Results of this review are based on feedback from women riders and personal demos performed at the 1998 Snow Sports of America (SIA) on-snow demonstrations at Solitude Resort in Utah. Given the 47 different varieties of women’s boards on the market for 1998-’99, not all Style – Freeriding
Length 153.50 cm
Weight 6.20 lbs.

Eff. Edge 121.40 cm
S/C Radius 810.00 cm

Nose 28.10 cm
Waist 23.80 cm
Tail 28.10 cm

Nose Height 5.80 cm

Tail Height 4.60 cm

Stance18-26

boards were tested, nor were they all available to test, during the demo days. Therefore, check with resorts’ snowboard shops for personal demonstrations before purchasing. This listing is by no means complete; it is a representation of some of the most popular models available for women this season.

The trend among snowboard manufacturers is moving towards offering women a quiver of free-riding board options, mostly with longer, stiffer construction – particularly among the professional signature models. This is perhaps most obvious with the Morgan LaFonte Synergy 155 ($430).

Its ample nose is considerably noticeable in deep powder, but takes some getting used to in tight trees. Basically, it keeps you afloat, which Morgan admits is key when stomping “super kickers and for riding Alaska.” Its directional shape is more pronounced than last year, but it maintains a progressive sidecut, which fit my size 7 feet perfectly. Like other pro models this year, the flex has been stiffened to accommodate advanced, lightweight riders cruising at high speeds.

Along the same lines as the Synergy, are the Victoria Jealouse model from Burton, the Freedom 153 ($440), the Barrett Christy boards ($408) from Gnu (148 and 154), and the Michele Taggart-inspired Salomon 500 Pro FR ($399). The Freedom 53 was a dream to ride, but I tested it mostly in the backcountry in an attempt to simulate Victoria in Alaska. It was snappy in the Utah couloirs (which I didn’t necessarily feel with the Synergy), and it had a super narrow waistÐan advantage for riders with feet smaller than size 7.

Style – Freeriding
Length 154.00 cm
Weight 4.00 lbs.

Eff. Edge 118.40 cm
S/C Radius 8.50 cm

Nose 28.40 cm
Waist 24.40 cm
Tail 28.40 cm

Nose Height 4.50 cm

Tail Height 4.00 cm

Stance16-26

The Taggart board I ended up ripping on for an entire day just out of sheer pleasure. Basically, I felt like a very descent rider on this board because I was able to get it on edge with considerable ease, and I found it adaptableo all terrain, particularly on-piste and in tight tree runs. According to Salomon product manager, Jeff Krueger, “it’s the combination of an Isowood core and blend of ash wood (which is super snappy and durable) that makes it so strong, yet lightweight.” The cap construction also helps keep it torsionally stiffer than it feels, which I’ll admit, at first concerned me when I lifted up the board and felt how light it was. For bigger-sized Betty’s or women who just want a big ride, checkout the Emigrator 165 by Mervyn Manufacturers (price not available). Although I didn’t get to ride this beast, feedback from the girls at Mt. Baker attest to it’s stability for power riding in big mountains. (It’s also a nice board for women with larger feet).

Tina Basich’s pro models, the Star series (143 and 151, $409) are super lightweight freestyle and freeride boards, respectively, thanks to a core material called an end-grain, crosscut woodcore. Although both are a little longer than last year, they are still notably flexy. “My new 151,” says Tina, “helps me with my quest to push my ridingSfor better pow turns and landing potential.”

Style – Freeriding
Length 151.00 cm
Weight N/A

Eff. Edge 117.50 cm
S/C Radius 8.50 cm

Nose 28.10 cm
Waist 24.00 cm
Tail 28.10 cm

Nose Height 5.40 cm

Tail Height 5.10 cm

Stance20.1 Bev Sanders’ 148 ($420) is a directional board that always comes through in tight spaces. It’s deep sidecut makes it easier to turn, and as Bev says, “Not all women think of themselves as performance riders, but their riding may be more high performance than they give themselves credit for.” Although the Sanders board is designed to take riders to that next level of performance, I think it works well for beginners, mostly because of its manageable size.

An Olympic bronze medal will certainly boost the popularity of the Shannon Dunn signature model ($440) from Burton. This board has always been a hit among women and a lot of men, making it one of the top-selling boards in the entire Burton line. This year, she’s gone bigger, up from a 144 to a 149, which Shannon claims, is good for the park, the pipe, and the backcountry. It’s a directional board, but holds tight for landing switch or riding fakie. I was particularly pleased with how fast I could rip in powder, even though I couldn’t help but envision its primary use, which I though was for the pipe.

Jennie Waara’s new signature from Ride, the 144, seemed a little too short for the all-mountain free-rider it was trying to be. Thankfully, when Jennie came back from Alaska last spring, she said she needed a 150 ($439.99). They gave it to her, and so, to, us. The 150 rides bigger than it looks and is particularly accommodating for big air and big terrain. Ride’s Thin Cap construction makes it look and feel super thin along the edges, which helps keep weight to a minimum. But to handle Jennie’s notorious backside airs and 720′s, it has to be strong as well.

Among the non-signature boards, Morrow’s Wildflower series ($400) is the only one that claims to be specifically targeted for advanced women riders. Morrow uses a foam composite core in most of their boards, which they say keeps weight to a minimum, but they’ve also made the Wildflower 152 stiffer to handle higher speeds. On the other end of the spectrum, is the Rossignol Wave board ($369), which works well for beginners, but may be too flexy for more advanced women riders. Although the Wave is a healthy 154, it still felt a little squirrelly on fast turns. It may be a better match for riders lighter than I am (<125). Santa Cruz's "Q" series (141, 144, 150) offer women a narrow sidecut, as well as what marketing director, Rebecca Herath, calls a "custom flex designed with women in mind." Their patented StepCap construction (using less material near the edges) makes their boards bite an edge well. On the Q series ($430), there's also less core material in the ends, which gives the board more flexibility. Overall, it sounds like this board is filled with air, but it's just super light, yet still able to stay on the surface. The Q is especially designed to work well on icy conditions.

Style – Freeriding
Length 144.00 cm
Weight N/A

Eff. Edge 110.00 cm
S/C Radius 749.00 cm

Nose 27.20 cm
Waist 23.60 cm
Tail 27.20 cm

Nose Height 5.10 cm

Tail Height 4.60 cm

Stance14-22

Goddess snowboards, the only all-girl snowboard line on the market, is back with a longer, directional board called the Superstar 151 and a twintip Cybernation 145 (both $398). Neither board was available to test, but there’s something about girls manufacturing boards for girls that I think rings true. If you get a chance, demo them. Generics True S 150 ($249), which I found super lively on most aspects of the mountain, is also one of the least expensive boards on the market this season. It makes me think that if Generics is able to produce such a cool board for all-mountain terrain at this price, why can’t everyone? K2 comes closest with their Luna series ($350), inspired by marketing gals, Hayley Martin and Heidi McCoy, who basically said they were “sick of riding guy boards.” Both of these girls are big backcountry gals, so it wasn’t surprised when the Luna performed well off Solitude’s backside. Like other girl-board features, the Luna series offer a narrower width and softer flex, but they shifted the stance an inch back for a better directional performance, which also helps in powder. Pro rider Athena rides the Luna boards, which she claims “are perfect for the average-size girl with size 7 feet.” The Luna boards also offer a massive quiver to chose from: 138, 143, 147, 150, 154.

Nitro, Oxygen, and Rossignol also offer free-riding and freestyle boards for lightweight riders with small feet, but perhaps more notably, these manufacturers also offer some of the best alpine carving boards on the market. If you’re into high speeds or mostly riding hardpacked, icy conditions, or thinking of getting a hard-boot, plate binding set-up, I’d suggest testing boards from these manufacturers.ldflower 152 stiffer to handle higher speeds. On the other end of the spectrum, is the Rossignol Wave board ($369), which works well for beginners, but may be too flexy for more advanced women riders. Although the Wave is a healthy 154, it still felt a little squirrelly on fast turns. It may be a better match for riders lighter than I am (<125). Santa Cruz's "Q" series (141, 144, 150) offer women a narrow sidecut, as well as what marketing director, Rebecca Herath, calls a "custom flex designed with women in mind." Their patented StepCap construction (using less material near the edges) makes their boards bite an edge well. On the Q series ($430), there's also less core material in the ends, which gives the board more flexibility. Overall, it sounds like this board is filled with air, but it's just super light, yet still able to stay on the surface. The Q is especially designed to work well on icy conditions.

Style – Freeriding
Length 144.00 cm
Weight N/A

Eff. Edge 110.00 cm
S/C Radius 749.00 cm

Nose 27.20 cm
Waist 23.60 cm
Tail 27.20 cm

Nose Height 5.10 cm

Tail Height 4.60 cm

Stance14-22

Goddess snowboards, the only all-girl snowboard line on the market, is back with a longer, directional board called the Superstar 151 and a twintip Cybernation 145 (both $398). Neither board was available to test, but there’s something about girls manufacturing boards for girls that I think rings true. If you get a chance, demo them. Generics True S 150 ($249), which I found super lively on most aspects of the mountain, is also one of the least expensive boards on the market this season. It makes me think that if Generics is able to produce such a cool board for all-mountain terrain at this price, why can’t everyone? K2 comes closest with their Luna series ($350), inspired by marketing gals, Hayley Martin and Heidi McCoy, who basically said they were “sick of riding guy boards.” Both of these girls are big backcountry gals, so it wasn’t surprised when the Luna performed well off Solitude’s backside. Like other girl-board features, the Luna series offer a narrower width and softer flex, but they shifted the stance an inch back for a better directional performance, which also helps in powder. Pro rider Athena rides the Luna boards, which she claims “are perfect for the average-size girl with size 7 feet.” The Luna boards also offer a massive quiver to chose from: 138, 143, 147, 150, 154.

Nitro, Oxygen, and Rossignol also offer free-riding and freestyle boards for lightweight riders with small feet, but perhaps more notably, these manufacturers also offer some of the best alpine carving boards on the market. If you’re into high speeds or mostly riding hardpacked, icy conditions, or thinking of getting a hard-boot, plate binding set-up, I’d suggest testing boards from these manufacturers.