything I've seen. This can be attributed to its slightly stiffer design, which will delight any rider interested in ripping groomers.
The Maverix can be categorized as an aggressive all-mountain board which is ideal for those that lean towards freeriding instead freestyle. Where this board truly shined was on long stretches where you can lock in an edge and coast at high speeds with hardly any chatter. Never Summer had the right idea with the surf design as you'll feel like you're riding waves in the ocean as you ride down the mountain.
Flex & Stability: Mid flex with outstanding stability mimics how a premium sports car would feel on a highway.
Ideal for: Intermediate/Advanced. While you can comfortably take this board anywhere on the mountain, it truly shines at higher speeds. An intermediate to advanced rider that is looking to ride long lines will be absolutely blown away by exceptional ride you'll get with the Maverix.