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The 10 Best Freeride & Big Mountain Snowboards of 2021-2022

“Freeride” is a term that has been around forever, and yet its definition remains amorphous. It can be a bit confusing, and is often used interchangeably with the term “All-Mountain.” You can think of this list of snowboards as the best all-arounders, leaning more toward natural and steep terrain than park and mellow groomers. Basically, if it didn’t dump three feet last night, and you’re not planning on all-day park laps, these are the sorta shred sticks you might grab on your way out the door. Freeride boards trend medium to stiff, there’s lots of traditional camber involved, and most boards have shapes that are still conducive to riding powder if/when you find it. These boards are engineered toward riders who’ve got at least a couple of years under their belts, so true beginners should look elsewhere. 

From Jones’ Flagship series boards helping you tick off serious lines and haul serious booty, to Arbor’s mid-flexing Veda for flowy turns the whole way down, you’re bound to find something here to get you all hyped up for the season! These are the best freeride snowboards meant to be put on rail, flown through the air, and piloted at top speed through natural and varied terrain, and we’re not gonna lie, the price points do tend to reflect that fact. But if you’re looking to up your game and rip the whole mountain with power and style this winter, one of these chariots will surely do the job. Additionally, out of the 10 boards on this list, 3 cater to women and/or smaller-statured riders specifically, and a few others have huge size runs so there are options for any and everyone interested in expanding their boarding horizons. Let’s get to it!

Jones Flagship

Best 2021-2022 freeride & big mountain snowboards

Flagship: The finest, largest, or most important of a group of things. If Merriam-Webster is to be trusted, we think you might want to grab yourself a Jones Flagship before they run out. If you got big mountains on the mind, or if you want to ride fast in steep and technical terrain, then this is the board for you. Coming in at the top of the price range on our list, you’ll have to drop some coin first, but your ear-to-ear grin at the bottom of that line you’ve always wanted to try will be worth it, we promise.

The Flagship is Jones’ premier freeride board. It’s got camber underfoot, rocker in the tip and tail, and a setback stance. There’s a big floaty “blunt” nose for float in pow, and a fair bit of taper as well. It comes in a huge range of sizes, from a 151 to a 172, plus a whole bunch of wide sizes. Its relatively narrow waist width means it has lightning-fast edge-to-edge response, but if you have bigger than average feet you might want to check into those wide sizes. Its FSC Power Core features bamboo and paulownia wood for stiffness and weight savings. And this thing IS stiff! Rated at an 8 out of 10 on the Jones scale, the Flagship is made for powerful riding.

We could go on regarding all the tech in this rig, but we want to mention just a few of Jones’ sustainable and eco-friendly materials and initiatives. The flagship has recycled steel edges, recycled ABS sidewalls, BIO resin, an FSC wood veneer top sheet, and is finished off with a Wend Natural Wax job. Jones is at the forefront of analyzing their production and supply chain and trying to find any and every area for environmental and efficiency improvements. Grab a Flagship, be the captain of your crew, slay big lines, and be sustainable too!

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Yes. Pick Your Line

Best 2021-2022 big mountain snowboards

Yes. means what they say when they tell you to Pick Your Line. This board is made to slay the whole mountain, lay into blistering carves, and stomp landings on hardpack and in pow. The only line we might avoid is the rail line, though it might handle that as well! Landing near the top of the Yes. 2022 lineup, the Pick Your Line comes in at just under 600 smackers, but it’s definitely got the tech and performance to back it up.

Let’s start with a Yes. proprietary construction technology that really sets this board apart. Traditional tapered board shapes are great for extra float in powder and for keeping that tail nimble when in a tight spot, but they tend to slide out on hard carves. Yes. corrects for this with their Tapered Underbite tech, progressively increasing sidecut depth from tip to tail. This corrects the tapered problem by adding a bit of a “hook” to your edge, allowing you to really rail turns! Beyond that, you have a pretty standard, but still high-end freeride board; a setback stance, a floaty nose, camber underfoot, and rocker in the tips and tails. And like the Jones Flagship, this thing is stiff. Another 8 out of 10 on the stiffness scale, the Pick Your Line is ready to handle whatever you throw at it.

To round off this all-around stick, Yes. threw a super-fast sintered base on the bottom and an Ash veneer top sheet to cut down on chatter. These sandwich a poplar and paulownia core for pop and reduced weight. So the answer you’ve been looking for is obviously “Yes!” Pick up a Pick Your Line and then pick your poison on the hill, no matter what the terrain.

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Arbor Veda - Women's

Best 2021-2022 women's freeride & big mountain snowboards

Damn, we don’t like to get too smitten by graphics, but the Arbor Veda is just beautiful. We don’t even know if we should call them “graphics”, because the highlight of this board really is the natural patterns found in Arbor’s sustainably harvested Aromatic Cedar. And since the topsheet is real wood, every board is unique! Pair that with some nice turquoise hits and the subtle fish theme and you have a real work of art. Oh, and it rips too, we didn’t forget about that part.

Made specifically for Arbor pro Marie-France Roy, this mid-flexing, directional freeride board has a ton of bells and whistles and is one of the best women's freeride snowboards. Off the top though, you can immediately tell that the Veda is going to be at home in powder snow. Featuring a big floaty nose and a tapered outline, you can sink the tail and throw rooster tails. The parabolic camber profile underfoot will keep you from looping out while the Highland II Core holds up to big drops and hard carves. A couple of Arbor exclusive tech features round out this beast. 360 Fully Wrapped Sidewalls eliminate the need for tip fill and add to the boards lifespan and durability, and the Sintered Plus base keeps it quick under foot. 

We think the Veda would be the perfect board for advanced freeriders as well as those that are just starting to dip their toes beyond the ropes. The not-too-stiff flex pattern and flowy uprise fenders mean it will be kind to small mistakes while holding up when pushed. We already mentioned Arbor’s commitment to the environment, but we’ll throw in the fact that this board has a 3-year warranty attached. An often overlooked aspect of sustainability is simply buying things that will last, and if Arbor is willing to back their boards for 3 years, you know they make quality gear!

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Season Aero

Best 2021-2022 big mountain snowboards

If you haven’t heard of Season yet, now’s your time to find out. Founded by snowboarder Austin Smith and skier Eric Pollard, the brand produces a limited line of skis and snowboards available exclusively through evo. These snow-sliding crafts come with “Season Pass”, which helps keep your equipment in top shape season in and season out. Basically, you get free tune-ups, hot waxes, and discounts on repairs when needed for the life of your equipment. Speaking of equipment, let’s take a look at this Aero snowboard.

The Aero is a gender-neutral snowboard, and it comes in a huge size range to accommodate that fact; changing dimensions pretty significantly as the size goes up. This board has the now-classic camber-rocker combo of camber underfoot and rocker in the tips. It’s got a slightly pulled in tail, and an exaggerated nose for float when it gets deep. The paulownia and poplar wood core sits atop an all black sintered base for a stiff and fast ride. The Aero is meant to be pushed to its limits on variable terrain and in all kinds of snow conditions. Austin Smith grew up riding Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon, a place where a single run might contain wind-scorn ice, powder, hard pack, and slush. The rolling terrain makes for natural hips and gullies, but you need to keep your speed and be efficient with your movements to connect all the dots. We can’t think of a better board for that sorta place than the Aero.

If you’re curious about this new brand, take a ride. The graphics don’t change every year so you’ll always look fresh, and with the included service package you can keep ripping Season after Season!

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Lib Tech BRD C3

Best 2021-2022 big mountain snowboards

Alright, buckle up buttercups. Or rather, strap-in feathered friends! It’s time to spread your wings and soar atop a Lib Tech BRD. Calling all hero-line go-getters, bootpack-setters, froth-puppies, and stoke-lords, Lib Tech has made a board just for you. If it’s the day of the year at your local mountain, and that drop right under the lift is calling your name, the BRD is gonna be your best bet to stomp that thing solid. While riding away to the hoots and hollers of those above you, you can thank the loads of tech in this rig for your success.

Sporting Lib’s aggressive C3 camber profile, which is mild rocker between your feet, camber under them, and a rockered out nose, the BRD is the perfect mix of float and control. The stance is set back and there's a fairly significant taper from tip to tail. The flex is actually rated as a medium-stiff as opposed to a lot of other boards on this list. This makes the board a bit more playful while still having the strength to take on serious lines. When the pow runs out and you hit the hardpack, you have Lib’s famous magnetraction to keep you locked on your line, a light and strong paulownia and aspen core, and a sintered base for maximum speed.

If all of that isn’t enough, we love the dialed-back graphics on the BRD. All-black with a textured top-sheet and little hits of bright blue and yellow makes the BRD look like the stealth-charger it is. Oh, and of course this thing is made right here in the states, using Mervin’s eco-friendly manufacturing process, hand finished by people who actually ride the boards they make. Grab a BRD, go board with your buds!

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GNU Barrett C3 - Women's

Best 2021-2022 freeride snowboards

We don’t know about you, but we grew up watching Barrett Christy snowboarding. From crushing it in the X-Games, to tackling biiiig lines in the backcountry, Barrett could do it all. If you don’t believe us, take a little Youtube deep dive. Her footage holds up to this day, and if you’re lucky, you might still see her getting after it in the misty Northwest. If you want to get inspired to push yourself like Barrett, or just to push your own freeride limits, the GNU Barrett C3 Snowboard is a great choice.

Now this is a serious all-mountain snowboard; C3 camber profile underfoot, a firm and light balsa, aspen, and paulownia core, Magnetraction tip to tail, and a Sintered Knife Cut Base. The setback stance, nice little notched tail, and slight taper will help you keep your tip up in the deep stuff, but this thing will rip on groomers too. The Bio-Beans topsheet stands up to dings, reduces weight, and is light on the environment. If you want to drop cliffs, win banked slaloms, or just mob down the steepest groomers at your home mountain, you can’t go wrong with this board. We personally wouldn’t take very many park laps on the Barret, but you do you ladies, maybe it would work on bigger features!

An interesting companion to this board is the GNU Banked Country, profiled above. Though there are slight differences between the two, you can almost think of the Barrett as a sized down version of the Banked, or at least at home in very similar terrain. As always with GNU, this board is made in the USA at Mervin’s zero-waste production facility. Grab a Barrett C3 for 2022, you won’t regret it!

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Ride Smokescreen

Best 2021-2022 big mountain snowboards

New this year from Ride is the Smokescreen, a directional all-mountain freeride board for those looking to take their riding to the next level. We’re not just blowing smoke either, this board is packed with advanced tech paired with an approachable medium-flex and a versatile shape. The Smokescreen also boasts the lowest price-point on this list, meaning you can put that extra cash toward a season pass or other gear that’s in need of an upgrade. Let’s take a look through the haze at why this board made our list!

The Ride Smokescreen is a directional hybrid-camber snowboard with a sintered and stone-ground base. It’s got aspen, bamboo, and paulownia in its wood core, as well as Ride’s Carbon Array 3 stringers to maintain edge to edge response and a lively flex. Added strength and breakage protection comes from the Double Impact Plates under each binding zone, and Ride’s exclusive “slimewall” construction mellows all this tech out for a smooth and damp ride. There’s more tech in here of course, but let’s talk a bit about who this board might be for.

We think the Smokescreen would be perfect for the rider looking to up their all-terrain game but might be put off by the ultra-stiff and super-directional shapes of other boards on this list. It's got a pretty wide range of sizes, so you could easily size up or down depending on what sort of terrain you usually ride. The Smokescreen could definitely take some laps through the park as well, and might even shine on bigger features. Maybe it’s not your go to rail board, but you CAN ride it switch, and the stiffer flex would help you put down landings on jumps. It’s really up to you on the Smokescreen, choose your own adventure, ride pow, ride jumps, ride it all in 2022.

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Arbor Bryan Iguchi Pro Camber

Best 2022 big mountain snowboards

Want to ride as smooth and powerful as the legendary Bryan Iguchi? Yeah, we do too pal, get in line! Haha, in all seriousness though, this year’s Arbor Bryan Iguchi Pro Camber board can help you get as close as possible to that timeless style. It’s a perfect blend of top of the line tech, a powder and natural-terrain focused shape, and a stiff, but not too-stiff flex pattern.

Now obviously this thing has camber, but it’s not just any camber. Arbor’s Parabolic Camber profile progressively reduces toward tip and tail, meaning you get the response and drive of traditional camber without sacrificing float or smooth transitions from turn to turn. A high-end poplar, paulownia, and bamboo core is sandwiched by Arbor’s Sintered Plus base and a Hand Dyed Ash Powerply topsheet. We’re not overstating it when we say this board is gorgeous. The unique wood veneer topsheet is as at home on the slopes as it would be hanging above your fireplace at home. This Ash Powerply is as functional as it is eco-friendly; it’s a sustainably harvested and beautiful material that adds dampness to your ride. The list of tech-features is too long to list here, but take a look at the full description on our site to take it all in. You’ll quickly understand why this board is truly a top performer from peak to parking lot.

Finally, we want to mention Arbor’s continued dedication to the environment and sustainable causes. They were one of the first snowboard brands to start talking about this sort of stuff, and they remain at the forefront of these efforts. Produced in the same factory as Jones snowboards, their final manufacturing facility recently switched to 100% solar power, and they continue to push for sustainable materials in their boards wherever possible. Good on ya Arbor!

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GNU Banked Country

Best 2022 big mountain snowboards

If you don’t already know, GNU and Lib Tech snowboards are both manufactured in the same facility by Mervin Manufacturing, located in the great state of Washington. Also located in this state are Temple and Cannon Cummins, a father-son legacy duo that are often seen hiking into the mist for secret lines in the Mt. Baker backcountry, or blasting out of trees onto groomers covered in NW pow. We couldn’t think of a better couple of guys to design, ride, and refine a snowboard for GNU. So, we present to you the GNU Banked Country Snowboard, a resort-focused, directional, freeride ripper built atop Mervin’s C3 camber profile.

The Banked country is the brainchild of Temple and Cannon, who seriously embody the “Freeride” ethos. In good conditions and bad, from serious lines to side hits, these two are ready to take it on. This board features a medium-stiff flex, a very slight tip to tail taper, and an aspen and paulownia core for strength and pop. The Banked Country also comes with the all new Directional Progressive Magnetraction, which adds a little extra grip in the tail of directional boards for when you hit that icy spot on the way down. Add in the Sintered Knife Cut Base and you’ll be leaving your buds in the dust.

Now we don’t want to bang you over the head with it, but again we have to mention Mervin’s environmental efforts. This board has freaking soy in the sidewalls! It’s made here in the states, in Mervin’s zero hazardous waste facility. Grab a Banked Country, be a part of the solution to your boarding woes, and to the mountains we all love.

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Jones Flagship - Women's

Best women's 2022 big mountain snowboards

The Jones Women's Flagship returns! This time in a sized down Women’s version. We profiled the Men’s version above, so we’ll try to focus on some tech we didn’t already mention. The Men’s and Women’s versions of this board share all the same tech features, flex patterns, etc, but if you look closely at the dimensions, these aren’t just shorter sizes. The waist width and tip and tail have been brought in for smaller riders with smaller feet. This is important because foot size affects leverage to a degree, and you want something that’s appropriately sized for you and your ripping bod, haha.

Now, let’s talk float. On first thought, a stiff, cambered board with a narrow waist width is not what comes to mind when thinking about powder. And to be fair, if you’re riding 3 feet of low-angle Japow you are going to want something like a Jones Hovercraft or Mind Expander. BUT, the Flagship has some tricks up its sleeve. First of all, it features the 3D Contour Base 3.0, which equips the tip with 7mm of spoon bevel and the tail with 0-7mm beginning at the rocker points. This greatly improves this board's ability to float in deep snow; to glide over instead of through. Add in the “blunted” nose, which takes the contact points way far forward without the added weight of a longer nose. The Flagship is also seriously tapered from tip to tail, more so than any other board on this list. Float when you need it, without sacrificing control.

If you’re not convinced, just hit play on the video profile on the Flagship page on our site. Listen to Jeremy Jones himself talk about this board, and why and when he chooses to ride it. Again Jones is at the forefront of sustainability efforts in this industry, head to their page to dive in to all the ways they are trying to make a difference while still producing top of the line snow-sliding craft.

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