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The 8 Best Freeride & Big Mountain Snowboards of 2020-2021

Whether you are fortunate enough to be riding the upper mountains or back bowls at the resorts, hitting groomers and pow at warp speeds, or exploring the steepest and most technical terrain from Alaska to the Andes, freeriding is where exploration most informs our riding. That exploration can be focused on an external terrain ripe with couloirs and glaciers or an internal journey of reassessing our abilities or finding and pushing our limits. If you would like to join us as we blast through these more technical landscapes, then it is important to be on a board that can live up to the challenge.

Freeride boards are principally designed to maximize speed, edge hold, and float. The best freeride snowboards excel at locking into the deepest of carved turns or tricky traverses and yet still help to keep you up on top of the soft stuff once you’ve found your secret stash. They are designed to be stable enough at speed for you to outrun the sluff coming down after you and stomp the occasional cliff drop or three. While camber bends, directional shapes, and stiff flexes are usually the foundation of freeride board design, there are alternative design approaches and specialty details that create a spectrum uniquely riding decks within the category.

Here, we’ve assembled seven of the best freeride & big mountain snowboards of 2021 to help you choose your new ride. These are the go-to choices if you aim to ride like Helen Schettini, Bryan Iguchi, DCP, Jeremy Jones, Austin Smith, Griffin Siebert, or Jess Kimura. They are purpose-built for big lines and big conditions. Strapping into the one of your choice is a declaration of intent both to yourself and the snow that you are about to slay. Get hyped and go find all that the mountains have to offer you.

Lib Tech Dynamo C3

Best 2020-2021 freeride & big mountain snowboards

The Lib Tech Dynamo blurs the line between all mountain, freestyle, and freeride. It is the inevitable answer to someone asking the folks at Mervin about how to make fun and joy out of gnarly big mountain terrain. Lib Tech’s aggressive C3 hybrid rocker is the basis for the explosive feedback and pop available underfoot. A mellow tapered profile and directional shape allow for controlled float and precision in soft snow and magnetraction makes even the firmest and iciest conditions rideable. The strong and light Original Power core of 75% aspen and 25% paulownia is married to an Eco Sublimated TNT base that is fast and low maintenance.

If you are the rider whose aggressive freestyle approach seeks the aggressive terrain to match, then look no further. Lib Tech always had you in mind when they were designing and making the Dynamo. If you’ve met any of those out in Sequim, WA who build these boards, you’ll know that you have kindred souls in the Pacific Northwest who are looking out for your best interests and making sure that their boards are, too.

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C3 Hybrid Rocker1"$499.959

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Jones Flagship

Best 2020-2021 big mountain snowboards

No list of the best freeride & big mountain snowboards can be complete without the Jones Flagship. Jeremy Jones is one of the best-known freeriders in snowboarding, and this is the board that he rides and upon which his snowboarding company was founded. We, like you, have watched the endless hours of video footage that show the extremes to which this board can be ridden - if you have the courage and the double-fisted ice axes to even attempt similar lines. We also know, from personal experience, that it excels on slightly more tame terrain, too.

The 3D contour base 3.0, tapered shape, and directional rocker bend yield smooth edge to edge transitions and float in pow. The progressive sidecut accelerates the board through turns. A triple-density FSC Power Core joins hardwood bamboo with paulownia for lightweight, durability, and pop. Finally, the sintered 9900 base is a blend of UHMW polyethylene and carbon additives for exceptional speed. 

We recommend the Jones Flagship as the first choice for the freerider who wants no compromises in their pursuit of the burliest lines and most powerful turns. It is iconic in the category for a reason. While it may not be a particularly playful or freestyle-focused option, it will get you anywhere in the mountains that you might want to go and handle anything that you throw it at along the way.

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CAPiTA The Equalizer - Women’s

Best 2020-2021 women's freeride & big mountain snowboards

Jess Kimura is an all-terrain, all-condition boundary destroyer. The CAPiTA The Equalizer is the board that comes out of a blender turned up to eleven after being filled with her riding style based on a pro career spanning boardercross, street, park, and the backcountry. What do you put into a freeride board for the woman who can do everything on a snowboard? The Equalizer is the answer.

Under the hood, it’s a bit of a mouthful, but it gets the job done. CAPiTA’s medium flexing, technically advanced, FSC certified P2 Superlight Core and Quantum Drive sintered base are teamed with a blended radial sidecut. The resulting riding experience is notable for smooth edge to edge transitions, exceptional speed, and a lively feel.

The Equalizer is great for women or other smaller-statured riders looking for a technical, high-end freeride board aimed specifically at them. This is the board for the smoothest carves on the way to the deepest pow or sketchiest line. It combines heavy metal attitude with a soul of transcendental connection to everything that is deep snow on steep mountains.

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Season Aero

Best 2020-2021 big mountain snowboards

Season is a new brand founded by Austin Smith and Eric Pollard, two Pacific Northwest professional snow sliding athletes. They’ve pooled their experience, knowledge, and expertise to create a brand where snowboarding and skiing are equals, products never expire and service is included. Austin has been involved in putting amazing board shapes on snow for years and the trend continues with the Aero. The board features progressive shaping, with the width and stance changing depending on the model length to support all riders, both men and women.

A precise and powerful board built for hard to mixed snow, the Aero is designed to be stable and quick edge-to-edge, for riders push the envelope. It features a stiff flex originating with a paulownia and poplar wood core for a responsive and poppy ride. Entry rocker with camber between the feet, as well as 5 mm of taper and a 12.5 mm stance setback, set you up for success when you're charging down that steep spine. A black sintered base will help maintain speed while you're laying out trenches, while the 360 wrap ABS sidewall ensures a damp and stable ride when things get spicy. This is a board for advanced riders who like to turn up the throttle while they ride, or are looking to push themselves in next level rugged terrain.

A huge bonus is the service aspect that comes with Season Eqpt. boards. The Season Pass, a service partnership with evo, will let you get the most out of your purchase. If you buy Season Eqpt. this season you'll receive a lifetime of service from evo. A stainless steel tail insert for durability, and a simple yet aesthetically pleasing board graphic that stays consistent year to year also ensure you'll maximize the number of days and seasons you get on the Aero. It's always exciting to be on the ground floor of a new beginning, now is your chance.

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Rocker/Camber/Rocker12.5 mm$499

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Arbor Bryan Iguchi Pro Camber

Best 2020-2021 big mountain snowboards

The Arbor Bryan Iguchi Pro Camber is the Jackson Hole backcountry guru’s trusted companion on his daily Teton missions of freeride boundary-pushing. We can see his freestyle roots informed by decades of big mountain exploration in every choice of material and line in this board. It’s dedicated to both a bigger bag of tricks and more years in the deep backcountry than any of us could hope to earn in a lifetime.

Bryan and Arbor joined a slight 0.15 cm taper with Arbor’s parabolic System Camber in a freeride board with a rarely found centered stance. As for construction, Arbor’s Double Barrel core is comprised of poplar and paulownia for lightness and strength and bamboo for lively pop while the Sintered Plus base is a mid-density option that combines speed with easy repairability.

This is the choice for the freerider who comes from a freestyle background and spins to win off of as many natural features as possible in high-consequence terrain and deep snow. If you want the forward/switch interchangeability of a centered stance and the pop and power of camber in a freeride-focused board, then look no further.

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Yes. Pick Your Line

Best 2020-2021 freeride snowboards

The Yes. Pick Your Line, also known as the PYL, is brand co-founder DCP’s signature board for backcountry and all-mountain destruction. We are in awe of his cat-like reflexes and moonshot blasts. The PYL is built on a foundation of dynamic intention and is named with its purpose. It quite literally allows you to pick whatever line you want. It is willing and able to make them all yours.

The blend of Yes.’s Directional CamRock bend and tapered underbite edge profile yield a magical potion that gives this board unreal edge bite, powerful turning, and seemingly unsinkable float. The proprietary Weightless Core combines low-density poplar with paulownia woods for strength, reduced weight, and turbo-charged snap. A true sintered base is the fast, durable foundation on which the PYL is built.

The Yes. Pick Your Line is for the rider who seeks the steepest steeps and deepest pow and aspires to at least a couple of cliff drops in each line. Those desires have been distilled into this board. We recommend it especially for those looking to maximize the pow in their freeride adventures.

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Yes. Hel Yes. - Women's

Best 2020-2021 women's big mountain snowboards

The Yes. Hel Yes. is the multiple award-winning pro model for British Columbia’s Helen Schettini. We love watching and trying to emulate her freestyle flow in high-consequence terrain. This board is her key to unlocking the landscape in the amazing mountains that she tours alongside her fellow Full Moon crew. This has been one of the best women’s freeride snowboards since its initial release, and it gets that little bit better each year – just like Helen herself.

The Hel Yes. teams Yes.’s Underbite edge profile with a blend of poplar, paulownia, and bamboo in the stiff, light core for enhanced edge hold and defined, targeted turning dynamics as you shift your weight throughout the natural arc of the turn. The Hel Yes. has a balanced CamRock hybrid rocker and sintered base for enhanced speed and predictable pop. The directional shape is not tapered.

If you are a woman or smaller-statured rider who wants to ride and land switch in the biggest mountains, combining all-mountain freestyle with more technical freeride terrain, then this is the board for you. It excels as you push it harder. We know that you will find your own limits long before you approach the limits of what this board will allow you to do.

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Nitro Mountain x Griffin

Best 2021 big mountain snowboards

The Nitro Mountain x Griffin is Griffin Siebert’s pro model version of the Nitro Mountain. Griffin’s riding is informed by the untamed wilderness and deep champagne powder snow in the Wasatch mountains that surround him. He brings a signature artistic approach to riding them, notable for a combination of technique and joyful aggression, and this is the board that enables his expression.

Nitro’s Mountain x Griffin tapered directional shape is paired with a progressive sidecut for intuitive, locked-in turns. The Power Core II construction combines poplar and beech to more than live up to its name. The authoritative flex and snap in this cambered deck is paired with Nitro’s Sintered Speed Formula HD base for higher speeds and increased abrasion resistance.

We recommend the Nitro x Griffin for riders looking for a refined, modern tweak on the cambered, directional freeride shape. If you want a little bit of help getting up on top of the deepest, lightest powder, and you know that speed will take it from there, then ride with a core belief that when in doubt, point it. This board is the predictable, fierce sum of its parts. It’s ready for you - if you’re ready for it.

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