If you get to log a lot of days on the mountain in a season, or if you find yourself lucky enough to ride at a variety of different places, you might find that having a quiver of snowboards makes the most sense. On the east coast a powder-centric board could be impractical given the prevalence of ice most winters. But for those days when we do see the good stuff, or if you travel out west where it’s much more a reality, a powder specific board could be a worth addition to your collection.
The selection of women’s specialty boards is even more limited than the women’s selection of all around boards. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fantastic boards out there for us…and fewer options, if they are quality ones, are not always a bad thing. Too many choices can be overwhelming.
If you do find yourself in the market for a women’s powder board, some of the characteristics you should keep an eye out for are
- Directional board with a setback…this will help keep your nose up
- Rocker in the nose…this will keep your nose up
- Some camber for versatility, stability at speed, and pop. While many men’s powder boards are full rocker, or flat between the feet with rocker in the tip and tail, most of the women’s boards have some camber
- Most are somewhat stiffer because you often find yourself on steeper terrain and this will give you the response and stability you need
- Shorter tail than nose so your nose will stay up without having to lean back too much.
- Taper…lots of these boards have tapered tails again to help with keeping your nose up and a wider nose will stay on the surface better. It also helps the tail sink for a nice, surfy, responsive feeling. And with you naturally further back on the board you will suffer less fatigue from having to lean back.
- Some boards feature fish or swallow tails borrowing from surfing…this will let the snow channel under the board and help to sink it into the snow to keep things nice and surfy.
Riding in powder is very different than the crusty, icy, chundery groomers we are often faced with in the northeast. It’s like floating on pillowy fluffiness, surfing in confectioner’s sugar. To get the most out of a powder day, it’s nice to have a powder board in your quiver.
There is a return to a lot of retro shapes, and new shapes are being unveiled every season to keep things interesting. It’s very rare that anything new is unveiled in a women’s board though. Men’s lines are where most of the innovation happens.
Sometimes shapes eventually make it to a women’s version. You can always ride a guy’s board if you prefer. Just be aware that they are wider, usually stiffer, and there are limited sizes that will work for most women. If you are looking for a women’s specific powder board, here are a few that you should check out.
Salomon Pillow Talk– We looked at this board a couple of weeks ago in the run down of Salomon Snowboards’ women’s line. It is a women’s version of the popular men’s Derby. It is shorter and wider for extra float, so it’s designed to be ridden smaller than your usual size. And it’s the least expensive board in this list at just under $400!
Jones Hovercraft– Another women’s version of a proven men’s board. The Hovercraft has all of the characteristics we just discussed…it has a tapered, slight swallowtail, it’s on the stiffer side to provide stability at speed. It has rocker in the nose to keep that larger nose floating on the snow. Jones has added something new this year…”Spoon”. The “spoon scale” runs from 1 to 4, 1 being the subtlest, and 4 being the most dramatic. The Hovercraft rates a 4. The tip and tail are shaped like a spoon to push snow out to the sides of the board for float and added speed.
Jones Flagship– this is the women’s answer to the men’s Flagship (formerly called the Mothership). This board is a perfect freeride/powder board since it has the power and drive to blast through anything, but it features more rocker in the nose than the tail for extra float. And it boasts Jones’ “Spoon 3.0” to help float through the snow.
Arbor Clovis– New to Arbor this year, the Clovis was released in both a men’s and women’s version. This is a rare powder board without rocker. Instead it features Arbor’s Camber System- camber that lessens toward the tip and tail with “uprise fenders” (a slight bevel) at the contact points to keep them off of the snow reducing catchiness without sacrificing stability. It is a non-symmetrical twin. The shorter tail gives it a setback feeling. The longer, piercing “Arrowhead” tip gives it exceptional float. It also has Grip Tech for extra grip on ice. This board is designed to be a freeride powerhouse, gliding over powder and blasting through everything else.
K2’s Wildheart has a surf inspired shape with a tapered tail and setback stance. It’s designed to be ridden smaller than your usual size because the volume is concentrated under your feet where you will have more control. The float is the same as a longer board, but the swing weight is less so you have increased maneuverability with a very surfy feel.
If you are a woman looking for a powder board, these are all great bets- with some more all-mountain focused than others. Evaluate the conditions you will be riding or the hole you are trying to fill in your quiver and choose your weapon. You can’t go wrong here.
Tags: womens snowboards ri, powder snowboards, snowboarding in powder, riding in powder,snowboards for women, women specific snowboards, women specific snowboard gear, womens snowboarding, womens powder boards, powder boards