Choosing the right snowboard for you can be the difference between an awesome winter adventure and an average vacation. In this article we have put together a general guideline of how to pick out a snowboard for beginners. We hope that you will find this information useful for snowboard rental or purchase, but never fear to ask shop owners any questions you might have before purchasing.
Snowboard rental VS buying your own
The first question is should you spend the cash and buy your own snowboard or should you stick to renting. My suggestion would be to at least try the sport, before making the commitment to spend money on something you may end up not liking. Also, snowboard rental my be the best option for you if snowboarding isn’t the main reason you’re going somewhere. If you’re traveling to go sight seeing and want to check out some nearby slopes for one day, then don’t bother with your own equipment. But if your an avid boarder and ride more than a few days each season, then definitely get your own.
Just like skis, snowboards have a variety of parameters that affect the way it handles. We will be sticking to the following basics:
LENGTH * WIDTH * FLEX * PROFILE * SIDECUT
The general rule of thumb is to choose a board that reaches between the top of your chest and your mouth. The exact length of your board is down to personal preference, body structure and riding style. A lot of experienced snowboarders opt to buy two boards for different riding styles. Also your boards profile can call for a longer board, but we will get to that later.
Short (collarbone to chin) – These boards are best for beginners or snowboarders who do most of their riding in the terrain park (that place with all the jumps and stuff). Shorter boards are easier to maneuver and throw around. For beginners a shorter board is recommended because it is easier to turn with at lower speeds. The main disadvantage if you go for a smaller board is a lack of stability at high speeds.
Medium (Chin to nose) – This is typically the length you should go for if you are an intermediate (or expert) rider who likes to snowboard everywhere on the mountain. From park to groomers to freeride, this is the best option if you only want to have one do-it-all snowboard. It is also advised for snowboarders who are heavier than average to go for a medium length snowboard, rather than a small.
Long (eye level and higher) – Long snowboards are generally preferred by expert riders who are looking for something more freeride (off-piste) orientated. Longer boards have a bigger effective edge and that makes them more stable at high speeds at the cost of maneuverability. Also the longer and bigger your board is, the better it will float in powder snow.
Getting the right width can be a little tricky if you have bigger feet. The goal is for your toes and heels to be just ever so slightly over the edge of your board. If your board is too narrow your boot may drag in the snow when turning and this can make you crash and look bad in front of the ladies. If its too wide, then you won’t have good leverage over the edge and this will make turning harder. You also have to keep in mind the angle at which your bindings are set. Snowboards generally come in narrow, normal and wide widths.
How a snowboard handles is also affected by its flex, or how stiff the board is. Flex varies from soft to very stiff.
Softer – A softer flex pattern is best for beginners and freestyle riders. They are easier to turn and are more forgiving if you make small mistakes. Also riders who’s weight is below average should go for a softer board. The softer your board is, the less stable it will be at high speeds. This is due to the bigger amount of force applied to the board when turning at higher speeds. A softer board will have a much more buttery feeling and is great for nose presses and other tricks like that.
Stiffer – More experienced riders tend to go for stiffer boards (if they aren’t looking for a park specific board). The main advantage of a stiffer board is its increased stability and edge control. These snowboards are perfect for riders who like to make high speed turns or ride powder.
Now let’s take a small look at two characteristics that beginners shouldn’t really worry about – Profile and Sidecut. We’re only going to scratch the surface here, just so you know more.
Also known as chamber, this is how your board rests when laid on the ground without rider weight. There are 3 basic profiles which can be mixed together to get a different riding experience.
Normal Camber – This is standard for most snowboards and offers the best edge grip and pop. When you lay the board on the ground the middle will be in the air, not contacting the ground until you step onto it. This is also the best option for beginner riders who will be sticking to the slopes.
Rocker (banana) – As the name suggests, the form of the board is like a banana. This type of board is best suited for powder, because it floats better in soft snow. This is at the cost of its effective edge, so its good to go for a longer board if you’re going with a rocker profile.
Flat – As the name suggests, these boards will sit flat on the ground. This is pretty much the middle between normal camber and rocker. You have more effective edge and thus better hard-pack handling than a rocker board, while having better performance off-piste than a normal chamber profile.
Sidecut affects directly how your snowboard will turn. The deeper your sidecut the faster you will move from one turn to the next. This leads to a shorter turning radius and less stability at high speeds. A shallower sidecut will do the opposite and is better for long, high speed turning. There are 4 different sidecut variations: Radial, Progressive, Multi-Contact and Asymmetrical, each offering its own advantages over the other.
Ski & Board Traventuria rental shop in Bansko offers the best variety and new models of snowboards in the resort – all of them fully serviced after each rent. More than 25 brands in 31 lengths covering all sizes between 95 and 171 cm. Save 10% by booking online.
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