Expert Review: 2023 Nitro Squash Snowboard [with Video]
Snowboard Experts Experts Mike Leighton and Matt Kaminski tested the 2023 Nitro Squash snowboard on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Snowboard Experts Mike Leighton and Matt Kaminski tested the 2023 Nitro Squash this spring at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but consider the fact that each and every snowboarder is different. If you have any questions about the Squash or need recommendations on which board would be best for you, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated.
One final point before we dive in: It's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does Nitro claim about this board? [Mike] Nitro basically claims that it is the most fun you will have turning a snowboard.
What is your overall impression of this board? [Matt] My initial interpretation of this board is that it's designed for powder. I didn't get a chance to ride in any powder, but I could tell right away it will float. This thing has got a massive nose–and I'm talking massive. I don't know if I've ever ridden a board with this big of a nose.
On top of that, it's got this swallow tail that you could tell would really want to just sit into the powder as you ride it. Taking it out, it definitely had a stiffer feel. The board claims that it has a 7 out of 10 flex. With this bigger nose, you're not going to be able to really press into things as much. And it's going to feel almost like an 8 out of 10 or 9 out of 10 flex. Also, this thing wants to go in one direction. It’s a super directional board. I was able to get it to switch here and there, but I felt super uncomfortable. You could see this dagger tail. I thought that was going to dig in at any point. However, it is a super good carver. It’s not the widest board, but it still carves really well, which I was surprised by. Usually, on a narrower board, I get a little worried that I'm going to get some tail or ankle drag. But this seemed like the perfect size, for what I'm looking for, on carves. You can really lay that edge in. You can get your elbow down on the ground. With it being stiffer, it's going to take a little bit to press into this board. I weigh about 150 pounds, and I was able to lift the nose and tail, so that gives you an idea. I think a heavier rider would be able to control this board super well. A lighter rider might have a tougher time controlling it.
[Mike] The Nitro Squash is, I mean, it's a joy to ride. It features true camber, 7/10 flex. It has their progressive side cut. It has a really interesting swallow tail. So, when you gaze at it, it looks wild. And it has this really long nose. When I first got on, I was like, "This is weird." But by the end of that first run, I was like, "This is so much fun." We were riding in spring slush conditions. It is just a joy to ride.
How is carving like with this board? [Matt] Carving-wise, this board did fantastic. It's really designed to do that. If you're looking at this board down the edge, you have all that contact right there. It's true camber so it's going to really want to dive in there, but it's so long and it's so narrow that carving it really cuts up the throat.
You know, this being a directional board, it's going to want to charge in one direction. For me, I found that I didn't want to go that fast on it due to the longer nose. It's a little intimidating. And I honestly think if I had a few more runs, I could have maybe picked up my speed, but after getting on it, I realized it's really designed to be in the powder.
[Mike] Carving on the Nitro Squash was so much fun. Featuring their true camber, Nitro does camber really well. And the Squash is a great example of it. It has this really long nose and this short little swallow tail, but once you get it up on edge, it just wants to play. It wants to hang out through slushie turns, groomer turns, or whatever else. I didn't get a chance to ride in any fresh snow, but I can imagine that the experience would be the same. It holds a really solid carved edge. It's really nimble edged with that swallow tail and the camber. You get out what you put in.
And it honestly just wants to snap you from turn-to-turn, once I figured out how the board rode. I remember getting down to the end of that first run, and I think I was like, "This is my favorite board I've ridden so far.” And I've ridden about 10 boards so far. So, the Nitro Squash is just a blast. It’s the board you want to pick up when you want to go out, just have a good time, ride with your homies, and chase the kids around the mountain. It's at home on intermediate, easy-groomed terrain to more technical, ungroomed, steeper stuff. It can do it all.
How playful is it? [Matt] This board is actually surprisingly playful. You'll be able to hit side hits, little pops in the woods, and little moguls to go over. I was able to find a few little features to send it off, and it actually held up really well. I'm surprised that it was stable. Usually when you get on a powder board, they're really soft and really loose with a major rocker section in the nose. We definitely have a little bit of rocker up here to give you that float, but it's not as bouncy or as loose as some of the other boards that we might see.
How is it in the park? [Matt] This board's going to give you some trouble in the park. If you ended up trying to jump on a rail, maybe even hitting jumps, you'll find yourself getting caught up. I'd feel really sketchy trying to get onto an urban rail or anything above a ride on. It could definitely handle some boxes and small jumps if that's your style. But if you're mainly a park rider, there's definitely better options for you.
How would it be in powder? [Matt] I didn't get the chance to ride this board in powder, but I absolutely know that's where it belongs. Just looking at the shape, the swallow tail is going to sit in like a bird. It's going to just want to dig in and shoot out of the snow. It has a massive nose. I'm talking almost one third of the board is the nose. That's going to keep you above any snow when you're out there. Besides that, you've got strong core camber. It's going to be a little bit more stiff for powder. It's not going to be as soft and bouncy as some of our true rocker powder boards, but you'll be able to still get your own snow in this.
Would you say it floats like a boat? [Matt] I'd say it floats like a boat.
How is the board overall for freeriding? [Mike] So, freeriding on the Squash, that's really where it shines. With the 7/10 flex, camber underneath the feet, and directional shape, it does a good job when you point that thing. It obviously has the shorter swallow tail, so it’s not going to do the best switch. I rode it switch a little bit. My filming partner was a little bit worried for me. It was all right. We had a little bit of reverse rooster tail going. But when you have the board pointed in your regular direction, it is so much fun to ride and rip all over the mountain.
There's really not a lot the board can't do. Obviously, the one caveat would be riding a lot of switch. But if you wanted to hit a little roller pop around, do a 180, it's pretty comfortable. I threw a 360 on it. It felt pretty good. But overall, in the realm of freeride, this board is a slush-slashing, power-ripping, tree run-slaying, all-around fun machine.
Who would you recommend this board to? [Matt] I'd recommend this board for any intermediate-to-advanced rider looking for a fun, stiff, super technical and yet responsive powder machine that will still give you that float in the powder.
[Mike] I would say the Squash is good for any rider intermediate and up who is comfortable riding a cambered snowboard and is starting to explore new board shapes. Obviously, with that swallow tail, it's a little bit different to ride. But if you're comfortable riding camber, and you're starting to explore more alternative directional board shapes, I'd say this would be the pick for a second board. Or, if all you care about is making some nice, soul turns, pretty much anyone can have fun on it. Overall, this board can be ridden by everyone from your Rad Dads to your expert level riders just looking for a fun, alternative shape to ride.
Who would you not recommend this board to? [Matt] I wouldn't put a total beginner on this board. It might be a little too stiff for them to feel out. That, and it being a directional board, this massive nose is going to take a little bit of controlling to get used to. As a total beginner, you'd have a better time on something a little bit easier, something a little softer. This board really is designed for that intermediate-to-advanced rider.
[Mike] I would say the one demographic that I would not recommend the board to would be a true beginner or someone not as comfortable on a cambered profile board. That swallow tail can be a little bit to get used to. It kind of shifts where your weight is.
Anything else you’d like to add? [Matt] Just to give you reference, I'm 6'0”, 150 pounds, and wear a size 11 boot with large bindings. But overall, it was a pretty fun board. I could see myself taking this thing out in a foot of powder and having a lot of fun in the trees and off of some side hits. But I wouldn't want to take this thing in some ultra deep snow. I think I'd want a wider board.
Snowboards work differently for different types of riders. If you want help finding the best board for your needs, reach out to Matt, Mike, or any other Snowboard Expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations. They’ll help you find the right setup for you.