Looking for a new snowboard that can get you up the mountain and navigate soft powder, sweet lines, and tree groves? There are plenty of mainstream brands out there, but if you’re looking for the smaller batch experts who test out their products themselves, check out some of the best backcountry snowboards and brands below:
Zion Snowboards was founded by snowboarders and design their boards with a clear focus on keeping the sport fun. You can tell this immediately from the playful designs on their snowboards. Don’t let their lightheartedness fool you, though; Zion is serious about building the best boards to keep you riding in the backcountry and all different terrain all day long.
The FJ Split 159 is Zion’s best backcountry snowboard. It’s based on their popular powder Pulver-izer board; ‘Pulver” is the German word for “powder”, and that’s where this board is designed to spend its time. The FJ Split’s pointy nose is crafted to cut through snow to get you on top of the powder, and the tapered shape is crafted to keep you up there. The board’s tail is designed for quick responsiveness and carving. With Karakoriam clips, you be able to easily split the board and find the best powder on the mountain. ($809, $647.20 with Reddy Yeti membership)
Like a lot of the companies producing the best backcountry snowboards, Smokin approaches board research and design with a lifetime of snowboarding experience. They are all about pushing the envelope on innovating snowboard styles and technologies, and have received recognition for their work from Snowboard Magazine. They most recently came out with their Quattro Grip sidecut with provides next level edge hold in all mountain conditions.
Their BigWig Split backcountry board features the Quattro Grip sidecut as well as directional early rise shape for float, camber tail for pop, eco-friendly Super Sap resin for strength, and 3 stage dampening to absorb vibrations that you can encounter with variable snow conditions. ($869.99)
Coalition Snow is the first ever company specializing in skis and snowboards designed by women, for women. Moving past the “one-size-fits” all mentality, Coalition Snow is building gear and apparel that meets women winter adventurists’ needs and desires. This mission extends beyond manufacturing and distributing this high quality gear; Coalition Snow also produces a podcast and magazine that covers topics that relate to women and/in the outdoor space aka B.A.D.A.S.S.
But back to backcountry snowboards; Coalition Snow’s Sojourner Split is provides a light trek up the mountain and a reliably fun descent. This board features a scooped, rockered nose and cut swallow tail for floating on top of soft powder, as well as traditional camber underfoot and progressive sidecut for quick maneuvering and an overall stable ride in all conditions. ($799, $599.30 with Reddy Yeti membership)
Pallas is a niche provider of small-batch women’s snowboards based out of Salt Lake City, UT. They build boards to specifically account for and optimize women’s smaller average size and lower center of gravity than male boarders. All of Pallas’s snowboards feature BUHMPER inside edges for a smooth ride downhill and excellent edge grip on the uphill, snappy and lightweight poplar cores, carbon reinforcements for torsional stiffness, and textured topsheets for more responsive movement.
Deviation designs and builds 100% custom, high-performance snowboards and skis using locally sourced raw lumber from their home state of Oregon. You can choose your model, flex, and topsheet and base graphics to make sure the board fits your specific riding style and needs.
Their Prime Split backcountry snowboard is designed to shred, jump, and surf through powder and backcountry terrain. Its shape provides for a lot of pop with strong and quick responsiveness. Deviation added full-wrap steel edges on both halves of the split board to improve durability and edge grip while touring and Karakoram clips for a bulletproof ride mode. Its powder-specific profile also features camber starting at the front for strong control in icy areas and rockered nose for floating and muscling through more littered terrain. (starts at $999)
Donek crafts custom snowboards to fit specific snowboarding needs. They provide boards for all different mountain terrains, including the Nomad board built specifically for backcountry powder. Featuring a long shovel with a tight 7m sidecut and early rise to keep you on top of the snow and maneuver effortlessly. You are able to customize features of the board, including the graphics, length, dimensions, and add-ons like waxing and tuning and powder inserts. Available as a split model for full backcountry access. (base amount of $825, $759 with Reddy Yeti membership)
Prior: Custom-Built and Pre-Made Backcountry Split Boards
Prior started handcrafting snowboards and skis in 1989, with an emphasis on high quality performance and durability through heavy use. They started building split boards for backcountry riding in 1999, and they now have the most comprehensive line of split boards available.
In their custom builds (available for men and women), you can choose your topsheet and base graphics, length, width, flex, materials and aesthetics to match your riding use and style. They also offer plenty of pre-built backcountry snowboard options (in mens and womens again), with different combinations of free riding, powder, and big mountain features.
SnoPlanks’ snowboards, skis, and splitboards are handcrafted from sustainably-sourced bamboo in Bend, OR. The bamboo core is seamless, providing for high performance and increased float and pop. The core is also laminated with fiberglass and carbon fiber for strength and responsiveness, and the camber profiles provide superior turning ability.
SnoPlanks offers two splitboards, the Model A Split and the Spindrift Split. Both are designed to take on aggressive lines on deep powder days. Both are remarkably light given their carbon fiber construction, making trekking uphill much more effortless. The Model A features a directional shape designed for gliding in powder and hardcore stability on ice (probably a better choice for my East Coast riders). ($949, $664.30 with Reddy Yeti membership)
This isn’t exactly a backcountry snowboard, but if you’re here you should probably check out Rat Cheese Snow Wax. This is Rat Cheese’s performance blend for snowboards and skis, and is 100% made in California. ($12, $9 with Reddy Yeti membership)
Looking for snow apparel to go with your new board? We’ve got some brand recommendations for you.
Elissa loves striking that perfect balance between outdoor adventure and organized sports. Her ideal week is full of basketball, soccer, and rock climbing followed by a weekend of hiking and camping. She works on the website migrations team at HubSpot and is based out of Cambridge, MA. Elissa is passionate about startups, particularly in the outdoor industry, and her life goal is to one day win a Reddy Yeti gear giveaway.