In this side-by-side product review Outside Pursuits leads you through everything you need to know in order to pick the best park and freestyle snowboard for your specific needs and type of snowboarding.
We’ll take a look at what makes the best snowboards for parks and the best snowboards for freestyle boarding for the money and what to avoid. Also see How To Choose The Best Park Or Freestyle Snowboard later in the article. What is the best park snowboard or freestyle snowboard for you?
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Park and Freestyle Snowboards
- 2018 Gilson Duel Men’s Park Snowboard
- Rossignol Men’s Retox Amptek Freestyle Snowboard
- BATALEON Goliath Freestyle Snowboard
- Signal Park Snowboard
- Bataleon Feel Better Freestyle Snowboard
Best Park and Freestyle Snowboards
|2018 Gilson Duel Men’s Park Snowboard||Rossignol Men’s Retox Amptek Freestyle Snowboard||BATALEON Goliath Freestyle Snowboard|
|Edge||Soft Edge / Hard Edge||Deep Progressive Sidecut||Sidekick uplift at nose and tail
|Flex Profile||SuperFlex||Twin Freestyle Flex||Mid-flex rating
|Special Features||Poplar wood core, Shape: Park||AmpTek Freestyle Rocke||Carbon and triax reinforcement
|Customer Ratings||5.0 / 5.0 Stars||2.5 / 5.0 Stars||N/A|
Best Park and Freestyle Snowboards
If you’re looking for a dedicated park board, this is the first stop on the board shopping bus for you!
- Soft edge design
- Poplar wood core
However, because of that you’ll be doing more work to keep the board floating and charging in powder so keep this board in the park if you want to be efficient. On top of all that, the rolled up edges, called soft edges, are detuned so they don’t catch on features in the park.
Of course, like we talked about, this detuned edge shape will make it more work to rip a carve on the board compared to something more technical. Plus the lack of camber means this board will struggle to get air.
Best for dedicated park boarding, especially grinds, butters, and jibbing with little time on the groomers or off-piste.
If the Gilson Duel is a butter board, the Rossi Retox is a poppy, jump-boosting board with a more lively camber.
- Stiff camber flex
- True twin-tip shape
- Flat nose and tail
Inside, the wood core is made on the stiff end and works arm in arm with the camber profile to add more pop. However, that means a more stubborn board that might be a little more prone to catching edges or hanging up when grinding and buttering.
Thanks to the clipped nose and tail there’s less swing weight and more mass near the center so you can pop and spin off the smallest features.
Best for extra hang time all over the mountain on a very affordable board.
For a little more well rounded all-mountain ride look at the Goliate Freestyle. This board is at home in the powder, all over the mountain, and in the park.
- Sidekick uplift at nose and tail
- Mid-flex rating
- Carbon and triax reinforcement
WIth a slight camber the board performs somewhere between a flat board and a fully cambered board. That’s one of the reasons this board fits into the truly all-mountain category as it can ride powder, groomers, or park.
Thanks to the carbon stringers and triax laminates in the board, the deck has tons of power transfer, too!
Best for all-mountain freestyle riding with powder and park thrown in to really conquer everything.
When was the last time you got a blank snowboard just waiting to be customized to your liking? And the best part is that the board itself can be customized to your riding style.
- Cambered suspension
- Poplar core
- Soft flex
Thanks to the flat nose and tail more of the board mass is centered and that means easier and faster spins. Like the Gilson Duel you can get more spins with less air.
Unlike the Bataleon Goliath, however, you’ll want to keep this board in the park. It just isn’t meant to glide over the powder and the soft flex means you’ll struggle to maintain control in all mountain conditions.
Best for a soft flex board that allows you to really manipulate board shape and edge pressure in the park.
While the Goliath board shreds freestyle and all mountain, the Feel Better board prefers to eat park and spit it out.
- Mellow camber profile
- Soft flex
- Sidekick edge uplift
For beginners and park riders, the Feel Better is a clear winner. This board has a much softer flex and flatter profile overall. This means more rider control and forgiveness in the park when you’re working on those tricks.
That said, this board has a lot going for it and it won’t back down from riding the whole mountain if you want to get out of the park and shred.
Best for one board that can cover the park for beginners up to advanced riders.
Park And Freestyle Snowboard Comparison Table
|Best Park and Freestyle Snowboards||Price||Edge||Flex Profile||Special Features||Customer Ratings|
|2018 Gilson Duel Men’s Park Snowboard||Price not available||Soft Edge / Hard Edge||Super Flex||Poplar wood core, Shape: Park||5.0 / 5.0 Stars|
|Rossignol Men’s Retox Amptek Freestyle Snowboard||Price not available||Deep Progressive Sidecut||Twin Freestyle Flex||AmpTek Freestyle Rocke||2.5 / 5.0 Stars|
|BATALEON Goliath Freestyle Snowboards||Price not available||Sidekick uplift at nose and tail||Mid-flex rating||Carbon and triax reinforcement||N/A
|Signal Park Snowboard||$399.00||Traditional Camber||Soft flex||Poplar core|
, Cambered suspension
|Bataleon Feel Better Freestyle Snowboards||Price not available||Sidekick edge uplift||Soft flex||Mellow camber profile, Freestyle 3BT||N/A|
How to Choose the Best Park or Freestyle Snowboard
Somehow snowboarding seems to be synonymous with popping kickers in the park. Of course, there are tons of ways to enjoy a day on the slopes with your snowboard. Today we’re going to focus specifically on freestyle and park boards, however.
Just to make sure you’re in the right place, let’s briefly clarify what we’re talking about as far as these two disciplines of snowboarding. Terrain parks, the areas filled with rails, kickers, and pipes are the place to go when it’s time to refine some tricks. Freestyle, on the other hand, is when we take those skills all over the mountain like tail taps for the boys!
If this sounds like your kind of day on the hill and you’re just not sure what snowboard to take with you, let’s clear it all up! We don’t want you to get laughed out of the park by showing up with the wrong board.
It’s easy to understand how snowboard length affects your time on the mountain. Shorts boards are:
- Quicker to move
- More agile
- Slower to respond
- More stable at high speed
- Better at floating in powder
For freestyle, if you plan to spend time off-piste, you may want to go a bit longer than the average park board so you don’t sink in the pow (which will cause a huge loss of control). For terrain parks, the snow is already packed down and you’re usually not ripping down the hill at full speed so a shorter board is probably a better choice for agility.
There are two big shapes that make a difference in park and freestyle boards.
Camber is the upturned shape like an upside down U which causes your force to be spread out evenly along the length of your board. Most boards have some camber profile but turn upward at the nose and tail which is technically rocker.
Rocker or flat is essentially the U shape of a board, bending upward from the middle toward the nose and tail. Most boards in this category are actually more flat than really upturned but it’s essentially the opposite of camber.
Cambered boards are great for stability and edge hold which can be really important to help get an edge in and dig your way up the side of the pipe. They’re also good for grip and edge hold on super hard snow and ice.
Because cambered boards are pre-loaded and can be really loaded up on jumps they tend to have a lot more pop than flat boards. If you want extra air, you’ll need some degree of camber.
Flat boards are great for rails and grinding because they slide a little better and don’t put as much downward pressure under the board. This gives the board more of a “buttery” or smooth sliding feel underfoot with less likelihood of edge catches.
Flat boards fall behind cambered boards for pop and preload when it comes to kicking off jumps.
Snowboard sidecut refers to the difference in the width of the board between the widest points at the nose and tail versus the narrowest part of the middle of the board. The difference, usually in millimeters, is expressed as sidecut.
Sidecut, when taken as a whole, forms some part of the circumference of a circle. The size of this imaginary circle dramatically affects the ergonomics and performance of the snowboard. Therefore the more sidecut, the smaller the turn radius of the snowboard. The larger (or less pronounced) the sidecut, the larger the turn radius of the board.
Of course this turn radius can be impacted by how hard you load the board, how good the edge grip of the board is, and whether you’re fully carving or skidding a turn.
Sidecut is a relatively tough subject for snowboarders to agree on when it comes to freestyle and park. For park skiing, a generous sidecut is usually a good idea because it gives more control over the hardpack of the groomed snow and when you tip the board on edge to rip up the side of the pipe, it will be able to keep up.
For freestyle, if you’re going off-piste a lot, a less aggressive sidecut may be fine. This will usually give better float in the powder and in general a more smooth, buttery feel in soft snow.
NOTE: It’s worth noting that it is possible to have good sidecut design while still having flat or upturned edges (de-tuned). In doing so you’ll reduce hangups and edge catches when sliding, switching, or grinding but at the same time you’ll have to put in more effort to tip that board up on edge when you want it to engage.
Snowboard Internals and Core
Inside every snowboard is a core of material. This is usually wood, carbon, fiberglass, titanium, or other various lightweight, poppy materials with lots of flex.
Manufacturers are always changing and updating materials so it’s hard to cover them all here. However I’ll try to give you a few thinking points that can help guide your decisions.
Usually poplar wood cores are common, even among high end boards. Other woods can be laminated or added in various shapes to alter the geometry and performance of the board.
Over the top of a wood core is usually some layers of fiberglass, resin, metals, and other various components. For park boarding, look for a board that has been constructed with torsional rigidity in mind.
A board that lacks torsional rigidity will flex and falter when you put it on edge to grab the snow. That can make a park board unpredictable and unreliable. Those stronger internals can also be used to focus power into the tail of the board so you can really preload it and spring off.
However, for some applications a softer board my be more ideal. A flat board for grinding will usually be quite a bit softer and more flexible, for instance.
I alluded to this earlier, but I’d like to take a second to talk about edge tuning and edge angles. In order to take advantage of the sidecut shape of a board, you have to tip that board up on its edge to get the metal edge to engage the snow.
If this happens accidentally, say when grinding a rail or buttering a turn, you’ll take a nasty digger called an edge catch. If this has happened to you, you’ll know what I mean. If you haven’t experienced this yet, you will.
Some boards have purposely detuned edges which are slightly turned up. That way the edge of the board is less likely to accidentally grab a rail or a pile of slush during spring conditions.
That’s all well and good, but at the same time this design reduces edge catches, it also causes the edge of the board to do its job less effectively. That means a relatively loss of edge control and the requirement of tipping that board up on edge much more aggressively when you do want the edge to do some work for you.
When it comes down to it, the best snowboard for you is a very particular choice. I can’t tell you what to get, you have to figure it out based on what you like to do!
Should you go with a soft flex and a camber profile or a stiff flex and a flat profile? Well, that really depends on where you’re riding, how you like to ride, and what kind of tricks you’re focusing on. No one snowboard is perfect for everything on the mountain.
I tried to get you thinking about the characteristics of a snowboard that can help you get where you’re trying to go. In the reviews we covered a range of park and freestyle snowboards from specific to general. Some are good all over the mountain, some are so specific they can best be used for a narrow set of tricks!
If you’ve got a tight budget, go with something that’s more of a “generalist” snowboard and over time you can learn more about your riding style and save up for a specific board that meets your growing needs!
Thanks for reading The 7 Best Snowboard Helmets Reviewed. We hope this article has helped you to discover the best choice for a snowboard helmet to meet your needs and type of boarding. You might also be interested in our informative article entitled, How to Snowboard – A Beginners Guide.
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