Best All Mountain Snowboards of 2021 for Women
|Price||$500 List||$463.96 at Backcountry||$530 List||$499.99 at Amazon||$550 List|
|Pros||Fantastic all-around board, great in powder||Unmatched pop, great edge hold, supremely stable||Well-rounded, great edge-to-edge transition, fast||Great value, supremely stable at high speeds||Cool graphics, fun for freestyle riding|
|Cons||Not the best beginner board||Not the best board for powder||Not the best for jibbing||Not as much pop as other boards||Not our favorite powder board|
|Bottom Line||This is one of our absolute favorite all-mountain boards||Earning one of the top scores we have seen to date, we highly recommend this board||If you have an aggressive riding style and want a board that can shred the entire mountain, this is a great choice||A top-notch all-mountain board without a premium price||If you are looking for a true twin-tip freestyle snowboard that thrives both in the park and across the mountain, this might be your No. 1|
|Rating Categories||Yes. Hel Yes - Women's||Gnu Ladies Choice||Never Summer Lady West||GNU Klassy||Lib Tech No. 43|
|Edge Hold (25%)|
|Powder Performance (20%)|
|Pop And Jumping (15%)|
|Specs||Yes. Hel Yes -...||Gnu Ladies Choice||Never Summer Lady...||GNU Klassy||Lib Tech No. 43|
|Shape||Directional Twin||Asymmetrical||Directional Twin||Directional||Freestyle Twin|
|Camber/Rocker||Hybrid||Hybrid||Fusion Rocker Camber||Hybrid||Hybrid|
|Measured Weight (Tested Length)||5.4 lbs.||5.6 lbs.||5.8 lbs.||6.2 lbs.||5.2 lbs.|
|Available Lengths||146, 149, 152, 155||142.5, 145.5, 148.5, 151.5, 153.5||144, 147, 149, 151, 153, 156||145, 148, 151, 155||146, 149, 152|
|Core Material||Poplar, paulownia, and bamboo wood||Aspen, Colombian Gold, and poulownia wood||NS SuperLight Wood Core||Aspen and paulownia wood||Aspen and paulownia wood|
|Waist Width||24.4 cm||24.2 cm||24 cm||24.7 cm||23.9 cm|
Best Overall Women's Snowboard
Yes. Hel Yes - Women's
Looking for an all-mountain charger that will rise to the challenge in any condition? We loved this board for its ability to step up in all types of snow, from the hardest icy chop to the softest champagne pow. The Yes Hel Yes has the perfect combination of all-mountain versatility, solid handling, and playful fun that even the most aggressive riders will appreciate. It offers some of the best edge hold out of any board we tested and is incredibly stable at high speeds, but offers the perfect amount of surfy float in deep powder.
We had a difficult time finding faults with the Hel Yes. However, this is a board that might be a bit challenging for beginners and probably wouldn't be ideal for riders who plan to spend most of their time exclusively in the park. We would recommend this board for all-mountain hard-chargers who demand responsiveness and control without sacrificing playfulness and fun.
Read review: Yes. Hel Yes.
Another Superb Performer
Gnu Ladies Choice
Tying with the Yes. Hel Yes for the top score overall, the Gnu Ladies Choice also earned a top-scoring award for its superb performance. This board is an extremely versatile all-mountain board that cuts through pretty much any type of snow, instills confidence at high speeds, and is probably the best freestyle board of the bunch. After all, Jamie Anderson did win gold in Pyeongchang riding this model, which also happens to be her signature edition.
This board does have a ton of float in powder, but it can't quite compete with some other boards that have a ton of powder-specific design features, like a directional profile and a huge nose. The Gnu Ladies Choice is a true, twin tip freestyle board that kills it on pretty much the entire mountain. We would highly recommend this board to almost anyone, hands-down.
Read review: Gnu Ladies Choice
Best Bang for the Buck
Never Summer Lady West
The Never Summer Lady West is a fantastic option for the female shredder who wants a versatile all-mountain snowboard and is shopping on a bit of a budget. It's an excellent board for aggressive, hard-charging female riders. The edges dig into even the hardest snowpacks, and it smoothly carves with just the right balance of torsional flex and stiffness. This snowboard is fairly stable at speed and floats quite well in powder, with a slightly directional profile and a flat transition area under the nose of the board that helps lift it when riding through deep snow.
However, while the Lady West is decently stable at speed once you get used to it, the setback stance does require a bit of an adjustment period and may feel a little squirrely to beginner and intermediate riders until they get the hang of it. This board is not our first pick when it comes to freestyle boards but is plenty springy enough to get you in the air when you ollie; we still wouldn't recommend this as a park or jibbing board, though. All in all, it's a very versatile board that you can get your money's worth out of, making it a good budget buy — especially because it's usually offered at a discounted price — and just about as true of a quiver-killer as a snowboard can be.
Read review: Never Summer Lady West
Excellent for Powder
Lib Tech T.Rice Orca
If you are planning on riding in the deepest of deep snow, who better to bring along than a true denizen of the depths? Earning our choice for powder, the T. Rice Orca by Lib Tech is our absolute favorite when it comes to riding the fluffy stuff. This board is unmatched when it comes to floating in deep snow, saving your legs, and letting you maximize your powder day. It is also one of the more stable boards — even at high speeds — and has a solid edge.
However, the Orca isn't necessarily the best for intermediate riders. It wants to go fast and be ridden aggressively, and a more novice rider is going to have a hard time checking that impulse. It also isn't as playful and lacks the pop of some of the other boards we have tested. It can also be a little squirrely on uneven terrain. It has enough edge hold that you can still have fun with it on choppy snow, but you can tell that the Orca isn't crazy about icy bumps. Despite these flaws, it's still our go-to board for the days with the deepest dumps, hands-down.
Read review: Lib Tech T. Rice Orca
Why You Should Trust Us?
Our lead snowboard tester, Marissa Fox, has over 25 years of snowboarding experience and has ridden mountains around the world, from Heli-boarding in Canada to shredding Swiss Alps. She is a former professional athlete in big air competitions. We've also consulted with other expert riders on our selection and testing procedures, as well as getting their opinions on the different snowboards and how each one handled in varying conditions.
We've spent close to 120 hours testing and comparing the boards in this review, riding them in every possible snow condition. We performed a series of maneuvers and tricks with each board in each condition and scored their performance side-by-side. Once we had settled on some potential award winners, we spent some extra time taking those boards out and comparing them head-to-head to truly find out which board is the true all-mountain quiver killer.
Related: How We Tested Snowboard for Women
Analysis and Test Results
To find out the best women's-specific snowboard of them all, we began by undertaking an extensive research project to identify all the most promising boards, then bought them all to test side-by-side. We rated and scored them on everything from stability at speed to playfulness and pop. Our testing process is divided into five weighted rating metrics.
While many of these snowboards cost about the same, the Never Summer Lady West stands out when it comes to getting the best bang for the buck. Right off the bat, it typically has one of the lower retail prices of the group. Additionally, it is one of the best all-around options, riding well across a wide variety of different terrain and snow conditions compared to some of the more niche boards available. This makes the Lady West one of our favorite boards to recommend to anyone shopping on a limited budget. Our other award winners all cost about the same, while the Orca and Japow cost a pretty penny and are powder boards. We wouldn't really want to ride these boards in all snow conditions, so a more versatile, well-rounded board gives you a bit more bang for the buck.
By far the most important of our testing metrics, our series of edge hold tests account for 25% of the total score for each board. Having a board that grabs and locks into harder snow and ice is critically important for anyone who isn't exclusively riding freestyle. Freestyle riders will actually detune their edges, so they don't grab when doing a trick or riding a rail or other feature, but they are the exception when it comes to edge hold. Anyone else on the mountain is going to want a solid edge hold, regardless if you are zipping through the trees or carving up groomers.
Aggressive edge hold lets you ride hard and fast on all sorts of terrain. We took each board out in various snow conditions and rated how well they grabbed with both the toeside and heelside edge, paying particular attention to how grabby each board is with hardpack snow, crud, and ice. This was one of the first tests that we did, relying on the factory tuning of each board out of the box. Most newer boards have some sort of serrated edge, marketed under various names — Magne-Traction, Grip-Tech, etc. — and we found this made a huge difference when it came to edge hold, with all the top-scoring boards having some sort of scalloped edge.
Tying for the top spot of the group are the Yes. Hel Yes, Gnu Ladies Choice, and Never Summer Lady West. These boards grabbed the firmest of snow and ice with ease, and we rarely slipped or got washed out in the course of our testing.
Many of these boards have serrated edges that saw into icy snow, giving us plenty of confidence to open up the throttle on steep runs and icy groomers.
Following this top group, the Gnu Klassy, Lib Tech No. 43, Burton Day Trader, Weston Japow, and the Lib Tech T. Rice Orca all delivered solid performances in our edge hold tests, grabbing into all but the hardest snow and ice without issue. The Klassy grabs almost as well as the top boards, but we did feel it start to slip a little bit on some icy sections, dropping its performance down a point.
The Orca is one of the stiffest boards of the group and is fantastic at cutting through chop, holding an edge exceptionally well — even in very icy conditions. However, there were one or two times where we took a corner a little too fast on steep icy terrain and felt the board begin to slip out from under us, which did result in one or two tumbles. The Weston Japow isn't a terribly stiff board but does bite into the hardpack surprisingly well. However, we could tell that this board is such a powder specific board that we felt its heart really wasn't in it whenever we took it on icy groomers.
Next, the Jones Twin Sister, Dream Catcher, Mind Expander, Arbor Swoon Rocker, and Capita Birds of a Feather all received above-average marks. This group of snowboards all have decent edge hold in most conditions.
However, we noticed some significant slippage when turning if there was an icy patch or uneven chop — enough to cause one or two crashes when we hit an unexpected patch of ice at high speeds.
For our next metric, we moved on to assessing how well each board handled powder. To determine scores, we looked at the amount of float each board had, how it handled, the effort required to turn, and how much fun it was to ride in the deepest powder stashes. Altogether, these tests account for 20% of the final score for each board.
While many of the boards are a total blast to ride in powder, the Weston Japow and the Lib Tech T. Rice Orca both thoroughly impressed us when it came to riding the deepest days. The Orca is a stiff, directional board that offers an insane amount of float and makes powder days an absolute blast. Plus, it has a surfy feel that is very easy to turn, saving your legs and making sure you aren't too tired to check all your favorite stashes.
While the Orca does well in powder, it isn't quite designed to be as powder-specific as the Weston Japow. This directional board has a giant nose with a setback stance and a swallowtail, giving it just about unparalleled float. It's super graceful and easy to turn through the deepest snow, thoroughly enhancing your powder day experience.
A handful of boards tied for the runner-up position, with the Yes. Hel Yes, Never Summer Lady West, Jones Twin Sister, and the Jones Mind Expander all meriting high scores for their excellent performance. The Yes. Hel Yes, Never Summer Lady West, and Jones Mind Expander all have a directional, asymmetrical profile. The Lady West even has a setback stance and a flat transition area in its profile right under the nose that helps lift it to the surface when you're riding through deep powder.
The Jones Twin Sister has a symmetric twin tip profile, which usually wouldn't yield the most fun on powder days. However, these boards both have a slightly set back stance, helping you keep your weight back and your nose up. The Yes. Hel Yes, Jones Twin Sister, and Mind Expander all have great float but get a little more bogged down in the deeper snow, making them more fatiguing to ride on the best pow days.
The Gnu Ladies Choice, Gnu Klassy, Arbor Swoon Rocker, Burton Day Trader, Lib Tech No. 43, and the Jones Dream Catcher all did well in most powder days but began to struggle as the snow got deeper. The Klassy and the Ladies Choice have tons of camber and pop, so they can't match the float and lack the surfy feel of the big boards. However, we did find that the Ladies Choice does have a tiny bit of an edge over the Klassy due to its extra rocker between the bindings.
The Arbor is decently fun in the powder, but its springiness makes it a bit more of a park board than a powder board. The Dream Catcher has tons of float, but it isn't as much fun to ride, being a bit slow edge to edge when going through the trees. The Lib Tech No 43 has a directional stance and a tapered shape to help it float to the top but lacks the fun surfy feel of some of the top boards. It feels solid and stable while carving in fresh snow, but we just felt like the ride was a little less effortless and more forced compared to some of the other boards.
The Capita Birds of a Feather brought up the rear of the group in our minds when we compared powder performance. It's a camber twin board that fares alright on powder days if you are used to this style of snowboard, but it can take quite a bit of practice to get competent at floating and turning on the deeper days. It's not impossible to get the hang of, but you also would be hard-pressed to keep up with some of the more powder-focused boards, no matter how much you work at it.
Next, we ranked and scored each board on how comfortable we felt when riding it at maximum speed. To test this, we took each board down the steepest groomers we could find, noting if it developed any speed wobbles or other instabilities when on an edge or flat and how it handled any sections with chop or crud.
The Yes. Hel Yes., Gnu Ladies Choice, Never Summer Lady West, and the Gnu Klassy all thoroughly impressed us with their rock-solid stability at speeds. They all instill a sense of confidence when you open up the throttle and are a ton of fun to go fast on. They never really exhibited any chatter or speed wobble either.
We also like that these boards handled varying snow conditions at higher speeds without any issues, slicing through chop without giving us any cause for concern regarding the stability of the board, and we never felt like any of them would wash out from under us. These boards all delivered a predictable and consistent ride, even at maximum speeds.
Next, the Jones Twin Sister, Lib Tech T. Rice Orca, Lib Tech No. 43, Capita Birds of a Feather, and the Burton Day Trader all followed, each earning great scores for their excellent stability at high speeds. The Twin Sister is on the stiffer side, so it rides with a damper feel that gives it a nice smooth ride. The Orca isn't as stiff as the Twin Sister, but both are awesome at carving at high speed. They just aren't quite as consistent in choppy snow at higher speeds as some of the top boards when it comes to stability. The Capita Birds of a Feather is similar. It does fine when flying down smoother snow but can start flapping a bit if you hit some chewed up snow.
The Lib Tech No. 43 is very stable when going fast as long as you are on an edge. Its banana-board profile can get a little finicky during the transition between turns if you spend too long going to edge-to-edge — definitely something to watch out for until you get well acquainted with how this board rides. The Day Trader has a similar dead spot when transitioning edge-to-edge in our minds, but we liked that this board blasts through crud and choppy snow like a freight train.
Next, the Jones Mind Expander and the Dream Catcher all followed in the stability scores. The Mind Expander has moderate to stiff flex but fails to instill confidence when you are going at racing speeds. The Mind Expander has tons and tons of stability in deep snow, but its experimental profile can make it a bit funky on harder snow at faster speeds, and it doesn't take too much to get it to start slipping.
Finishing out the back of the group is the Arbor Swoon Rocker; this board is on the softer side and has tons of pop and playfulness, but isn't the best at higher speeds, tending to start wobbling or bouncing if you open up the throttle.
Next, we moved on to ranking and comparing how much fun it is to ride each board, which accounts for 20% of the overall score. We rode each board all over the mountain, awarding points for how well they spun, flexed, and maneuvered, as well as how enjoyable it was to ride each one.
The Yes. Hel Yes., Lib Tech No. 43, Capita Birds of a Feather and Gnu Ladies Choice all stand out by offering particularly playful rides. The Yes. Hel Yes is very light and responsive, making it an absolute blast to ride — particularly through dense glades and other off-piste conditions. Riding switch is easy, and overall it does a pretty good job as a freestyle snowboard.
The Gnu Ladies Choice is such an all-around top-notch board that it always seemed to put a smile on our faces whenever we rode it. It is a stiffer board, but it holds presses surprisingly well. You can tell this snowboard simply wants to go fast all the time, and it doesn't put on too shabby of a show if you take it in the terrain park.
The Capita Birds of a Feather is a fun and flexy board that can butter with the best of them. It's nimble and maneuverable, but we did feel the flat sections of this board's profile can dampen its fun factor, depending on your riding style. The Lib Tech No 43. rides almost the same but without the dead spots in its profile. Its centered stance and true twin profile let you effortlessly switch between riding switch and regular, and it's pretty good in the park.
The Gnu Klassy has a medium flex and is super responsive, but we felt its distaste for rails and the park was quite obvious. The Twin Sister's rocker-camber-rocker gives it a very cruisy ride that is tons of fun and is an all-around solid park board. The Jones Dream Catcher has a much softer flex. It's a light board that is tons of fun in the park and on natural features. It also is one of the easiest boards to press. The Lady West is almost up there with the top boards in this metric, with its V-shaped carbon strips offering just the right balance of stiffness and flex for a super fun and nimble ride.
The Burton Day Trader followed when it came to playfulness. It's quite fun to carve with, but is one of the stiffer snowboards of the group. It cannot compare to the responsiveness of some of the softer boards. Rounding out the back of the group, we have the T. Rice Orca, Weston Japow, and the Jones Mind Expander. The Orca and the Japow are both reasonably agile in deep snow, but can't even come close to matching the softer boards when it comes to playfulness.
The Mind Expander is tons of fun in powder, but only so-so when it comes to playing around on groomers — it just can't match the lighter and more responsive boards when it comes to having a good time.
Pop and Jumping
Our last series of tests rated and compared just how much pop each board has, accounting for the remaining 15% of the final score. We took each board off jumps and kickers, looking at how willing they were to launch to determine scores.
When it comes to becoming airborne, the Gnu Ladies Choice stood out, earning the highest possible score. This board has a ton of pop and wants to launch when you ollie or jump.
The Arbor Swoon Rocker, Capita Birds of a Feather, and the Yes. Hel Yes. came next for their skills when it came to pop and jumping. These boards all come close to the Ladies Choice but launch just a bit less. The Gnu Klassy, Lady West, Lib Tech No 43., and Jones Twin Sister are all decently springy boards with plenty of pop but none of them fly like the Birds of a Feather or the other top boards.
The Day Trader and Dream Catcher followed. None of these boards seem like they have an innate desire to fly, but you can catch a decent amount of air if the lip is steep enough or ollie if you try hard enough. In our minds, most of the flight power of the Day Trader comes from their speed, compared to any inherent spring in the board — even a freight train will fly if you hit the jump with enough speed.
Finally, the Orca and the Mind Expander; the Orca is a heavy board without a lot of pop and seems to remain firmly on the snow. You can get them airborne with tons of speed and effort, but don't expect to fly all that far. The Mind Expander is a little lighter, but still lacks pop and wants to remain just as grounded as the Orca. The Japow can be fun to jump off natural features on a powder day, and is stiff enough to stomp most landings, but its swallowtail can make it a bit weird if you decide to press or ollie it for some reason.
Hopefully, this has given you a better idea of which board stands the best chance of being a true quiver-killer. While this might be an impossible task if you want a board that is perfect when it comes to ripping groomers, floating in deep powder, shredding the steeps, and playing in the park, some of these boards come pretty darn close and we were incredibly surprised at how versatile some of the top boards are.
— Marissa Fox