Snowboard Buyers Guide

Whether you are new to the sport or just need to clarify what you maybe already know about buying snowboards, bindings or boots then we hope these guides will gibe you a better idea.  If you still require help please feel free to contact us, we are all keen snowboarders with many years of experience and will do our best to to give good honest advice.

Where to start?

Snowboards today come in many different shapes and sizes, designs and colours, as a beginner/intermediate/advanced rider it is important that you chose the right board length based on your height and weight rather than which one has the coolest graphics.

What level are you riding at?

The level of experience you have can play a big part in which board is right for you.

Beginner
Never snowboarded before up to a few weeks on the snow.

Intermediate
No longer a beginner and looking to progress and challenge yourself further

Advanced
Many years of experience on a board and looking to continue challenging yourself all over the mountain.

What length should I choose?

A general rule of thumb is that your board should come somewhere between your collarbone and chin however a riders weight will also be an important factor.  If for example you are too lightweight for your board then you will find it harder to turn and if you are too heavy then you will sink in powder and lose speed or even break the board.

As the answer to this varies on several factors, to help you we have put a whole page together dedicated to it.  What size snowboard is right for me?

How stiff do I want my board?

If you are just starting off as a beginner then you should avoid getting a stiff board as at slow speeds this will be harder to turn.  Softer flexing boards tend to be more forgiving to mistakes as well as being easier to control however they tend to be less stable at high speeds.  If you are a confident rider and want to go faster and carve harder then a stiffer board will be ideal for you as it will give better control and edge hold.  The stiffness of a snowboard affects how it handles and generally varies dependent on the weight of the rider.  Unfortunately there is no fixed scale for snowboard stiffness but in general beginners and riders who do a lot of rails prefer softer boards, big jump park riders like a mid to stiff board, racers like something really stiff and everyone else somewhere in the middle.

Directional, Twin or Twin Directional?board-shape

Directional boards have a set back stance, wider longer nose and shoter stiffer tail, these boards are best for powder and high speed.

Twin boards have a central stance with equal length at nose and tail which makes riding switch easier.  These boards are ideal for park and freestyle riding.

Twin directional boards are very similar to twin boards just with slightly more flex and length on the nose.  These boards are generally good for all round, all mountain riding.

Do I need a Regular or Wide Board?

If you have a boot size of UK 10.5 and over you will probably require a wide board as if not you will run the risk of getting heel and toe drag.  This is where your boots come into contact which the snow and therefore affect how the board turns and will make you loose speed or even fall.  Companies are now making mid wide boards which are in between regular and wide boards and are good if your boot size is UK 9-11 or you are a heavier rider.

What sort of rider are you?

All Mountain

A rider that enjoys exploring all areas of the mountain from groomed piste runs to off-piste powder riding, moguls and tree runs to terrain parks and jibbing on natural terrain, the majority of snowboarders make up this group.

Freestyle

A rider who spends all of their time in the terrain park on rails and jumps or in the half pipe is known as a freestyle rider or Park Rat.  Freestyle snowboarding can also be split down into other more specific areas:

Jibbing = rail riders, jibbing is also a term used for pressing or ‘buttering’ and messing around on pistes

Slopestyle = a course of jumps & rails, this is the most popular format of competitive freestyle snowboarding. A slopestyle course is based around a terrain park with rails and jumps in one run.

Pipe = Or half pipe is the snowboard equivalent of vert skate boarding.

Camber Profile

The camber profile of a snowboard is the curvature of the base from the nose to the tail. A wide variety of camber profiles are available for different riding styles, for example if you are into cruising around the pistes or riding half pipe we recommend a traditional positive camber snowboard. If off piste or freestyle riding is more your thing then we would recommend a flat, rocker or hybrid camber snowboard. Every brand does their camber profiles slightly differently, this guide is a summery of the main options.

Positive Camber (Traditional)
Traditional positive camber snowboards are best for all mountain cruising and more aggressive freestyle riding. Positive camber offers the best turn initiation, energy transfer through the turn and stability on landings. You also get superior pop compared to other profiles as energy is pre-built into the profile of the snowboard. As Rome say, “Keep the king of pop alive!”

Reverse Camber (Rocker/Banana)
Reverse camber  snowboards are great for complete beginners, free riding or hitting rails as they are easy to turn, fun to ride and very forgiving. Reverse camber means the board bends up from the centre to nose and tail. Reverse camber also offers superior float when riding through deep powder. These boards are not always great for all mountain riding as they lose some edge hold at speed, however brands like Lib-Tech, Arbor and Rossignol counteract this by adding extra features to the sidecut to increase grip.

Flat Camber (Zero)
Flat snowboards are catch free but still deliver a ton of energy and pop for more freestyle  snowboarding. This profile is completely flat from the contact points at the nose and tail and all the way through the board, the only curved sections of these boards are the nose and tail.

Hybrid Camber
Hybrid camber snowboards combine positive and reverse camber profiles in a single board profile. There are lots of combinations of hybrid camber which vary from brand to brand but one of the most popular profiles gives you reverse camber between the bindings for a maneuverable ride and positive camber from the bindings to the contact points for grip and control. This combination delivers a loose and catch free ride at slow speeds but is still stable and controlled at high speeds or landing off jumps.

3D Camber (Triple Base)
3D camber snowboards raise the contact points along a boards edge to create a more catch free ride but without sacrificing edge hold. These boards also promote float in powder and make it easy to turn. There are many different 3D cambers on the market – some use a raised edges, while some will use a spoon shape on the base of the board. They also use different camber profiles in conjunction with this technology, so it is worth doing your research before committing to a brand or model. Bataleon were the first brand to use 3D base technology with their Triple Base design.

Now you know what sort of snowboard you need, check out our Snowboard Binding Buyers Guide to get the right bindings to go with it.