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Yes. Optimistic Review

Our board of choice for advanced riders on groomer and deeper powder days
yes. optimistic snowboard review
Credit: Yes.
Price:  $550 List
Manufacturer:   Yes.
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 8, 2022
81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 17
  • Edging - 25% 9.0
  • Float in Powder - 20% 9.0
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 7.0
  • Playfulness - 20% 8.0
  • Pop and Jumping - 15% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Yes. Optimistic is our favorite carving board. It has been a long-time award winner, and for many good reasons. It excelled in every metric and is one of our most ridden boards. The Optimistic edges like a formula one car and floats like an eagle riding an aerial thermal. It plays like a park board, and the powder-centric shape is not representative of its versatile performance. However, this unique shape that lends to its incredible ride reduces its performance in uneven terrain and switch riding. This model is best suited for the advanced-intermediate to the expert rider who loves railing turns, riding deep powder, and buttering around the mountain.
REASONS TO BUY
Float
Precise edging
Good construction
Playful
REASONS TO AVOID
Switch performance
Harder to control in uneven terrain
Editor's Note: We updated this review in December 2022 with new test findings and photos, as well as the updated 2023 graphic for the Yes. Optimistic.

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yes. optimistic snowboard review
This Product
Yes. Optimistic
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $549.95 at Evo
Compare at 2 sellers
$700 List
$699.95 at REI
$679 List$500 List
$499.95 at REI
$550 List
$549.95 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Float, precise edging, good construction, playfulGreat edge hold, lots of pop, incredibly stable, torsional flex patternUser friendly, turning experience, versatile, playfulGreat value, pretty easy to ride, versatile, stable, beautiful graphicsLoads of pop, stable, fun turning experience
Cons Switch performance, harder to control in uneven terrainNarrow waist width, hard to butter, suited toward advanced riders, limited size offeringsTopsheet scratches easy, topsheet is slipperyPlank-like feel, decent edge hold in hardpackAverage powder floatation, pop is less user-friendly
Bottom Line Our board of choice for advanced riders on groomer and deeper powder daysOur first pick when we demand exceptional performance anywhere on the mountain and won't accept many compromisesHas a playful merit to its high-performance abilitiesA great value option for those looking for an engaging ride on a budgetA board that we could happily ride every day
Rating Categories Yes. Optimistic K2 Alchemist United Shapes Cadet Jones Frontier Jones Mountain Twin
Edging (25%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Float in Powder (20%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Stability at Speed (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
Playfulness (20%)
8.0
6.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Pop and Jumping (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Specs Yes. Optimistic K2 Alchemist United Shapes Cadet Jones Frontier Jones Mountain Twin
Riding Style Alternative Freeride Big mountain Freeride All Mountain All Mountain Freestyle
Shape Directional Directional Directional Directional Directional
Camber/Rocker Hybrid-Rocker/Camber Rocker/Camber Camber Hybrid-Rocker/Camber CamRock
Flex Stiff Stiff Medium Medium Stiff Medium Stiff
Weight 6.2 lbs 6.8 lbs 6.22 lbs 6.44 lbs 6.1 lbs
Tested Length 151 cm 157 cm 156 cm 159 cm 157 cm
Available Lengths (cm) 151, 154, 157, 161 154, 157, 159W, 160, 163, 164W 144, 152.5, 156, 159, 162 152,156,158W,159,161W,162,164W, 165, 167W 151, 154, 155, 157, 158, 160, 161, 162, 164, 167
Construction Type Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich
Core Material Carbon-wrapped wood Bamboo, Carbon, Wood A11x (poplar, bamboo) Wood FSC Mountain (dual-density wood, hardwood bamboo stringers)
Waist Width 26.6 cm 25.0 cm 25.6 cm 25.4 cm 25.3 cm
Radius 6.5 m 7.8 7.5 m 7.5 m 7.8 m
Taper 6 mm 6 mm 20 mm 0 mm 0 mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Yes. Optimistic has a slightly more aggressive camber profile than its previous generation. This helps to reduce chatter and increase the stability at speed. Despite it being a 9 out 10 on the flex scale, this board has a fluid flex that has a lot of snap. It uses Yes.'s Carbon Powerdrive 2.0 core. The goal of this core is to maximize the power and energy within the board. It also employs bamboo and poplar wood stringers with embedded carbon inserts that run parallel to the sidecut. This core had power, snap, and rebound. The Optimistic's shape is different from the rest, and its performance is distinctive.

Performance Comparison


yes. optimistic snowboard review - the yes. optimistic looks like a powder-specific board, yet it's one...
The Yes. Optimistic looks like a powder-specific board, yet it's one of the most capable boards on edge.
Credit: Laredo

Edging


At first glance, the Optimistic looks very powder-specific. However, it carves like a Formula One car, holding tight and long turns with precision and power. Our testers felt they could make turns they have never been able to make, particularly the nuanced and challenging heelside turn. The wider waist width makes it slower to roll on edge. Turn initiation is still easy but requires patience at slower speeds. When you can engage the camber and pop out of each turn, the transitions become weightless and rather fast. The main benefit of the width is to manage toe drag for larger foot riders. This model has a stiff torsional (side-to-side) flex pattern to provide a stable and strong turning platform. A platform that you can trust helps you get deeper and accelerate out of your turns.


To help your turn radius, the Optimistic has one of the tightest sidecuts available in the category. We felt we could make the tightest and most symmetrical turns on both our toes and heel with this board in all conditions. On the firmest of surfaces, it provided secure edge hold thanks to its Underbite Technology. Underbite is a form of edge disruption (an intentional inconsistency in the sidecut) to provide additional grip in firm conditions. Although it didn't perform as well as Magne-Traction, it offered more security than the standard edge. The Underbite is one of the few edge indentions (rather than protrusions) on the market. Our testers really liked this style of displacement. It accomplished its goal of increased edge hold. The poplar and bamboo core and undercut made for quick and energetic turning character when engaged.

yes. optimistic snowboard review - the underbite on the optimistic provides additional edge hold as...
The Underbite on the Optimistic provides additional edge hold as demonstrated on a firm day at Palisades Tahoe.
Credit: isaac laredo

This board can absorb and release lots of power. We were thrown out of some turns because of the amount of power that was actually in the turn that we couldn't feel. There is a skill level threshold to unlock its potential. The Optimistic is not meant for beginners, but it's a perfect option for upper-level intermediates and beyond. It generally feels rigid and stable rather than playful when turning. It is possible to skid turns, but it takes a bit of effort and is far from what this board does well.

The Yes. Optimistic really shines on smooth snow. While this board is incredibly capable off-piste, its edging in uneven terrain takes more effort and planning but slower turn initiation. It still provides excellent edge hold on ice and hard pack. If you want to ride bumpy, off-piste terrain all day, you will be served better by other models.

If you're looking for a hard carver, it's a great choice. It provides a diverse turning character that can be strong and stable but also energetic and poppy. The ability to hold tight radius turns was unparalleled.

yes. optimistic snowboard review - the optimistic provided a versatile and fun on-edge experience...
The Optimistic provided a versatile and fun on-edge experience, which made it one of our go-tos.
Credit: isaac laredo

Float in Powder


While it excels on edge, the long rockered nose and natural setback provide the floatation expected from its powder-specific shape.


The uplifted contact points from the rockered profile and length of nose allows the front of the board to plane well. That way, you can keep riding powder rather than tomahawking, shaking out your jacket, and risking injury. The Optimistic has a 6mm taper meaning the nose is wider than the tail by that measurement. As a result of the different surface areas, the tail will naturally sink further in the snow.

yes. optimistic snowboard review - the diamond tail shape of the optimistic provides excellent...
The diamond tail shape of the Optimistic provides excellent flotation and agility.
Credit: Laredo

It has a unique and surf-inspired diamond tail to promote the float and maneuverability of the board. This model shined bobbing through trees and also performed longer turns and higher speeds. The nose is plenty stiff to resist buckling at a mix of speed and snow densities. We found this board to provide an unreal, user-friendly, and nimble powder experience that would keep us on the mountain for two reasons; lack of rider fatigue and the sheer amount of fun.

yes. optimistic snowboard review - cultivating stoke with the optimistic.
Cultivating stoke with the Optimistic.
Credit: Ryland West

Stability at Speed


The Optimistic is often downsized in length. The wide waist width and proportionately adapted effective edge make it ride bigger. Here we tested the 151cm model, but it had the on-snow feel of a 157/158cm freeride board. It is capable at speeds but can develop moderate chatter on firm bumpy surfaces.


The stiff, mostly camber profile provides good stability for those that charge directly down the fall line. It prefers to make small quick turns or beautiful arcing turns down the smooth snow. The Optimistic held high-speed turns with ease and security. We rarely felt we were going to lose edge hold in long-radius or short-radius turns.

In uneven terrain, the Yes. Optimistic has decent damping and held its line pretty accurately. Small corrections took more effort due to its reduced mobility. This model provided all the stability we feel most riders need and require.

yes. optimistic snowboard review - bank slaloms are a true test of a board's stability and agility; the...
Bank slaloms are a true test of a board's stability and agility; the Optimistic did not disappoint.
Credit: Laredo

Playfulness


This is a stiff board, yet it breaks the general rule that stiff boards are less playful. It was one of our favorite models to butter and make powerful surf-styled slashes around the mountain. We found it incredibly versatile, but it must be sized correctly.


According to Yes., you should downsize from your traditional snowboard to unlock the true versatility of this model. We can support this statement from our experience, as well.

yes. optimistic snowboard review - nose butters in powder on the optimistic are easy to initiate and...
Nose Butters in powder on the Optimistic are easy to initiate and hold.
Credit: Laredo

The wider waist width and effective edge allow the board to ride bigger when connected to the snow and still have good mobility. The long and mostly cambered nose locks into presses well and allows you to place a lot of your weight into the nose without toppling over. The opposite goes for the tail. Tail presses and butters are challenging due to the short and stiff tail, although the tail shape helps to disengage the tail to slash around. The Optimistic surprised our testers with its versatility, buttering, and slashing abilities, especially considering its flex.

yes. optimistic snowboard review - the optimistic is rather stiff yet its flex pattern is stunningly...
The Optimistic is rather stiff yet its flex pattern is stunningly playful. This allows us to hold the longest nose butters of any board we tested.
Credit: isaac laredo

Pop and Jumping


If you are used to popping and landing on a twin tip, be patient; popping off of a shorter tail takes some adjustment. It's a tighter margin in every step. Once we adapted, our testers found the pop generated from the camber surprising and plentiful.


The poplar and bamboo cambered core offers good energetic pop that took some user effort to harvest. Built into this metric is landing security. This also took some adapting to figure out the shorter tail. We had a smaller margin for error when landing in the back seat than most models in the review. At times we could save these landings, and other times we would wash out. The tail is stiff enough that we could catch ourselves when landing off balance, but it lacked the stability of some other models. However, once you're tuned into this board's popping and landing style, it is pretty darn good.

yes. optimistic snowboard review - the optimistic provides plenty of pop once you adapt to this style...
The Optimistic provides plenty of pop once you adapt to this style of a tail.
Credit: isaac laredo

Value


The Optimistic is a premium-priced snowboard that backs up its price tag with its ability. Being one of the best-performing models we find it is worth the price.

yes. optimistic snowboard review - the yes optimistic provides a great onboard experience that...
The Yes Optimistic provides a great onboard experience that justifies is price tag.
Credit: Laredo

Conclusion


The Yes. Optimistic is our favorite carver in the review and provided a high-quality experience all over the mountain. It was a stand-out performer in edging, float in powder, and playfulness; that alone makes it an awesome board. This is a great board for the smooth snow rider who spends most of their time in quest of the deepest carves and powder or someone looking to round out their quiver with a carving machine. In our testing, the Optimistic outperformed the competitors in the overall ranking system. If this board type fits your riding style, you should probably go buy it; at the very least, add it to your list of potentials.

yes. optimistic snowboard review - yes. this board is spectacular!
Yes. This board is spectacular!
Credit: Laredo

Isaac Laredo
 
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