How to Choose a Snowboard
Choosing the right snowboard can feel like an overwhelming task with so many different brands, shapes, and sizes of boards out there. In this article we’re going to take some time and talk about the important things to consider when picking out your next ride!
The most important factors to consider when choosing a snowboard are:
- Riding style
- Skill level
- Board size
It’s possible to ride any snowboard in any conditions, but snowboards are built and designed differently with specific riding types in mind. Choosing a board that fits your style will drastically improve your fun out there on the slopes.
Types of Snowboards
Snowboard types can be broken into a few main categories:
- All Mountain
Understanding the differences in these categories will be the first step in selecting that new board.
All Mountain Snowboards
All Mountain Snowboards are a great place to start. These snowboards, as the name suggest, do a little bit of everything. They’re a well-rounded option that can take you all over the mountain or resort, but don’t excel in any particular category as a more specialized snowboard. Many beginner boards will fall into this category.
- Great for all conditions
- Jack of all trades, master of non
Powder Snowboards are designed to be ridden in deeper snow conditions, so they are designed around flotation and lifting the rider out of the fresh snow. These snowboards are typically designed to be wider than average at the tip and narrower at the tail with a setback stance. This directional stance is what keeps you up on top of the deep fluff. Powder snowboards are great complement to your All Mountain board, since most areas don’t see these conditions everyday (*See Mount Bohemia Link*).
- Directional Shape
- Surf Feel
- Flotation in deep snow
- Less control when riding switch (riding with your unnatural foot forward)
- Wider shape can be harder to carve on hardpacked or groomed snow conditions
Freeride Snowboards are like All Mountain boards in the fact that they are designed to go all over the mountain in different kinds of snow conditions. Freeride snowboards tend to be more on the stiffer side than most all mountain boards, giving them the power to cut through more treacherous and less than ideal terrain. Freeride boards like to go fast and are built to take a beating. These qualities make them ideal for more advanced riders looking to tackle steeper slopes or technical terrain.
- More refined than All Mountain Snowboards
- Stiffer and Powerful flex
- Excels at high speeds
- Not ideal for beginner riders
- Less maneuverability at slower speeds
Freestyle Snowboards or Park Snowboards
Freestyle snowboards tend to have a twin or symmetrical shape tip to tail. This makes riding switch (riding with your unnatural foot forward) or landing either direction more predictable or consistent. Freestyle boards can vary in stiffness, from a softer flex for grinding rails and smaller features to stiffer boards for larger jumps and halfpipe riding. Freestyle snowboards are built durably and have a snappy feel on the tip and tail to provide the power to jump and get extra pop off of jumps and ollies. Freestyle boards are a great choice for riders that want to ride in the park or prefer a more playful ride.
- Rides well in both directions
- Excels at jumps, rails, and park features
- Rides well at moderate speeds
- Less flotation in deep snow
- Less performance at steep technical terrain
What is the right sized board? A rough way of determining board size is that the total length of the board should fall somewhere in between the chest and forehead of the rider. There are exceptions to this rule, the rider’s weight and style of snowboarding also need to be considered. Make sure to look at the weight ranges for each size you’re interested in to help dial in the right size for you.
With rider weight ranges being so broad here are some tips on sizing-based riding style:
- Riders looking to tackle high speeds and steep terrain should trend to longer sizes within their weight range. A longer stiffer board will perform more smoothly on the steeps or at higher speeds. Typically, we would recommend a Freeride Snowboard.
- Riders that value a more maneuverable or an easy ride should trend to the middle or shorter side of the size chart. We tend to recommend an All Mountain or Freestyle Snowboard in this scenario.
Considering Rider Ability Level
Throughout all of these categories of boards you’ll find different boards tailored to beginner, intermediate and expert riders. These boards have different quality that help them ride perform mor ideally for riders of a particular skill level.
Beginner Snowboards tend to be softer flexing. A softer flexing board will be more forgiving and easier to turn and maneuver at slower to moderate speeds but lack control at higher speeds.
Expert snowboards are shaped more specifically for a particular type of terrain and tend to be a stiffer flex. Stiffer boards will hold its carve through inconsistent conditions and higher speeds but may feel cumbersome at slower speeds to a non-seasoned rider.
Now that you have the facts to make an informed decision, call or stop into Wildside and have one of our snowboard experts point out a couple models that fit you or your riders’ needs!