Would you like to have the perfect snowboard for your needs? Well, listen up, because this blog post is going to lay out exactly what types of snowboards there are on the market, so you can choose the perfect one for you! Before we start, it might be a good idea to think about what type of rider you are. Are you:

  • new to the sport,
  • someone who loves riding all over the mountain,
  • park-rat, or
  • someone who loves the backcountry?

This list could help you decide: What Style of Snowboarder are you? 

Short for time? Have a look at this visual overview of all the help this article will contain!
a knockout post Beginner
useful link All Mountain with preference for Backcountry
company website Board Profile
Hybrid Camber
S Rocker or Splitboard
Rocker
Depending on preference:
Hybrid Rocker, Flat to Rocker or Continuous Rocker
Hybrid Rocker
Traditional Camber
Hybrid Rocker
3-4 (Medium Soft)
7-10 (Stiff)
5-7 (Medium Stiff)
1-6 (Soft, Medium or Medium Soft)
4-6 (Medium)
6-9 (Medium Stiff)
3-6 (Either Medium Soft or Medium Stiff)
Centered
Setback (normally more than 20mm)
Setback (20mm or more)
Centered
Setback (between 5-20mm)
Setback (between 5-20mm)
Centered
Shape
True Twin
Tapered Directional
Tapered Directional
True Twin
Directional Twin
Directional Twin
True Twin
Length
Shorter
Long and wide
Medium
Short
Middle
Shorter
Longer
Type of Base
Extruded
Sintered
Sintered
Extruded
Extruded/ Sintered
Sintered
Extruded

 

 

If you’re a new snowboarder

Photo by Federico Persiani on Unsplash

Board Profile:

If you’re hitting the slopes for the first time, the Hybrid Camber profile is what you want to go for.

 

Stability

The rocker at the tail and nose of the board, along with the deep sidecut radius (the curve of the board’s edges) means the board has a good edge hold. This will facilitate your turning by offering a more catch-free, forgiving ride. Similarly, the camber in the middle of this board will also help you to feel greater stability and control underfoot because the arc will prevent you from feeling every bump on the slope.

Versatility

The board profile also offers high-performance versatility. The rocker gives an additional lift when you encounter powder, while the symmetrical nature of the board means it isn’t out of place when you hit the park. This board profile, therefore, allows you to explore the different areas of the slope as you improve, and prevents you from having to go out and buy a new board.

Flex

The best flex to go for as a beginner is one that is rated 3 or 4 out of 10 (i.e. medium to soft). A softer flex enhances your steering ability and also uses less energy to turn, which is important as your muscles are likely to be tired out during your first time snowboarding.

To find out more about exercises that can prepare your muscles for the slopes, check out this article: https://www.rideeasy.co/snowboard-fitness-routine/

Another factor that snowboardingprofiles.com points out is that if you use a stiffer flex, “you are likely to use your back leg as a rudder and to twist your upper body to help initiate the turn – two things that are not good habits to get into and will lead to poor technique”.

Be careful though! You don’t want a board that has too low a flex, as this will not give you enough control over your edge.

Stance, Shape, and Length

As a beginner, the board shape you are most suited to a true twin board. This is because the centered stance of a true twin board will help you learn how to maintain your balance faster. Similarly, the length of your board should be shorter for better manoeuvrability.

 

Base

Extruded bases are preferred for beginners. They are cheaper to manufacture than sintered bases, so the cost of the board is typically cheaper. They are also easier to repair and easier to maintain, which is important as beginners are more likely to damage their boards. Extruded bases also move more slowly, which is a positive thing when you’re just starting out!


For a list of the best beginner snowboards to buy, check out this list: https://snowboardingprofiles.com/the-top-5-snowboards-for-beginners-mens

 

 

If you love Backcountry/ Freerider:

Option 1: S Rocker

The best board profile for all you free riders out there to get is an S Rocker profile, or, if you’re really dedicated, you could opt for a split-board. Find out why below! Board Profile:

When you’re riding through powder, the rocker at the nose of the board will rise well above the snow. This occurs because the camber under your back foot will compress when you put more weight on it when going through thick snow. This compression will cause the front rocker to raise the nose of the board, thus helping you to float over the powder without losing speed or stability.

Flex

Stiff (i.e. 7-10) –  You want your board to be firmer if you’re focusing on backcountry snowboarding as you need greater stability while turning at speed.

Stance, Shape, and Width

The stance you want for your board as a free rider is tapered directional. The sidecut radius is different between the center and nose and center and tail, creating a streamlined effect as you ride through powder. Your stance on the board should be set back a bit so that more of your weight is on your back foot. (snowboardingprofiles.com recommends normally more than 20mm). This will compress the camber and raise the nose of the board in the manner described above. You also want a wider board for greater stability in the powder.
However, riding switch is not recommended with this shaped board because it is streamlined in only the forward facing direction.

Base

If you enjoy the thrill of the backcountry, it’s most likely that you’ll want a sintered base despite the extra expense. (Note: most freeride snowboards are normally more expensive than other boards because they are designed with sintered bases for extra speed)

 

Option 2: Split board

If you’re a seriously dedicated backcountry snowboarder, an awesome option to consider if you haven’t already is the split board. This board splits in half, creating two skis that enable you to ascend as-yet untracked backcountry slopes. You can then reconnect the halves and ride downhill. However, you will also need a split kit and climbing skins. To watch a video on how split boards are used, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jaq9Uw4G6zc

Check out snowboardingprofiles.com’s list of the Top 5 freeride snowboards here! https://snowboardingprofiles.com/the-top-freeride-snowboards-my-top-5

 

 

Powderhound/ Snowsurfer:

Board Profile

Hello pow lovers! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. If you’re looking for the board that will give you the best float in powder, you’re after one that has a traditional rocker profile. The rocker from the nose to the tail will ensure there’s no sinking of your board into the snow while you ride.

Be warned though, this board profile may not be the easiest for when you’re seeking out the powder in the backcountry as the lack of any camber means it doesn’t hold an edge very well. If you’re looking for a board with better stability when you’re in the backcountry searching out the powder, but has slightly less lift in the powder, then perhaps a hybrid camber board profile is better for you.

Flex

You want a board with a medium or medium-stiff flex. This will ensure you stay firmly above the powder and will prevent any snow on the nose of your board from dragging you down.

Stance, Shape, and Width

Powder snowboards come in different shapes and sizes. Ones with a wide nose and a thin swallow tail like the Jones Storm Chaser below are great for propelling you up and over the powder 

 

Others with a more normal looking shape, like the Burton Branch Manager below, are great for zipping around trees, and for riding switch in the powder.

 

 

You want to ride your powder snowboard with a large setback stance, no less than 20mm, which helps you get that extra lift as you ride the powder. You also want your board to have a wider base than you would have for a normal board as this will help you

Base

Your powder snowboard should have a sintered base. The porous base will give you that extra speed you want when riding over powder to ensure you don’t lose momentum.


If you love the park!

 

(Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash)

If the park is your haven, consider getting a board with a Hybrid Rocker profile, a Flat Camber profile, or a Continuous Rocker Profile. For all of these boards, we recommend getting one with a true-twin shape, to help you land jumps whether you’re riding forwards or riding switch. Each board offers something slightly different for the park, so read on to find which one is best suited to you!

Board Profiles

1. Camber/Rocker/Camber (aka Hybrid Rocker)

The great thing about the Hybrid Rocker is that the rocker section under your feet helps you push down on boxes or rails. The rocker can also help you with your butters, or with spinning between switch and the normal direction of your board. The camber section at both ends of the board can also prove really useful, as they will help your balance when landing your jumps.

However, because the board isn’t flat it might not feel very stable when jibbing on boxes or rails.

2. Flat to Rocker:

Another option available to you if you’re a park rat is the flat-to-rocker board profile. When you are jibbing, the flat section will help you to keep your base flat against the box or rail. The flat section can also give you some stability when landing your jumps. One thing to think about though, the flat base will mean it is harder for you to accelerate than with the other camber/rocker options.

3. Continuous Rocker

 

The continuous rocker board profile is a great option if your primary focus is on perfecting flat ground tricks. You’ll find with the rocker boards that it’s much easier to press down and push off the ground. The board is very easy to turn, it is unlikely to catch many unwanted edges, and is great for powder!

However, because this board isn’t flat it isn’t ideal for jibbing. You might also feel a bit unstable when trying to land big jumps.
Check out snowboardingprofile.com’s list of the Top 10 Freestyle snowboards for the 2018/2019 season here! https://snowboardingprofiles.com/the-best-freestyle-snowboards-my-top-10

Flex

Soft, medium soft, or medium (i.e. 1-6) – You normally want your board to be softer if you’re a park rat, as it helps you when you are jibbing and with your ollies. However, if you’re looking to land big jumps medium may be better as it offers more support on your landing.

Stance, Shape, Length

As an all mountain rider that favors the park, you want a centered stance and a true twin board shape to help you to ride switch. You also want your board to be longer for better stability when landing jumps, but not as long as a normal freestyle board.

Base

If you’re jibbing a lot, there is a higher chance that you will damage your board, so you want a board that will be less expensive to repair. This is why we recommend you go for an extruded board.

 


If you spend your time all over the mountain:

 

Photo by visit almaty on Unsplash

If you’re an all-mountain snowboarder you’ll know that you’re part of a diverse (and probably the largest) group of riders. Some prefer spending more time in the park, while some prefer spending more time in the backcountry. Naturally then, the ideal snowboard for you will differ if you want to cater your board to one area of the slope more than another. However, on the whole, an all-mountain snowboard is one that allows you to tackle any area of the slope reasonably well.

We’ve taken into consideration the different preferences all-mountain riders have in our outline below:


* The true All Mountain Snowboarder

Board Profile

If you truly want your board to be able to do a bit of everything, we recommend you go for the Hybrid Rocker board profile, which is a great all-around profile. The rocker will help you in the park when you are landing or and the camber will help when you are pushing down on boxes or rails. In the backcountry, the camber will give you good float in powder.

Flex

Medium (i.e. 4-6) – You want your board to have a nice middle group of firmness so that you have a decent level of stability in the backcountry, but also a nice amount of flexibility for the park.

Stance, Shape, Length:

We recommend you go for a board with a directional twin shape which will help you to maintain your momentum as you tackle different areas of the slope. We didn’t feel a true twin board shape was necessary unless you are prioritizing the park. You want a slight setback stance (snowboardingprofiles.com recommends between 5mm and 20mm). You also want your board to be as near the middle length of backcountry and park boards as possible.

What base should I get?

Many cheaper all-mountain snowboards have an extruded base, but if you want to give yourself that extra speed for the time you spend in the backcountry, go for a more expensive sintered base. Bear in mind that sintered bases will also be great for the slight inclines/flat sections you may meet at different areas of the mountain because they help you to maintain your momentum.

 

* All Mountain Snowboarder with a preference for the Backcountry:

Board Profile:

The traditional camber board profile will give the edge hold that is needed to excel off-piste, whilst continuing to enable you to venture elsewhere on the slope. The pressure exerted by one’s body weight on the camber results in continuous edge contact with the snow, giving a greater pop to your turns. Although it doesn’t give you the best lift in powder, this board shape will enable you to spend time in the park: it is great for jumps and ollies, though not so great for landing butters. 

Flex

Medium Hard (i.e. 6-9) – You want your board to be firmer if you’re focusing on backcountry snowboarding as you need greater stability while turning at speed.

Stance, Shape, Length:

As an all mountain rider that favours the backcountry, you want a slight setback stance (snowboardingprofiles.com recommends between 5mm and 20mm), and a directional twin board shape to help you to get through thick pow. Although a directional twin board shape isn’t so great for the park, we believe it is a necessary compromise to make if you think you’ll spend more time freeriding. You also want your board to be shorter for better manoeuvrability, but not as short as a pure backcountry snowboard.

What base should I get?

If you enjoy the thrill of the backcountry, it’s most likely that you’ll want a sintered base despite the extra expense. (Note: most freeride snowboards are normally more expensive than other boards because they are designed with sintered bases for extra speed)


* All Mountain Snowboarder with a preference for the Park:

Board Profile:

The Hybrid Rocker board profile will help you focus on the park, without compromising your ability to take on the rest of the mountain. The rocker section under your feet will help you to push down on boxes or rails, while the camber section will help you keep your balance when landing jumps. You’ll also be able to ride in the backcountry if you wish as the camber gives you a good float in powder.

Camber/Rocker/Camber (aka Hybrid Rocker)

 

snowboardingprofiles.com looked at 53 all-mountain-freestyle snowboards and the highest percentage (32%) were Hybrid Rocker. The next highest (23%) Hybrid Camber.

Flex:

Medium Soft (i.e. 3-6) – You want your board to be softer if you’re focusing on jibbing as it makes it easier to press rails or boxes, or to ollie. However, if you’re looking to land big jumps medium may be better as it offers more support on your landing.

Stance, Shape, Length:

As an all mountain rider that favors the park, you want a centered stance and a true twin board shape to help you to ride switch. You also want your board to be longer for better stability when landing jumps, but not as long as a normal freestyle board.

What base should I get?

If you’re jibbing a lot, there is a higher chance that you will damage your board, so you want a board that will be less expensive to repair. This is why we recommend you go for an extruded board.

Check out snowboardingprofiles.com’s list of the top 5 snowboards here


That’s it!

We hope that this guide will help you have a better idea of which snowboard to buy, based on the type of rider you are. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like any more advice, we know how difficult it can be preparing for the upcoming season. That’s why we’ve also put a video together outlining the best snowboard gear to bring with you. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhRy4Y11GYM&t=103s

See you on the slopes! – Adrian Li (RideEasy Founder)

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