Ask yourself what kind of terrain you will be riding.
There are many different types of terrain available and picking the right snowboard for the right conditions is crucial for enjoying your time of the mountain. What is your local mountain like? Does it have long groomed runs, or does it have large open powder bowls? Do you want to hit big jumps in the park or do you prefer untouched powder lines? Every snowboard is designed to perform best in certain conditions.
These are snowboards which perform best in deep snow. Usually the board will be have a directional profile meaning your stance will be further back on the board. This allows the nose to rise above the powder creating more float. This is the same idea of having a swallow tail on a board. Powder boards can also be a bit longer and/or wider than a standard board.
All Mountain Snowboards
These are your go-to everyday snowboards. They can perform in well all conditions and can have a variety of shapes and profiles.
Carving snowboards are , and with greater stiffness and camber. They’ll help you hold those those tight edges even when carving down some icy runs or ripping it up on freshly groomed runs.
If you are looking to take your park riding to the next level then you’ll be looking for some particular features. Their flex can be more forgiving but also allow for control and increased pop. Most boards will have a twin profile allowing for easy switch riding
Deciding on the shape and profile of the snowboard.
Now that you have decided on the terrain you will be predominately riding we can start to look at the different shapes snowboards can come in.
The snowboard profile is the way snowboard bends from tip to tail and the bend or the curve is called Rocker and Camber.
A cambered profile provides the greatest amount of control and precision with increased speed and power, giving it lots of pop and reactivity. This versatility means it is great for a variety of conditions on the mountain.
However, a cambered profile is less forgiving than the other styles and does not allow for great floatation in powder.
Some companies like Bataleon only have cambered profiles but make use of their 3BT technology to overcome some of its downsides.
A rockered snowboard has what it says, a rockered curve to the board. It makes raises the tip and tail above the snow resulting in a more catch free riding. This can make it feel very playful on the mountain. It also performs well in the park.
It does have the drawbacks. Due to the raised nose and tail it has less control at high speeds and can have a difficult time holding an edge during turns, especially in icy conditions.
Flat snowboards are a combination of a characteristics of a cambered and rockered board. While not as stable as a camber it does have an easy, more catch free riding. This is a great option for beginners, however lacks lacks in some areas when compared to other profiles.
Camrock Camber / Hybrid Rocker:
This is a cambered profile with an early rise to the tip and tail. This gives the board shorter effective edges making turns feel quicker and more responsive. It also still has a good amount of stability and pop with the camber between the feet. This is a great choice for people looking to have a all mountain board that performs well in most conditions. Best suited for intermediate to advanced riders.
The profile has the rocker between the feet but utilizes a cambered profile under foot. This lifts the contact points up higher creating a floaty, catch free feel while also giving a good amount of edge hold when carving. It can be a little harder to control at higher speeds so is a great intermediate board.
This is determined by the nose, waist and tail measurements as well as binding mounting location. The three different types are:
Directional: They will have a clearly defined nose and tail. They may have unique shapes and features such as a swallow tail. This shape is more suited more for backcountry riding or high-speed riding. Drawback are they can be difficult to ride switch and may feel less playful.
Twins: A twin-tip snowboard is symmetrical in shape with identical nose and tail. It is great for riding switch which makes it a perfect match for freestyle / park riding.
Directional Twin: This is a great hybrid of the two shapes making it a great option for all-mountain riders. The slight directional shape gives is better float in powder than twin-tips while still retaining the ability to ride switch through park.
A snowboards flex is an important characteristic of any snowboard. It can determine a lot about how a snowboard feels, reacts and performs. Lower flex snowboards will feel more playful and will be more forgiving but less control and pop. The stiffer a board it the more aggressive the board becomes. It increases the control and stability of a board while making it more responsive. It can comes at the cost of becoming too responsive and less forgiving. Stiff boards are not recommended for beginner riders.
Select the right size snowboard
Choosing the right size snowboard is crucial. As a rule of thumb, when standing upright your snowboard should rest under your chin. Depending on your riding style or weight you may want to size up or down. If you are looking to ride more park or are light weight rider, then smaller board will be more maneuverable and spin easier. If you are planning on riding more backcountry or you a heavier person a larger board will be more stable and have more float in powder.
Another thing to consider when choosing a size is whether or not to pick a wide snowboard. Wide snowboards are designed for people with larger feet. A problem some snowboarders face when picking a thinner board is loosing edge contact due to toe or heel overhang. This occurs when the snowboard is turning with a large angle to the snow and the boot makes contact instead of the snowboards edge. This can be extremely dangerous to you and others around you. Larger people with a boot size of 28.5 or above should consider a wide board.