As a committed snowboarder, choosing the set of snowboards you have and updating it over time can be a complex topic. Everyone has a different vision of what a snowboard quiver is.
Some riders want to have a board for every condition, some for each riding style, while others keep a quiver of boards for their single preferred riding style e.g. park or powder. Some people add snowboards to their quiver only to spruce up their riding at their local resort.
There are a million good snowboard brands and models out there. How do you pick a snowboard for your quiver? How do you ensure it’s different enough to your current boards? Do your newer boards make your older ones stay on the sidelines? Do you focus on a specific snowboard brand or do you mix them up?
Why a snowboard quiver?
While some snowboarders will ride the same board for a decade or two in all conditions, many of us tend to flip snowboards quite often – if not every season. Sometimes we’ll sell off our current board(s), but sometimes we’ll choose to keep it because we like it for specific places/styles/conditions.
Some common motivations for how you build and maintain your quiver include:
- You like to get the latest gear (and have the budget for it)
- You always grab end-of-season deals when you find one
- You ride different styles (resort, park, pow…) and need a good board for each
- You ride different conditions (corduroy, ice, slush, deep pow) and need a good board for each
- You just can’t part with a snowboard that works well even after getting a new one
- You only do one style (e.g. powder) but want boards that ride differently for that style
- You want a single board that works for everything (quiver killer)
Many riders build a quiver so as to have at least one board for any given terrain and conditions. The boards in a quiver will vary in terms of:
- Flex pattern
- Camber profile
- Width and sidecut
- Effective edge
- Top sheet
Depending on your riding styles and where you ride, your quiver might include:
- A groomers board
- A freeride and tree board
- An ice board
- A deep pow board
- A medium pow + trees board
- A slush board
- A rock board
- A park/jib board
- A party board
- A carving/switch board
Over time however, you may end up with a quiver of e.g. all powder and carving boards (if that’s your main focus) with significant overlap between your boards, resulting in a not-so-versatile or well-rounded quiver.
Also, if you always want to ride the newest board, you might end up neglecting the others. These are the kinds of quiver scenarios riders generally try to avoid.
Quiver building strategies
There are as many approaches to building a quiver as there are riders! That said, the following are some common and interesting strategies snowboarders use to build and update their quiver.
Style focused quiver
If your focus is on a specific type of riding, e.g. backcountry, you might naturally build a quiver of freeride boards. The boards in your quiver may all end up being directional, wide nosed, tapered, and set back.
Even though the boards have a similar focus though, they’ll likely have a different riding feel (e.g. an S-rocker Burton Barracuda vs a full-camber Endeavor Next). Likewise, you may have a quiver of only powder boards which might include a carving capable twin board.
Catch-all & “fill in the gaps” quiver
You may start with a good do-it-all board for your main riding styles and terrain. Once you become aware of the limitations in the board’s capabilities, you start looking for other boards to fill the gaps – powder board, volume shifted board, carving board etc.
Zero overlap quiver
Some riders want to avoid overlap as much as possible and choose to build a quiver with different style decks. The downside is, if you like a board that’s too close to one you own e.g. Burton Custom X vs Capita Black Snowboard Of Death, you’ll be reluctant to add it to your quiver.
Some riders build their quiver by getting boards they want without really knowing why, as well as boards that will allow them to try different styles or terrain and expand their skillset.
For example, getting a splitboard can affect the direction of your quiver as once you do, you may no longer be interested in chasing powder in the resort and e.g. focus on freestyle instead.
Evolving style quiver
With this strategy, you may start with an all-around board, then find for example you’re the attack type and get a freeride board.
Depending on your evolution, you may next acquire a carving board, then a tree board, a powder board etc.
Concrete goals may guide the evolution of your quiver. For example, if your main concern is to stay safe while riding terrain park, you may choose an easy-going park board. If you primarily ride on hard pack and icy snow, you may choose an aggressive board (stiffer, cambered, hard edging).
Expanding 1 or 2-board quiver
Some riders start with one do-it-all board or a 2-board core quiver that cover most of their usual riding needs – e.g. Jones Flagship or similar. Over time, you then add boards for specific styles and conditions, e.g. a good park board, an ice board, a pow board, a good freeride board, a directional twin, a volume shifted board for trees…
“Good days” quiver
Some riders choose to build their quiver only for riding on really good days, ignoring mediocre riding conditions. In such quivers, you won’t find things like a slush board, an ice board, a rock board etc – or perhaps a single board for the “bad” days.
“Good deal” quiver
Another common strategy is to buy any board that matches your preferred riding style whenever you find a good deal.
With this approach, you slowly add boards over time that have something unique about their profile or performance, regardless of style, terrain, or conditions. This approach is similar in philosophy to the “Style focused quiver” I mentioned earlier.
Maintaining a 2-board quiver
Most riders can generally get by with a two-board quiver that will cover most of their riding needs. There are quite a few ways to build a 2-board quiver.
One example is to have an a directional medium stiff all-mountain board that you can also ride with a freestyle flare, e.g. a K2 Instrument, paired with a true twin park board e.g. Salomon Huck Knife.
Another great 2-board but more powder-oriented alliance might combine something like the versatile Jones Flagship, which works great for most resort riding, with the Jones Mind Expander, a great board for intense powder riding.
Some riders also choose to pair for their 2-board quiver:
- A true twin for aggressive freestyle riding all over the mountain, including groomers, switch, jibbing and jumping in the park
- A party board for powder and trees.
Some riders only care for small soft twins, so their 2-board quiver may include an ultra soft jib board and a slightly stiffer freestyle board for all-mountain.
3 or 4-board quiver
If you’re a park rider and it snows a lot in your local resort, you may opt for a 3-board quiver like this:
- An all-around board (directional, mid-flex, mild set back)
- A soft park board for jib, rails,, small jumps
- A powder board
Alternatively, you might replace the all-around board with a stiff camber board for jumps and speed on groomers. or, instead of the park noodle, you may want a stiffer park board than can handle big jumps but still slide rails.
A variant of the above might be:
- An all-mountain board for speed, big jumps and mild powder
- A soft park and rail/rock board
- A deep powder board
For some riders, a 4-board quiver might work better, such as:
- A mid-flex directional or true twin for mellow riding
- A stiffer directional twin for charging
- A deep powder board
- A rock board
You might choose your daily driver to be a wider directional carving board that still works for switch and some park stuff e.g. a larger sized K2 Instrument. You might couple it with something like a Moss Snowstick Swallow for powder and a directional splitboard with a powder focus e.g. a Weston Backwoods.
The term “quiver killer” is often abused in snowboard marketing. In real life though, once in a while a single deck you acquire and ride will sideline all your other snowboards, in effectively “killing” your quiver!
Some riders will also choose the approach of finding a great board for them and then riding it until it dies. Some people have been riding their favorite board for 20 years and leaving all the other boards they own to rot.
A quiver killer may be a super versatile board that can carve hard, have great pop, ride awesome in powder, hold an edge on ice, butter quite well, and stay stable at speed. It’s a board you’ll be riding most of the time. It may be great for everything, possibly better than any of your other boards.
An all-mountain quiver killer might be a directional board that gives you a great ride both on and off piste, including switch.
Here are a few well-regarded quiver killer examples:
- The Jones Frontier and Lib Tech Orca are commonly viewed as highly versatile “quiver killer” snowboards. With the right size, both are great for average conditions groomers, charging (particularly the Frontier), park, powder and trees, and lame snow conditions.
- The Ride Warpig which is an impressive board that does well for groomers, park, powder, and tree runs, particularly if ridden shorter than “normal”.
- The Yes Typo and the Jones Mountain Twin are also considered really good quiver killers
- The Lib Tech Terrain Wrecker performs very well from park (feels like a twin) all the way to deep powder (set back) and everything in-between. A primarily rocker hybrid with directional twin, slightly wider than average, medium-high stiffness – very stable for charging and jumps.
- Even a more specialized board like the Capita Slush Slasher – primarily a carving and powder board – can turn into a quiver killer provided it also has great feel for all-mountain and mellow park riding.
Do you really need a quiver?
A quiver may not be needed for everyone. It’s mostly going to be useful if you ride very often and do different riding styles or ride in different conditions. If you only ride a few days per year, a large quiver is probably not justified.
While the idea of having the perfect board for every type of ride or condition is appealing, in real life most people don’t get enough days on the mountain to ride that many boards. Adjusting to each new board in your quiver also takes precious time and will burn up your limited runs.
Building a quiver is generally a luxury, and few people actually need a second or third board. You should probably only consider a quiver once you’re experienced enough and you want to get a fresh experience.
For most people, once you have a 3-board quiver e.g. groomer, powder or freeride, and park, each added board will tend to bring some overlap and you’ll likely start neglecting one or more older boards. Having many overlapping boards can become somewhat of a problem as you don’t know what to choose.
In fact, you may not need more than 2 boards unless you really do everything from jibbing to deep powder. A dedicated powder board is often a luxury as you may only ride pow a few times per year.
Of course, for many of us, getting a new board once in a while will get us excited and motivated to go ride more.
Some riders have an urge to accumulate boards (e.g. 10 boards and 5 pairs of bindings) and must make an effort to resist buying more.
Riders who fly a lot for snowboarding tend to prefer a smaller quiver to avoid being tempted to take more boards on the flight and hence spend more money.