How to know if you are buying the right Snowboard?
So now you know what to look for the rest of this site will show you where to find what you need when buying the right snowboard at the right price. Snowboarding is as much about how you look, what you wear and what you ride as how well you actually snowboard. Everyone that snowboards knows you can buy better boards and gear on line than you will ever find in a store or at a resort for a fraction of the price. At least those who have snowboarded for years know that. Newbies not so much. You guys are like thanksgiving turkey to most big resorts. All cooked and ready to eat… just dig in and help yourselves. Well not anymore because we will show you what the Pro’s know so you don’t get ripped off and you know you’ll be buying the right snowboard.
Categories of Snowboards
The most popular form of the sport is Freestyle. If this is your go then look for a board that is a little shorter, softer and more flexible. The aim of a freestyle board is to provide a board that is super strong and as light as possible. Obviously the lighter the board the easier it is to fit in more airs and rails.
Buying the right Snowboard for racing means buying one built for speed. It needs to be longer, harder and stiffer. The rail design, camber and parabolic cut also differs depending on whether you are after a slalom board, GS or Downhill bullet.
Back-country snowboards fall somewhere in the middle. When you hire a board you will most probably be given an all terrain snowboard unless you specifically ask for one of the other two.
Sizing of Snowboards:
What length and width is right?
The length of a snowboard is determined by four factors:
- How tall you are.
- How heavy you are.
- What level you are.
- What style of boarding you want to concentrate on.
The longer the board the faster it will go in a straight line, the harder it will be to turn and the heaver it will tend to be.
The width of the board should also be taken into. Keep your heels and toes inside the width of the board to avoid ‘drag’.
In very general terms the correct length and size of a snowboard is determined as follows:
- A short board is approximately the same length as the distance from the ground to your collar bone or chin (learners and those doing a lot of tricks should use this as a guide).
- Mid range boards approximate the distance from the ground to the height from your chin to you eyebrows. This is the preferred length for an intermediate snowboarder wanting a multipurpose board for a bit of everything e.g. some tricks, some cruising and some back-country.
- A long board measures the same as from the ground to your forehead stretching to about 6cm above you head. When you are buying a board of this calibre you know what you are doing and have developed your own style. Most people have a very specific length they prefer once they are at an advanced level. This type of board is for high-speed carving, deep powder and back country mountain terrain.
- As a general rule if you are a light weight (say less than 65 kg) go for a shorter more flexible board to assist you in getting the board turning earlier.
- For those bigger riders (e.g. over 80 kg) look at a longer snowboard (i.e. above eyebrow height) so that when you do initiate a turn, particularly at speed, you have enough ‘edge’ gripping the snow to counteract your weight. Go too short and the board will tend to slide out on critical turns (not fun).
- As you improve and if you do favour a particular style of snowboarding (freestyle, speed or back country) you will tend favour speciality boards that work best for the style of snowboarding you want to do.
Boots follow the boards. Harder faster boarding requires harder, stiffer boots whilst most other forms use boots that are slightly softer. It is worth spending extra on boots as you can be in them for up to 8 hours a day. A high performance comfortable set of boots is an ‘investment in enjoyment’ so don’t skimp out when buying great boots!
The best snowboard and boots in the world aren’t much less unless they are attached to one another and that means you need to know about bindings. There are three basic types of Bindings:
- the most commonly used binding,
- calf support high back plate,
- toe strap and ankle straps,
- higher stiffer back plates for harder faster snowboarding,
- softer slightly lower back plates for terrain and trick boarding.
There is a reason these types of bindings are the most widely used:
- first and foremost they offer the most control,
- you can use virtually any boot and board combination you want,
- super light weight and strong,
- heaps of manufacturers mean these are the least costly type of binding.
On the down side cheap strap bindings have thinner straps and no matter what type you buy or how much you pay you have the un-do / do-up shimmy so famously now a part of Snowboarding.
- because strapping in is such a hassle manufacturers have developed step in clip systems.
- the aim is to make the whole process as simple as snow skis and to add the safety feature of a quick release in the case of a fall.
On the down side:
- less control,
- must buy a boot and board combination to go with the bindings,
- not very popular so the choices are limited and the costs are higher.
If you have small children or are a groomed run recreational snowboarder you will love these things. They are not for the ‘hard core’ as they lack the support required to get the board to respond accurately.
Flow in Binding:
- this type is a new hybrid of the strap and the step in,
- gaining in popularity it allows easy rear entry access,
- great support with an all-in-one ankle and toe ‘strap’.
On the down side they can be tricky to get ‘just right’ and until more of the top rated riders get into using this type of binding the sales needed to really motivate the big name manufacturers just won’t appear. The R&D for this great idea is likely to come from a smaller ‘maveric’ manufacturer looking to catch the big boys sleeping.
So now you know what to look for when buying the right snowboard so let’s see if we can help you find the best value for money on the Internet!