snowboards guide

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Winter..! Such a beautiful part of the year, that clean peppermint smell in the air.
I think it's a privilege to fall in love with winter.

Most people choose to get cozy by a fireplace, read a book, or write one if they can.

But there are those who know how to enjoy winter properly, one such activity for doing that is snowboarding.
(no offense to book readers, I am an avid reader myself )

Snowboards are not some inanimate objects, for some, it's an instrument of escape, where you can push your threshold, face your fears, and make some really good memories with your friends and families.

However, before you can go snowboarding, you are going to need a snowboard first.
When you plan on buying or replacing a snowboard, you need to be really smart and well versed regarding the details of each snowboard. Especially with the varieties of brands that are available in the market these days.

You can't tune yourself with each and every board. Hence you should buy one that goes perfectly with your size and ability, looks aren't the only aspect you should consider while buying, other factors like quality, make/ model and stiffness are equally important.

snowboards guide

5 major factors to be considered while purchasing a snowboard

  • Quality of snowboard.
  • Method of snowboarding.
  • Preferred Terrain.
  • Your (Riders) ability.
  • Your physique (height and weight).

In this article, you will find the absolute rundown of those above-mentioned factors, and a few others in details.

Without dilly-dallying further, let's slide in.

Length

Well of course length is important when it comes to snowboard.

Now the question here is, how to choose the correct length? (which is measured in centimeters, not inches)

Traditional Method

Back in the day, people had a rather simple method of determining it. All you had to do was stand next to a snowboard, if the top of the board is between your chin and nose, then viola! You found the right snowboard.

Here's the thing, although this traditional method is not all wrong and worked gracefully for many years, because back then, almost all boards come with the same profile and shape.

Nowadays snowboards have a variety of shapes, and base profile options, hence the length of the snowboard not only depend on your height, but it also depends on your body weight, as well as the preferred style of riding which you are planning to accomplish.

Riding style, how does it matter.

So, for instance, let's say that you will be doing freeriding, then you should consider getting a bit longer board, for more steadiness and pace.

If you are a freestyle person, then you should opt for a snowboard which is smaller in size, thus making it easier to maneuver and spin in half-pipe or terrain park.

Keep in mind, even though the length is an important factor, in the end, it's still a personal preference, like how most of the stuffs are.

So don't get too tied up with these recommendations, because regardless of whether it is a long or short board, as long as you are comfortable, just roll with it.

Below you will find a size chart (Men)  for snowboarding, for reference purposes.

Feet- Inch.  (Rider)

Centimeters.
(Rider)

Pounds.
(Rider)

Kilograms.
(Rider)

All-mountain length (CM)

Freestyle length (CM)

5'0

152

100-130

45-59

142

137

5'2''

157

110-150

50-68

147

142

5'4''

163

110-160

50-73

150

145

5'6''

168

120-170

54-77

153

148

5'8''

173

130-180

59-82

156

151

5'10''

178

130-190

59-86

160

155

5'12''

183

140-210

64-95

163

158

6'0

188

150-220

68-100

165

160

There are few points which you need to keep in mind while purchasing.

  • If you are mostly a park rider or a freestyle person, then consider buying one which is short in length.
  • Go for the longer sized board if you are a freeriding, powder or an all-mountain rider.
  • If your weight is above average, then it's better to have a longer board.
  • Lastly, if you are a beginner, then having a shorter sized board would be ideal.

Width.

If length is important, then so is the width.

Despite that, it is still the most underrated factor among all of them.

Width is measured in between the bindings, at the narrowest point.

Usually, it is measured in millimeters, and if it is 225+ mm at the waist, that means it is a wide board.

When you end up buying the right snowboard, the waist width is sized in such a manner that, your snowboard boots will cross over the edges with enough margin to hit snow, when your board is on edge.

This helps you to control the pressure with your ankles. Furthermore, you can apply leverage to your board, which plays a vital role in maneuvering.

Choosing the wrong width would cause your toes and heels to hang over the edges more than the ideal margin.

Which means while taking a hard turn, you will hit the snow, which could prove disastrous on your side.

For those who have the 11+ boot size, should opt for a wider snowboard.

Pros and cons of having a board of wider waist width.

Pro.

  • It will keep your toes and heels out of the snow while you are on edge.
  • Courtesy of their larger surface, they can float a little better in powder.

Con.

  • If your board is too wide for your boot, then it decreases your grasp over heel area and the toe, which results in slower and less responsive progression from edge to edge.

Reference table for the width.

Snowboard Width

Board Waist Width (Millimeters)

Boot Size US (Men)

Boot Size US (Women)

Narrow

225-235

-- --

Up to 6.0

Women's

236-245

5.0 -7.5

6.0 -8.5

Regular

246-250

7.6 -9.5

8.0 -10.5

Mid Wide

255 -259

9.5 - 11.5

-- --

Wide

260+

10.5+

-- --

One thing that you need to remember when it comes to boot sizes is that, they not only vary with manufacturer, they even do so by each model within the same manufacturer line.

So, for instance, the outer sole of one model's A's size 10, could be longer than the other model's B's size 10.

Some boots are designed especially with a low profile, the shorter the outsoles is, the better it is to ride a narrower snowboard.

Furthermore, the ramp angle also determines which sized boot would be considered maximum, so the more the angle is, the higher the boot will fit on a narrower board.

Like I mentioned earlier, type of riding plays an important role here.

Wider Board.

If you are into carving, powder and freeriding.

Narrow board.

Freestyle and park, also if you are a beginner.

Snowboard size (Women)

For the better part of our history, men and women rode the same boards which were designed specifically for the men.

Things are not the same today, now each and every major brand has developed a wide range of women-specific snowboards.

They do however follow the same guidelines used to construct men's boards, with only minute differences,  but in the end, those slight differences can have a remarkable impact.

To better accommodate the smaller foot size of women, the snowboards generally have a smaller waist width.

As you know how proper width is crucial in maintaining balance and control.

Built and frame of women is light, so a soft flex board is preferred to accommodate their profile better.

In case if the rider is tall and has a boot size of 9 or more, then they can also choose a board of their own choice from the men's department.

All that matters in the end is that, your boot size should be in tune with your waist width.

Below you will find a size chart, for reference purposes.

Height (Feet-Inch)

Height (Centimeters)

Weight (Lb)

Weight (Kilograms)

Snowboard size (Centimeters)

5'-5'2"

152-157

115-130

52-58

133-141

5'2-5'4"

158-162

125-135

57-61

139-147

5'4"-5'6"

163-167

135-145

61-66

144-152

5'6"-5'8"

168-172

140-155

63-70

149-157

5'8"-5'10"

173-177

150-165

68-75

154-162

5'10"-6'

178-188

160-175

72-80

159-167

Snowboard size (Kids)

A recurring mistake which the parents do is that they buy an adult-sized board for their kids expecting them to grow into.

When you do this, you are actually discouraging your kids from riding a snowboard, rather than encouraging them.

For a kid, an adult-sized board is not at all easy to maneuver or control.

So always, buy that, which fits them.

Sizing a snowboard for kids and youths is not at all problematic, they follow the same guidelines of height, and weight like other boards do.

So without fail, follow these guidelines while buying a snowboard for your kids.

Even youth boards tend to be on the softer side of the spectrum since they are newbies, it will give them a better chance at control.

A basic thumb rule for kids is that, the easy it is, the quicker they fall in love with it.

Besides our youth needs to love the sport, after all, they are our future.

Below is a size chart to help you get a general idea

Note: In case your kid wounds up between two heights listed below, then check their weight in the next column.

If they are heavy for their listed height, then for a longer board, if not then choose a smaller one.

Height (Feet-Inch)

Height (Centimeters)

Weight (Lb)

Weight (Kilograms)

Snowboard Size (Centimeters)

3'8"

114

46

21

90-100

3'9"

119

50

23

95-105

4'2''

127

57

26

100-110

4'4"

135

63

29

105-120

4'6"

140

70

32

110-125

4'8"

145

79

36

115-130

4'10"

149

89

41

125-135

5'

156

100

46

130-145

5'4"

164

112

51

140-150

Ability.

Your ability and your style play a prominent role because for each ability level, there is a specifically designed snowboard.

Each rider has specific needs, like the length, shape, design, flex, building material, and the purpose of use.

A craftsman needs to pay attention to all those needs while crafting a snowboard.

So when you are assessing your own caliber, be true to yourself.

In the end, it's all about buying the right board, which will compliment your personal attributes as well.

Thus making your riding experience much more fun and memorable.

Riding Style (Favorite Terrain)

Generally speaking, you can ride any type of snowboard on virtually any kind of snow conditions or terrain.

Nonetheless, there are snowboards specialized for particular conditions, terrain, and application.

Like for instance, riding a park board in park, or powder board in powder.

Before you end up over-analyzing the plethora of collection available, let's try and grasp the gist of the main board categories.

All-Mountain Snowboards.

Designed to work flawlessly in all snow conditions and terrains, their versatility makes them effective even on groomers, park runs, powder, and almost everything in between.

For a beginner who is not yet sure about his need, an all-mountain snowboard is a perfect choice.

Typically consists of medium flex, which allows them to carve and have an edge, with decent floating ability in powder, while being enough playful and forgiving to have a good time in the park.

Technically they are crafted to be ridden in both directions, despite that it happens to perform better when the rider's front foot is point downhill.

Freeride Snowboards.

Boards which trumps when it comes to deep snow floating, or ungroomed riding, steep terrain is the freeride one.

At high speeds and in all types of snow conditions, freeride snowboards will provide excellent stability, including a swift ride.

Due to firm flex, the board has reduced chatter and improved edge hold during the high-speed curves, giving you the capability to make some powerful turns on the steep terrain of various snow conditions.

Contrary to park boards which are quite symmetrical, the craftsmanship of freeride snowboards has a clear-cut nose and tail part, and the correct way to ride them is with the nose part pointed forward.

Powder Snowboards.

Time and again, powder snowboards have been correlated with freeride snowboards.

A wide nose and a tapered narrowed tail can sometimes also be found on powder snowboards.

Those binding inserts which are present on the board help decide rider's posture.

It also consists of a certain design element (generous rocker) in which the tail rise begins quite farther on the board, which

keeps the tip floating through the powder.

Few traits in powder boards that are quite common, like the big nose and narrowed tail, laid back rider posture.

Lot of them are usually wide and short, thus retaining larger surface area, while at the same time offering a great deal of agility and response when it comes to making short turns in tight spots like around trees.

With modern updates, powder snowboards have grandiosity improved the surfer's ability to float through the snow while keeping you in more balanced and natural posture when you are making those short curves.

Freestyle Snowboards.

Park snowboards (also called as freestyle) are usually smaller in size and are perfect for rails, terrain parks, jibs (nose and tail press), tree trunks, trash cans, switching riding foot, etc.

These boards have a true twin shape, which is the trademark of park snowboard, thus making it the primary choice for those who are eyeing to ride in a terrain park.

Since they are made up of soft to medium flex, the rider's performance on either taking off, riding or landing will be achieved easily.

A hybrid variety of snowboard called All Mountain Freestyle will have the joy of freestyle, and the admired versatility of all mountain.

Splitboard.

If you are a backcountry rider, then splitboard should be your first choice.

Crafted specifically to divide into two halves for uphill travel (including climbing skins) and for touring.

Note: Special bindings are needed too.

Now once you get to the top, join those halves, and enjoy your normal downhill ride.

Knowledge of the terrain, snow conditions, weather, avalanche equipment, etc. are the most important things to remember before you venture out on your split boards.

Shape (Profile) of your snowboard

When you lay down your snowboard on the ground, the view that you get from the eye level is what defined as the profile of snowboarding.

I know, choosing the best profile for your board does seem unnerving, nonetheless all these hybrid varieties, proprietary lingos, basically all types of snowboards can be categorized into three basic profiles.

  • Rocker.
  • Camber.
  • Flat.

(And their hybrid versions).

Remember this, there are no bad or good profiles, each has its own perks, so it all comes down to you, your riding style and the terrain you choose.

So let's discuss them in detail.

Rocker. (Reverse Camber)

In such snowboards, the contact point is near the center of the board, which makes it easier to create quick and easy turns, which in turn removes the possibility of catching an edge completely.

These boards are beasts when it comes to powder snow, they can pivot rather easily under your feet, but can get a bit daffy at high speeds because of decreased edge (edge of the board has a decreased engagement with the snow while being on edge).

Camber.

The most traditional and unrivaled snowboard profile.

In nonloaded situation, nose and tail touch the edge, while a smooth arch is present underfoot.

When weight (Rider) is added on the board, it gives an evenly pressured long running surface with an edge.

By leveling the camber with your weight while taking a turn (which is called decambering the board), the board gets charged with incredible energy, which the rider can channel it to create a powered twist while making a short turn.

Due to its nature of catching an edge, it can prove a bit unappeasable for those who are just starting out, especially if the flex is stiff.

Nevertheless, the undeniable fact is that, camber provides the most powerful and zestful ride, which cannot be imitated with any other boards.

Flat.

Flat boards are the transitional link between Camber and Rocker.

Right from nose to tail the surface is flat, the reason behind the name.

This shape is what essentially differentiates it from the other two.

Generally, this type of profile is present in soft freestyle boards.

They are also ideal for rookie riders who want a fast pace board, and also intends on using it in the future.

With flat profiles you can expect the errorless edging feature of Rocker profile, and the perfect stability of a Camber.

Let's see what their hybrids can offer.

Rocker Hybrids.

Depending upon the combination, your board will be accommodated with the respective advantages.

For instance, a Rocker - Camber hybrid would incorporate the ability of the cambered board to accumulate energy and the stability of it (which is non-existent in a pure rocker board).

This hybrid section is extended between the contact points and the rider's feet.

Rocker section is present in between those feet.

Rocker - Flatter hybrid. Here the flat profile extends from the central rocker part, towards each end.

Although this combination lacks the stability and energy of Rocker - Camber hybrids, nonetheless, you will end up with more unhinged fun of a rocker board.

Camber Hbrids.

With respect to pure camber profiles, there are also the hybrids ones.

The area between the rider's feet is always occupied by camber, which is the dominant profile, while towards the nose and tail region, its either rocker or flatter that occupies it.

Camber- Rocker profile lifts the contact points of the board off the snow.

The rocker aspect provides a better ability to float on powder. It will be more of a forgiving ride, to be honest.

Camber - Flatter.

Contrary to your traditional camber, this one will provide a less memorable experience.

Still, it has that lively snap of camber, which is quite appreciated among the freestyle enthusiast riders, who expect a playful ride.

Flat Hybrids

Last but not least

Flat - Camber, in this hybrid variation, camber profile is at the peripheral region, which provides the unique cambered feel of stability at high speed.

The flatter, which is usually soft in between the feet, helps the transition between the edges with ease.

Flat - Rocker, offers a more efficacious edge than the one you find in the pure rocker, which means you will have relatively more stability at a high pace, without losing the traditional qualities of rocker, which the Rocker enthusiasts love about.

Shape

The outline (border) of the snowboard plays a vital role, just like the profile does.

Depending upon the riding preferences, each has its own pros and cons.

Now while choosing a particular shape, the factor that takes precedence here is your preferred foot.

Let me explain, suppose you prefer to ride with your front foot forward, then you should opt for Directional One.

If they lie in between, then you should go for Directional Twin.

Last remains the True Twin, if you don't have a particular favorite and can ride with either foot pointed forward, then this one is the right one for you.

Surely other factors like, profile, flex, and posture decides how a board will perform in each direction. Nevertheless, the shape of the board is the primary incentive.

Let's discuss the 3 one by one.

Directional Snowboards

Pretty much self-explanatory, these boards are designed to work gracefully in one direction. Hence you can see the clear difference between nose and tail part. Which involves a deeper progressive sidecut radius at the tail side, this eases the rider while taking a lenient turn. Meanwhile, it also offers the much-needed energy to push the board into the subsequent turn.

Given the optimization of unidirectional front foot forward float, needless to say, they are not ideal if you want to achieve tricks, land on either side or do any of the freestyle stuff.

On the bright side,  a powder oriented, all-mountain freerider who has no problem in keeping his front foot always pointing forward, for such a rider, a directional board should be his first pick.

True Twin

If you put the shapes on a spectrum, you will find Directional and Twin on the opposite side of it.

~ Nose and tails are shaped identically.

~ Complete symmetry is present.

~ Sidecut radius is circular and deepest at the center of your board.

Freestyle snowboard riders perform tricks equally in both directions, and for that, stability and symmetry of the Twin Snowboard is the ideal.

Directional Twin

Since we know that Directional and True Twin are the polar opposite, then what about Directional Twin?

Well if you have followed this article keenly, then you know it's a hybrid variation like Rocker- Camber, or Camber - Flatter, to include the perks of each design, thus making it adaptable for various riding styles and terrains.

This also shed light on the fact that, a mere design element isn't going to decide the direction of the ride.

In this variation of the snowboard, you might end up with a board which consists of symmetrical shape, but asymmetrical flex (tail part is stiffer).

On the other hand, it could be symmetrical True Twin flex along with Directional (slightly) shape.

All mountain riders, who's preferred style is riding in the opposite direction of their favored foot (switch),  generally prefers to ride the Directional Twin.

Asymmetrical (Asyms)

This is a relatively new category. Still, it is in the crib, but the popularity is growing at a faster pace.

Nicknamed as "Asyms," they make use of specific side cuts on every edge, belonging to the same board.

Bent knees have a unidirectional effect towards the toes, which makes it more grueling to sustain the same kind of grasp and control, with regards to heelside edge.

To counter that, these boards have a fervid heelside edge design, specifically designed to enhance the edge control and heelside turning.

A simple method of deepening and shortening the side cuts can easily indemnify the traditional disadvantage, thus making it possible for the rider to take swift, compact, and more perceptive heelside turns.

Flex

We covered every major aspect involved in the making of a typical snowboard, the only thing left to discuss is the flex.

The lateral and torsional bend of a board after applying pressure is referred to as Snowboard's flex.

Unlike other aspects, this one doesn't have a standardized grading system.

But for convenience sake, a scale of 1 -10  is implemented.

Where 1-2 is Soft flex, 3-5 as medium flex, 6-8 as hard flex and 9-10 as very hard flex.

Now the purpose of this above scale is to give you a general idea about a different kind of flex because, in the end, it varies from one snowboard model to another.

To make this simple, we categories them into 3 groups, soft, medium, and hard.

At the end of the day, it all comes to the rider's favored style, experience, and size.

Soft Flex

Newbies, light weight, freestyle enthusiasts ( who prefers terrain parks, including sliding rails and boxes and Jibbing), should definitely opt for soft flex boards.

Why?

Because controlling and flexing of your snowboard at a slower pace is a lot easier when you have a soft board.

If you are wondering why isn't everyone riding a soft flex?

Well, the thing is, it's an ideal board for beginners, and for those who prefer to ride in a calm fashion.

Now for those who are a more aggressive high-speed rider, these boards will fall short.

At the least, the board has to be medium flex, if not then it creates intense chatter at high speed, which ultimately decreases the edge hold and you will be off your board in no time.

Medium Flex

Medium Flex is the intermediate one, the reason why a vast range of snowriders can easily accommodate this part of the spectrum.

Whether heavyweight beginners, or experienced lightweight riders, who are ready to take on a few bumps and jumps can endure a medium flex board with ease.

Even though it lacks the user-friendly nature of soft flex board on an affable slope, at low speed.

However, you will have appreciable fastness, as well as control while ascending a steep terrain and during high speed.

Hard Flex

When your terrain gets steep and knobbly, a soft flex board will definitely throw you off, for this reason, riders will need the unyielding ride of a hard Flex snowboard.

Stability and responsiveness to any minute weight adjustments from the rider are more perceptive in hard flex boards. Also more effective in following the rider's trajectory.

These boards are great for making high speed turns, but not so great for the lightweight rider.

Bottom line is, an experienced heavyweight rider is well suited for a hard flex snowboard, instead of medium or soft flex.

Before we conclude, a couple of terminologies to remember by.

  • Sidecut Radius - The radius which your board would make, if the curve of the edge were to be spread out into a full circle.
  • Effective Edge - Shorter than snowboard length, it's the edge of snowboard which actually makes contact with the snow,
  • Core Material -  Substance used to bulk up the middle section of the snowboard.

Before we wrap this up, there is one other thing which almost immediately comes to our mind when we decide to buy something. Prize.

I am sure by now, you have realized that, when it comes to varieties and brands, there is no lack of it.

Specificities involved in the making of the board like, the kind of wood used for the core, grade of edges and the base materials, or the kind of laminates present in the layup, when these things are put together, they greatly affect the resilience and the ride of the snowboard.

The better the quality is, the better the board will be, which also increases the prize.

Yet, if you are planning on riding your snowboard for more than a few seasons, then I suggest you spend some extra bucks for more quality and permanence, trust me, it's totally worth it.

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