Don’t you wanna know the biggest secret behind snowboarding?
It almost seems like everyone has it easy except for you! Truthfully, if you’re starting off as a beginner or have been exploring the sport for a while now, but nothing seems fit for you… there are a couple of things you need to know!
Before you squander all your money on your first snowboard, you need to understand what are the different types of snowboards.
With the right snowboard, your pre-existing skills are multiplied tenfold because it’s not just about your skills but also the correct support and protection from your snowboard shape.
You definitely don’t want your last words to be, “Hey dude, watch this!”, do you? So let’s get you briefed on the different types of snowboards.
Snowboards come in a huge variety, specific to different types of boarders. However, along with your intent and skill level, also keep the snowboard weight, length, width, and all these specifications in mind before making the purchase.
There is no single renowned board type that I can tell you is best suited for beginners. It all depends on the board’s composition and how its features would aid a newbie in executing their motions seamlessly.
A freestyle board or an all-mountain snowboard is primarily what we would start off a fresher with due to its centered stance and soft flex. Both of these specific features are pretty basic and essential to allow you to personally explore what you can and like to do in the snow.
- All Mountain
All mountain boards perform brilliantly on every sort of terrain and route. The specialty of this board type is that you get a sleek directional shape on all of its models. By directional shape, we mean you can drive them in either one or two directions.
You will find that a lot of snowboarders keep all mountain boards with them just because of how functional, easy and enjoyable they are to ride.
That is also a popular reason why they are best for beginners who are still familiarizing themselves with terrains, pathways, and different routes.
Here’s where the difference is set between just all mountain boards and all-mountain freestyle snowboards. These freestyle boards perform best in terrain parks and mostly in spring weather.
So a more experienced rider will find them perfect because you can go at a high speed on them and use them on corn snow/powder snow/off-piste conditions.
All mountain freestyle boards either feature a true directional twin shape or an asymmetrical directional twin shape. And they come in various camber styles, and flex patterns, and are generally softer than other boards. These capabilities work on all sorts of terrains, just give them a go and watch!
As the name states, this all-mountain board variant is focused primarily on allowing the rider speed and strength in their performance. It can be ridden in a terrain park, or off-piste, as the aggressive side is not too obvious.
With a slightly stiffer flex pattern, these boards are more stable when riding in tricky areas like between trees and steep cliff-like locations where the drops are steeper.
In spirit, aggressive all-mountain boards are primarily meant to survive in mixed circumstances with their specifically organized setup that includes a wide tip and binding mounts situated a little behind the center.
If you’re looking for a type of board that blends and adapts to whichever tricks, flips, stunts, and jibs you’re trying to execute, look no further than a freestyle board. This type of board is not dedicated to a certain setup, style, or design, but instead, there are plenty of variations under this umbrella category.
Moreover, it entirely depends on which trick exactly you need to perform on one of these boards.
Soft flex freestyle boards are best suited for jibs, tricks on flat expanses, and small jumps. Stiff flex freestyle snowboards are more for bigger, more complex jumps.
- Freeride Boards
A freeride board is for the daredevils, the wanderlust souls, the fearless who won’t hesitate in winging a whole ride through unkempt, wild, and unpredictable mountain sides. Freeride snowboards are exceptional in assisting the rider to navigate long and winding pathways down hills that are full of bumps and surprises.
You get the finest edge hold on these freeride boards, therefore, they are perfect for rougher rides and are a bit stiffer than usual.
Freeride boards are not a good option for a beginner, especially when you’re not familiar with how aggressive an unexpected mountain ride with deep snow can get.
An Alpine board is long, stiffly set up, and narrower than a freestyle snowboard or a freeride snowboard. They are made for high-speed riding where long carved turns are involved. You might think that this is a highly specific condition, but there’s a reason why they’re also called carving boards.
Alpine boards look more like a big ski and are directional boards by nature, so you can generally only ride them in one direction. It is meant to be driven by racers who are ready to brave the necessary conditions, so newbie boarders… beware!
Powder snow riding can get intensely tricky and challenging as it needs an insane amount of stability and control.
A powder board is designed to withstand such conditions as they are wider and longer than other boards and has a tailored rocker nose profile that lifts up a bit more than the tail. This helps powder boards glide smoother on deep powder snow.
When shopping for a powder board, make sure you consider the width of the board as they are wider than an all-mountain board or a freestyle snowboard which means your ski boots may not fit. So do give your powder snowboard a try with your boots before making the final purchase.
The perfect 2-in-1 package for those hybrid rides where you need both skis and snowboards to accomplish your dream backcountry journey. Splitboards can be split lengthwise in half for you to use them as skis wherever necessary.
When assembled in board form, splitboards have wider noses and tails, and a softer flex, which increases their overall stability. However, this is no hard and fast rule, as you will find varying flexes and shapes to this board type. So it is essential to select one in accordance with your proportions and riding style.
Additional Snowboard Features
- Traditional Camber
A classic camber style is all about instilling stability and quick responsiveness to your ride. Whether it is hardpacked snow or groomed parks, the terrain doesn’t matter as the camber is down to pretty much tackle anything head-on.
For those speedy riders who love to experience the thrill of sharp and powerful turns, the camber plays a big role in ensuring that doesn’t end up in a disaster.
A cambered board is designed to elevate your experience two notches higher, and all you have to do is just enjoy yourself.
- Flat Camber
Flat cambers, also called neutral cambers, are their trademark specialty. With a flat camber, you basically have an almost flat underfoot on your snowboard. There is neither lift nor ride towards the nose or tail.
The advantage of using flat camber is that they are perfect for making sharp and quick turns that can be both unexpected or unpredicted on open terrain (preferably where there are trees). Not just that, but they are designed to increase the feel of the whole experience while also increasing float.
- Reverse Camber (aka Rocker Camber)
Reverse cambers result in tips and tails turned upwards. They’re usually seen on powder boards where they help the rider to maneuver their way around powder snow which can get quite challenging to navigate at times.
It is said that these are softer than cambered boards, thus giving you easy turns, and are a popular favorite among novice boarders.
However, advanced riders can still manage to get a powerful and eventful ride out of these beginner boards. It just takes the right amount of expertise.
- Mixed or Modified Camber
Where one specific specialized board doesn’t do it for ‘ya, that’s when you steer yourself toward a hybrid style. Modified cambers have a bit of rocker, flat, and classic camber style to them and are generally available in a certain design order.
Commonly modified cambers come in flat-to-rocker, hybrid rocker, and hybrid camber styles. Hybrid cambers have a rocker at the tip and tail with camber underfoot. Hybrid rockers bring you a camber style at the tip and tail and, at the same time, a rocker at the feet.
Last but not least, flat-to-rocker, in the same fashion, incorporates flat camber with rocker style, balancing out your board and giving you the best of both worlds.
Whether it is powder snowboards, park snowboards, or all-mountain snowboards that you are headed off to buy, the price tag doesn’t matter.
As long as the snowboard weight, length, width, flex, and area of interest match your skill set, then… just do it!
Guest Author: Adrian Salazar
My name is Adrian Salazar and I have been wrapped up in the world of water and other extreme sports since the first time I went kayaking. When I’m not working hard trying to deliver the best writing that I can, I am usually out on a lake or hiking up a mountain.
My world is completely dominated by writing and the mix of adrenaline and peace of mind that can be achieved while engaging in new sports. I will use my knowledge, experience, and mistakes, to inform you about the best ways that you can become a part of the world of extreme sports.
You can count on me to give you my informed and unbiased opinion about any sporting equipment you may need. I know from personal experience that extreme sports are something that you need to head into completely and accurately informed. Let my experience guide you.