Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Snowboarding

Arbor Clovis

92

2017

Arbor Clovis

The Arbor Clovis is built for serious riders who like going fast and taking chances.

Lib Tech Attack Banana

91

2017

Lib Tech Attack Banana

The Lib Tech Attack Banana is a versatile board being fun for the park and and ripping fast lines.

Franco Batwing II

91

2017

Franco Batwing II

The Batwing II is a custom board for snowboarders that ride a lot of powder as well as typical all mountain terrain.

Rome Blur

89

2017

Rome Blur

The Rome Blur is a new board for those who prefer natural features and making big turns on and off-piste.

K2 Bottle Rocket

88

2017

K2 Bottle Rocket

The Bottle Rocket is a new board from K2 that’s on the softer side of the all-mountain spectrum with a freestyle deck for easy and surfy turns. 

Ride Machete GT

89

2017

Ride Machete GT

The Ride Machete GT is a redesigned all mountain ripper for riders who also put in significant time at the terrain park.

Roxy Torah Bright XC2 BTX

89

2016

Roxy Torah Bright XC2 BTX

A playful, yet aggressive, camber rocker all mountain board designed by Olympic Gold Medalist Torah Bright. 

Jones Airheart

90

2016

Jones Airheart

The Airheart is Jones Snowboards answer to traditional camber, but with an innovative design for maximum responsiveness and precision.

Gnu B-Pro – 20th Anniversary Edition

92

2016

Gnu B-Pro – 20th Anniversary Edition

The 20th Anniversary Edition of the Gnu B-Pro is an aggressive, yet playful, hybrid camber/rocker snowboard designed by snowboarding pioneer Barrett Christy.

Burton Family Tree High Spirits

88

2016

Burton Family Tree High Spirits

The Burton High Spirits is a directional camber board with rocker in the nose designed for freeriding and powder slashing.

Burton Feelgood Flying V

87

2016

Burton Feelgood Flying V

The Burton Feeelgod Flying V is a lively and playful snowboard built for all-mountain riding and is ideal for intermediate riders looking for a fun ride. 

Arbor Swoon Camber

86

2016

Arbor Swoon Camber

The Arbor Swoon Camber is a stiff all-mountain board designed for intermediate to advanced riders. 

Jones Snowboards Women’s Flagship

94

2016

Jones Snowboards Women’s Flagship

The Jones Women’s Flagship is a stiff big mountain board with a hybrid camber/rocker profile designed for advanced snowboarders.

K2 Haven Snowboard Boots

84

2016

K2 Haven Snowboard Boots

With a single Boa coiler lace, plush cuffs and medium flex, the K2 Haven is a low-frills, women’s snowboard boot for easy, playful riding all over the mountain.

Burton Ritual Snowboard Boots

78

2016

Burton Ritual Snowboard Boots

The Burton Ritual women’s snowboard boot is a lively, freestyle-focused boot for intermediate to advanced riders—warm, flexy and sporting a unique (updated for 2016) “Speed Zone” dual-rope lacing system.

Ride Hera Snowboard Boots

87

2016

Ride Hera Snowboard Boots

The women’s Ride Hera snowboard boot is a medium-flex boot with BOA coiler laces and a precise, performance fit to handle everything from big mountain riding to laps in the park.

Vans Implant

78

2016

Vans Implant

The Vans Implant is for the rider who wants a nice blend of time-tested technology and a boot that doesn’t look like it’s from outer space.

Ride Lasso

80

2016

Ride Lasso

A confident boot for all mountain riding, the Lasso can do a little bit of everything, but best for powerful riders. 

K2 Maysis

86

2016

K2 Maysis

K2 claims the Maysis is the “Best Selling Boa Boot”. If it is, it may be because it feels good from the get go.

Burton Photon Boa

88

2016

Burton Photon Boa

The Burton Photon Boa is a great all mountain boot. Adjustable in minute increments, they’re great for those who want to dial in fit. And the Vibram soles have good grip and a strong record of durability. 

Ride Berzerker

84

2016

Ride Berzerker

The Ride Berzerker is a directional all mountain, mid-width snowboard that underwent a massive overhaul for 2016 with a new shape and softer flex. 

Lib Tech Mayhem Rocket

89

2016

Lib Tech Mayhem Rocket

The Lib Tech Mayhem Rocket is a directional powder board designed by legendary surf shaper Matt Biolos that’s also capable of shredding corduroy. 

Burton Custom 20th Anniversary

85

2016

Burton Custom 20th Anniversary

The Burton Custom 20th Anniversary board is the latest iteration of one of the most famous and storied snowboards in history featuring a mash-up of graphics from the last two decades. It’s available with a traditional camber, a hybrid camber that Burton calls “Flying V”, and in a true twin configuration.

Gnu Zoid

92

2016

Gnu Zoid

The Gnu Zoid is trapezoid-shaped and the heel-side edge of this American-made snowboard is shorter than the toe-side edge to maximize the different biomechanics of a heel-side turn vs. a toe-side turn.

Winterstick Seth Wescott

91

2016

Winterstick Seth Wescott

Seth Wescott’s pro model by Winterstick is a power-carving mach machine with an aggressive taper and tons of float in powder.

Weston Big Chief

89

2016

Weston Big Chief

The Big Chief from Weston is a splitboard better suited for going down than going up.

Cold Smoke Voodoo

93

2016

Cold Smoke Voodoo

The Voodoo from Cold Smoke is a powder hound that slices through variable terrain on your way to the good stash.

K2 Contour Boa Snowboard Boots

87

2015

K2 Contour Boa Snowboard Boots

The top pick of pro snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, these highly responsive all-mountain and freeride boots ride just as slick and smooth as they look.

DC Mora Snowboard Boots

82

2015

DC Mora Snowboard Boots

The Mora is a flexy, well-cushioned boot with the versatility to handle everything from pow to park.

Burton Felix Boa Snowboard Boots

93

2015

Burton Felix Boa Snowboard Boots

A high-end, all-mountain performance boot, the Felix boot may well be the most comfortable snowboard boot you’ll ever put on your foot.

Lowe Alpine Mountain Attack 35L

85

2014

Lowe Alpine Mountain Attack 35L

The Lowe Alpine Mountain Attack 35L lacks the organizational features of some of the other packs I tested, but it is a winner for purists who digs a couple of basic pockets instead of a separate pocket for every item. 

Marmot Backcountry 32L

89

2014

Marmot Backcountry 32L

The Marmot Backcountry 32L improved on a classic design. Everything about the Marmot Backcountry 32L was worthy except the helmet carry sling. 

The North Face Slackpack 20L

80

2014

The North Face Slackpack 20L

The North Face Slackpack 20L is made to fill a role in a quiver, not to satisfy multiple needs. 

Dynafit Denali 42L

81

2014

Dynafit Denali 42L

The Dynafit Denali 42L proved very efficient for skiers who are conscious of every ounce they put into their pack. Unfortunately, the pack is not a good choice for the rest of the tribe.

Dakine Arc 34L

93

2014

Dakine Arc 34L

The Dakine Arc 34L packs serves as an all-around load hauler that suffices for everything you might do in a day on snow. 

Smith Vice

91

2013

Smith Vice

Smith's Vice will compete with (and likely perform superior to) any goggle in its category.

Oakley O2XL

88

2013

Oakley O2XL

Oakley produces a solid goggle in the O2XL in an affordable price range.

Zeal Tramline

88

2013

Zeal Tramline

You will likely be happy with the Tramline, especially if you splurge for the exceptional Automatic lens.

Scott LCG

87

2013

Scott LCG

Scott's LCG is very comfortable eyewear.

Optic Nerve Boreas

81

2013

Optic Nerve Boreas

Optic Nerver's Boreas is value-priced, although at the expense of some features.

POC Retina Big Goggle

77

2013

POC Retina Big Goggle

POC has a great concept with a frame that is medium-sized on your face but fits an oversized lens in a slim frame. The problem is that the lens is so close to the face that it fogs easily and, despite its great clarity, also scratched far too quickly.

Oakley Airbrake Snow Goggle

87

2013

Oakley Airbrake Snow Goggle

A very good goggle that stands out for its versatility in varying conditions. The lenses didn’t fog and provided great optics, and changing lenses was insanely easy. The main drawback was its limited peripheral vision.

Thule Sonic Alpine 633

87

2013

Thule Sonic Alpine 633

The Sonic Alpine is the best box we've seen for when aerodynamics matters most. Very easy to use, smartly designed, and  The Sonic Alpine’s 11-inch height precludes it from heavy use outside of toting skis and boards.

BCA Float 32

90

2013

BCA Float 32

Overall, we believe the BCA Float is the best avy pack on the market for Winter ‘12/'13. It has the essential features of the best packs, with a very simple-to-refill canister recharge system.

Wary AviPack 33L

86

2013

Wary AviPack 33L

The engineering of the Wary 33’s airbag system is best in of this year’s airbags.  It’s simple, solid, dependable, and abuse-ready. The backpack itself is a fully-featured, well-organized all-day ski touring pack with a bomber construction.

Mammut Light R.A.S. 30

84

2013

Mammut Light R.A.S. 30

As the second-lightest and most stripped-down avy pack in our test, the Mammut Light R.A.S. 30 is good option for those seeking to save every ounce they can. In order to save weight, Mammut skimps on a few features many backcountry users might appreciate.

K2 Diversion

83

2013

K2 Diversion

A lightweight, vented ski/snowboard helmet with hybrid construction and audio included.

K2 Photometric Goggle

84

2013

K2 Photometric Goggle

This is a solid showing for K2s first goggle, providing good but unexceptional performance—but a great value. It is a base-model goggle without the features of higher-end models but provides good visibility in a stylish package.

Burton Imperial Snowboard Boot

90

2013

Burton Imperial Snowboard Boot

The Imperial out-tested nearly every stiff-flex boot we tried, including more expensive boots in the Burton line, and was comfortable both in and out of bindings, making it ideal for chasing powder.

Never Summer Lotus (2012-13)

82

2012

Never Summer Lotus (2012-13)

The best thing about this board is its control. It has lightning fast edge-to-edge transitions, an extra-thick damping system which smoothed out most chunky snow, and great stability at top speeds, though it is lackluster in powder.

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