Are you looking to purchase a snowboard but not sure which one to get? With so many styles, sizes, and features available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. But don’t worry – we’re here to simplify the process for you.
In this article, we’ll help you find your perfect match by breaking down the different types of snowboards and what they are best suited for. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, there’s a board out there that will fit your needs and style.
We understand how important it is to have the right equipment when hitting the slopes, and investing in the right snowboard is no exception. It can be the difference between a smooth ride and a frustrating day on the mountain.
“Choosing the right snowboard can make all the difference in your riding experience.”
So, whether you’re drawn to cruising groomed runs, tackling backcountry terrain, or hitting the park with tricks, read on to discover which type of snowboard is best for you.
Consider Your Riding Style
If you’re new to snowboarding or looking for a new snowboard, it’s important to consider your riding style. Are you more of a freestyle rider who enjoys hitting jumps and rails in the park? Or are you someone who prefers exploring the backcountry off the beaten path? Perhaps you enjoy carving and cruising down groomed runs.
Freestyle riders focus on performing tricks such as spins, grinds, and grabs in terrain parks. If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to look for a board that is soft and forgiving, making it easier to control and land tricks. Look for boards with a “twin-tip” design allowing you to ride equally well in both directions. A shorter length board is also ideal for a playful and maneuverable feel in the park. More advanced riders may want a stiffer board to handle higher speeds and bigger jumps.
“I love to do tricks, so I like a light board that I can flip around.” -Torstein Horgmo, professional snowboarder.
If you prefer to explore off-piste and carve fresh powder, then you may be interested in selecting a specialized backcountry board. Look for a longer, stiffer board with a directional shape that gives it extra float and stability in deep snow. Also, consider getting a split board which can separate into two halves, transforming into skis. This feature is essential in long hikes through rugged terrain before finding those perfect powder turns.
“When I’m not riding competitions, I seek out quiet spots where nature still prevails. Places where vertiginous slopes rise above forests laden with snow that whispers underfoot when you set out to hike up them. These moments suspended between earth and sky… This is my personal definition of happiness.” -Xavier De Le Rue, world-renowned snowboarder.
Carving and Cruising
If you’re someone who loves the feeling of carving down groomed slopes or taking leisurely runs, then an all-mountain board may be your best option. They offer a versatile ride for all types of terrain with medium flex that provides stability in turns while still being forgiving to mistakes. These boards’ directional shape works efficiently for speed on groomers.
“I like every aspect of it, even just cruising around—it’s such a good time. It’s something that—you know, if I didn’t compete at all—I’d still do. Nowhere else could you do what we do whether you did competitions or not” – Mark McMorris, Olympic Snowboard Gold Medalist.
There isn’t one snowboard type that’s better than another. Your preference depends on the riding style you prefer. Keep in mind that each board also comes in various sizes that match your bodyweight, height and foot size as well as boots will play a critical part in your fitting experience. Take some lessons with a qualified instructor to learn how to pick the correct equipment according to your level. Choosing the right board can make a big difference in your experience and enjoyment out on the mountain!
Choose The Right Shape
If you are wondering what type of snowboard to get, one of the factors you need to consider is its shape. Camber boards have a slight upward curve at their centers and contact points on the snow. They are great for carving, precision turns, and high-speed riding.
“Camber boards allow you to engage the entire edge, which gives you ultimate control over your movements.” -Tanya Rawlings, Snowboard Instructor
The center section of the board remains in contact with snow when weight is distributed evenly on both feet, giving it stability and rebound. That means that cambers can generate more power from their tails above the contact zone than flat or rocker ones.
Rockered(sometimes referred to as reverse-camber)boards have upward curves towards the tips instead of upwards curves around the midpoint and downward direction from thereon. Rockers lift the contact points up off the snow surface making turn initiation quicker, especially in softer snow conditions.
“They make floating through powder and initiating turns much easier. Plus, they’re less catchy than traditional cambered boards, meaning if you do take a fall, it won’t be nearly as harsh.” -Jeremy Benson, Expert Skiers Magazine Editor
Since rockers distribute the weight across a larger area than cambers, these tend to have far smoother rides compared to other shapes making them ideal for beginners. However, due to lack of edge-to-snow contact, rockered boards may not perform superbly when doing heavy carves or pressing onto rails as opposed to cambered ones.
Hybrids combine features of both camber and rocker snowboards. They can come in a variety of profiles depending on which features have been combined but the overall idea is to create an all-around type of board that works well in different types of terrains.
“Hybrid boards provide the best of both worlds, combining natural floatation and playfulness offered by rocker with pop and responsiveness of camber. This makes them versatile enough for any riding condition.”-Daniel Hane, Professional Snowboarder
These are priced higher compared to either cambers or rockers, making them goalways flexible in terms of performance, stability at high speeds so people upgrading from rental gear find this their sweet spot!
The length of your snowboard should depend on your height, weight, and experience level. Generally speaking, a shorter board is easier to maneuver and better for beginners, while a longer board provides more stability and speed for advanced riders.
If you’re just starting out, consider a board that comes up to your chin when standing next to it. For those with more experience, a board that comes up to their nose or even taller may be appropriate.
Board width is important because if your boots hang over the edge too much, you’ll catch the snow which can cause accidents. If you have larger feet, you’ll need a wider board to ensure proper balance. A good rule of thumb is your toe and heel should not go over the edges of the board by more than an inch.
To determine the ideal width, measure the width of your foot (at its widest point) in centimeters. Your corresponding board width will vary depending on the type of riding you do but as a general rule:
- For freestyle, choose a board where your foot size rounded down + 1cm
- For Freeride, choose a board where your foot size rounded down + 2cm
Snowboards come in all different flex ratings, from soft to stiff. The flex rating determines how easy it is to control the board and make turns. For beginning riders, a softer flex board is recommended as it’s more forgiving and easier to maneuver especially at slower speeds.
Advanced riders who are looking for more power and precision will benefit from a stiffer board. It allows them to quickly change directions and carve at high speeds. Keep your riding style in mind when selecting the flex of the board.
Snowboard weight is especially important for riders who plan on spending a lot of time hiking or doing backcountry riding. Lighter boards are easier to carry, hike up mountains with, and maneuver while you’re going up or down. The average weight for snowboards is between six and ten pounds, but there are lighter options available if needed.
“Having lightweight gear allows me and other avid snowboarders to spend more time on the mountain without feeling tired.” -Jules Marino, professional snowboarderIn conclusion, choosing a snowboard should be based on personal preferences. Before making any purchase consider all of these factors: length, width, flex, and weight, as every rider will have different skills and abilities on the mountain. Remember that a well-fitting board will make your experience much more enjoyable, allowing you to focus on the ride rather than struggling to keep control of your gear.
Flexibility Is Key
When it comes to choosing the right snowboard, flexibility is key. Flex refers to the board’s ability to bend under pressure and return to its original shape once that pressure is removed. There are four main types of flex: soft, medium, stiff, and adjustable.
A soft flex board is perfect for beginners who are just starting to learn how to ride. This type of board is easy to handle and forgiving, making it easier for riders to maintain balance. Soft flex boards also make for a more comfortable ride as they absorb most of the chatter from bumpy slopes. They are generally less responsive than stiffer boards, but they are also more playful.
“A softer snowboard makes learning much easier because it is more forgiving when making mistakes. It helps you grow in confidence while building basic skills and techniques.” -Oli Gagnon, Snowboarding Instructor
If you’re an intermediate rider looking for something with a bit more pop, a medium flex board may be what you need. These boards have a bit more stiffness, allowing for quicker response times and better turning capabilities. Medium-flex boards also tend to hold edges better on harder snow and ice.
“A medium flex board can help boost your riding performance by adding some stability for high-speed carving and stronger pop off jumps.” -Mary Walsh, Writer at Transworld Snowboarding Magazine
A stiff flex board is designed for advanced riders who want maximum control over their ride. These boards are not forgiving, but instead provide quick and precise reaction times. Stiff flex boards work well for racing due to their ability to handle high speeds and carve specifically for turns. However, these aren’t the best boards for cruising through tree runs or hitting jumps.
“When it comes to winter sports, a stiff board is an essential tool for those who want to get really technical and ride with control!” -Sammi Fuller, Professional Snowboarder
Sometimes you might be unsure of what type of flex to go for, or your preferences might change. In such cases, it would help to consider purchasing an adjustable flex board. These boards come equipped with adjustable plates that can modify its flex. Changing up the stiffness of these snowboards is beneficial when trying new styles of riding like a backcountry run or finding the perfect stance on the board!
“An adjustable flex snowboard not only gives you different options while out riding but also helps in changing up tactics during competitions.” -Chaz Guldemond, Olympic Snowboarding Athlete
No matter which type of flex you choose, remember to take into account your own personal style, skill level, and preferred terrain. A softer flexing snowboard may make sense if you’re mainly interested in park riding, whereas stiffer boards work well for carving down steep slopes and racing. Keep experimenting until you find something that suits YOU best! Happy shredding!
Set A Budget That Works For You
When it comes to purchasing a snowboard, one of the most important considerations is your budget. It’s crucial to set a budget that works for you before you start shopping around.
If you’re new to snowboarding or on a tight budget, entry-level snowboards are a great option. These boards typically have more flexible designs, making them easier to control than more advanced models. While they may not have the latest features and technologies, they can still provide an enjoyable and safe experience on the mountain.
If you have a bit more money to spend, mid-range snowboards offer more durability and higher quality materials. They often include features like better bindings, which will improve your performance and control on the slopes.
For serious riders who want top-of-the-line gear, high-end snowboards are the way to go. These snowboards come with the latest construction techniques, materials, and technologies. They’re designed for expert riders who demand the best from their equipment.
“If you are just starting out, don’t break the bank on gear. Find something comfortable and forgiving so that you build confidence in your abilities.” – Hannah Teter, Olympic Gold Medalist in Snowboarding
If you’re a beginner or aren’t looking to invest heavily into your snowboarding gear, entry-level snowboards are a solid choice. These boards typically cost between $150-$300 and are made to be easy to use and forgiving on the mountain. They’re perfect for getting started, learning the basics, and building your skills over time.
- The Flex: Entry-level snowboards generally have a softer flex pattern that makes them very maneuverable. This means they’ll allow you to execute turns, jumps, and other moves more easily than a stiffer board would.
- The Shape: These boards are typically longer with a narrower profile to make them easier to control as you get used to your movements.
- The Base: Entry-level snowboards often have a sintered base, which means they’ll glide smoothly across the snow without requiring too much speed or balance from the rider.
“When it comes to buying equipment, go for quality over quantity; get a good pair of boots, bindings, and a board, and work on adding to your stash once you have those basics covered.” – Mark McMorris, Olympic Bronze Medalist in Snowboarding
If you’re ready to take your riding up a notch and want a higher-quality snowboard, mid-range models are an excellent choice. They generally cost between $300-$500, and come loaded with advanced features such as more durable materials, better edges, and faster bases.
- The Flex: Mid-range snowboards usually have a medium flex pattern that provides a great balance between stability and maneuverability. This makes them ideal for intermediate riders who want to push their boundaries without sacrificing control.
- The Shape: These boards will often have a more progressive shape, including wider tips and tails, sharper sidecut radii, and tapered waistlines. This helps to increase the board’s versatility across different types of terrain.
- The Base: Mid-range snowboards may come with either a sintered or extruded base. Sintered bases provide superior wax absorption resulting in a faster ride while extruded bases are low-maintenance and easy to repair.
“I pay attention to the tools I’m using, always making them better – sharper edges on my board and skates or more grip on golf shoes. But it’s not about enjoyment for me; it’s about precision.” – Shaun White, Olympic Gold Medalist in Snowboarding
If you’re an advanced snowboarder looking for the best possible performance, a high-end model is your best bet. These boards come fully loaded with the latest technology and materials, including advanced camber profiles, lightweight cores, and carbon fiber reinforcement.
- The Flex: High-end snowboards typically have a stiffer flex pattern that enables expert riders to ride faster and push harder than those on softer boards. This makes them ideal for big jumps and steep terrain.
- The Shape: These boards will often include unique shapes such as asymmetrical shapes to match different biases, Splitboard designs that can also be used to ski downhill, or Powder specific shapes like swallowtails which give excellent stability in deep powder runs.
- The Base: High-end snowboards usually feature sintered bases to provide superior wax absorption and speed across any type of snow condition. Every micro detail from base structure to edge finish matters.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of snowboards available?
There are several types of snowboards available, including all-mountain, freestyle, freeride, powder, and split boards. All-mountain boards are versatile and can handle all terrains, while freestyle boards are designed for tricks and jumps. Freeride boards are best for backcountry riding, and powder boards are designed for deep snow. Split boards can be separated into two pieces, allowing for backcountry hiking and riding. Each type of board has its unique features and is designed for specific styles of riding.
What is the best snowboard for a beginner?
The best snowboard for a beginner is generally a soft-flexing, all-mountain board. These boards are easy to turn and forgiving, making them ideal for beginners who are still learning balance and control. Look for boards with a flat or rocker profile, as these are more forgiving than traditional camber boards. Additionally, consider the length of the board, as shorter boards are easier to maneuver. It is essential to choose a board that matches your skill level, as this will make learning to snowboard much more enjoyable.
What type of snowboard is best for freestyle riding?
The best snowboard for freestyle riding is a twin-tip board with a soft flex. These boards are designed for park riding, half-pipes, and jumps, and have a symmetrical shape, allowing for easy switch riding. Look for boards with a rocker or hybrid camber profile, as these provide a forgiving and playful feel. Additionally, consider the size of the board, as shorter boards are easier to spin and maneuver. Freestyle boards are designed for riders who want to perform tricks and jumps and require a board that can handle these maneuvers.
What type of snowboard is best for carving?
The best snowboard for carving is a board with a stiffer flex and a camber profile. These boards provide excellent edge control and stability, allowing riders to carve deep turns at high speeds. Look for boards with a narrower waist, as this helps with edge-to-edge transitions. Additionally, consider the length of the board, as longer boards are more stable at high speeds. Carving boards are designed for riders who enjoy fast, aggressive riding and require a board that can handle these conditions.
What size snowboard should I get?
The size of the snowboard you should get depends on several factors, including your height, weight, and skill level. As a general rule, beginners should choose a board that comes up to their chin, while more advanced riders can opt for longer boards. Additionally, consider the width of the board, as this should match the size of your boots. It is essential to choose a board that is appropriate for your skill level, as this will make learning to snowboard much more enjoyable. Consult a size chart or speak with a knowledgeable salesperson to determine the right size for you.
What is the difference between a camber and a rocker snowboard?
Camber and rocker are two different profiles found in snowboards. Camber boards have a traditional arch shape, with the center of the board raised off the snow. These boards provide excellent edge hold and pop but can be more challenging to control. Rocker boards, on the other hand, have a reverse camber shape, with the center of the board lowered toward the snow. These boards provide a more forgiving, playful feel and are easier to maneuver. Hybrid boards combine elements of both camber and rocker profiles, providing a balance of control and playfulness.