How to Choose a Snowboard

How to Choose a Snowboard

The sport of snowboarding has grown and evolved significantly over the past few decades. Innovations in design, materials and engineering have allowed manufacturers to offer a wide variety of specialized models that cater to different types of terrain and riding styles. Thinking about picking up a new snowboard but don’t know what style or what length you need? No problem. Just follow the steps below on how to choose a snowboard to get started:

Types of Snowboards

  1. All-Mountain Snowboard: Are you a beginner who’ll spend most of your time on well-maintained greens and blues? Do you eventually plan on sampling a variety of different terrain, including some light sidecountry and occasional ventures into the terrain park? Go with an all-mountain snowboard designed for a mix of terrain. This style of board is a true jack of all trades.
  2. Freeride Snowboard: Already an experienced rider who prefers spending most of your time in the sidecountry and back bowls hunting for powder? Go with a freeride snowboard or powder board. These are generally wider than all-mountain boards and may also have a rocker shape for additional flotation.
  3. Freecarve Snowboard: Love carving hard and fast on groomed corduroy and hardpack? Rarely find yourself in powder or in the terrain park? Consider choosing a freecarve snowboard with an aggressive sidecut, directional shape and traditional camber.
  4. Freestyle Snowboard: Gravitate towards jumps, jibs and rails? Love spending most of your day in the terrain park? Go with a freestyle board. These boards have a forgiving flex, symmetrical (twin) shape and slightly more rise at the tip and tail for landing tricks. Some also have a rocker or zero-camber shape for that “buttery boardfeel.”

How to Choose Snowboard Length

The snowboard length (or size) you buy should be determined by your height, weight and ability level, but you should also factor in the style of riding you do the most. For a good starting point, measure the distance from the floor to one of three facial features: 1) your chin, 2) the tip of the nose or 3) your eyebrows. The facial feature you choose determines whether your snowboard length will be average for your height, a little shorter or a little longer.

  • Tip of Nose (Average): If you’re an intermediate or advanced rider who prefers a variety of terrain and conditions, measure to the tip of your nose. This length offers the most versatility.
  • Chin (Short): If you’re a beginner, measure to your chin for a slightly shorter length. Do the same if you’re lightweight for your height, since you don’t need as much flotation. Shorter board lengths are easier to turn but also offer less overall stability. Freestyle riders also tend to prefer a slightly shorter board length.
  • Eyebrows (Long): If you’re an experienced rider who likes to carve fast and hard, measure to your eyebrows or even the middle of your forehead. Longer board lengths offer better stability but also require slightly more effort to turn. Also, if you’re heavy for your height, choose a slightly longer board size for increased flotation, especially if you frequently ride in powdery conditions.

Most snowboards are sized in centimeters. Here's a quick conversion chart:

Height of Eyebrows, Nose or Chin (Inches) Best Board Length (Centimeters)
40" 102 cm
42" 107 cm
44" 112 cm
46" 117 cm
48" 122 cm
50" 127 cm
52" 132 cm
54" 137 cm
56" 142 cm
58" 147 cm
60" 152 cm
62" 157 cm
64" 163 cm
66" 168 cm
68" 173 cm
70" 178 cm

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