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Decide on your riding style

When choosing a snowboard, first of all, you should decide where and how you will ride.

You can see the purpose of the snowboard on the label or ask a consultant. In online stores, as a rule, it is possible to set the desired parameter in product filters.

All-mountain snowboards

how to choose an all-mountain snowboard
Photo: Ozon

The name speaks for itself: such snowboards are suitable for skiing on prepared tracks, and for light freeride. Beginners should choose just such boards.

What to buy

Snowboards for freeride (Freeride)

how to choose a snowboard for freeride (Freeride)
Photo: Ozon

These are boards for unprepared slopes, suitable for skiing in deep snow. They are longer and wider than the universal ones. Often the nose is wider than the tail.

What to buy

Freestyle Snowboards (Freestyle, Park & ​​Pipe)

how to choose a snowboard for freestyle (Freestyle, Park & Pipe)
Photo: Ozon

Such boards are shorter and softer than universal boards, often have twin-tip geometry, that is, the same ends, due to which the rider can continue riding both face and back forward after jumps.

What to buy

Choose the right length

The next important parameter is the length of the board. A snowboard is selected according to the height of the rider, taking into account the destination.

If you are buying by hand, you can use the simplest method: put the board next to you. If the edge of the snowboard is in the space from the nose to the chin, then the board is probably right for you.

If you buy a snowboard in a store or online, find a table indicating the height and weight of the rider on the official website of the brand. Almost all well-known manufacturers publish such parameters. However, the boundaries are quite wide. For example, the same board may be suitable for a person weighing 60 and 97 kg.

To begin with, you can clarify the official data, and then look at the table that is not tied to the brand. For example, option from snowboard expert Adam Ryan.

Height (cm) Weight, kg) Snowboard length (cm)
152 45–59 139–145
155 45–64 139–147
157 50–68 142–150
160 50–68 143–151
163 50–73 144–154
165 54–77 146–155
168 54–77 147–156
170 54–82 148–157
173 59–82 151–158
175 59–86 151–159
178 59–86 152–160
180 64–91 155–162
183 64–95 156–163
185 68–95 158–164
188 68–100 159–165
191 72–100 162–166
193 72–100 163–168

When choosing a snowboard, weight matters more than height. If you are too heavy for the board, it will flex under you more than it needs to, if you are too light, it will not flex enough. Therefore, if your weight is outside the values ​​indicated for your height, take a board from the next or previous category.

In addition to height and weight, when choosing a length, it is worth considering:

  • Riding style. If you are going to ride off-piste in deep snow – take the longest one that suits your height and weight, plan to ride on a well-groomed track – choose something in between within acceptable limits, tune in to tricks in the pipe – take the shortest one that suits you.
  • Level of training. A long board is more difficult to control, so beginners are advised to take a snowboard 3-5 cm shorter than the recommended length.

Decide on the width of your snowboard

If you are buying a snowboard from a store, determine the ideal width from your foot length.

Take off your shoes and put your foot on the sliding surface of the board in the binding area. Position your foot at the same angle as it will be while riding. In this position, the toes should touch the front edge, and the heel – the back. The foot may protrude a maximum of 5 mm on both sides.

When you put on the boot, the foot will protrude a maximum of 2 cm from the edges on each side. If the snowboard is wider, you will have less control during turns, and boots that stick out too much can snag on the snow.

For those who buy a snowboard online and cannot measure it, there are width tables depending on the size of the shoe.

Men’s:

Waist Width (mm) Size (Ru) Foot length (mm)
240245 37.540 235255
245250 4042 255265
250255 4243 265275
255265 4345 265285
265+ 45+ 285+

Women’s:

Waist Width (mm) Size (Ru) Foot length (mm)
<235 <36 <235
235240 3638 235245
240245 3839.5 245250
245+ >39.5 >250

Consider stiffness

One of the most important characteristics of a snowboard is stiffness. It determines how stable your board will be on different tracks and how much effort you have to spend to control it.

Most manufacturers use a hardness rating from 1 to 10, where 1 is the softest and 10 is the hardest. However, the level of hardness is not standardized and can vary greatly depending on the brand.

Generally, snowboards fall into three categories.

Soft (12)

Suitable for beginners and light riders. These boards are easier to control and require less effort to turn or maneuver.

Soft snowboards are good for park and freestyle skiing, but are not stable enough on rough trails, vulnerable to vibration, and uncomfortable at high speeds.

Medium (35)

Most all-round snowboards have this stiffness. They are quite stable, suitable for riding both on a rolled track, and on snow between trees, and in park conditions.

They should be taken by advanced riders and professionals.

Hard and very hard (<6)

Such boards require a lot of energy to maneuver, so starting with them is a bad idea. On the plus side, they are very stable, behave well on rough roads and are suitable for high speed.

Find the right deflection

An important parameter when choosing is the type of deflection. The ease of managing a snowboard directly depends on it.

snowboard choice
Photo: polunoch / Depositphotos
  • Camber (classic, or weight deflection). Such a snowboard has a raised central part. When the rider stands on the board, the pressure is evenly distributed over the entire surface. Learning to snowboard with a classic camber is quite difficult: skiing requires good technique, mistakes are not forgiven. Therefore, for beginners, another type of deflection is better suited – a rocker.
  • Rocker (rocker, banana). The central part of the snowboard touches the ground, and the ends are arched. The arched shape makes it easier to learn: due to one point of support, the board is more obedient and easy to control, it turns after you with any movement of the body. Snowboards with this curve are often chosen by freestylers: the rocker is good for big air (ski jumping) and jibbing (gliding on railings and other surfaces). Also suitable for freeriding.
  • Flat (zero deflection). The central part of such a snowboard is absolutely flat, and the ends are raised above the ground. It is well suited for both relaxed beginner riding and freestyler tricks.
  • Hybrid / Combo (combined deflections). There are a large number of hybrid curves: camber-rocker-camber (as in the picture above), rocker-camber-rocker, rocker-flat-rocker and many others. Due to the combination of bends, certain characteristics of the snowboard are increased. For example, speed or ease of control.

Decide on the geometry

It depends on the shape of the snowboard whether it will be comfortable for you to ride the chosen style. There are three main types.

Directional

In directional snowboards, the sidecut radius and embeds – the holes for the bindings are shifted down, towards the tail. Also, the nose of a snowboard is usually made softer than the tail.

Such boards are very stable and stable, suitable for skiing both on a rolled track and on only fallen snow. However, due to the offset of the mortgages, you can ride on such a board only in one direction; it will be uncomfortable in the reverse stance.

Twin-tip

These are perfectly symmetrical boards that are often used for park riding. Since the nose and tail are the same in length and stiffness, it is convenient to ride them in any stance – both forward and reverse (switch).

Twin-tip directional

The nose and tail of such a board are as symmetrical as in a regular twin-tip, but the embeds are shifted to one side, and the stiffness of the nose and tail is different. On such a board you can ride both in the park and in the virgin lands.

See how the mortgages are arranged

The location of the mortgages on the board affects the subsequent choice of fasteners.

The 4×4 and 2×4 options are two even rows of holes. The only difference is that in the first case, the distance between the mortgages in a row is 4 cm, and in the second – 2 cm. Both types can be used with universal discs.

If you choose between them, it is better to take a board with 2 × 4 mortgages. Firstly, due to the greater number of holes, they allow you to adjust the position of the mount on the board more accurately. Secondly, they can be used with mini discs, which give the snowboard more flexibility while riding.

The 3D Pattern is found only on Burton boards and is diamond shaped holes. They need special discs, with the same diamond-shaped holes.

Another option from Burton is the Infinite Channel System (ICS). Here the screws are inserted into a special groove on the board. This allows particularly precise adjustment of the position of the fasteners.

There are special mounts for ICS boards – EST from Burton. They have “ears” on the sides, into which screws are inserted. Such ears will bend along with the board, removing the “dead zone” of immobility in the area of ​​u200bu200bthe mounts.

Specify the type of construction and materials

These parameters will affect the life of your snowboard and its price.

Design

There are two basic snowboard designs and their combinations.

  • Cap (cap). The core of the snowboard is closed on top with a monolithic lid, and on the bottom with a sliding surface. Such boards are easier to manufacture (well, and repair too), and therefore they are cheaper. But during the fall, the cap may split: the cap will move away from the sliding surface.
  • Sandwich (sandwich). The core, sliding surface and top decorative cover are pressed under pressure. The result is a strong construction of several layers. If you can break such a snowboard, it will be more difficult to fix it. Also, sandwiches are more expensive.
  • Combined designs. Both technologies are often used in the production of snowboards. The puff sandwich ends make the snowboard more durable, while the mid-cap provides lightness.

Snowboard core

Snowboard cores are made from different materials:

  • wood beech, ash, poplar, oak, spruce, pine. The wood core resists shock and vibration loads well. Some Mervin snowboards come with a GM wood core without rings. It is believed that this has a good effect on elasticity and strength.
  • wood and foam. Due to the foam, snowboards become lighter and cheaper. However, this reduces their elasticity and resistance to vibrations.
  • Combinations of different materials. The combination of wood, carbon and aluminum makes the snowboard stiff and light. There are many combinations, new developments are constantly appearing.

sliding surface

There are two sliding surface options:

  • Extruded polyethylene surface (extruded). It is cheaper, does not require special care, and if damaged, expensive repairs.
  • Sintered polyethylene surface (sintered). Polyethylene powder is sintered under high temperature and high pressure. Such a surface has a porous structure that absorbs the ointment well and glides better. In addition, she is not afraid of scratches and small ice chips. However, it will be more difficult to repair it.

Choose your snowboard boots

They differ in the type of lacing and stiffness. It is also equally important to choose the right size.

Lacing system

Classic lacing

This is the most common lacing that needs to be tightened by hand. It takes more time to tie than other options, but if the laces break, they are easy to replace.

puff

In such a system there are special cables. To tie your boots, just pull on them.

Boa system

This is a system with a wheel that automatically tightens the laces when you turn. They are very easy to put on and take off, easy to adjust to your foot. There are options with one and two wheels.

Rigidity

Firmness is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1-2 is soft, 3-5 is medium, and above 5 is hard.

Stiffer boots provide good handling, but they are quite uncomfortable, especially if you are a beginner rider.

If you are going to ride on the track, take boots with medium stiffness. For freestyle, soft and medium boots are chosen to make it easier to do tricks, and for freeride, medium and hard boots are chosen to ensure good foot stability on aggressive surfaces.

In any case, hard boots are only suitable for advanced snowboarders, so if you are going out on the trail for the first time, buy medium or soft ones.

The size

To find the perfect boot, go to the store with the socks you plan to wear and take four tests.

1. Remove the insole and place your foot on it. The foot should not hang over the edges of the insole or, conversely, be far away from them.

2. Return the insole to its place, put on the boot and tighten it well. The big toe should lightly touch the toe of the boot.

3. Bend the knee so that the shin goes forward and transfer the weight of the body to the toes.

In this position, your heel should be pressed tightly against the heel of the boot, and the toe should move back a little.

4. Move from heel to toe and back, the way you would move on the board when transitioning from edge to edge.

If your heel comes off the insole too much, try a size down.

What to buy

Choose your snowboard bindings

When buying, it is important to follow this order: first the boots, then the bindings. The heel and toe of the boot must protrude from the binding by the same distance. If your heel and toe balance is off, your weight on the board will be uneven and you will push more on one edge. As a result, the quality of riding will suffer.

Therefore, for bindings, go along with the boots and be sure to try them on before buying.

Snowboard bindings are divided by type of construction. This parameter determines how quickly you can fasten them on the slope.

With two straps (Strap‑in)

These are the most common fasteners. To put them on, you need to unfasten the two straps, put your foot in and tighten them.

With folding highback (Rear-entry)

In such bindings, the straps are interconnected for better fixation of the boot. To put them on, you need to fold the highback, insert your foot, and then return it to its place. They are easier and faster to fasten than Strap-in fasteners.

There are also combination models that have both straps and a folding highback.

Step-in and Step-on mounts

These are fasteners without straps. As the name implies, to put on a snowboard, it is enough to step on the bindings with a boot, and they will snap into place. It’s much faster and easier than fiddling with straps or highbacks.

Step-in models do not have a highback, so they can only be used with very stiff boots, which is not very comfortable and definitely not suitable for beginners. In addition, snow gets into such bindings and prevents the boots from snapping into place.

Not so long ago, Burton offered a new model – Step-on. These bindings have a highback, and they fix the boot in three points: on the heel and on both sides of the foot. To snap in these bindings, you first need to insert your heel and lower it until it clicks, and then transfer your body weight to the toe and snap it into place.

Step-on only work with special boots from Burton. These models have Boa lacing with two wheels, which fixes the front of the leg like straps.

If you want to choose the mounts most accurately, watch the video below – different types, their pros and cons are analyzed in great detail.

What to buy

That’s all. If you know any other important parameters that you need to consider when choosing, write in the comments.