Best Women’s Snowboards of 2012-13

Best Women’s Snowboards of 2012-13

Best Women’s Snowboards of 2012-13

We tested our all-mountain snowboards in conjunction with Outside magazine’s Buyer’s Guide in March 2012 at Colorado’s Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Test director Ali Troxell and 20 female testers—of all shapes, sizes and riding preferences—rode these boards in the gamut of snow conditions and reported their feedback on test forms.

These boards were tested by women, for women. A women’s snowboard is different from a men’s snowboard—the flexibility, width and stance all need to be tailored toward women’s bodies and riding style.

Wondering what we mean by “all-mountain” snowboard? It’s our term for a board that can ride all aspects of the resort—groomed courderoury, chopped-up natural snow, tight glades, and icy luges. No snowboard can truly excel in all conditions, but these boards are versatile enough to feel competent anywhere on the mountain. If you’re looking for the elusive “quiver of one,” you’ve come to the right place.

Best in Class

High Society Scarlet

1High Society Scarlet 2012

What it is: The Scarlet is a hybrid-camber snowboard built specifically for intermediate women looking to up their skills on everything from steeps to halfpipe.
The Verdict: For a tiny company with only four snowboards in their collection, Aspen-based High Society hit the bull’s-eye with the hybrid camber Scarlet. The Scarlet was the top-scoring board at our snowboard test, with a mid-level, responsive flex, enthusiastic pop, and solid snow contact, which meant uber-stability, even at high speeds. Intermediate and advanced all-mountain riders continually reported the Scarlet made snowboarding more fun. Only our most experienced testers felt it wasn’t stiff enough.
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Read the full report here.

Best Value
What it is:
Redesigned in 2012, the Arbor Poparazzi is a directional-shaped, women’s specific snowboard with a rockered profile meant for everything from powder to park laps.

The Verdict: Less noodly and narrow than past Arbor women’s boards, the Poparazzi is ideal for intermediate riders who like to cruise the mellow ungroomed, floss trees, explore steeps, and play in the bumps. Advanced riders felt it lacked the chutzpah to go mach speed, and if you’re mostly riding the icy East Coast, opt for something more damp—the Poparazzi chatters.
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Read the full report here.

1Gnu-Velvet-Guru-ec2What it is: The Gnu Velvet Guru is an all-mountain freestyle snowboard designed with a moderate flex that responds best to aggressive riders.
The Verdict: This is a true all mountain board. Both beginners and experts loved its versatility: it floats in powder, responds to aggressive maneuvers at high speeds, pops like a cork, and is so light and playful, you’ll want to hit every berm you see. However, in steep terrain, riders had a hard time getting it to hold an edge.
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Read the full report here.

1Never Summer Lotus

What it is:
The Never Summer Lotus is a directional-shaped, women’s-specific snowboard built for intermediate riders who spend the majority of their time on steeps and in trees (freeriding).
The Verdict: 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. Intermediates found the board stiff in a good way, earning it “confidence-inspiring” merit, but advanced riders would’ve liked even more. It’s a board that will suit riders moving up from intermediate to advanced.
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Read the full report here.

2Jones Mothership
What it is: The 2012-13 Jones Mothership is a hybrid camber women’s-specific snowboard built for advanced, powerful female riders who chase fast rides down steep lines.
The Verdict: The Mothership felt at home in just one place: bombing down wide-open bowls of deep, fluffy powder. This board is a tank: damp, stable, with sidecut meant for ripping gigantic turns. However, unlike the men’s version of this board (the Flagship), the Mothership was unusually stiff and hard to maneuver anywhere besides big bowls. It felt more like a miniaturized version of the men’s board, not one built specifically for women.
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Read the full report here.