Snowboarding Essentials
Main Equipment Snowboards

Snowboards

With the rise in manufacturers over the last number of years, riders have been spoiled for choice when it comes to snowboards
these days. To choose the right board, you'll need to consider several factors.

Length

The length of your board could well be the most important dimension you should consider. A short board standing vertically will reach to a height between your collar bones and your chin while a medium length board will come up to the area between your chin and nose. Any snowboards which reach out to your eye level and beyond are considered long.

Short snowboards provide greater maneuverability and are ideal for beginners or snowboarding aerialists who find them easier for spinning while grabbing air. Medium length boards are best suited to competent riders who enjoy traversing through a variety of terrain while longer boards provide increased speed and stability for advanced riders to carve big mountain or deep powder.

Width

There really isn't much room for variation when it comes to board width since the right width for you basically comes down to your foot size. Ideally, in your riding stance, your boots should be positioned evenly across the board with the length of your boots covering the width of the board from edge to edge.

Getting your board width and foot position right will provide greater edge control and subsequently assist in your control of speed and direction. Having your feet hang out over the sides of a narrow board could result in your feet touching the snow and cause you to skid or fall over from toe drag.

If you are using a board which causes you to have excessive overhang, try increasing the angle of your feet during your stance.
Snowboarding
If you find that you are forcing your feet toward an angle of more than about 30 degrees, it may be time to get a wider board. Board manufacturers provide wide snowboards for riders with large feet. Wide boards provide better float for deep powder but are of course heavier.

Shape

The ideal shape of your board will depend on your preferred style. Freestyle boards are generally wide, short, light, soft and built for riders who enjoy performing freestyle tricks in the halfpipe and terrain park. They float well in soft powder and are a good choice for beginners due to their soft flex which allows for easier turning.

A disadvantage of freestyle snowboards is that they have less sidecut (the radius of the curve cut into the side of the board) than other boards and consequently are less than ideal for handling carved turns at high speed.

Freeride boards are multi-purpose boards which are a little stiffer and longer than freestyle boards to provide for greater speed stability and the ability to ride through a variety of snow conditions. As with freestyle boards, they are soft flexing and are great for beginners. Freeride boards also have a deeper sidecut than their freestyle counterparts which allows for the carving of precise turns.

Alpine carving or race snowboards are stiffer and narrower than all other boards and, with its flat tail, they are built primarily for forward riding and making sharp turns at high speed. The stiffness of these snowboards make them difficult to use for beginners.

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