My advice is to go into a lot of board shops. Look at as many as you can, talk to the shop workers (don't talk to reps!), pick the boards up and flex them and once you have a handful you're interested in start doing internet research to narrow it down even further, then make your final decision in-shop after another physical handling. If you can, once you've narrowed your selection down to 2-5 demo them (if your mountain has a demo shop that carries the boards you're looking at).
Over the years I've come up with some general rules for myself, over time you'll probably develop some guidelines that work for you. Mine are:
No Burton boards or bindings
No boards or bindings made by an apparel company.
No bindings without adjustable heel cups (Flow is the exception to this rule...I like them).
I prefer to buy from a smaller company that specializes in snowboarding (Mervin Mfg, Capita) rather than a mega-corp or ski manufacturer.