When it’s dumping outside, is your first instinct to roll over, go back to sleep and hope that it’s cleared by the time you wake up? If so, then this is not the snowboard for you. Don’t get us wrong, this unique-looking stick is a lot of fun to ride all over the hill in good weather and in bad. But its real sweet spot, where this innovative board really excels, is in powder - and particularly on powdery tree runs.

This is largely because of its unusual shape. The Cool Bean is available in three lengths, 138cm, 144cm and 150cm, all of which are very short. Short boards don’t usually handle well in soft snow because they lack the surface area needed to stay afloat, but what the Cool Bean lacks in length it more than makes up for in girth. The board is about half as wide again as a regular snowboard.

This, combined with the huge nose and swallow tail (which naturally sinks in powder) means it’s very hard to dig the nose in. It floats as well as boards that are twice as long in the deep stuff. But because it’s shorter, it’s much easier to make quick turns, which makes it perfectly suited for tree runs where a tight turning circle is essential. We’d even go as far as to say it’s the best board for tree runs we’ve ever ridden - and one of the best all round powder boards too.

“The Cool Bean is just the latest in a long line of quality, unusual and just plain fun sticks to be designed in K2’s Pacific Northwest workshop."

k2-cool-bean-snowboard-review-2016-best-backcountry-snowboarding-gear-3

k2-cool-bean-snowboard-review-2016-best-backcountry-snowboarding-gear-3

k2-cool-bean-snowboard-review-2016-best-backcountry-snowboarding-gear-6

k2-cool-bean-snowboard-review-2016-best-backcountry-snowboarding-gear-6

k2-cool-bean-snowboard-review-2016-best-backcountry-snowboarding-gear-5

k2-cool-bean-snowboard-review-2016-best-backcountry-snowboarding-gear-5

k2-cool-bean-snowboard-review-2016-best-backcountry-snowboarding-gear-4

k2-cool-bean-snowboard-review-2016-best-backcountry-snowboarding-gear-4

If that sounds like a very specific skill set, don’t worry, the Cool Bean is far from a one trick pony. The same characteristics that make it a lot of fun off piste also make it fun to play around on when you’re riding hard pack. You might think a wider board would be tricky to carve on the piste, but the deep sidecut means it actually turns edge-to-edge surprisingly quickly. It’s relatively stiff, and the swallow tail means it’s not as easy to ride switch as a regular snowboard, so you probably wouldn’t want to hit rails on it. But if you’re looking for a board that excels in powder, or just for something a little bit different, then the Cool Bean is well worth a look.

It’s perhaps no surprise that an innovative board like this should come out of the K2 stable. The Seattle-based brand has a history of trying out novel ideas. Their Gyrator model was one of the first boards to experiment with reverse camber back in 2007, and they helped popularise boards with flat profiles in the years immediately afterwards. The Cool Bean is just the latest in a long line of quality, unusual and just plain fun sticks to be designed in their Pacific Northwest workshop.

K2 Cool Bean Snowboard Stats:

The 100 Best Outdoor Products for Winter 2016 View them all

Shot on location in Chamonix