When buying a new set-up, it’s important that you consider what type of terrain is your main focus. Thanks to the continuing advances in snowboard technology, we are able to offer you multiple styles of boards to suit almost anyone’s snowboard needs. If you are just starting out, you may not know what your preferences are yet, but keep the following types of riding styles in mind as you advance your skills. Knowing what terrain you ride the most will help to determine the gear you’ll need so you can rip it up when it counts. Although many boards today are extremely versatile and designed to perform across a variety of conditions or riding styles, we have designated the following general categories help target each boards’ number one focus.
You’re a soul surfer. You like the steep runs, deep snow and backcountry terrain, high-speed assaults, or even laying it out on the groomers any day of the week. Whether you want a standard directional for powering into your turns or a tapered powder stick for getting first tracks on the backside, you’re the one who knows that shredding the white wave is what snowboarding is really all about. In our Freeride selection you’ll see a variety of features – from standard to wide shapes, set-back stances, spoon noses, tapered tails and swallow tails for the deeps, or even rocker technology for the ultimate float. You might also see larger sidecut radius’ and stiffer torsional (side-to-side) flexes for big turns, better traverse, and solid edge hold while you drop into the bowl and leave everyone else behind.
You ride the best of both worlds. Trees, groomers, park, powder, natural jibs – all fun. These boards will be the most versatile all-around boards and great for everyone from beginners to advanced riders. These All-Mountain/Freestyle boards tend to have a moderate to stiff flex for more control and stability, and usually paired up with a moderate sidecut radius, multiple stance options, and may come in a directional shape for those who just want to charge hard or a twin shape for those turning the entire mountain into a snowboard park. Don’t let the word “freestyle” scare you away if you don’t do tricks though, it just reinforces the fact that these boards are designed to take just about anything you throw at it. This board should be a good in-between ride for most snowboarders, and you can count on it that will stand up and fight when and where you need it.
You see most of your action in the park and pipe, hitting backcountry booters and stomping big landings. You love to throw big spins at high speeds and you’ll even play on the rails and boxes on your way to the next hit. These boards usually have a similar or softer, more forgiving flex than your average All-Mountain board, yet with a little more core construction and pop than your average Park/Street board. We like to think of it as your beefed up jib board for the more aggressive park rider who needs a little more speed, control and landing gear for stepping up to those bigger jumps. In freestyle boards you’ll usually see true twin or directional twin (setback) shapes for easy back-to-back 5’s on the tabletops, enough flex to butter one off the cat track, a faster base to clear those flat-landings, and slightly tighter sidecut to control you up the sketchy runway of the step-up you just poached.
You don’t like pow, or maybe you do and this is just your quiver board, but either way you’re content with dialing in your tech skills in the park and doing urban-style missions in the streets. You’re the one slaying all the features at the local hill or in your neighbor’s yard – pressing boxes like no other, cab 270’s on and off the rails, throwing casual front and back 7’s on your warm-up run, then gapping the 20 stair to flat on your way down to the parking lot. These jib boards are going to give you what you need – a softer flex for ultimate style and press-ability, mellow edges and more base bevel for less catch, and a mellower sidecut for easing in and out of obstacles like a champ. Now it’s time to hike back up and do it switch.
Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced rider, you’ll find that coordinating your ride to match your expertise is instrumental in bringing your performance to the next level. So take a second to review your skills and figure out where you fit in. Then, find a board that compliments your ability and you’ll be ready to charge!
You’re just getting started and ready to commit. Look for quality, basic equipment that is gentle on your wallet and forgiving on the hill, allowing you to explore a myriad of riding styles. We also strongly recommend taking a few lessons from a certified instructor – it’s worth the cash.
You’ve cut your teeth, got through the tough stuff, and are itching to engage in some more trying terrain and get at those tricks. Pick a board that suits your developing riding style and will help you reach your personal on-snow goals.
You’ve been riding for some time and know you have the mountain under your command. You’re to the point where you can appreciate all of the nuances of board design. Look for the top end “Cadillac” boards, loaded with features to make the most of your sculpted skills. Bring the mountain down!
Like many sports, snowboarding isn’t cheap. Considering your budget when deciding what to buy is an obvious concern. However, you’ll find that you don’t have to get the most expensive board in order to become a great rider. Instead, be sure to consider the quality and performance of the set-up and whether or not it suits your individual needs. Here is a general breakdown of the pricing groups for new boards:
ENTRY LEVEL ($200-299)
These boards are designed for functionality on a budget. While there may not be as many bells and whistles, price-point boards are certainly a viable option for riders who are new to the sport or on a strict budget. Most companies make at least a few low-cost, standard boards, so narrowing your choices based on price will still leave you with plenty of options. Pick a board made by a reputable manufacturer, and be sure that it is functional on the terrain you hope to conquer. Start small, but dream big!
A mid-range board is what most riders will find they need. In this price group, the range of options is limitless, so consider what your priorities are, since you most likely won’t find a board that meets every need. If you’re on a budget and need to revitalize your gear, opt for a mid-range board and a new jacket instead of shelling out the money on just the board. Staying warm is important too!
HIGH END ($400+)
Boards tailored to advanced riders have advanced features which up the price. But don’t fret – it’s a good investment. These boards are usually either the most cutting edge and/or a company’s signature series models, where a pro rider helps to design his or her perfect board to be released to the masses. You’ll find that many of these snowboards are loaded with special design features, such as special core materials or added pop-boosting technology. If you are looking to really take your game up a notch, these boards will help get you there.