Snowboard Buying Guide 2024

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Written By Emma Roberts
UPDATED:
Snowboard Buying Guide 2023

Imagine being on a snowy mountain, ready to glide down with a snowboard that’s just right for you. Choosing the best snowboard is like picking a superhero partner for your adventure. Welcome to our simple guide on how to choose the perfect snowboard that suits you best. Whether you’re new to snowboarding or already an expert, this guide will help you find a snowboard that makes your mountain moments awesome.

Understanding Your Snowboarding Ability

When it comes to snowboarding, your skill level is like the key that unlocks the right snowboard for you. If you’re just starting out or you’ve been snowboarding for a while, it’s crucial to know where you stand on the skill scale. Let’s break down how your ability influences your snowboard choice.

For Beginners:

If you’re new to snowboarding, you might think that grabbing a budget-friendly board is all you need. While budget matters, it’s not the only thing to consider. Luckily, snowboards designed for beginners are often budget-friendly, so you’re in luck.

Beginner-friendly boards are usually softer and more forgiving. Why? Because they’re built to help you learn the ropes without making things too tough. Plus, they often come with a cost-saving extruded base, making them even more beginner-friendly.

Here’s the deal: if you’re a beginner, go for a beginner board. Trust me, it’s that simple.

Now, I get it. Some folks want a board that’ll last forever and they don’t want to upgrade later. But starting with a board that’s too advanced can slow down your progress and dampen the fun of learning. So, my advice? Get a beginner board first, and when you’re ready, upgrade.

How to Know It’s Beginner-Friendly:

There are a few things to look for, like the board’s camber profile and its flex. Don’t worry, I’ve got a whole post on picking a beginner board if you want more details.

For Intermediates:

If you’re past the beginner stage and have some snowboarding experience under your belt, your riding style starts to matter more. But don’t forget about your skill level – it still plays a role.

By now, you probably have a sense of how you like to ride and what you want to do on the slopes. Your riding style guides your snowboard choice, but don’t rush to an advanced board just yet. Make sure it matches your ability level too.

Snowboards are crafted for different ability levels, tweaking things like design, flex, and materials to fit your needs.

female-snowboarder-jumping-through-air

Unveiling Your Snowboarding Style

When it comes to snowboarding, your style isn’t just about how you dress or the colors you choose – it’s all about how you ride. Your snowboarding style reflects the way you like to experience the slopes, and it’s a crucial factor in finding the right snowboard for you.

So, what do we mean by snowboarding style? It’s how you like to ride, the kind of moves you enjoy, and the terrains that give you that rush of excitement. Here’s a breakdown of how your riding style plays a key role in selecting your ideal snowboard.

Snowboarding Style

Snowboard Categories: With countless riding styles out there, it helps to categorize snowboards based on their specialties. While not every board fits neatly into a single category, these divisions can simplify your search. Let’s explore the three broad categories and then dive deeper:

  1. Freestyle
  2. All-Mountain
  3. Freeride

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of your riding style:

All-Mountain Snowboards:

These boards are the chameleons of the slopes, excelling in any condition or terrain. From groomers to powder, they’re versatile and adaptable. If you’re new or still figuring out your style, an all-mountain board is a solid choice.

All-Mountain Snowboards:

Freestyle Snowboards:

Do you love hitting the park, jumping, and playing with tricks? Freestyle or park boards are shorter and lighter, making them perfect for aerial maneuvers and terrain park fun. They’re often true twins or asymmetrical in shape for easy riding in both directions.

Freestyle Snowboards:

Freeride Snowboards:

For those who explore off the beaten path, freeride boards are your go-to. They’re stiffer and longer than freestyle boards, offering stability at high speeds. Designed for varied terrains, they tackle powder and challenging landscapes with ease.

Freeride Snowboards

Powder Snowboards:

If you live for fresh, untouched snow, powder boards are your companions. They’re wider at the nose, tapering towards the tail, and feature set-back binding inserts for effortless powder gliding. Generous rocker design helps you float and pivot through the snow.

Powder Snowboards:

Splitboards:

For backcountry adventurers, splitboards are a game-changer. They break into two halves for uphill travel, reconnecting for downhill riding. Special bindings are necessary for this journey, which requires avalanche safety knowledge and equipment.

So, as you explore the mountains and carve your path, remember that your snowboarding style is your signature on the slopes. Embrace it, and let it guide you toward the snowboard that will elevate your riding experience to new heights.

Splitboards:

Exploring Snowboard Rocker Types and Flex

When it comes to snowboards, the options are as diverse as the riders themselves. Brands are always innovating and introducing new profiles each year. Which profile to choose boils down to your personal preference, and many riders opt for different boards based on the type of riding they’ll be doing. For more insights, check out our comprehensive rocker guide.

Snowboard Flex:

Flex is a defining factor that varies significantly among snowboards. Keep in mind that flex ratings aren’t standardized across the industry. A “medium” flex might differ from brand to brand. Manufacturers often assign a number rating from 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the stiffest. At evo, we’ve standardized these number ratings into a feel rating, ranging from soft to very stiff. Generally, we classify flex ratings of 1-2 as soft, 3-5 as medium, 6-8 as stiff, and 9-10 as very stiff. Remember, flex ratings and feel can vary from board to board.

Softer Flex:

Snowboards with a softer flex (typically freestyle and some all-mountain boards) offer forgiveness and easy turning. They’re ideal for beginners, riders with lighter body weights, and park enthusiasts. While soft boards might feel looser at high speeds, they provide a buttery, playful feel at slower speeds.

Stiffer Flex:

Stiffer flexing snowboards are designed for freeride and backcountry adventures. They excel in edge hold and stability at high speeds. Stiff boards are perfect for riders who love laying down powerful turns, though they might prove challenging for lightweight riders to flex effectively.

Sintered vs. Extruded Snowboard Base:

Snowboard bases come in two varieties: sintered and extruded.

Extruded Bases:

Extruded bases are crafted from polyethylene, a material often referred to as P-Tex. The term “extruded” describes the process of heating and forming the material into sheets during manufacturing. These bases are cost-effective. While they don’t retain wax as well as sintered bases, they still outperform unwaxed sintered bases and boast impressive durability. Extruded bases provide a solid blend of performance and longevity.

Sintered Bases:

Sintered bases are the speed demons of snowboarding. Like extruded bases, they’re made from polyethylene (P-Tex). However, sintered bases are produced by compressing tiny pellets of polyethylene instead of melting and forming sheets. These bases are porous and absorb wax effectively. When properly waxed and maintained, sintered bases offer unmatched speed compared to extruded bases. Sometimes, materials like Gallium, graphite, or Indium are added to enhance impact resistance, durability, and glide. Sintered bases are pricier and more challenging to repair than extruded bases, but the performance boost can be worth it.

Understanding rocker types and flex opens the door to finding the snowboard that suits your riding style and preferences. Whether you’re cruising down groomers, hitting the park, or exploring backcountry terrain, your choice of rocker and flex will shape your snowboarding experience.

Snowboard Rocker Types and Flex

Shapes

Let’s dive into these shapes that bring out the best of your snowboarding experience.

Directional Shape:

Directional boards are your go-to when you’re ready to conquer the slopes with a clear focus. True to their name, these boards are meant to be ridden in one specific direction. Typically, they’re stiffer in the tail and softer towards the nose. This clever design ensures stability at high speeds, making them perfect for freeride and all-mountain adventures. So, if you’re looking to blaze down the mountain with precision, a directional board is your companion.

Twin Shape:

Imagine a snowboard with a mirror-like symmetry – that’s the twin shape or true twin. These boards boast identical measurements and flex patterns at both the tip and tail. Bindings are often mounted in the center, offering stability whether you’re riding in your regular stance or switch. True twin boards are a staple in the freestyle category. They’re your ticket to tricks, jumps, and playful maneuvers, providing a balanced ride no matter which way you’re facing.

Directional Twin Shape:

The directional twin shape combines the best of both worlds – a symmetrical nose and tail with a directional core (or vice versa). This hybrid design opens the door to versatility. You’ll find these boards thriving in both all-mountain and freestyle environments. They offer a seamless blend of stability, responsiveness, and maneuverability. Whether you’re carving down slopes or pulling off tricks in the park, the directional twin shape has got your back.

As you step onto the slopes, remember that your snowboard’s shape is more than just aesthetics – it’s the key to unlocking a world of exhilarating experiences. Choose your shape wisely, and let the mountain become your playground.

Shapes

Chamber

Reverse Camber:

Imagine turning camber upside down – that’s the rocker, also known as reverse camber. This profile is a hit among both beginner and advanced riders. The rise of the tip and tail away from the snow offers easier float in deep powder. Beyond powder prowess, rocker profiles provide a loose, maneuverable feel by freeing up contact points. Say goodbye to edge catching and embrace enhanced confidence.

Flat/Zero Camber:

A flat snowboard, or zero camber, lays flush against the snow, maintaining regular rise tip and tail. This unique profile balances the stability and pop of camber while minimizing edge catching. It’s a blend that combines the best of both worlds – the stability of camber and the powder float of a rocker.

Hybrid Camber:

Camber, rocker, and flat profiles can intertwine in countless ways to create hybrid rocker profiles. These combinations offer riders the finest attributes of each profile, tailored for various mountain escapades. Brands are continually pushing boundaries, experimenting with new hybrid rocker types to unlock fresh possibilities.

Snowboard Length and Width: Finding Your Perfect Fit

The world of snowboard lengths can seem like an array of mysteries. But worry not – we’re here to guide you toward selecting the ideal size snowboard for your exhilarating journey.

The Intricacies of Length:

Ah, the conundrum of snowboard lengths! Fear not, for the choice hinges on several factors. Recall the different snowboard types we discussed earlier – freestyle boards tend to be shorter, while freeride boards often lean towards longer lengths. Your chosen riding style holds the key to your board length.

But there’s more! Your height and body weight are paramount. The old saying that your snowboard should reach somewhere between your chin and nose has evolved. Now, it’s all about adhering to board manufacturer guidelines based on your height and weight – a more precise approach.

Stability is another piece of the puzzle. A longer board fosters greater snow connection, translating to enhanced stability. Yet, keep in mind that maneuverability might pose a challenge with longer lengths. Ultimately, your choice of length combines these factors in a unique way, sculpting a board that resonates with your comfort and style.

Width: A Crucial Component:

Enter the dimension of width – an often underappreciated facet of snowboarding bliss. The goal is to find a board width that perfectly accommodates your snowboard boots. A slight overhang is ideal – enough to apply pressure confidently on your edges, but not too much to drag your boots in the snow (talk about an unwelcome face plant!).

This overhang balance curbs the occurrence of dreaded heel drag or toe drag, ensuring a seamless glide. In this dance of widths, the harmony between your boots and board paves the way for fluid, controlled turns and tricks.

Remember, dear snowboarder, your path to the perfect snowboard length and width is a fusion of your unique style, physique, and desires. Once you find that sweet spot, the mountain becomes your playground, and every run is an adventure.

Rider Weight (lbs/kg)All Mountain Length (CM)Freestyle Length (CM)
Up to 80 lbs (36 kg)137132
80-120 lbs (45-59 kg)140135
100-130 lbs (45-59 kg)143138
110-140 lbs (50-64 kg)147142
125-155 lbs (57-70 kg)150145
135-165 lbs (61-75 kg)153148
145-170 lbs (66-77 kg)156151
160-190 lbs (73-86 kg)160155
175-205 lbs (79-93 kg)163158
185-215+ lbs (84-98 kg)165160

FAQs About Snowboard

Q: What size snowboard should I get?

A: The size of the snowboard you should get depends on your weight and preferred riding style. Generally, for all-mountain riding, the board should reach somewhere between your chin and nose when stood upright. Freestyle riders might prefer a slightly shorter board for increased maneuverability, while freeride riders might opt for a longer board for stability at higher speeds. It’s best to consult a sizing chart provided by the manufacturer or a knowledgeable expert for guidance.

Q: When was the snowboard invented?

A: The modern snowboard as we know it was invented in the 1960s. However, the idea of riding a board on snow dates back much earlier. The concept has roots in various cultures and practices, with snowboarding-like activities being seen in ancient times. The modern snowboard as a recreational sport gained popularity and recognition in the mid-20th century.

Q: How to put bindings on a snowboard?

A: Attaching bindings to a snowboard involves several steps:
Position the Bindings: Determine your preferred stance (regular or goofy) and adjust the bindings accordingly. Place the bindings on the board’s inserts, aligning them with the appropriate angles for your riding style.
Insert Screws: Insert the screws through the binding holes into the inserts on the board. Be sure not to overtighten at this stage.
Adjust Strap Position: Adjust the straps to fit your boots comfortably. Ensure that they’re centered and secure.
Tighten Screws: Gradually tighten the screws using a screwdriver or tool provided with the bindings. Start with a loose fit and gradually tighten each screw in a crisscross pattern to ensure even pressure.
Check and Test: Double-check that all screws are tightened securely, but avoid over-tightening as it may damage the board. Give the bindings a slight shake to ensure they’re properly attached.
Go for a Test Ride: Before hitting the slopes, take your snowboard for a test ride around a flat area to ensure that the bindings are secure and comfortable.

Q: Are used snowboards worth it?

A: Used snowboards can be worthwhile if you do your research, ask questions, and inspect the board for damage. You might find great deals on lightly used boards.

Q: Is it better to rent or buy a snowboard?

A: Renting can be a good option for beginners, but once you know you enjoy snowboarding, buying your own setup can save money in the long run.

Q: How long do snowboards last?

A: With proper care, maintenance, and storage, a snowboard can last for hundreds of days, which translates to several years of use. Manufacturer recommendations vary but generally range from 75-200+ days before replacement may be needed.

Q: How much should I spend on my first snowboard?

A: For a high-quality new snowboard, expect to spend around $300-500. Keep in mind additional costs for bindings and boots, which can often be included in package deals.

Q: What are the four types of snowboards?

A: The main types of snowboards include all-mountain, freestyle, freeride, powder, and splitboards.

Q: What is the best all-around snowboard?

A: There’s no universally best all-around snowboard since it depends on personal preferences and riding style. However, an all-mountain snowboard is versatile and can handle various terrains.

Q: What should I look for when buying a snowboard?

A: When buying a snowboard, consider the following five key factors: Type of Riding, Length, Width, Shape & Profile, and Flex. Additionally, you might want to think about other features that suit your preferences.

Final Thoughts on Buying a Snowboard

Choosing a snowboard depends on your riding style and preferences. Focus on the kind of riding you enjoy and the conditions you’ll be snowboarding in. If you’re unsure, consider demoing boards at local shops or mountains to find the right fit.