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Which Snowboard ?

by John Rodgers [January 29, 2007]

When buying snowboarding equipment the first item on most minds is the snowboard. So what are the basic 'need to knows' of the snowboard types?
Types of Snowboard:

There are three types of snowboard to consider: Freestyle, Freeride(all mountain) and Alpine (carving boards).

Freestyle Snowboards

These are wide, stable snowboards that are forgiving to ride. They are very responsive which makes them good equipment used for snowboarding for novices. The snowboard characteristics make them good for pulling tricks but less responsive in high speed carving due to flexibility and edge grip. They are often twin tipped and multi directional making them good for tricks and half pipes but ideal for beginners.

Freeride(all mountain)Snowboards

Generally the most popular snowboard on the slopes. Good for all mountain use, park or half pipe. Freeride snowboards tend to float reasonably well on powder, can carve and can be used to catch air, this make them popular boards. Freeride snowboards tend to be directional, meaning one end (the tip) is wider than the tail. They tend to be soft and manouveurable for beginners but offer enough stiffness for fast carves in harder snow, these boards offer a mix of characteristics between freestyle and alpine snowboards.

Alpine Snowboards

definitely not for the novice, these snowboards are stiff, narrow, long and built for speed. Built for speed carving and stability at speed with good edge holding powers they tend to be either symmetrical or asymmetrical but always built for one way travel.

Length and Width of Snowboard

Once you have chosen the type of snowboard that best suits your level of competence and ride style there are then several other factors to be considered in your choice of snowboard before buying.

Your height and foot size play an important part in your choice of snowboard.
The length of snowboard that will suit will be down to the riders height and ridestyle. Snowboards are usually 100cms to 180cms long.
A freestyle snowboard should stand tall enough to reach between the riders shoulders and chin when stood on end.

A freeride snowboard should reach between chin and eyebrows.
An alpine or carving snowboard should stand tall enough to reach a point between the forehead and a few inches above the head.

Foot size is important for determining the width of the snowboard. If your feet overhang the board there is a danger of catching an edge and tumbling. If your feet are too small then it is difficult to apply pressure to the edges to initiate turns. If you are an advanced rider using a carving board with big feet it may be necessary to alter your stance to avoid overhanging the edges.
Of course before you buy equipment used for snowboarding you should rent a few snowboards first to see what style, brand best suit you.

About the Author
John Rodgers writes for Snowboarding Picture