1. Snowboards: General Information
Like life itself, snowboarding gives you the freedom of choice. Albeit there are ways to distinguish different kinds of snowboards based on the intended terrain: freestyle, freeride and all-mountain.
Freestyle snowboards are built for park and street purposes, freeride snowboards aim for powder & backcountry, and all mountain snowboards are a good choice for the slope and for people who like to combine different terrains.
If you don’t want to look up all the components on your own, complete snowboard sets are always a solid choice. Just leave the decision-making up to the brand and enjoy your perfectly composed snowboard setup! You just have to assemble the parts and you’ll be ready to ride!
1.1 Snowboards: all mountain
If you’re unsure what type of snowboard suits your riding style and which terrain you are going to ride, all mountain snowboards are a great choice! These all-around boards can serve most riding styles and are an ideal compromise between the different terrains. With these snowboards, you can rock the slopes without having to miss your place in the backcountry or the kicker line.
All mountain snowboards are great for every skill level but a good choice for beginners as well because you’re open to all aspects of snowboarding. If you’re still unsure what to buy to start out with, you can check out our snowboard beginner guide!
1.2 Snowboards: Freestyle
If you are in the kicker line, on rails, or o n the half pipe most of your time, a freestyle snowboard should be your weapon of choice. Thanks to its symmetrical shape, you can ride it forwards and backwards alike. In this case, the front end, also called the nose, and the back end, the tail, are shaped equally. Thus, this kind of snowboard is called twin tip shape.
Being able to ride forwards and backwards without losing board performance helps you land tricks and gives you more control in the park. Furthermore, the sidecut of freestyle snowboard is not as intense as in other snowboards, and the nose and tail are less steep so you can ride them shorter than normal snowboards.
Do you still have some questions about street snowboarding? Simply head over to our street snowboard guide and learn more about the perfect set-up for street snowboarding in the city.
1.3 Snowboards: Freeride
If you’re rushing through powder in the backcountry most of your time, a freeride snowboard would be the right choice. These come with a directional shape with a nose that is typically even wider than the tail to give you a bit of an extra lift in the deep snow. To support that further you can mount your bindings with a little setback to get more weight on the tail. Thus, the nose will lift up even more easily and you can avoid sinking into the snow.
1.4 Snowboards: Size Recommendation
It’s an old rule, that a snowboard must at least reach your chin but should go no further than up to your mouth. Although this can be a good indicator, it’s not the whole truth. Pure freeride snowboard can be significantly longer and freestyle snowboards are often shorter. So if you are mostly into deep snow, you should go for a longer snowboard to get some lift. For park and jibbing purposes, a short snowboard is the better choice because it is more playful, easier to spin, and generally lighter, what gives you a better pop.
Tip: With a shoe size of 45 (EU) or 11+ (US), you should consider buying a wide snowboard. As the name already suggests, the snowboards have a wider shape to keep you bindings and feet from reaching too far over the edge of your snowboard. With a snowboard that is too slim, you might have problems with carves because your feet will most likely get stuck in the snow.
2. Snowboards: profile
The profile of a snowboards describes its tension. A few years ago, the market was dominated by snowboards with a positive profiles but as of today, there have been a lot of improvements and engineering so the range of different profiles has increased significantly.
Wheter it’s Chillydog, Gullwing, Flying V, Anti-Camber, Banana, Wigglestick, or a negative shape – every brand has its own name for the new technologies. But you can still define them by their profiles. The following section will discuss the several types of profiles and help you to learn the differences between each snowboard profile.
3. Snowboards: Shape
By shape, we describe the way nose and tail of snowboards are designed. If the nose and tail are cut the same, we’re talking about a twin tip shape snowboard, which performs the same forward as it does backwards. Especially in the freestyle realm, snowboards with a twin tip shape and a short nose and tail are widely used.
Within the freeride sector, a directional shape is often used in which the nose is both wider and bent more strongly to give you more float. Asymmetrical snowboard shapes try to improve the angle of rotation with their shape to make frontside turns easier, thereby creating a more agile riding behaviour.
3.1 Snowboards: Twin Shape
You’ve probably guessed it by its name already, that on twin shape snowboards, the nose and tail are shaped identically. This makes twin shape snowboards ideal for the park, as they are particularly easy to ride both forward and backward. Especially for beginners, a true twin shape is a good choice, since the force transmission and the riding behaviour always remain the same, no matter if you ride regular or switch.
Directional twin shapes can be seen as a variation here, where the nose is slightly longer. This will give you more float, which is especially helpful in deeper snow. The difference between True Twin and Directional Twin lies in the position of the inserts. These are slightly offset backwards, resulting in a setback of the bindings. This supports the lifting of the nose and improves the float.
3.2 Snowboards: Directional Shape
Pure directional snowboard shapes are preferred for freeride snowboards because the nose is wider and stronger bent at the same time in order to ensure a proper lift in the snow. In order to further optimize the float, the inserts are slightly offset backwards to shift you center towards the tail. An extreme variation of this shape are tapered directional shapes, in which the board tapers to the tail, which gives you tremendous float even in waist-high Japan powder.
3.3 Snowboards: Asymmetrical Shape
Already noticed, that frontside turns over the heel edge are slightly more difficult? In asymmetrical shape snowboards, this is countered by the adapted radii of the toe and heel. This will make it easier for you to strain the heel edge.
Most asymmetrical twin shape snowboards work like true twins. Thus, goofy riders can use the same board as those who ride regular. But, there are directional asymmetrical shape snowboards, in which goofy riders need a different board than snowboarders who ride regular. The reason for this is that an asymmetrical shape always support the frontside edge.
4. Snowboards: Flex
The flex of a snowboard indicates its stiffness. The rough-and-ready rule applies here: the more aggressive and powerful you ride, the harder your snowboard should be. Soft boards are easier to steer, are more forgiving, and suit perfectly for presses – characteristics that are particularly important for freestyle snowboarding.
All mountain snowboards and freeride snowboards, should be more stiff, as it guarantees more control and a good edge grip at high speeds. The rule of thumb is: the heavier you are, the stiffer the flex of your snowboard should be.