The Insta/Gator finished at the back of the group overall, just a few points behind the Jones Mind Expander. These boards both have alright edge hold, but the Insta/Gator is far more stable at speed. However, the Jones is quite a bit better at powder. While both of these boards have their merits, neither have the widespread appeal that our award winners have and are intended for more niche audiences.
To find out which snowboards really rule them all and are worthy of an award, we compared, ranked, and researched dozens and dozens of different boards, then picked out the most promising and compelling boards to buy and test out for ourselves. Our testing process is split into five weighted components, with the Insta/Gator's results in each one outlined in the following sections.
The Insta/Gator earned excellent scores for its stability at high speeds, but wasn't our favorite in choppy snow.
This board delivered a mixed set of results in our edge hold tests, earning it a 7 out of 10 in this metric, worth 25% of its total score. The Insta/Gator has decent edge hold if the snow is consistent — even if it is quite icy — but we found it slips quite a bit when going over bumps or choppy snow. This is particularly surprising, given its stiffness.
We also thought that its stiffness and profile weren't the best with choppy snow or slush. It didn't necessarily lose the edge and wash out, but it gets really squirrelly and flexes in such a way that it makes you feel like you are about to, making it very disconcerting to ride in these conditions.
The Insta/Gator is super simple at high speeds.
Next, we moved on to assessing how the Insta/Gator performed in powder, which accounts for 20% of its final score. We looked at both how much float the Insta/Gator had and how it turned and handled overall, with it earning a 7 out of 10.
This board has a fusion rocker camber profile with an upturned transition area towards the nose that combines with the huge amount of surface area its base has to give it a decent amount of float. However, this is somewhat mitigated by how heavy the board is. You can definitely enjoy yourself on the Insta/Gator on a powder day, but we would suggest you exercise some caution when in tighter trees or glades; the Gator isn't the most nimble board we have seen to date.
The Insta/Gator has solid edge hold in most conditions.
We liked the Insta/Gator a bit more when it came to stability and carving, with it earning an 8 out of 10 in this series of evaluations, which also comprise 20% of its final score. For this set of tests, we bombed the steepest groomers on the resort in a wide variety of different snow conditions to see just how well each board carved and how it managed when ridden at race speeds.
The Insta/Gator is a super stable board at high speeds.
This board is a little on the short side to be a true carving board, but it does quite well given its fusion rocker profile. It has Never Summer's RDS 2 damping system and elastomeric material underfoot which should quell any vibrations or chatter and we never really had any issues with this board getting a speed wobble. It just has a little too surfy of a feel to be totally confident carving icy terrain at high speed.
The Insta/Gator's performance dropped even further in this metric, where it earned a 6 out of 10. For this group of evaluations, we tried out each board in terrain parks, boardercross courses, and through the trees and off natural features, looking at how it flexed and turned, which also is accountable for one-fifth of the final score for each all-mountain snowboard.
We loved the Insta/Gator for its hard-charging qualities, but it wasn't our favorite for playfulness.
The Insta/Gator is a stiff board, but it does have softer flex in the middle. Regardless, we still wouldn't really recommend this board for park or for jibbing. It does ride alright switch, but it isn't the board for someone who switches to switch a significant amount of time. Its flexible section in the middle gives it a fun surfy feel through the trees, but its stiffer sections mean that you have to be a larger or more aggressive rider to throw it around.
Pop and Jumping
Our final set of assessments for the Insta/Gator dealt with how much spring and pop it had, worth the unaccounted for 15% of its total score. For this test, we launched the Insta/Gator off every natural lip and jump we could find, went off kickers, and ollied across the mountain. Unfortunately, it didn't really impress, earning a 6 out of 10 for its pop.
This board has a long nose and a short tail, but you can still ollie; if you really, really want it. On top of having almost no tail, this board is one of the heaviest ones of the group, so expect to struggle quite a bit if you are planning on catching significant air. It's definitely not our go-to park board, but it is a fun all-mountain freestyle choice that is more than happy to launch off natural features.
This short and stubby board is for riders who want to bring a freestyle feel to everything they ride.
The Insta/Gator is an abysmal value, being one of the most expensive boards and receiving one of the lowest scores overall.
The Insta/Gator appeals to a niche group of riders, but the vast majority of people would be much happier with a longer and skinnier board. This board didn't have a standout performance in any of our tests and isn't actually a women's specific board — we included it to see how it would stack up for female riders.