Snowboard Buying Guide


YOUR SNOWBOARD BUYING GUIDE

If you’re looking to buy a snowboard you’ve come to the right place. With so many options to choose from narrowing down your selection can be tricky so we’ve created this easy to use snowboard buying guide.


If you’re looking to buy a snowboard you’ve come to the right place. With so many options to choose from narrowing down your selection can be tricky so we’ve created this easy to use snowboard buying guide.

 

We’ll take you through the following steps, giving you all the information you need to make the right choices for you:

  • Length and size
  • Ability
  • Snowboard width
  • Your riding style and preferred terrain
  • Shape
  • Rocker type
  • Flex
  • Hole patterns and binding compatibility

Our staff are fully trained to help you choose the right equipment, so visit your nearest Snow and Rock store for more personalised expert advice.

Length and Size

Choosing the right length snowboard largely depends on your height, body weight, and what type of riding you want to do.

 

Although traditionally finding the right snowboard size was as easy as standing next to a board and seeing if the top hits your chin; if it did, it’s the right size. While that’s a good place to start, it’s now understood your weight and your style of riding plays an important part too.

 

Generally:

  • If you’re a beginner, aim for the shorter end of your size range.
  • If you’re mostly riding all mountain including powder and piste then aim for the longer end of your size range for stability and speed.
  • If you’re above average weight, aim for a longer snowboard for better control.
  • If you’re riding in the park or freestyle, aim for the shorter end of your size range.

Ability

Different snowboards are designed for different ability levels, varying everything from design, to flex, to materials, to suit the rider’s needs.

 

Think about your ability in terms of beginner, intermediate, and advanced, using the following guide for help.

BEGINNER

It could be your first time snowboarding or you’ve been a few times before. You’ve learnt to side slip and control your edges, linking a few turns and stopping with control on blue and red runs.

INTERMEDIATE

You’re more confident in your ability to turn and stop, improving your carving and confidently taking on red and black runs. You’ve begun to play with riding switch and on different terrain.

ADVANCED

You ride the mountain with confidence and style, looking for new adventures and challenges. You have control carving on icy pistes and steep terrain and are confident riding a variety of snow conditions and terrains.

Snowboard Width

Choosing the right snowboard width is determined by your snowboard boots. You want the edges of your boot to hang over your snowboard slightly but not so much they hit they snow when riding.

Your Riding Style and Preferred Terrain

Any snowboard can be ridden on any terrain, but snowboards are usually designed with a specific terrain or style in mind, for example powder boards are designed to be wider at the nose to help keep you afloat.

 

Have a look at the following descriptions of the major board categories. If you’re new to snowboarding, an all mountain board is a good place to start as they perform well across all terrains.

ALL MOUNTAIN

Designed to go anywhere and work well in all snow conditions, all mountain boards are ideal for groomed pistes, park runs, and powder. Directional in shape, with the nose set slightly higher than the tail provides good float in powder. Medium in flex enables all mountain boards to adapt to any kind of terrain making them the most versatile snowboard category.

FREESTYLE

Freestyle or park boards tend to be a little bit shorter and are suitable for park riding, from rails to boxes and jumps and more with softer flex to allow for increased agility. Park boards are often a true twin shape allowing riders to ride them to and from the park as well as different terrains.

FREERIDE

Designed for riders who spend their days off-piste and in varied terrain, exploring the entire mountain, freeride boards have a stiffer flex and are a little longer than freestyle boards for stability at speed. They tend to be directional.

POWDER

Powder boards are often wider in the nose and tapered towards the tail and feature set back binding inserts to help the rider float through the powder. They can often be wider or longer than all-mountain boards.

SPLITBOARD

Splitboards feature relatively new technology, allowing backcountry riders to break down their snowboard into two separate halves for touring and using uphill. Once you’ve reached your destination you can reconnect the two halves, and with special bindings, ride downhill normally.

 

Rocker type

CAMBER

Traditionally snowboards are cambered, giving them an upward arching curve in the middle to help distribute pressure evenly across the length of the board for a springy and responsive feeling. Still popular in freestyle boards cambered boards offer maximum energy and pop as well as good edge hold and stability on hard packed snow and at high speeds.

 

ROCKER

A rocker, also known as a reverse-camber board, is a camber turned upside down. Ideal for both beginner and advanced riders, the rise of the tip and tail away from the snow results in easier float in deeper powder. A rocker will also give a looser, more manoeuvrable feel, freeing up the contact points for less edge catching and more confidence.

 

FLAT/ZERO CAMBER

A flat snowboard, or zero camber, will lay completely flush to the snow into a regular rise tip and tail maintaining the stability and pop of camber but with the less-edge catching and improved powder float of a rocker.

 

HYBRID CAMBER

Camber, rocker, and flat profiles can be combined in a variety of ways to create different rocker profiles. These combination rockers give riders the best of each type for different mountain rides. Brands are constantly experimenting with new and combined rocker types.

 

Shape

As we briefly touched upon earlier, different types of snowboards often feature specific shapes of board such as directional, twin shape, and more, to give you the most fun on your terrain.

 

DIRECTIONAL SHAPE

Directional boards are, as the name suggests, intended to be ridden in one direction. They’ll usually be stiffer in the tail and softer towards the nose to ensure stability at high speed. Directional boards are common in freeride and all mountain categories.

 

TWIN SHAPE

Twin shape, or true twin, boards are symmetrical with identical tip and tail measurements and flex patterns. Bindings are usually mounted in the centre for stability whether you’re riding regular or switch. True twin boards are usually found in the freestyle category.

 

DIRECTIONAL TWIN SHAPE

Direction twin shapes are a mix of both directional and twin with symmetrical nose and tail but with a directional core or vice versa. Directional twins are suitable for all mountain and freestyle.

 

Flex

Snowboard flex varies between boards but are not standard across the industry so brands will often give a number rating from 1-10, 1 being softest and 10 being the stiffest, with medium flex around 3-5.

 

So what flex should you go for? Here’s a breakdown of soft and stiff flex, with medium flex falling somewhere in between.

 

SOFT FLEX

Softer flexing snowboards are typically good for freestyle and all mountain, allowing a more forgiving turn. Good for beginners, lightweight riders, and park boarders. They’re a little more unstable at high speeds.

 

STIFF FLEX

Stiffer snowboards are good for freeride and backcountry riders offering edge control and stability at high speeds.

 

Snowboard Hole Patterns and Compatibility

As standard there are four different snowboard hole patterns for bindings; 4x4, 2x4, Burton 3D, and Burton Channel. 3D and Channels options are specific to Burton boards and will usually only take Burton bindings too.

 

For more help and advice specific to your skiing needs, visit your nearest Snow and Rock store for expert advice.

 


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