How to Choose a Snowboard

How to guides -

How to Choose a Snowboard

Snowboarding is a sport that will take you to incredible places and provide unmatched thrills. Whether you are new to the sport and buying your first board or have been riding for years and looking to add another board to the collection, you are tasked with deciding “Which snowboard is the best for me?”. In this article, we give you tips and tricks on choosing the best snowboard for you - allowing you to get the most out of your board and perform your best on the mountain.

**Admittedly, this blog post will seem very detailed for someone just getting into the sport. However, your board will last you many seasons, so it is important to consider what type of riding you will ultimately be doing when deciding which snowboard to buy – even if you are not there quite yet.

Step 1: Select the Right Snowboard Length & Width

First, you need to consider how tall and wide your snowboard should be. This is a factor of your body composition and the type of riding you plan to do.

Snowboard Length

The two popular approaches to determine your snowboard length are:

1.    The OG Technique

The OG Technique measures the snowboard length on approximation and has been used in the sport for decades. All you need to do is stand your desired board on its tail to measure its length with respect to your height. The appropriate snowboard length is when the board's nose reaches somewhere between your nose and chin.

2.    Precise Measurement Method

Most snowboarding manufacturers recommend using a more precise method for choosing the appropriate snowboard length - especially for beginners. The size of a snowboard should be chosen according to your body height and weight. You can find recommended snowboard lengths in the following table.

Although, remember that these are just recommendations. Your personal riding preferences may slightly alter these numbers.

If there is a large discrepancy between your height and weight, follow the recommended length based on your weight.

Body Height (ft)
Body Weight (lb)
Suitable Snowboard Length (cm)

4’10”

110-120

128-136

5’0”

115-130

133-141

5’2”

125-135

139-147

5’4”

135-145

144-152

5’6”

140-155

149-157

5’8”

150-165

154-162

5’10”

160-175

159-167

6’0”

170-185

160+

6’2”

180-195

160+

6’4”

190-205

160+

 Snowboard Width

Next you need to decide on your board’s width, which is based off of your boot size. The golden rule for good balance on a snowboard is to let your boots have a slight overhang (about 1-2 cm) on the board's edges.

If your board is too narrow, your heels and toes are going to hit the ground while you are carving, most likely causing a wipeout. If your board is too wide, it’s going to require a lot of extra work to switch from edge to edge.

Use the chart below to figure out the best snowboard width for you based on you snow boot size. Like the length, these numbers may vary slightly depending on your preferred riding style.

US Men’s Boot Size
US Women’s Boot Size
Snowboard Waist Width (mm)
Width Classification

Up to 6.0

225-235

Narrow 

5.0-7.5

6.0-8.5

236-245

Narrow 

7.0-9.5

8.0-10.5

246-250

Regular

8.5-10.5

10+

251-254

Regular

9.5-11.5

255-259

Mid-Wide - Wide

10.5+

260+

Mid-Wide - Wide

Step 2: Select the Board Type & Shape

Snowboard type and shape should be selected based on your preferred riding style.

Snowboard Types

Most common types of snowboards:

  • All-mountain: best for any terrain (groomed runs/park/pipe/backcountry)
  • Freestyle: suitable for the park (rails/tree trunks/wallrides/jibs)
  • Freeride: suitable for ungroomed snow in any terrain
  • Powder: suitable for deep powder snow
  • Splitboard: suitable for the backcountry (untracked backcountry slopes)

Snowboard Shapes

  • Directional: snowboard is designed to be ridden in one direction (backcountry riding in powder/glades/ carving/moguls)
  • True Twin: snowboard can be ridden in either direction (terrain parks)
  • Directional Twin: a combination of directional and twin snowboard (good for all mountain riding)
Snowboard Type
Snowboard Shape
Ability Level (recommended for)

All-mountain

Directional twin

Beginners

Freestyle

True twin

Intermediate

Freeride

Directional

Intermediate

Powder

Directional

Beginners

Splitboard

Directional twin/True twin

Experts

 Step 3: Snowboard Flex

A snowboard's flex rating indicates its stability (think: how playful your board is):

  • 1-2: soft flex
  • 3-5: medium flex
  • 6-8: stiff flex
  • 9-10: very stiff flex

Soft Flex:

Recommended for: beginners (/children)

  • easier to turn at low speed without hindering the movement
  • suitable for indoor riding/jibbing/terrain parks
  • not recommended at higher speeds

Medium Flex:

Recommended for: beginners/intermediates

  • comprise performance characteristics of both soft and stiff flexes

Stiff Flex:

Recommended for: Experts

  • provide more edge control
  • provide stability at high speeds
  • offer better grip while turning

Very Stiff Flex:

Recommended for: Experienced riders (snowboarding for many years)

  • perfect for challenging terrain
  • aggressive, high-performance, high-speed snowboarding

Step 4: Select Your Snowboard Profile: Camber VS Rocker Boards

Your snowboards profile is how it sits on the snow when it is completely flat. If you look at your board from the side, you’ll be able to see what I’m talking about. The main types of snowboard profiles are:

  • Camber: In a cambered snowboard, the middle rises off while the tip and the tail contact the snow. A perfect choice for experienced snowboard riders, it helps balance the weight resulting in a stable, aggressive, and responsive ride on hardpack/groomed terrains.
  • Rocker/Reverse Camber: As the name suggests, rocker being opposite to camber, contacts with the snow from the middle while the tip and the tail rise off the snow. It is more suitable for beginners since it is softer than cambered boards and allows the rider to turn quickly with a surfy feel. Rocker boards are ridden best on powder snow or in the terrain park.
  • Camber/Rocker or Hybrid Camber: A hybrid camber combines the regular camber and rocker. Snowboarders finding it hard to perform well on edges should choose the hybrid style, for it makes it easier for the rocker to turn and float toward the tips and tails. The good edge control and a better response riding style make it perfect for intermediate snowboarders.
  • Flat: A flat board is simply flat with no part rising off the snow, thus no camber. Snowboarders confused between a regular camber and a full rocker board should go for flats to enjoy easy, quick turns and smooth floating.
  • Flat/Rocker: A flat/rocker board stands somewhere between fully flat and fully rocked boards. The tip and tail rise but not that much. You'll experience good edge control in hard snow and easier turning and smooth floating in soft snow.

Step 5: Select the Right Snowboard Base & Sidecut

Next, you should consider the base and the sidecut to choose a snowboard.

Snowboard Base

The type of base you choose mainly impacts how durable your board is over the years. The two types of bases are:

  • Extruded: Made of polyethylene (heated and pushed out in a sheet), extruded bases are cost-effective, durable, and require low maintenance. However, they also have a slow pace compared to a fine-tuned sintered base. Extruded bases can sometimes be vulnerable to warping.
  • Sintered: Sintered bases also have polyethylene but are composed of compressed tiny polyethylene pellets, making them faster and more durable than extruded bases. Though they are already fast, you can also increase their speed by waxing them with a good snowboard wax. Simultaneously, they cost more, and their repair is more complex than extruded bases.

Snowboard Sidecut

Your boards sidecut, or effective edge, is what bites into the snow, giving you more control and steering during the ride.

Snowboard sidecuts can be classified into the following:

  • Long Sidecut: provides good edge control when turning and offers stability, especially on steep terrains
  • Short Sidecut: provides easier turning and spinning
  • Deeper Sidecut: offers tighter turning
  • Thinner Sidecut: provides wider turning

Don’t Forget to Maintain Your Board

A snowboard is an investment. It is going to last you multiple seasons and hundreds of runs. I know that those of you in the Venture Syndicate community are out there getting the most out of your board each and every season. This means that your board is going to get banged up and require some maintenance if you want to keep performing your best. I highly recommend that you protect your investment by maintaining your board regularly. If you don’t have the equipment to do so, you can get some of the best snowboard tuning equipment at theventuresyndicate.com. You won’t regret it.

Dare to Venture.

 


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