There are a lot of choices when it comes to a snowboard for the entry to intermediate level, as that is the majority of the market. Our goal with this was to select our favorite boards that are perfectly suited for an entry-level rider, but at the same time, ones that do not hold them back as they progress on terrains varying from jumps to jibs to heavy powder.
The boards we considered for this were all manufactured by reputable brands and all under the $500 price point. Beyond those three basic screening principles, the following were the primary attributes in determining our choices:
The lighter and stronger the better.
We looked for boards with a softer flex as they are more responsive and easier to maneuver.
Twin being better for freeriding boards, and directional for powder riding.
Extruded bases are generally more common amongst beginner boards as they are less expensive and easier to repair and maintain, although they bring a slight speed disadvantage as compared to sintered bases.
Rocker or hybrid rocker cambers that curve up are usually easier to go from edge to edge smoothly were preferred.
We considered the pricing, duh.
Will it last the rider long? Are the sides, base and core durable?
Any cool binding mount features? Brand new sidewall technology? Etc.
After considering around 50 initial boards that made the first cut, and then narrowing down around 15 that made the second, our resulting final top 5 boards are the following:
1. Rome Snowboards Agent Rocker Snowboard
If you’re a beginner looking to really get into snowboarding and grow into a long-lasting board that won’t hold you back on any terrain, look no further than the Rome Snowboards Agent Rocker. The Rome Agent Rocker has it all, stability, price value, edges that do well in all terrains, the perfect shape, and versatility. This board is not only good for beginners avoiding catching an edge, but has the ability to exceed in the park, pipe and steep powder runs later on.
Some of our favorite features included the perfect twin flex shape for controllability, as well as switch riding later on, the bambooster technology core that adds an extra pop. The flat to rocker camber profile also provides for a great edge to edge transition, and the quickrip sidecut that is not only durable, but gives an awesome hold in all conditions.
The Rome Snowboards Agent Rocker is truly an awesome value for an all terrain board that will not handicap a beginner from the start to progressing into a more advanced array of terrain, tricks, and fun.
2. The Rossignol Circuit
The Rossignol Circuit is the best value for a beginner board on this list, at currently only a cost of just over $200, and it definitely holds its own on any terrain. The Circuit is great for all mountain riding, has a 80% camber with a 20% rocker combination, and a great no catch edge hold for carving down the mountain. Additionally, the extruded base also makes for very easy maintenance and long term durability, and the core is made of a strong wood that doesn’t sacrifice pop.
Overall this board can handle a variety of skill levels, but is especially perfect for a boarder who is aiming to get good at carving and cruising down the mountain at high speeds in all conditions, while feeling stable and confident as opposed to solely progressing in the park. You also can’t beat the value.
3. The Burton Clash
If you’re a beginner and want a Burton board, don’t want to spend $600, and plan on more powder riding as opposed to park terrain and switch riding, the Clash is your best bet. The is a tapered directional, making it a great powder board, and the flex edges almost 100% reduce any board error in order to help avoid the beginner of catching an edge in any condition. A really cool feature is the channel, which a new feature on the board that enables the rider to change their stance until it feels just right, in a very fast and easy manner. Additionally, as the two above the camber is a rocker shape making edge to edge a smooth transition, and the base is extruded for easy maintenance. The Burton company has its place in the market for a reason, and they didn’t let down with the Clash.
4. The K2 Raygun
The K2 Raygun is a go-to board for any beginner looking for a bit wider board with great stability in pretty much every snow condition. The board has a light feel so it is very easy and fun to initiate a turn without catching an edge or having to put too much effort into it, and the sidewall is made of their patented Hybridtech that adds to both the durability and turn initiation of the board. It has a flat to rocker camber, an extruded base, and a W1 wood core giving it flex, durability and good control.
The K2 Raygun is one of the most popular beginner boards out there, and it is for a good reason.
5. The Burton Ripcord
Although very similar to the Clash in that it is a directional shaped board, with great flex and edge hold, there are a few differences from both the Clash and the other boards. The Ripcord has a directional flex as opposed to twin flex, making it better for riding over uneven terrain, but slightly worse for riding switch. It also does not have the channel binding mounting system as the Clash has, or the cruise control edge. It does come at a better price than the Clash though. Overall it can handle anything, but if you are looking to ride powder or uneven terrain as much as possible the directional flex gives it a slight advantage over the other boards.
If you have any questions about any of these boards or want to suggest another option, go ahead and send us an email or drop it in the comment box.