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The 8 Best Directional Snowboards of 2020-2021 - Men's & Women's

Legend has it that all snowboards used to be “directional” in design. The first wooden planks that our sport’s pioneers had the privilege to step on had exaggerated, flipped-up noses, no camber or sidecut, and straight-chopped tails. Heck, they didn’t even have bindings! Things have come a long way since then, but inspiration can still be found in our roots. 2021’s best directional snowboards combine all the latest technological bells and whistles with the energy and original spirit of years past.

These directional snowboards cover a wide range of riding styles - from aggressive, chunder-destroying chargers, to playful and balanced daily-drivers. Combining dedicated years of product research and proprietary tech, today’s brands have produced a litany of the most advanced snowcraft of all time. Coming in a plethora of size options and featuring eye-popping new graphics, you can easily find an offering here that suits your body type and riding style.

While the range of approaches these boards can accommodate is wide, a respect and love for the almighty turn unites them. If you haven’t heard, camber is back in a big way, and it’s more subtle and advanced than ever. A number of sidecut options also adorn these rides. So whether you’re an old-soul in a youngster’s body, or a lifer who’s a kid at heart, you’ll find some of the best directional snowboards here to help you draw new and exciting lines on snow in 2021.

Salomon Dancehaul

Best 2020-2021 directional snowboards

Sporting a racing stripe on the base and a flashy gold topsheet, this year’s Dancehaul will have you ripping to the beat of your own drum all over the mountain. One of the most versatile boards on this list, the Dancehaul boasts a symmetrical Rock Out Camber profile - combining the best aspects of rocker, camber, and flat profiles, which provide float, response, and stability in one board.

The tapered directional shape and traditional sidecut make for a predictable ride underfoot on hardpack and in pow, while the centered stance and medium flex means you can take the party to the park any day of the week. With an FSC certified Aspen Select Core, Popster core profile, and Salomon’s proprietary Ghost Basalt Stringers, be prepared to launch into the stratosphere off of every bonk, bump, and berm.

A wider than average waist-width means you can size down a bit for a more playful ride while maintaining surface area for float in the deep stuff. Or hop on that 157 for a more aggressive ride. If you’re looking for a board to take from the peak to the parking lot, this is as close to a “quiver-killer” that you’re gonna get in a directional shape.

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Medium"Rock Out" Hybrid Rocker/Camber$449.95

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Bataleon Party Wave

The best 2020-2021 directional snowboards

You’ll get to scream “Party Wave!” every time you drop into a run on this little slush destroyer. Meant to be ridden 5-10cm shorter than your all-mountain board, the Bataleon Party Wave is one of the most fun looking boards we’ve seen in years. With 3BT (Triple Base Technology) with Sidekick you’ll have a catch-free and floaty ride whether you’re blasting side-hits in spring or throwing rooster tails in winter.

Don’t let the Party Wave’s playful demeanor fool you - you can still lay into a turn when needed. Featuring a camber profile between the contact points, a radial sidecut, and a SUPER wide waist, keeping this board on edge won’t be an issue. Though we wouldn’t pack this on an AK trip or for a street-rail mission. Think “jibby”, buttery - best when the vibes are mellow and there’s some snow to push around.

With a medium flex, a set-back stance, and 5 different length options, this could be your go-to powder board in a bigger size, or your late-season, side-hit sidekick in a smaller package. Fun-forward, best enjoyed with friends, and with just the right amount of retro-flair, the Party Wave is one of the best directional snowboards for the 2020-2021 winter.

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Burton Skeleton Key

The best 2020-2021 directional snowboards

Calling all shred-ghouls and gals, unlock your full potential with this year’s Burton Skeleton Key Snowboard! This medium-flexing, versatile, all-mountain killer is ready to take you to every corner of the resort, and beyond. With a chopped nose, a notched tail, and a secret code inspired graphic, you’ll have inquiring minds in the lift line wondering what year in the future you came from.

Featuring camber between the bindings and rocker in the nose, the Skeleton Key is at home on groomers and in pow, allowing you to rail a turn on hardpack on the way to the sidecountry. Though landing switch in powder might prove difficult, this thing IS made to spin. Burton’s Pro-Tip tech means a tapered tip and tail for reduced swing weight. Pair that with a myriad of proprietary core design features and big park jumps don’t seem out of the question.

The Skeleton Key doesn’t come in quite the size range as some of the other offerings on this list, so smaller riders might want to steer clear. On the other hand, it does feature Burton’s Channel Mounting System which provides for ultimate stance freedom with Burton and most other major binding brands. Finally, this board features the Burton-exclusive technology, Infinite Ride, in which boards are “over-built” and then broken in before they even reach the shop. This means the Skeleton Key is ready to go right out of the box and will keep on kicking well beyond the lifespan of the rest of your quiver.

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Gnu Gremlin C3

The best directional snowboards of 2021

The Gnu Gremlin might have you grinning ear to ear, green with envy if you’re not on it, or gripped with adrenaline at the bottom of a serious line. Offered in a single, 155cm size, this retro-car inspired board is obviously not for everyone, but if it’s in your sweet spot, you better buckle up for a wild ride. The Gremlin comes standard with Magnetraction, giving you unreal edge hold on hardpack and ice, as well as an aggressive C3 camber profile, meaning you’ll have a bit of float in powder as well as maximum pop when needed.

One of the most interesting things about the Gremlin is its overall outline. It features a big, wide, and chopped nose, a bit of a pintail at the rear, and a slightly more aggressive sidecut than other boards on this list. Pair that with a fairly wide waist width, and you’ve got a lot of board under your feet relative to the length. This all means that it’s going to hold when you push it, and may be suited for bigger lines than you’d think!

Finally, this board is “Green” in more ways than one. The Gremlin is produced right here on American soil at “The World’s Most Environmental Board Factory!” Featuring a Bio-Beans plastic topsheet, soy-based elastomer sidewalls, an FSC certified wood core, and a slew of other forward-thinking production techniques, you can feel good about your Gremlin purchase on and off the hill.

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Capita Spring Break Slush Slasher

The best 2020-2021 directional snowboards

By now the Slush Slasher is a familiar sight at resorts across the world, but its ubiquity and fun-loving graphics belie its paradigm-shifting approach. Coming from the mind of the iconoclastic Corey Smith, the Slush Slasher was one of the earliest iterations of the short and wide shapes that have become so popular, and might still be the only “slush” focused shape on the market. Coming in at under $380, this board is also one of the most affordable directional snowboards on offer.

Meant to be ridden WAY shorter than your everyday ride, the Slush Slasher features an extra wide waist width, a set back stance, and a hybrid flat/rocker profile. Capita claims a 4 out of 10 on their flex scale, so think forgiving and playful without being a complete noodle. Though it’s called the Slush Slasher, this thing is no slouch in the pow. A big, spoony nose, and a lot of surface area underfoot will keep you afloat on all but the deepest days.

Capita’s recent completion of their Austrian-based production facility “The Mothership” means this craft is one of the most eco-friendly boards on the planet. The factory runs on 100% clean energy, and all of their boards are made with 98% locally sourced materials. This fact alone is enough reason to take a permanent vacation on the 2021 Slush Slasher.

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K2 Party Platter

The best 2020-2021 directional snowboards

Everything’s on the table when you strap into this year’s K2 Party Platter! An old-school K2 logo, a peace sign, and some psychedelic party rays assure that your buds will see all your fantastic feats from the lift. Once again, you have the ability to size down on this board. A wide nose, wide tail, and wide waist means there’s plenty of surface area to float even the burliest of riders.

K2 is offering a lot of size options in this shape - all the way from a 138cm to a 157cm. This gives you ample options depending on your stature, riding style, and particular home mountain or region. On first look, the Party Platter shares similar vibes with both the Slush Slasher and the Party Wave, but it’s actually a good bit stiffer. We’d strap into a smaller Party Platter for a mellow mid-winter pow day, or if we’re headed for the trees. We’d go for a bigger size for more open lines or to lay down fresh tracks on morning cord’. Beyond the outline and the wild graphics, this thing is packed full of K2 specific tech - “Weakened”, “Volume Shift”, “and strategically placed “Ollie Bars” all come together to make a lively and fine tuned shred sled. This choose your own adventure makes the Party Platter one of the best directional boards for 2021.

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Yes Hybrid

The best 2020-2021 directional snowboard

You ever go to one of those “fusion” restaurants and think, “I never would have thought of this combo, but it’s freaking genius”!? Well that’s sort of what’s going on in the 2021 Yes Hybrid Snowboard. Yes has fused all of the best features of its floaty 420 model with the “Tapered Underbite” sidecut from it’s PYL (Pick Your Line) shape.

What does that mean? First of all, like a lot of the boards on this list, the Hybrid has a big, floaty nose, a wider than average waist width, and a combo camber/rocker profile. It’s not as exaggerated as some of the other offerings, but you can still size down a bit and get away with it.

The difference lies in Yes’s “Tapered Underbite”, which gives you the benefits of a tapered shape - less ragdolling, quicker turns, and more float, in short - without sacrificing edge hold or stability. Instead of a smooth taper from tip to tail, there are steps, separating your edge into 3 distinct parts. Each section has a different radius and stays parallel to its corresponding side. It’s somewhat complicated, but you’ll have to trust when we say it works like a dream! If you’ve ever wanted a more precise ride from your tapered pow or all-mountain ride, then you should say “YES!” in 2021 to the Hybrid.

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Nitro Santoku

Best 2021 directional snowboards

If all of this short, wide, quad-rock-camberfile stuff is exhausting you, the Nitro Santoku might be the all-terrain utility knife you need to cut through the hype - staying true to its namesake, Santoku is a Japanese knife shape that is built for versatility. Coming in True Camber - that’s right, regular camber! - the Santoku provides all the stability and pop that you grew up on without sacrificing modern-day board building advances. If you’re late to the camber party, you need to give it a shot! You’ll never know what you’re missing until you try.

Coming in three very reasonable lengths, the Santoku has a centered stance, an equal width (but still oversized) tip and tail, and a medium-stiff directional flex pattern. Though everything about the Santoku is balanced, zen even, there is hidden energy here. The board has an extremely fast and durable sintered base and a ridiculous strength to weight ratio due to it’s “Powerlite Core.” The total package, and unique design philosophy compared to many of the boards on this list, make this one of the best directional snowboards for 2020-2021.

Still skeptical? Just watch some of Elias Elhardt’s recent footage for proof of the Santoku’s powder prowess. Elhardt designed the Santoku with Nitro to be the ultimate ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) to attack any and every part of the mountain with ease. Now we’re not claiming you’ll be stomping spins and flips into pow come winter, but having the right tools is half the job, right?

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