Board: 2023-2024 Nitro Squash, 159 cm
Test Locations: Alyeska Resort & Turnagain Pass, AK
Test Duration: ~30 days
Reviewer (Andrew Forward): 5’ 11”, 175 lbs /180 cm, 79 kg
Available Sizes: 148, 152, 156, 159, 163W cm
Blister’s Measured Weight (159 cm): 3.09 kg / 6.81 lbs
Stated Stated Nose-Waist-Tail Widths (159 cm): 305-257-299 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (159 cm): 8.4/6.4 meters
Rocker Profile: “Trüe Camber”
Stated Flex Rating: 7/10
Core Construction: poplar + beech stringers + “Bi-Lite” laminate
Base: Sintered Speed Formula HD
Boots Used: Nitro Select, K2 Ender, K2 Orton
Bindings Used: Now O-Drive, Jones Apollo
Nitro has been a big name in the snowboard industry for decades, producing snowboards for over thirty years. In their words: “Diversity has been the design creed of the Nitro snowboard line since the beginning, and there is a long list of industry firsts in board shapes from the early ´90s until today.”
This approach is evident in many of their shapes — especially Nitro’s Quiver Series, which launched 11 years ago. The Quiver boards range from big-gun, pow-specific shapes to shorter, stubbier, surf-inspired shapes and even more traditional freestyle platforms. I.e., more niche boards designed for more specific conditions and riding styles.
The Nitro Squash is technically not part of that series, but it seems to combine some of the more specialized elements of the Quiver boards with a focus on versatility — an everyday board for those focused on the “carve.” For the 23/24 season, Nitro updated the Squash, most notably its nose and tail, with the goal of achieving better float and more efficient edging, while maintaining a playful feel.
Over the years, I have grown to love directional shapes and have been searching for a less pow-specific, more versatile, “daily driver” option in the category. The Squash seemed to fit the bill on paper, and here, I’ll get into what I’ve found after my time on it.
What Nitro Says about the Squash
“Introducing the new and improved award-winning Squash snowboard. The new versatile shape provides the best of both worlds, unparalleled float in the powder and a turn so nice it will make you never want to leave the groomers. The Squash´s perfect blend of a Progressive Sidecut and Trüe Camber allows you to lay into carves as you do it for a living. In addition, the Tapered Swallowtail Shaped will enable you to charge with finesse through the choppiest of conditions, while the Sintered Speed Formula HD Base will allow you to get out of the flats with ease and speed. So, if you are looking for a snowboard to have fun on during the deepest of days or the most regular of days, then check out the new Squash, a board that offers the best ride in everyone’s favorite conditions, powder, and groomers!”
The Squash features a tip-to-tail poplar core with two beech stringers for added strength and snap. The wood core is wrapped with biaxial ”bi-lite” fiberglass laminates and finished off with a sintered “Speed Formula HD” base. Nitro claims this new base material offers increased wax absorption, abrasion resistance, and rides faster. I can’t necessarily tell that it is faster than other sintered bases I have tried, but it does seem to absorb and hold onto wax better than most, which is a plus.
Tech aside, the Squash seems well built, fairly light (our 159 cm weighs 3.09 kg / 6.81 lbs), and has so far withstood about 30 days of resort and backcountry riding via the snowmachine. I also always appreciate a wrapped metal edge around the most of shape (excluding the notch of the swallowtail on the Squash). Although the Squash doesn’t have the deepest fishtail, I’ve found that a metal edge around the tail can help it from getting damaged on and off the mountain.
Also worth noting that Nitro has teamed with ClimatePartner to reportedly find efficient ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Nitro claims that the production of their boards and bindings is 100% carbon neutral through investing in climate change projects.
As I have mentioned in other reviews over the years, I have a personal preference for well-balanced, mid-length powder boards that can rail on groomers … a “goldilocks” type of swallowtail for general resort and backcountry riding.
Longer and narrower shapes such as the Amplid Snommelier or Jones Lone Wolf are excellent for those 18”+ (45+ cm) deep days, offering tons of float for big, long turns in the alpine, but they aren’t as enjoyable in tighter terrain or on firmer and shallower powder days. On the contrary, shorter volume-shifted boards (e.g., K2 Cool Bean, Season Forma, Rossignol XV Sushi, etc.) are extremely playful and maneuverable in tight terrain and better on firmer and groomer-like conditions but often feel slow and sluggish when the snow gets deep. Overall, I have found “middle of the road” shapes such as the Squash, Jones Storm Wolf, Amplid Surfari, and Weston Japow to be more versatile, offering enough flotation and speed when it’s deep while feeling stable and supportive when carving on firmer, less ideal conditions.
After spending considerable time on the Squash, I am most impressed by how well this board carves, and its edge hold on a variety of snow surfaces. I think some (or much?) of this can be attributed to its progressive sidecut radii, with a larger radius near the front (8.4 m on the 159 cm) and a smaller radius near the tail (6.4 m on the 159 cm). The Squash’s sidecut feels versatile and catch-free, in that it can be manipulated quickly into short tight turns, or drawn out on edge for long, arcing carves.
The Squash’s torsional flex also feels well balanced for quick edge initiation without significant rider input, but does not feel sloppy. The Squash is a very intuitive snowboard and does not take much effort to control, which makes it enjoyable to ride and inspires confidence while cruising on the hill.
A standout feature of the Squash is its tail — both in terms of shape and length. It is surprisingly supportive, due to the stubbier swallowtail shape and added length behind the binding. This is something I haven’t found in many swallowtail boards and, with the Squash, Nitro effectively bridges the gap between an everyday driver and pow-specific shape.
For 23/24, Nitro changed the Squash’s nose shape, making it wider than previous models for added flotation. For general riding on groomers and firmer snow, the new nose has felt great and fairly damp; I wouldn’t worry that Nitro made the Squash into some pow-specific board. However, when things get deep (16”+ / 40+ cm), its nose has preferred to stay under the snow, whereas more niche pow boards might not (more on that below).
The Squash features Nitro’s “Trüe Camber” profile, which has traditional camber running the length of the effective edge. The rocker in the tail is fairly abrupt and has a similar rise as the Jones Storm Wolf. I don’t ride switch often, but the Squash offers enough clearance to avoid hooking the tail when landing switch on a groomer or in pow (unlike some directional boards like the Weston Japow). Similar to my experience with the Storm Wolf, this longer section of traditional camber behind the back binding and shorter rockered section in the tail seem to help the board feel more supportive on firmer conditions, shallow powder, as well as when landing drops and jumps. The Squash’s amount of tip rocker and length of the nose feel pretty standard, doing a decent job of staying on top of powder without being terribly chattery on firmer conditions.
The Squash’s edge hold and predictability while carving are superb whether I’m laying it over in powder, soft chop, groomers, or ice. While riding early season conditions this year with sections of ice on the bottlenecked trails, I have been very impressed with how the Squash’s camber-dominant profile and sidecut translate to impressive edge hold. Even when the edge breaks free from the polished ice, the board tracks very intuitively until it can bite into softer snow. I will dive more into the specifics below.
Nitro rates the flex of the Squash as 7/10, which seems pretty spot on. It’s softer than the Jones Storm Wolf and very comparable, yet slightly stiffer than the Season Aero, Amplid Snommelier, and Weston Japow. The stiffness of the Squash’s tail helps with stability at speed, though it does take slightly more effort than average to pop. This has only been noticeable when ollieing over debris, chunder, and alders on the flats without any kind of lip or assistance, requiring a bit of an exaggerated effort to get the board in the air.
On jumps, side hits, and drops, the Squash’s flex pattern feels really well-matched to the rest of the design (and quite playful for a generally stiffer board). It’s soft enough to be lively and playful, yet stiff enough to feel supportive while carving hard, making it a great option for everyday riding. It feels as though the board progressively stiffens from the tip to the tail, adding to its intuitive ride. For reference, the Jones Storm Wolf is more supportive and takes less effort when things get tracked and you’re charging. The Squash’s torsional flex feels more similar to the Japow and Aero, making it easy to maneuver and transition from edge to edge while cruising around.
As we touched on above, the 23/24 Squash was tweaked, with one of the goals being improved flotation in deep snow. I have not tried the older models, so I can’t speak on how they would compare, but either way, I am fairly pleased with how the Squash rides in powder. However, there have been days on it when I wouldn’t have minded if Nitro added a bit more volume to the nose. On a 16” / 40 cm low-density pow day at Alyeska, the Squash’s nose would occasionally get buried, unlike the Japow, Snommelier, and Storm Wolf. The Squash never dove hard enough to pitch me over the nose in deep pow, but did get sluggish — something to keep in mind, particularly for those in Maritime snowpacks that see properly deep days somewhat regularly.
I was hoping the Squash would be a 1-board quiver contender for those who prioritize carving and performance in fresh snow; after my time on it, I’d say the Squash does a great job checking those boxes. It feels very lively, maneuverable, and offers adequate float for many powder days. That being said, I would still prefer a more powder-specific shape such as the Storm Wolf, Japow, or Snommelier for the truly deep days (12” + / 30+ cm). A shape with a deeper swallowtail generally does a better job of reducing leg fatigue and getting the board “on plane” faster, in addition to keeping the nose on the surface in deep powder. However, the plus side of the Squash’s stubbier and shallower swallowtail is that it feels very supportive and poppy, which makes it a lot of fun for launching off side hits and cliffs into powder. And for more generalist boards, there’s always going to be some compromises to account for a wider range of conditions, which brings us to…
Soft Chop and Tracked Pow
Something that I weigh heavily when selecting a board for a given day is the board’s ability to handle chop and tracked powder, especially given that I live in a maritime snowpack zone. It is the most exhausting part of a pow day and usually happens after my legs are already fatigued.
The Squash is very maneuverable and takes little rider input to flick it around obstacles and soft chop, which makes for a dynamic ride. However, it does come at a cost. Stiffer boards such as the Storm Wolf take out a lot of the (literal) leg work when hammering through set-up snow, tracked pow, and chop, whereas the Squash is softer and takes more leg strength to absorb the blows. On the contrary, a stiffer board can be harder to throw around.
While the Squash does have a stiff tail, the Storm Wolf, Japow, and Season Forma feel stiffer between the bindings, making easier work of chop and tracks. So if I wanted to prioritize high-speed charging through tracked snow, I would probably opt for something slightly stiffer. But if maneuverability and playfulness are more important, the Squash is hard to beat (especially in lighter, drier snow).
Crud and Variable Conditions
Although swallowtail snowboards are not usually ideal candidates for firm, cruddy, and/or variable snow, the Squash handles those conditions pretty well. It feels fairly comparable to the Jones Hovercraft and Season Forma in these conditions, which is likely due to Squash’s stiffer tail and less dramatic swallowtail shape, relative to several of the other surf-inspired boards I’ve been mentioning.
I have found that the deeper “V” in some swallowtails (e.g., Snommelier, Japow) can feel unsupportive and “scratchy” (tips of the swallowtail bounce off the hardpack) when riding a few inches of powder on a very firm bed surface, or just in other mixed conditions with loose and firm snow. However, I haven’t had that issue with the Squash, thanks to the stubbier nature of its tail shape. As mentioned earlier, a notable feature of the Squash is how supportive its tail is, which can be beneficial when riding through variable snow; I’ve found it helps keep me balanced when I find myself landing backseat or unexpectedly tossed. The main sacrifice seems to be flotation, as detailed above.
For firmer snow and dust-on-crust conditions, the edge hold of the Squash is spectacular. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by how laid over I can get the Squash when on edge. I have yet to have the board wash out completely, resulting in a loss of control, which was quite problematic with the Storm Wolf.
A versatile swallowtail can be equally fun on groomers as it is in powder, which is the origin of the “pow-groomer” category nickname. And, in short, the Squash is an absolutely fantastic groomer option.
It offers impressive edge hold, whether I’m making slow, short carves or just leaning the board on edge while cruising. On fresh / soft groomers, the Squash is comparable to the Japow, Hovercraft, and Forma in terms of its ability to lock into medium to large turns with the board at a high angle. What sets it apart from those boards is the Squash’s ability to bite into ice and other very firm snow surfaces. And when it does break free, the Squash is extremely predictable and tracks intuitively, rather than suddenly washing out.
Riding early season conditions at Alyeska, I have logged several days on portions of the “white ribbon of death,” usually in congested areas. It seems that most swallowtails I have tried are not enjoyable on these extremely icy sections, but I have been very impressed with how the Squash navigates the less-than-ideal conditions. It doesn’t have quite the bite when carving as, say, the groomer-specific Amplid Pentaquark, but it is a much less demanding board to ride, with a bit more room for error on the rider’s behalf.
Who’s It For?
I’d recommend the Squash to intermediate, advanced, and expert riders who are looking for a versatile board that has a focus on carving pow and groomers. It is a fairly easy board to ride and could be a great intro into the directional / swallowtail world. The Squash is a fantastic cruiser board that thrives on edge yet is stiff enough for fast, moderately aggressive riding. Although it doesn’t perform as well as bigger, more pow-specific boards like the Weston Japow, Jones Storm Wolf, and Amplid Snommelier in very deep snow, the Squash is better suited for everyday riding on a wide range of snow conditions. Plus, its tail is long and supportive enough to feel right at home while hitting jumps, whereas other swallowtails can sometimes feel unsupportive, especially if landing backseat. Overall, the Squash is an excellent 1-board quiver option for those who focus more on freeriding than freestyle, or as an option in a larger quiver for someone who wants an intuitive, carving-oriented model.
With the Squash, Nitro has created an intuitive board that is optimized for the carve and freeriding, while remaining very playful compared to most swallowtails in its category. The Squash is a versatile, directional shape that will rail turns in all conditions and is snappy enough to jib the mountain.