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Overview
Guide

The 2016 Snowboard Showcase

Hand-picked and employee tested, check out the most noteworthy snowboards of the 2016 season.

How to Size a Snowboard

So you’ve narrowed down your list of snowboard choices thanks to our snowboard guide, and all you need now is the secret formula for choosing the right size board, right? Well, sorry to disappoint you right off the bat, but no such formula exists. However, the good news is that there are some tips that can help you decide for yourself which snowboard length is right for you.

How to Choose a Snowboard

The number of snowboards available these days can seem overwhelming if you're not quite sure what you want. To select a deck that properly fits your riding style and personal preferences, it helps to learn a bit about different types of boards and how their shapes and construction affect the way they ride.

Snowboard Profiles

There are a lot of camber options out there, and if you’re a little fuzzy as to how they all work and which one will be best for you, then narrowing down your snowboard options can feel similar to wrangling fifty wild horses with a strand of dental floss. Here is an intro to camber profiles that will hopefully make your decision process easier and more effective.
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Catherine Greenwald

A pair of stylish sunnies might make a fashion statement around town, at the beach, or on the deck of an après-ski bar, but they are also are absolute necessity for many active pursuits. Primarily, they serve the vital function of protecting your eyes from UV rays. Like your skin, your eyes can also literally get sunburned; specifically, your corneas (the transparent ‘shield’ at the front of your eye that covers all of the important bits behind it) are at the highest risk. And since these kinds of sunburns are essentially irreparable, you’ll want to try to protect your eyes [...]

Pace Measom

In cold weather, the trick to staying warm is layering with the right insulation, and not all insulation is created equal. While the type of jacket you need has a lot to do with the activity you’ll be doing, learning a few basics about the different types of insulation, and waterproof technologies, will go a long way in choosing the insulated jacket best suited to your needs. Down or Synthetic? There are two main types of insulation used in jackets: down and synthetic. Both have specific strengths and weaknesses, making each superior in certain situations. Regardless of the type of [...]

abbydell photography

It’s that time of year, the good time. The time when you bust out the splitboard and backcountry gear, or get new equipment ready to go. With any luck this means you’re looking to mount some new Karakoram bindings to your splitboard. Karakoram is one of the most innovative splitboarding brands, and the Prime system is the tightest mount out there—pun intended. But seriously, it will keep you closer to your board—around 5cm away—than any other split binding, let alone regular binding. The level of response is next-level. All of the Prime bindings are lightweight, built tough, and easy to [...]

TJ Parsons

The right pair of boots often makes the difference between an awesome day on the mountain and an afternoon spent whimpering in the lodge. With the huge amount of available options, knowing what features you want and how your boots should fit can be a big help in narrowing down your choices. Flex and Support When you’re choosing a new snowboard boot, the first place to start is to look at a boot’s flex. The flex of a snowboard boot refers to the amount of support it provides, and how quickly it transfers energy to your board. Manufacturers generally rate [...]

Pace Measom

Having the right avalanche safety gear—and the know-how to use it—is critical before heading into the backcountry. Learn how to choose the beacon, shovel, probe, and airbag pack that are right for you. Beacons Avalanche beacons, also known as transceivers, are essential for both transmitting your own location as well as finding others buried in the snow. Today’s digital avalanche beacons are easier and faster to use than ever before. Get one, practice like your life depends on it, and then do everything in your power to keep from having to use it. A beacon does not have to have [...]

Rachael Burks

In the past few years, Iceland has been put on the map as a ski destination. There are a few helicopter operations based out of northwestern corner of the country, but overall, touring is the easiest way to ski Iceland. In the winter, snow covers almost everything, making the ski possibilities endless; awe-inspiring views and adventure can be found everywhere. Two of our crew had previously been to Iceland and therefore could not wait to further explore this relatively off-the-radar ski destination. Hence, it became our target for a trip spring of 2015. Our crew of skiers and riders—Julian Carr, [...]

Kyle Livingston

We all have our favorite outdoor pursuit, and arguably the most important piece of our gear kit for that pursuit is the jacket. Hikers, climbers, skiers, snowboarders, bikers, or mountaineers have to protect themselves from the elements, but gone are the days of one jacket that works for everything. For example, I use a Gore-Tex 3-layer shell layered with a down jacket for skiing but a lightweight softshell for backpacking and hiking and another jacket for around town. To get you started on the path to understanding your jacket options, we’ve outlined the five most basic styles. The Shell Jacket [...]

Backcountry Video

Burton Presents is a web series showcasing Burton’s top riders doing amazing things on slopes and streets all over the world. The latest episode (above), focuses on Danny Davis as he prepares for X Games by exploring the snow-choked forests of Hokkaido, Japan, with Mark McMorris and Terje Haakonsen. Whether it’s in the pipe or some misty forest, few humans truly embody the concept of balance quite like Danny, and when it comes to “training,” Danny does it right. Previous Episodes This installment features Mikkel Bang and Mikey Rencz, two names that run deep in Burton’s history and evoke thoughts [...]

Lexi D.

The irresistible lure of a backcountry yurt or hut is one of the reasons I was motivated to begin dabbling in backcountry skiing six years ago. As a good friend often proclaims, “Yurt life is the good life,” and I agree wholeheartedly. There’s nothing more special than time spent unplugged in nature, where the necessities of melting water, chopping firewood, and preparing a yurt feast are your chief concerns (besides powder snow, of course). With luck and planning, your home away from home for the weekend. Having taken excursions to various huts and lodges around Utah, Idaho, and British Columbia, [...]

Ryan Schoeck

Above Photo By: Re Wikstrom By now you’ve undoubtedly ogled, researched, and wisely chosen a pair of shiny new sticks or a new board for the season. But have you given any real thought to what you’ll be wearing? After all, your jacket is going to be just as much a part of your quest for pow as what’s underneath your feet. Choosing the right jacket for the right conditions is crucial to maximizing your comfort, protection from the elements, and overall stoke factor. Types of Jackets As you begin the search for your new jacket, it’s important to know [...]

Dan Gates

Finding the right set of snowboard bindings can take your setup to the next level in terms of comfort and control. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Dan Gates reviews some things to consider when picking out your next pair. Snowboard bindings are the direct interface between you and your board. A good binding should enhance the natural flex pattern of your board as well as provide all-day comfort, because when the goods are good, you don’t want to have to head to the lodge with hurting feet while your buddies are scoring lap after lap of freshies. Flex When picking a binding [...]

Colin Clancy

Ten years ago this very moment I may have taken a break from shotgunning beers with my ski bum friends to stir the Crock Pot of sloppy joes simmering atop the toilet for lack of table space. Or I may have been hot-lapping Loveland Pass backcountry lines under the full midnight moon until the cops kicked us out. More likely, though, I was dropping into the superpipe on a stolen cafeteria tray, because we did that damned near every night. I earned my ski bum stripes at Copper Mountain, where I spent two seasons bumping chairs, shoveling snow, setting up [...]

Lexi D.

Whether it’s in the form of a lightweight baselayer or stylish pea coat, you really can’t go wrong with wool. It has been around for centuries—millennia, even—yet it continues to outperform many of today’s high-tech synthetics. But before we get into why wool is so amazing, banish from your mind the image of scratchy sweaters that exude the essence wet sheep upon first contact with snow or drizzle. That’s not the kind of wool we’re talking about here. We’re concerned with merino wool—also known as nature’s miracle fiber—but lambswool and high-quality wool blends are worth a mention, too. What makes [...]

Curtis Jensen

Above photo by Ian Matteson Can a softshell replace your trusty hardshell in sustained rain or snowfall? Probably not. What softshells do best is keep you warm and dry while your heart rate is up in windy and/or damp weather.  What Is “Softshell”? “Softshell” is a class of knit or woven materials, made from polyester and nylon, used to make technical outdoor clothing that essentially bridges the gap between waterproof hardshell jackets and highly breathable fleece jackets. They’re more breathable (but less water and wind resistant), more flexible, and generally more durable than hardshell materials, and more protective than fleece. [...]

Stephanie Nitsch

Snow bridges are one of the biggest hazards of ski and snowboard mountaineering over glacial terrain. An innocent-looking swath of snow may hide the hazard lies beneath: a yawning crevasse of ice. Snow bridges collapse without warning, but if you’re wearing a harness and are roped in (why aren’t you wearing a harness and roped in if you’re on a glacier?!), the essential gear in your pack will double as your emergency tools for a crevasse rescue. You hope an emergency never happens, but you need to be prepared if it does. If you’re considering a ski or splitboard mountaineering [...]

Stephanie Nitsch

The difference between backcountry skiing/splitboarding and ski/splitboard mountaineering is somewhat ambiguous. Navigating glacial terrain, however, is one activity that sets them apart, and which requires a new level of technical knowledge beyond your usual backcountry skill set. Last year, I took an introductory ski and splitboard mountaineering course through the SheJumps non-profit organization. My instructors, Diny Harrison (the first North American female guide to be certified by the IFMGA) and Kate Devine (a recently certified ACMG ski guide), imparted valuable glacier travel tips for aspiring ski mountaineers, the essence of which is captured below. Risk Management As in ‘regular’ backcountry [...]

Lexi D.

Gear fails. It’s inevitable, but many of us avoid facing the facts until it’s too late, and we’re up a creek with a busted paddle. Luckily, Voile—a Utah-based company that manufactures ski touring and splitboarding gear—offers up one the most useful gear inventions out there: the Voile Ski Strap. A marvel of simplicity, durability, and versatility, the Voile Strap is the backcountry equivalent of duct tape. In fact, it’s better than duct tape since it will even work in cold or wet conditions.Though it’s called a “Ski Strap,” don’t be fooled; the situations where a Voile Strap can save your [...]

Joshua Barnes

You don’t know how it happened, but it did, and now you have to deal with it. You met someone, you fell for them, and now you want to spend all(ish) of your life with them. But, here’s the thing: they don’t ski, and even worse, they want to learn. At this point, you have two options (three if you count changing your name and moving out of state): you either hook them up with lessons, or you teach them yourself. If you don’t have enough cash for an instructor, or you don’t trust one of your friends to teach [...]

Griffin Post

When it comes to air travel with ski or snowboard gear, getting there is not half the fun. Usually, flying entails lugging two extremely heavy bags around, paying extra baggage fees, eating overpriced airport food and drinking overpriced beers, all the while wondering if the bags are going to your same destination, or a vacation of their own. As frustrating as air travel can be, however, there are plenty of ways to make your trip less painful. While none of these tips will guarantee that your bags will make it nor that a hottie will be seated next to you, [...]

Griffin Post

Jackson Hole was one of the first resorts in the United States to have an “open gates” policy, and the terrain around it serves up some of the best lift-serviced backcountry in the country. From puckering steeps to playful pillows, there’s just about every sort of adventure a rider could ask for, just a short traverse and bootpack from the tram. When the conditions are right, all that’s standing between riders and heli-quality terrain is an access gate. Easy access notwithstanding, though, Jackson Hole’s backcountry is the real deal, and skiers and riders venturing out should be equipped as if [...]

Forrest Shearer

Backcountry.com athlete and pro snowboarder Forrest Shearer spends a lot of time in the backcountry on his splitboard. We asked him to give us the rundown on what you need to get into splitboarding: Each year, it seems like more and more people are skipping the lift lines and tracked-out runs to ride in the backcountry. There’s endless terrain out there–you just have to use you own two feet to get there. The scenery is amazing, the snow is usually great, and the freedom to roam the mountains on splitboard can make for a truly wild adventure. Here’s is a [...]

Paul Diegel

Skiing and riding in the backcountry is a bit like driving on the freeway: when you know the rules and have some skills and experience, it has some risk, but it tends to work out OK. When you lack those ingredients, it’s confusing, embarrassing, and dangerous at best, and nobody wants to ride with you. When you understand how to match your decisions to the current conditions, you can get out and safely have a great time on any day, regardless of the conditions. So how do you learn to make good decisions in the backcountry? In Utah, along with [...]

Catherine Greenwald

You were never going to be that parent—the one with the kid pitching a fit on the bunny hill, sniveling about the cold and whining to be taken home. Yours may be one of those who take to the snow like a baby polar bear, but even the hardiest kid can have a rough day. Whether you’re headed to after-school lessons, a weekend getaway, or a family vacation, here are some tips for maximizing the fun and minimizing the pain of a day on the slopes with very young skiers. Tip #1: Keep ‘em warm … but don’t immobilize them. [...]

Sean Zimmerman-Wall

The sound is unmistakable. A loud rumble accompanied by the sensation of having the rug pulled out from under you. In seconds you’re rushing downslope, tumbling, caught in a washing machine of snow, rock, and wood. The sky fades in and out and you gasp for air as you’re force-fed thick, suffocating snow. Moving at 60 miles an hour, you’re helpless to stop the cascade. You reach for the small handle located on your shoulder, and a sudden “whoosh” fills your ears. Large sacs of air deploy around you and you start to rise to the surface. After a minute, [...]