Snowboard Buying Guide | The Board Basement
These days' snowboards come in many different shapes and sizes. As a beginner/intermediate/advanced rider, it is important that you find a snowboard that is the right length and also the weight range to suit you. Try not to be swayed by pretty colours, or a cool graphic, as it will not affect your riding at all. We know that topsheet graphics can sell a snowboard, but is it the right one for you? No one on the slope will care what your snowboard looks like. Instead, use The Board Basement search filters to find the right board for you.
As a general guide, the snowboard should reach somewhere between your collarbone and your chin. Please note that the rider’s weight is also very important when choosing a board. If you are too lightweight for a board you will find it hard to control and turn. If you are too heavy you might break the board and you will lose a lot of speed and sink in powder. You can use our snowboard guide to get an idea of what snowboard to choose.
As a beginner, you should avoid getting a stiff board, as they are harder to turn at slow speeds. The softer flexing snowboards tend to be much easier to control and they are also much more forgiving towards mistakes but less stable at high speed. If you feel confident with your skills and want to go faster and do more carving you might want to get a stiffer snowboard flex to give you better response and edge hold. The flexibility of a snowboard affects its handling and typically varies with the rider's weight. There is no standard way to quantify snowboard stiffness, but beginners and snowboarders who mostly do rails tend to prefer softer flex, racers stiffer flex, and everyone else something in between. Park riders that enjoy big jumps tend to ride mid to stiff twin snowboards.
How much experience you have on a snowboard can determine what type of snowboard you get. At an advanced/expert level, you will need a more specific snowboard. There are specific snowboards that are designed for the first time buyers/beginner riders that are really easy to progress with and will take you to the next level. Use our search filters to find the perfect snowboard for you.
Just starting out up to a few weeks on snow looking for a snowboard to help you progress
You are ahead of the beginners looking to progress and challenge yourself more on a snowboard
Riders who have many years experience and looking to take on any part of the mountain and challenge themselves while doing so
Board Profile (Shape from side on)
- This is the traditional shape of snowboards; a few years back most boards had the camber shape. camber arches upwards between the bindings with four contact points near the tip and tail. This shape makes the board springy in and out of turns, which is great when carving. It also makes the board great for popping ollies as the board has a lot of rebound or POP. A Camber board requires a good technique as it is easier to catch an edge. Great for all mountain carving down the mountain and the riding that likes to go fast and need the quick response and edge hold.
Rocker (Reverse Camber)
-The exact opposite of camber. The snowboard curves upwards from the middle, so that when laid flat the nose and tail are significantly off the ground. The upturned ends make it harder to catch an edge and it also raises the nose for better float in powder. This shape is also very popular for park and freestyle riding as it is more forgiving for catching edges on landings and rails with its raised contact points. You may lose a bit of edge hold and pop with a Rocker board, but there are ways to counter for this using; different types of material such as carbon, bamboo to add stiffness where you need it and other constructions techniques, such as ?Magne-traction? or ?Grip tech?. All manufacturers have their own way of doing this.
Flat Base (Zero Camber)
- The board is entirely flat from nose to tail. This keeps your entire effective edge on the snow, spreading your weight evenly and making it harder to catch an edge. This makes it great as a beginner snowboard but also very popular for casual free riding, pipe and big air jumps as there is no curve. The flat boards still retain good pop like a cambered board but are less aggressive and catchy which cambered boards tend to be.
- This is a combination between camber and rocker in an attempt to get the best of both worlds. You can find rocker in the nose and camber under your feet and rocker again in the tail or rocker between your contact points. Different manufacturers have their own way of doing this. Lib tech and Nitro for example, uses rocker between the contact points and camber underfoot and then rocker in the nose and tail, whereas Ride have rocker in the nose and tail with camber between the contact points.
Board Shape (How a snowboard looks from above)
The stance is "set-back" so you have a longer/ wider nose and a shorter/stiffer tail (ideal for powder riding and speed!)?
Equal length on nose and tail, completely symmetrical so easier to ride "switch" (ideal for Freestyle and Park riding).
More similar to a Twin but with a slightly more flexible, slightly longer nose giving increased float in powder (ideal for All Mountain)
Generally shorter with moderate to soft flex. Freestyle boards are typically twin-tip in shape (mirror image along the lateral axis) to enable riding both ways. Incorporates a deep sidecut for quick/tight turning. Used in the pipe and in the park on various jumps and terrain features including boxes, rails, and urban features.
Flexible, soft and short to medium length, twin-tip shape with centre stance designed to ride switch and regular and make easier spinning. Some snowboards come with detuned or dull edges to avoid catching edges on rails and for a skateboard-park like feel on the snow. Playful board designed for park riding.
Longer than freestyle and park boards. Moderate to stiff in flex and typically directional (versus twin-tip). Used from all-mountain to off-piste and backcountry riding, to 'extreme' big-mountain descents - Powder riding with raised noses and pintail designs to aid in a float in powder.
Most common. Very versatile board type that could do it all and go anywhere with. It is a mix between freeride and freestyle boards. If you’re only planning to buy one snowboard and not sure where you want to spend the most time on the mountain, then this is the one for you. Commonly directional or directional twin in shape (twin-tip and centered stance but with more flex on the front or a twin with a directional sidecut)
A snowboard which splits in half lengthwise, and allows the bindings to be quickly connected to hinges aligning them longitudinally on the board like skis. This allows the halves of the boards to function as cross-country skis. Used with removable skins on the base of the board, which easily slide forward on the snow but not backwards, they allow a snowboard to easily travel into the backcountry and make ascents easier and quicker than hiking. Once the rider is ready to descend, the board halves can simply be joined back together to reform a board.
Wide / Regular / Mid wide
If your boot size is bigger than UK 10.5 you will need to choose a wide board. If you don't, your feet will be in contact with the snow (toe/heel-drag) and interfere with the board's ability to make turns once it is set on edge, or 'get hung up on the snow. You will spend most of your time falling over or lose speed. Mid-wide boards are great for heavier riders and riders with size UK 9-11 to give you extra float in powder and more stable platform to ride on.
What kind of snowboarder are you?
When buying snowboard equipment it is useful to have an idea of what kind of snowboarder you are or what kind of snowboarder you want to be! It seems to be a question you will always be asked.
In order to help, here are some helpful Board Basement definitions of the snowboarding types. They are not definitive or exhaustive but should hopefully help you when talking with other boarders:
A snowboarder that explores all areas that the mountain has to offer from: piste/groomed runs, off-piste powder riding, jibbing (pressing and messing around on) natural terrain, moguls, tree runs, terrain parks, mellow or challenging slopes. The majority of snowboarders make up this group. They may have a quiver of boards or a good all-rounder.
This snowboarder spends all their time in the Terrain Park or in the halfpipe, aka PARK RATS!!! Freestyle is the name for all of the trick orientated snowboarding whether it be jumps, rails, grabs or pipe. Freestyle snowboarding can be sectioned into certain areas:
Railriders, jibbing is also a term used for pressing or “buttering” and messing around on pistes
Snowboarding in the streets, a very skate influenced side of snowboarding predominately riding rails. This is creating freestyle features out of handrails, staircases, ledges, walls and other urban landscapes? A winch system is often used to provide speed.
A course of rail and jumps and the most popular format of competitive freestyle snowboarding. A slopestyle course is based around a snow park with rails and kickers or jumps in one run
Or halfpipe/superpipe is the snowboard equivalent of vert skating. Usually a 18 to 22 foot is a halfpipe and 20 to 22 feet is a super pipe.
A snowboarder that roams freely around the mountain without being constricted by designated runs. A snowboarder that likes to ride off-piste and searches for fresh tracks down white, fluffy powder. Also associated with hiking, cliff drops and couloirs. Avalanche training is a necessity and knowing what to do is essential. Having the right safety equipment is a must, stupidity is punished in the mountains.
This is hard-core free-riding and is when a snowboarder really ventures into the unknown, well off the beaten track, in search of the ultimate powder fix. Helicopters, snowmobiles and hiking are used to access untouched snow. You have to be very experienced to ride in the backcountry, or at least be with people that are experienced. Your life can often depend on the experience of those around you. Mountain awareness and training are essential. Not recommended without a guide or very good local knowledge.
This snowboarder is a speed junkie. Spends their days in a Boarder-X course that consists of rollers, whippy jumps, spines and berms or sharp banked corners. The aim is to get to the bottom in the fastest time ahead of the 3 or 4 people you are racing against.
Remember these are loose terms and there are crossovers between the terms. And what you decide to be now may change over time and as you ride more. The key thing in The Board Basement’s opinion is whatever style you ride, enjoy, be safe and have fun!
The Board Basement caters for every type of snowboarder, and now you know what you are, you can be sure to buy the equipment best suited to your riding style. Use the search filters when buying a snowboard, boots, bindings and other products to find the best-suited equipment for you.