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Choosing A Snowboard

If you are looking to buy a snowboard, there maybe several questions you have on your mind such as:

What length and size snowboard do I need? – What type of snowboard should I buy? – What width of board do I need?

This basic overview of the different types of snowboards, sizes and cambers, will hopefully provide you with a little more insight into buying a new snowboard. Choosing the correct snowboard from the start will not only help you progress quicker but it will also ensure you enjoy your riding and make the whole learning process much more enjoyable.

How To Choose A Snowboard And What You Should Be Looking For. 

Brand & Graphics

Brand and graphics are not that important, especially when you are first starting out.  Most major snowboard brands today are producing pretty good boards, so no matter which brand you choose, you will probably receive a good standard of snowboard. Obviously some brands do have a really good reputation when it comes to the snowboard market but these brands will generally come with a much higher price tag. When it comes to graphics, if you can and you have the choice, simply pick something that you like and are happy to look at. This is going to be your board, so you might as well think it looks good!

However, what is important when you are choosing a snowboard is size and the type of board. So, the next question is:

What Size Board Do You Want?

Most snowboards these days have some sort of manufactures recommendations on the bottom where you can look at your height and weight and see what they are recommending for you to ride. The thing you have to decide is whether you want to be on a slightly shorter board or a slightly longer board.

Length Of Snowboard

A slightly shorter board is general good when you are starting out. Shorter boards are very playful, a bit softer, they are very forgiving, very good for crusing around the mountain, hitting small to medium park features and easy to butter on.

A longer board is general a bit stiffer, more stable at high speeds, gives you a little bit more stability landing the big jumps, very good for free riding and riding Powder.

Beginner to intermediate riders I recommend getting a slightly shorter board.  They are fun, their playful, you going to have a good time out there on the mountain.

To give you an example in what I ride.  A person who weighs 145 pounds and 5ft 9″ may ride a 154cm snowboard in the park, which  comes up approximately to their chin. Yet, when they are free riding and riding Powder, they may take out a slightly longer board of 157cm Board.  It’s a bit longer, a bit stiffer and it’s more aggressive.

Width

The width on your snowboard only really matters if you’ve got big feet!  If you have size 10 or 11 feet or smaller, you are going to OK on most boards.  If you have size 12, 13, 14 feet, you are going to need to get a wide board.  If you don’t, you’re going to find your toes and heals are hanging off the edges of your board and when you are turning, they can dig into the snow and this can become  really annoying.

What Type Of Snowboard To Ride?

There are basically three types of snowboards.

Traditional Camber boards.

Reverse Camber boards (Rocker).

Combination of mixed Camber boards.

A Traditional Camber board is.

If you lye the snowboard down on the ground you can see it raising off the ground, you can push down into the board and it will flex back.

A regular camber board generally has the best pop, the best edge hold, the best stability and are very responsive.  A lot of advanced riders and pro riders choose to ride camber boards because of the feedback that it gives you.

A Rocker, which is a ‘Reserve Camber’ board, which is the opposite to camber, is generally softer, really good for presses and very easy to butter. You will find that when riding around on ‘Reverse Camber’ board, you will catch less edges.  They are very forgiving and great for learner snowboarders.  Some people who also like ‘Reserve Camber’ are people who ride exclusively on rails because the boards are very soft and very easy to press.

Mixed Camber snowboards are a combination of  Traditional Camber and Reverse Camber.  These boards are very common and most of the boards you find in the shops today are probably some kind of ‘Combination Cambers’.  What snowboard companies are trying to do, is get the best of both worlds and are trying to make an all-round snowboard.

If you are a beginner or intermediate rider and you don’t know what you want, maybe look at getting a ‘mixed combination’ as they are very popular these days.

Shape

What shape of snowboard do you want to get?

More or less there are two main types of shapes. You’ve got ‘twin’ boards and ‘directional’ shapes.

Twin

A ‘twin’ board is identical on both ends. If you are heavily into freestyle and you’re doing all the park features and trying to ride as much switch as you are riding regular, then definitely get yourself a Twin board because it’s going to ride the same in both directions.

Directional

If you ride mostly in one direction or you do a lot of free riding a lot of Powder? You might prefer a directional board.  With a ‘Directional’ board you can still ride switch on.

Girls Snowboards

Just want to touch quickly on girl’s boards.  Girls are generally a little bit shorter than males, lighter, don’t have the same muscle mass and have smaller feet.  So, girl’s boards are designed to be for females.  They are generally a bit softer, a bit thinner and a bit smaller. If you are a girl, you may as well pick yourself up a girl’s board, as It is going to make it more fun for you to ride.

Are Snowboarding And Skateboarding Similar

Many people ask if snowboarding is like skateboarding but they are a little different. Obviously, the first major difference is that on a snowboard you are strapped to the board whereas on a skateboard you are not. If anything, riding a longboard would be more like a snowboard as the turns are longer when you first begin. However, on a snowboard, it is all about the edges and transferring your weight on to the front and back edge of the board to initiate the turn. Yes, if you ride a skateboard or longboard, it will give you a little understanding of balance and transferring your weight but you would certainly realise the difference between the two.

Are Snowboarding Lessons Worth It

Yes, snowboard lessons are worth, especially if you have never put a snowboard on your feet before! Yes, there are many people who learn to snowboard without having a lesson but to be honest, just having a one or two hour lesson at the start will help you so much. Being show the basics will help you progress and get an understanding of the snowboard and why you have to do certain things. The best way to learn is to have a lesson and then go off on to the nursery slopes and practice what you have been taught. Then, when you have mastered the first progression and you feel comfortable executing everything you have been shown, have another lesson and then do the same.

The reality is, snowboard Instructors teach beginners every single day and know exactly how to help you master the basics and can help speed up your progression. So yes, snowboard lessons are certainly worth it.

Tip: If you are planning to go on a snowboarding holiday but have never snowboarded before, it is advisable to have a few lessons before you go. Doing this, allows you to be proficient on a snowboard before you get there and means you can enjoy the whole of the mountains from day one, instead of spending the first few days stuck on the nursery slopes!

Snowboarding Gear and Equipment

Jackets

Are Snowboarding Jackets Warm

Snowboard jackets are designed to be worn in cold temperatures and climates, so they should be warm. However, some jackets are much warmer than others and it depends what the jacket is made from and what it is filled with, as to how warm it will be. Down jackets are very warm but can become too warm once you exert energy. So, it is always advisable to buy a snowboard jacket that has vents and can release moisture to keep you cool when necessary. As with many things, you get what you pay for!

Boots

Are Snowboarding Boots Supposed To Be Tight

A snowboarding boot should be a snug and it is important to have this. However, it should not be too tight that is causes you pain or discomfort. Remember, you will be wearing the boot for long periods of time and it is essential to have a boot that fits you properly.

How Snowboarding Boots Should Fit

When you first try a snowboarding boot on, it is very common for it to feel tight, especially when you are stood up straight but remember, this is not your riding position. When you are in your riding position, your feet will also in a different position and this is when your boot should feel right.

Also remember that a brand new pair of boots will feel tight, simply because they have not been worn in yet and will generally take a few days to shape to your foot.

Toes: In a good fitting pair of boots, your toes should light touch the toecap of the boot but only slightly and not so that it is pushing against it and hurting.

Heels: Another important factor when choosing the right snowboarding boot, is the heel. As your knee is moved forward, your heel should not move but remain in the same place.

Snowboard Boot Fitting Guide and How To Choose The Right Fit

Are Snowboarding Boots And Ski Boots The Same

No, snowboarding boots and ski boots are completely different. Snowboarding boots are much softer and designed to be strapped into the board. Ski boots are much harder and made of plastic providing a rigid and solid boot. Ski boots are designed to snap into  the binding. Snowboarding boots are notoriously much easier to walk in!

Are Snowboarding Boots Sizes The Same As Shoes

Yes, snowboarding boot sizes are pretty similar to normal shoes sizes but don’t take this for granted, especially if you are buying without trying them on. Just like ski boots, different manufacturers and brands can have very different fits. Although they all say the same sizes, they can all feel different when you try them on. Some brands may have a wider fitter, some have tighter fit and others may feel harder. Another thing you may want to be familiar with, is the Mondo sizes of the snowboarding boots.

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