A Guide To The Different Types Of Snowboards: How To Pick The Right Snowboard

A Guide To The Different Types Of Snowboards: How To Pick The Right Snowboard

If you’re interested in purchasing a snowboard, making sure that you choose the correct snowboard for your body height and weight is important.

Snowboards don’t come standard! 

How are snowboards different from skis?

When you go snowboarding, your snowboard will make use of a board that’s attached to your boots. By comparison, when you use skis, these are attached to your boots. 

Here’s our guide on how to choose the right snowboard. Let’s start by looking at how you should measure yourself for a snowboard. 

How To Find The Right Snowboard According To Your Weight

How To Find The Right Snowboard According To Your Weight

While you might be trying to measure your snowboard according to how it fits between your nose and chin, this test is seriously limited. It doesn’t take important factors, such as your weight, into account.

Your weight is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a snowboard as this will enable you to feel balanced and in control when you’re on your board.

If the board is too long and wide for your weight, it will feel like you can’t control it. On the other hand, if the board is too short, this can cause you to over-flex. 

Luckily, there are charts available so you can see the average weight that a snowboard will be able to accommodate. These are important to consider before you go ahead and purchase a new board. 

This chart (via The House) will help you locate the right snowboard size according to your weight.

Rider weight (lbs)Rider weight (kgs)Snowboard size (cm) 
80 or less36 or less90 to 135 
80 to 110 36 to 50135 to 146
110-12050 to 54 142 to 148 
120-13054 to 59144 to 149 
130-14059 to 63 146 to 152 
140-15063 to 68 148 to 154 
150-16068 to 73 151 to 156 
160-17073 to 77152 to 158 
170-18077 to 82 153 to 159 
180-19082 to 86 155 to 161 
190-20086 to 91 157 to 163 
200-21091 to 95 158 to 165 

How To Choose The Right Snowboard According To Your Height

The board length you choose should take your height into consideration. You can easily find the right board length that you should buy just by doing a quick and easy formula.

This formula is done by multiplying your height in inches by 2.54 and then multiplying that number by 0.88. This gives you the answer of what board length you should choose.

What About The Snowboard’s Width?

What About The Snowboard’s Width?

One of the factors that totally gets ignored when people purchase new snowboards is the board’s width. This should be measured at the snowboard’s most narrow point (which is usually in the middle of the board). Plus, it needs to be linked to your boot size.

This is important because the boots you wear when boarding need to hang over the board’s edges a little. If they do too much, you’ll be the dragging your shoes in the snow.

On the other hand, not hanging over enough will cause you other problems, such as not allowing you to have enough edge control of your board. How much overhang is too much?

A 5mm overhang of your feet on both your toe and heel edge should be the maximum foot overhang. Then, about 4mm inside the board edge – 2mm on heel-edge and 2mm on toe-edge – is the maximum amount of underhang that is suitable for your board (via Snowboarding Profiles). 

Here’s a chart courtesy of the site that will help you to find the right snowboard width for men. 

 Waist Width Range (mm) U.S. Men’s Boot Size 
Narrow 240-245 6-8 
Regular245-250 8-9.5 
Regular250-255 9.5-10.5 
Mid-wide 255-265 10.5-12 
Wide 246 and more 12 and higher 

Here’s a chart for women: 

 Waist Width Range (mm)U.S. Women’s Boot Size 
Narrow<235 <6 
Regular235-240 6-7.5 
Regular240-245 7.5-8.5 
Regular245+ 8.5+ 

What Are The Differences Between Men’s And Women’s Snowboards?

What Are The Differences Between Men’s And Women’s Snowboards?

While some snowboards you can buy are unisex, it’s worth looking at what some of the most common differences are when it comes to male vs. female snowboards. Here’s how the snowboards vary depending on a variety of factors: 

Board Width 

Men’s snowboards are usually wider because of how men usually have larger feet than women. This prevents overhang.  

Board Stiffness

You’ll find that women’s boards are usually a bit softer when it comes to flex. Why is that? It’s as a result of how women usually have lighter bodies so they don’t require the board to be stiff.

Board Length

Women’s boards are usually shorter than men’s. This is, again, as a result of how they are lighter than men. A man’s board that’s meant for a man who’s 5’8 and weighs 140 pounds would be 151cm, while a board for a woman who has the same measurements could be 148cm.

It’s clear to see that there are important limitations when it comes to the differences between male and female boards. If you’re a woman who is taller than average, you might find it difficult to find a board that is your perfect fit.

You might consider using a man’s snowboard. Similarly, if you’re a man with smaller feet, you could use a woman’s board. Do what feels most comfortable for you!

Can You Use A Kid’s Snowboard Instead? 

While you might think that you could use a child’s snowboard if it fits you better, the truth is that children’s snowboards are not made in the same way as those that are designed for adults. 

Since children tend to outgrow their snowboards really quickly, manufacturers don’t want to spend a lot of money on making boards. Therefore, they will make children’s boards that are out of lower-quality materials. This means that they won’t have a long lifespan if you try to use them. 

Finding Your Snowboard Size According To Your Skill Level 

Finding Your Snowboard Size According To Your Skill Level

Are you a beginner snowboarder or more advanced in the sport?

You might not realize that your skill level will impact the type of board you should be using.

Beginner Snowboarder

it might help you to choose a snowboard that’s a bit softer as it will be easier to control. It should also be on the shorter side of your snowboard size range. This will ensure you can control it better and take turns in a more balanced way.

It just makes it easier to learn snowboarding with this kind of board. However, you still need to take your other measurements – your weight and height – into account so that you choose the right board. 

Intermediate Snowboarder

you should aim to choose a board that will help you improve the skills you’ve already achieved. By this stage, it’s important to opt for a board that will enable you to do the type of riding that you do.

As you probably know, different snowboards will be suited to different types of snowboarding. If you want to ensure you have versatility, you want an all-mountain snowboard. If you’re interested in park boarding, a freestyle board will work well.

Advanced Snowboarder

you’ve got a lot of knowledge and you know what you’re doing when you hit the slopes. However, now’s the time to concentrate on getting a board with some important details.

Although you’ll likely know what board type and size you should get, you should pay attention to its technical specs so that you make its details work for you to give you an edge, such as when it comes to the material that’s used in the board. These are important to consider.  

Understanding Common Snowboarding Terms

Understanding Common Snowboarding Terms

Not sure what “flex” or “bend” means? Understanding these snowboarding terms is important when you’re interested in purchasing a snowboard as they will help you navigate the shopping process so much easier.

Here’s a rundown of some common snowboarding terms. 

  • Bend: This refers to the shape of the snowboard. Some common snowboard bends include camber or flat. Camber has an upward curve in the middle of the board and it offers excellent precision and power on both groomed and hard snow. A flat bend, on the other hand, is flat for most of the board’s length and then has a few millimeters of rise in the tail and tip. This design works well for various conditions and terrains. 
  • Flex: As you might have guessed, flex refers to how flexible the snowboard is. Every snowboard will have a flex rating. For example, if the snowboard has a flex of 1 or 2, this means it’s soft. If it has a measurement of 9 or 10 it is considered stiff. A rating of 5 will be a medium flex.
  • Shape: This refers to the physical shape of the snowboard, and obviously there are different snowboard shapes. These include the True Twin shape, which is when the board has equal tips and tails, and Directional shape, which is a board that has a stiffer tail and wider nose to give you stability in powder. 
  • Effective Edge: The snowboard’s edge length that makes contact with the ground when the board is on the edge is known as its effective edge. It’s shorter than the board’s length. Basically, when you have a longer effective edge, this means that you’ll have more stability. On the other hand, a shorter one will give your snowboard flexibility, which makes it feel easier to turn.  
  • Heel Edge: This is basically the edge of the snowboard where the rider’s heels rest.
  • Base: This is the underside of the snowboard that helps you glide across the snow. It can be sintered or extruded. Sintered bases mean that the board is made with a durable, lighter version of polyethylene. It requires regular waxing to ensure its pores fill with wax. An extruded base is made out of polyethylene and it doesn’t hold as much wax. It’s also less resistant to scratches. 
  • Nose: This is the front tip of the snowboard.
  • Bindings: This is a fixture that fastens your snowboard to your boots. You have to adjust it so that it’s right for you and won’t be released accidentally. 

What Are The Different Types Of Snowboards?

What Are The Different Types Of Snowboards?

Now we are ready to explore the different types of snowboards! 

All-mountain snowboards 

These types of snowboards are a good choice for you if you’re looking for a versatile board. They’re suitable for snowboarding on different types of terrain such as pistes and powder surfaces.

Their directional shape – meaning their tails are narrower than their tips –  make them beginner-friendly, so you’ll be able to find your balance and maintain it easier than on other types of boards. 

Freestyle snowboards

These snowboards are flexible, short, and light. They really shine when you use them to perform tricks in halfpipes and terrain parks. However, they’re not a good choice of snowboard if you want to move fast on the snow because you won’t have the stability you need from them.

You can find freestyle snowboards that have twin tips or directional-twin tips. By having a symmetrical tail and twin, this makes this type of snowboard easy to learn on, so it makes it great for beginners. As for the directional twin design, this varies from the twin tip because it has a stiffer tail. 

Alpine snowboard 

This snowboard is narrow and meant for carving downhill – it’s a solid choice if you’re looking for speed! The alpine snowboard is also stiffer. It tends to be longer than other snowboard types, while having a shallow side-cut depth.

This provides a larger side-cut radius, which ensures you can carve turns at higher speeds. You can find various types of alpine snowboards, such as freecarve, extreme carve, all-mountain, and race boards. 

Freeride snowboard 

Do you love adventure and riding through tricky terrain?

Then the freeride snowboard will interest you! This board is usually directional, so it’s designed to be used with one end facing downhill. You’ll find that freeride boards tend to have stiffer flex ratings than some other boards, such as freestyle snowboards.

A stiffer board is faster from edge to edge. This enables faster speeds to be achieved with better edge-hold. 

Splitboard 

This type of snowboard actually splits in half. This means that you can use both halves as skis, which makes it a great board to use if you want to take part in skiing and snowboarding. It’s also designed to make it easier for you to walk to the top of a slope.

You will make use of the adhesive-backed “skins” that are attached to the skis to provide traction so you can walk uphill through the snow. Then, when you’re ready to snowboard, you’ll remove the skins and attach the skis together so that it becomes a snowboard. 

Powder snowboard

A powder snowboard is designed to tackle deep snow conditions. You’ll find that these boards have more surface area in the nose than the tail.

This means you can put more weight over your front boot without the board sinking into the snow. This, in turn, enables you to have more controlled turns and maintain speed on flat snow.  

Wide snowboard 

A wide snowboard has a waist width that’s more than 260mm. With a wider waist, this snowboard enables you to prevent your toes from dragging over the board’s edge when doing a toe side turn.

You can find wide snowboards in a variety of different snowboard styles. You should choose a wide snowboard if you have a boot size of 11 or more (via The House). 

Related Questions 

What are camber vs. rocker snowboards? 

Both of these terms describe how the snowboard is curved when viewed from the side.

Snowboards that are camber contain midsections that create arches off the snow, while rocker snowboards have midsections that rest on the snow as well as tails and tips that curve upwards. 

Can any bindings go on any board? 

You’ll find that bindings for your board come with multiple base plates.

This enables them to be compatible with many snowboards. Most snowboards have bolt mounting patterns that are 2×4 or 4×4 (via Rei). 

Conclusion

When you’re in the market for a new snowboard, you might not know which one to choose.

After reading this guide to the different snowboard types, you’ll be in a better position to ensure that your snowboard is compatible with your riding style, measurements, and experience level. 

Gearheads, get on this List!

Subscribe For In Depth Reviews And Priority Access To Deals On Gear To Get You Charging Hard On The Mountains Year Round!