Updated 19/20 Mind Expander
New for the Mind Expander this year is an updated core and new stringers and sidewalls. Surfboard-inspired, the core is constructed of bamboo wood, and the sidewalls are now rounded recycled ABS. The rounded design helps prevent the top sheet from chipping. Also, no board update would be complete without fresh graphics, and Jones delivered there as well. The updated Mind Expander is pictured first, followed by the version we tested last season.
We're linking to the new board, which is a tad more expensive than last year's, up from $550 to $600. The review from here on, however, refers to the previous version.
Hands-On Review of the Mind Expander
The Mind Expander finished close to the back of the entire group, just ahead of the Never Summer Insta/Gator and behind the Salomon Pillow Talk. Both the Pillow Talk and the Mind Expander are fantastic in powder, but the Pillow Talk is more playful and has a bit more pop, while the Mind Expander is more stable at speed and has better edge hold. It also is a bit more expensive. The Insta/Gator can't match either of these boards in powder, but it is far more stable at speed and has way better edge hold, making it a superior choice for groomers.
To determine which all-mountain snowboard truly stands above the rest, we looked at a wide selection of boards, then bought all the models that appeared to show the most promise to test out head-to-head. We rated and scored each snowboard on five different aspects, each weighted proportional to their importance, with the Mind Expander's results outlined in the following sections.
The Jones didn't do amazing in our first and most important metric — edge hold — which accounts for one-quarter of its final score. We waited until the iciest days, then took the Mind Expander down steep terrain, gradually increasing our speed until the board began to slip and awarded points accordingly. It earned a 7 out of 10.
This board does a great job of biting into skier packed powder and in off-piste terrain, but it feels quite loose in icy conditions or when riding in chop or crud. It does have Jones' Traction Tech edges, which do help mitigate the rocker in the nose, but the Mind Expander is by no means a carving board.
The Mind Expander is super stable in deep snow but isn't our top pick for harder snow at faster speeds.
While the rocker in the nose is a detriment when it comes to edge hold, it proved quite beneficial in this metric. We took the Mind Expander to the mountain after the biggest storms to evaluate and compare just how well it floats and how it handles the deepest powder stashes. This metric accounts for a fifth of its total score, with the Jones delivering an absolutely fantastic performance, earning a 9 out of 10. This snowboard is super fast, super floaty, and is an absolute blast in powder. The Mind Expander has a Spoon 3.0 base with 7 mm of spoon bevel in the nose and tail.
Its unique surf rocker profile gives it unmatched float and glides in a way that you could almost imagine that you are actually surfing if you closed your eyes — not that we would recommend you actually try that. This board was designed in conjunction with the renowned San Diego surfboard shaper Chris Christenson so its roots are in surfing and it totally shows.
While the surf rocker profile is great for powder, it isn't necessarily a benefit for our next set of evaluations. For our stability metric, which accounts for 20% of the final score, we took each board as fast as we could down the steepest terrain on the mountain, looking for any instabilities to arise or any unwanted chatter. The Mind Expander delivered a so-so set of results, meriting a 7 out of 10. Jones added web fused carbon into the nose to reduce vibration and make for a smoother ride and we did find that this board was less prone to chatter than some of the other powder-specific boards in the group.
This board is decent on steep ice and chop, but we wouldn't really recommend this board for riders with a hard-charging or overly aggressive style and it definitely isn't a carving board. It is super stable when going fast in deep snow though.
The Mind Expander was surprisingly playful and really shined in powder.
Our next metric — playfulness — also is worth 20% of the total score for the Mind Expander. We rode the Jones throughout the entire resort, rating and evaluating how it flexed and turned, how maneuverable and agile it is, and how it did in the park and in the trees — basically how much fun the board is. The Mind Expander didn't do the best.
This medium flex board is a bit on the stiff side, making it less playful overall than some of the softer and springier boards. We for sure wouldn't pick this board for rails or for the park. This snowboard is decently fun to ride switch but just isn't quite as fun on hard packed snow. However, it is exceptionally fun on deep snow days, giving a freestyle feel to riding in the trees or backcountry.
Pop and Jumping
The Mind Expander also delivered a bit of a wanting performance in our pop and jumping metric, meriting another 6 out of 10. We based this on how much spring the board has and how easy it is to catch some air, whether we were launching off a kicker or ollieing on flat ground, with these tests accounting for the remaining component of the total score.
This board has a surprising amount of pop given its experimental surf rocker design. You can ollie with it, but you aren't going to be setting any height records. However, it does amazingly well launching off natural features in deeper snow, once again highlighting its powder-specific design.
If you want a snowboard that feels as surfy as possible, the Mind Expander is the perfect choice for you. Unfortunately, this experimental board isn't terribly versatile and is a poor choice for novice or intermediate riders.
This board isn't a great value, given its lack of versatility. You would be much better served by an all-in-one board for the same price that performs well across a wider variety of snow conditions if you are shopping on a budget.
While the Jones Mind Expander and its experimental surf rocker profile is undeniably fun in powder days, most people don't get to ski powder every single day — and we are totally jealous of people that do — and we wish this board was a bit more well-rounded to recommend it. It's a great — but expensive — addition to the quiver if you can afford it, but not the best if you only plan on owning a single board.