Having your own snowboard dedicated to the type of riding you do, and designed to tackle the terrain you like is the best way to get the most out of your rides.
It can also be a bit of a minefield discerning between what you want and need. So before you go much further, have an honest think about what you want your new steed to be for. A bit of aspiration is a good thing; getting something that you can ‘grow in to’ is sensible, and not only makes you a better rider but also increases the longevity of the board, but don’t go ‘overBOARD’!
When buying a board, we think you should consider the following:
The broadest category is what kind of riding you want to do. Choosing this first makes the rest of the process much easier.
Freeriders enjoy the challenges of natural, off piste terrain, with all the challenges and excitement that entails. Incorporating aerobatics and big jumps, freeriding embodies parkour-esque flow amongst unpredictable environments. Freeride boards typically have an oversized nose and a shorter, stiffer tail to enhance float and keep you balanced in deep powder. Try the XXXXXXXX
If you find being confined to a single part of the mountain limiting, an all mountain board will give you the versatility to tackle it all. They typically have a directional flex and shape, but not exclusively; meaning multi-directional landings and switch riding is manageable.
Good All Mountain boards would be XXXXXXXX
A brand category. Including acrobatics, aeronautics and slides in park, piste, and powder. Freestyle boards are built for directional versatility and agility, and not too fussed about speed. As such, they come in many shapes and sizes, though typically sport a true twin shape and flex.
These boards tend to be fairly bombproof, capable of withstanding heavy impacts, and sliding along wood, steel and concrete. They have twin tips and centred stances, with wider widths and a very forgiving, soft flex.
They can also be used as an All Mountain stick. If you aren't too bothered about zooming down the slopes at light-speed your an make the whole mountain your park; cruising runs hitting every little obstacle and jump in sight. The Ride DH and Nitro Swindle would be excellent for this.
As previously mentioned, rider ability is of paramount importance for choosing a board: A novice will need a slow, forgiving board that gives you space and time to practice manoeuvres and gain experience on the hill. A more advanced rider may find a board like this boring, as it will be unable to turn as nimbly, or go as fast as they could push it.
Little to no experience of riding. You can ride, turn and stop MOST of the time. You want a forgiving board that makes mastering these basic manoeuvres, and thankfully they are relatively inexpensive due to limited features and performance.
Comfortable riding at moderate speeds on most runs. You may be starting to throw some tricks, or be developing a taste for untouched powder. boards aimed at this level tend to be a bit stiffer and more responsive to get the most out of your developing skills and more challenging terrain.
You know how to get the most out of a board, and are competent at doing so on a wide range of surfaces. You may be looking to specialised or need a weapon aggressive enough to push your limits even further.
Traditionally, Length was an important factor in choosing boards. It still is in some resorts, where rental boards are built to last and without many frills, the old maxim of ‘between chin and nose’ is a good indicator of fit.
Nowadays, due to the wide range of cambers and stiffness of boards, snowboarder weight is more appropriate. Most manufactures have intended weight ranges on their boards, and if you can try and find a board in which your weight is in the middle of the range.
The amount, type, and placement of a snowboards' flex denotes the board's profile. In turn this informs its feel and performance greatly. The most common types of profile include:
A convex bend from tip to the tail of the board. This shape provides a stable riding platform and predictable edge. This profile is very responsive, probably too responsive for beginners who need a bit of forgiveness until they know what they are doing.
In the hands of intermediate or advanced riders this profile suits piste and all mountain exploits.
The opposite of a Camber profile, the edges bow upwards from the centre. This makes boards float well i powder and easy to control at low speeds, though can become unstable at higher velocity.
They make good intermediate backcountry and park boards, and suit novices on the piste.
Boards with a zero camber profile are totally flat from end to end. They are stable at most speeds, and are good on certain technical freestyle/park elements, making them good for most abilities.
The amalgamation of both rocker and camber. The rocker is in the middle of the board and the camber is under the feet, creating slightly raised platforms for the feet.
This results in the best of both worlds; a relaxed ride that holds a solid edge when pushed and is good for all abilities and most terrain.
Defined loosely as the amount of bend in a board, flex can have a drastic impact on the all-round character of a snowboard; influencing responsiveness, ride quality and the amount of 'pop'.
Soft boards are forgiving at low speeds, though can feel unstable once the pace picks up. They are good at absorbing impacts and give you a lot of leeway on rails and kickers, so it suits freestyle and park boards.
More versatile, they are stiff enough to take on parks, give a bit of bite when carving the piste and soft enough to handle some powder. They make good all-mountain boards, and would be a good choice if you were looking for a single board to do everything on for any ability,
a stiff flex equates to good responsiveness and stability at high speeds, so are typically not for the beginners or faint-hearted. ideal for challenging free riding in demanding terrain.
Follow this advice and you should be in a good position to start choosing actual boards based on useful knowledge. If you have any further questions give us a call, or rock up tot the shop for a face-to-face chat like your grandparents would have - and probably did, since we've been at the same location for over 50 years!