Online shopping is more popular than ever in 2021, and the allure is clear: you can purchase whatever you need from the comfort of your home and often receive it within just a few days. Snowboards and snowboarding gear are no exception, and leading retailers like Evo, Backcountry, The House, and others have made it incredibly quick and easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, whether your days on the slopes are lift-assisted or involve skinning deep into the backcountry. In creating the list of the top sites to purchase from, we prioritized factors like overall selection, available discounts, free shipping, and a good return policy. Finally, we would like to note that when you make a purchase through the links below, we receive a small commission, helping us continue to review and write about snowboard gear.
Shipping: Free standard (at $50+)
Return policy: 366 days for new, unused items
What we like: Extensive and well-rounded selection of resort and backcountry gear.
What we don’t: Can’t match REI’s or Backcountry’s return policies.
Evo is a powerhouse within the snowboard and ski industries, featuring a comprehensive selection of the most current models on the market. We often see the latest boards on Evo before any other retailer (Snowboards.com below is close), and they offer a decent mix of discounted and past-season items as well. Additionally, Evo’s customer service team is helpful and friendly—they’re easy to reach via the handy chat tool at the bottom of each page and have provided a ton of valuable information for us over the years—and the site’s sizing and buying guides are detailed and well-organized.
Compared to the retailers below, Evo typically has the most extensive selection of lengths and varieties (for hard goods like snowboards and splitboards) and sizes and colorways (for clothing). The website is easy to navigate, and shipping is free for orders over $50 (importantly, oversized shipping fees do not apply to snowboards). And if you’re more of an in-person shopper or need shop services like tuning or repairs, Evo has locations in Seattle, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake, and Whistler, B.C. (with two more stores coming soon in Hood River, Oregon, and Snoqualmie Pass, Washington). Our only gripe is that Evo’s return policy only applies to “new, unused items,” but that’s fairly standard in the industry (REI and Backcountry are two exceptions). All told, Evo’s mix of inventory and product expertise earn them our top spot.
2. The House
Shipping: Free ground (at $50+)
Return policy: 90 days for new, unused items (e-gift offered past 90 days)
What we like: Excellent sales and discounts.
What we don’t: Website is fairly busy and hard to navigate.
If you pride yourself on finding the best deals possible, look no further than The House. With a healthy number of flash sale-style deals, reduced-price outlet items, and seasonal sales, The House is an excellent one-stop shop for finding discounts on both current and past-season items, from snowboards to splitboards, boots, bindings, accessories, and more. The site is noticeably less polished and harder to navigate than Evo above and Backcountry and REI below—it feels pretty busy and convoluted—but the product specifications and descriptions are detailed and well-sorted. If you’re willing to put in a little extra work, The House is a reputable site with a ton of inventory for resort-goers and backcountry explorers alike.
Similar to Evo above, The House features helpful sizing/buying guides for snowboarders, including detailed breakdowns of boards, boots, and bindings. If you’re close to the St. Paul, Minnesota area, their main showroom is also worth a visit and boasts an extensive selection of boards, bikes, and more. The return window is fairly short at 90 days from the date of purchase (vs. 366 for Evo above and a year for REI below), although they do offer online credit past that initial window (note: the gear must still be unused and in its original packaging). A final knock is that clothing inventory isn’t a class-leader—The House lacks the sheer number of brands and colorways that Evo and Backcountry offer—but most riders will be able to find what they’re looking for.
Shipping: Free standard (at $50+)
Return policy: Lifetime for new, unused items (refund); 30 days for used items (store credit)
What we like: Impressively wide selection of colors and sizes in soft goods.
What we don’t: Limited product specs and relatively small array of hard goods.
As its name suggests, Backcountry is more of a technical specialist in the snowboard market and therefore doesn’t offer the same volume or number of deals as the sites above. That said, they do particularly well with apparel (often including many sizes and colorway options), accessories, splitboard gear, and a decent array of hard goods. Like Evo, Backcountry has an easy-to-use chat feature for connecting with helpful staff, has decent sales and discounts throughout the year, and ships items out quickly, including frequent periods of free two-day shipping. And if you find gear listed on another website for less, Backcountry will match the price (provided it’s in new condition and identical in size, color, and year) before you buy or up to 48 hours after you make your purchase.
It’s easy to find what you’re looking for on Backcountry’s website, but their product specifications are sometimes lacking in detail and accuracy. In fact, we often find ourselves checking other sites like REI and Evo (or the original manufacturer) to confirm numbers like weight. On the plus side, Backcountry carries some of the smaller boutique brands that we rarely find elsewhere, and their in-house collection of ski and snowboard apparel and accessories continues to expand. A final highlight is their return policy, which doesn’t have a time limit on new, unused items. And for products that you’ve taken out on the slopes but don’t want to keep, there’s a 30-day return window for store credit.
Shipping: Free economy (at $49+)
Return policy: 45 days for new, unused items (store credit between 45 and 90 days)
What we like: Good deals and convenient packages to get fully kitted out.
What we don’t: Not a standout in the touring/splitboard market and a little hard to navigate.
If you’ve heard of Skis.com, Snowboards.com shares the same parent company and operates similarly. Like The House above, Snowboards.com is another excellent value site with great deals on past-season items, a dedicated and quality sale section, and a wide assortment of both custom and pre-made packages (including a board, boots, and bindings) that make it quick and easy to get fully outfitted for the season. Resort hard goods are their bread and butter, but they do have a fairly decent collection of soft goods like clothing, gloves, goggles, and helmets (including a dedicated kids’ category), although their splitboard offerings are few and far between.
Snowboards.com isn’t the most intuitive site to navigate, and they’re the only retailer on our list that doesn’t offer the option to virtually chat with a customer service representative (you have to call or email). That said, the sheer amount of quality information and level of authenticity stand out among the competition. We especially like their educational videos, which cover topics like the differences between men’s and women’s snowboards, how to select the properly sized board for you, types of snowboard helmets, and more. Like Backcountry above, Snowboards.com also has a great price match policy if you find an item listed for less elsewhere (they will credit you the difference up to 30 days after you’ve made a purchase).
5. REI Co-op
Shipping: Free standard (at $50+)
Return policy: 1 year
What we like: Generous return policy and excellent member benefits.
What we don’t: Decidedly resort-focused and snowboards cost extra to ship.
We’d be remiss not to include the country’s most popular outdoor co-op here: REI. With 168 stores spread across 39 states and the District of Columbia, REI provides a number of perks that many of the sites above lack. First is their well-known member program, which costs just $20 for a lifetime membership and offers benefits like 10 percent back on full-priced items, access to a used gear trade-in program and “garage sales,” savings on shop services like snowboard tuning, and other considerable discounts throughout the year. We also love their generous return policy—1 year from the date of purchase, regardless of whether or not you’ve used the item(s)—and the convenience of being able to try things on in person before buying.
REI is a leader in the backpacking and camping markets, but they’re less of a standout in the snowboarding realm. In other words, selection is decidedly limited compared to the sites above, and especially for backcountry and splitboard gear (they’re very much resort-focused). To be fair, they do carry some leading brands like Arbor, Weston, and Jones, and their clothing assortment in particular is pretty solid. But the sites above typically have wider assortments of sizes and colorways, and REI is the only retailer on our list to charge an oversized shipping fee for snowboards. On the bright side, it’s relatively cheap at $20, and those who live close to a physical location can have their board shipped directly to the store to avoid that added cost.
Online shopping comes with its fair share of drawbacks, including not being able to try on or see products in person before you buy. With that in mind, we give a lot of credit to retailers that provide detailed and comprehensive product specifications and information. Most list the basic facts (weight and materials), which are passed along from the manufacturers. Other sites like Evo and Snowboards.com do a particularly nice job of going above and beyond, with detailed buying advice sections and sizing guides for ensuring you’re getting the right fit. REI also has excellent “how to” articles and videos that answer common questions. In the end, we really value companies that make an effort to go beyond the basic specs, as it can be instrumental in nailing down the finer details—particularly important for a gear-intensive sport like snowboarding.
Snowboard Equipment (Hard Goods)
This category includes your primary snowboard gear, including your snowboard or splitboard, bindings, and boots. Most retailers on this list carry the popular all-mountain models from top brands, but moving outside of those items reveals some variation. In ranking the websites, we placed an emphasis on consistency of stock as well as carrying a good assortment of products. Evo and The House excel in the high-end market, including snowboard equipment for inbounds use and backcountry exploration, while REI focuses mainly on resort gear. Specialized snowsports retailers like Snowboards.com and Evo have the widest selection covering nearly every category, including snowboards for kids, splitboards, and freestyle and powder models.
Snowboard Clothing (Soft Goods)
Soft goods cover clothing items like insulating and outer layers (including jackets and pants) in addition to accessories like goggles, gloves, and helmets. A wide color selection is an important consideration for many consumers (ourselves included), which is why we’ve ranked retailers with more comprehensive collections higher on our list. For instance, Evo is a particular standout when it comes to the sheer amount of styles, sizes, and colors available, while REI lags behind in terms of variety and is decidedly resort-focused compared to the rest of the retailers on our list. Finally, it’s worth noting that snowboard gear varies quite a bit depending on the area of the country you live in, snow and weather conditions, and the type of boarding you’re into (resort or backcountry), which means we gave high marks for having a comprehensive stock of clothing and accessories.
All of the sites above offer free shipping for orders over $50 (or $49 in the case of Snowboards.com), which has become the norm for outdoor gear. Importantly, all sites except REI also do not charge extra for shipping snowboards—although it’s pretty cheap at $20, and you can also have your board shipped to one of their 168 locations across the U.S. for free. In terms of timing, you can expect standard shipping to take around 3-7 business days from the date of processing, while Snowboards.com’s economy shipping can take 5-10. Knowing where your product is shipping from can also help. For example, Evo has their distribution center in the Seattle area, and Backcountry typically ships from Salt Lake City, so those in the West will get their items fairly quickly. During the holidays, and particularly leading up to Christmas, most retailers also offer expedited shipping at no additional cost, which can be a real help during busier retail times.
For those living outside the United States, international shipping is an added gear cost but worth it if you live in or are traveling to a remote place for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, however, having gear shipped internationally isn’t exactly cut and dry: rates vary by retailer, and not all brands and products are available to be shipped outside the U.S. REI, for example, charges a flat fee of $20 for orders that cost between $0 and $149.99 (it’s free after that). Backcountry allows you to calculate international shipping costs by adding the product to your cart then entering the shipping address (you are not obligated to buy at this point). To be sure, international shipping isn’t cheap but may be offset by price and availability. To determine the most cost-effective shipping method for your location, we recommend checking with the retailers above—thankfully, many list the countries and brands eligible for international shipping directly on their website (typically at the bottom of the page under “Shipping”).
Most retailers—including Evo, Backcountry, The House, and Snowboards.com—require items to be new and unused in order to be eligible for return. A number of sites also offer store credit outside of their initial return windows, including The House (store credit after 90 days for new and unused items) and Snowboards.com (credit between 45 and 90 days for new and unused items). And Backcountry will provide store credit for used items that are returned within 30 days. REI Co-op is by far the most generous of the bunch, allowing returns for a full refund within a year of purchase if you’re not satisfied.
Before buying, our best advice is to do your research and ensure you know when an item must be returned in order to be eligible for a refund. It can be difficult to determine sizing for boots and some accessories like goggles and gloves ahead of time, so it’s wise to try them on right after receiving them. And keep in mind, once bindings are mounted or you’ve used the items, you can no longer return them to most sites (Backcountry and REI are two exceptions).
The quality of a site’s customer service department can have a big impact on your overall online experience, and especially if you’re having an issue or need to return something. The good news is that all of the sites we’ve listed above have customer service teams that generally are speedy, helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly. We especially like the live chat features on Evo, REI, Backcountry, and The House that allow you to talk with a representative in real time for those moments when you don’t feel like calling or emailing. We’ve reached out more times than we can count for product specs and other information (by phone, via email, and by chat) and have had very few negative experiences to date.
Sales tax is a bit of a nuanced subject and we won’t get too deep into the nitty gritty, but the main takeaway is that you will be charged sales tax for the vast majority of online purchases. The amount is based on the shipping address you provide, and recent legislation has made it so that there is less gray area and fewer discrepancies between states. For more information on the subject, we’ve found this article from Big Commerce to be helpful and informative, including breaking down requirements by state.
What About Amazon?
We debated including Amazon on our list of top retailers but ultimately decided not to for a few key reasons. First and foremost, Amazon is considerably lower-value than the websites above when it comes to snowboards and snowboard gear: their customer service team lacks the technical, specialized product knowledge of the retailers above, their user reviews are less reliable, and they carry considerably less premium gear and equipment than sites like Evo, The House, and Snowboards.com. To be sure, Amazon can be a good route for finding discounted prices on certain products—particularly soft goods like clothing and accessories—and we like the free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. But the smaller selection, lack of expertise, and intricacies with return policies from different sellers make them far less of a standout in the snowboarding market.
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