Picking the right snowboard is more than walking into the store and grabbing just anyone that please your eyes. You need to look past the design and aesthetics to get into the practicality. It can drastically impact your performance, especially if you're a beginner.
For beginners, it's vital to get the taste of the sport and learn to enjoy it. It won't do you any good if you choose a board that causes problems. That's where expert advice and extensive research comes into play! If you're looking for a beginner snowboard guide, then you've come to the right place.
This guide helps you learn all the terminologies and essential factors to consider. You will understand why these factors matter and even get some advice. Furthermore, you will find some tips on accessories with answers to common questions.
It is also a great guide to help you shuffle through countless options and pick the one right for you. So without further ado, here's the guide:
There are way too many terms that are related to a snowboard. It has way too many parts. However, we are not bringing you a complete collection of these terminologies. These are some essential words and meanings you should know to appear well-informed. Most of the other terms would be explained in-guide, so you don't have to worry about that.
It's the side of your snowboard that will come in contact with the snow for you to glide.
The baseplate connects binding to the snowboard. It has to be robust to ensure a proper transfer of force and movements.
It is the middle part of the board, which also happens to be narrowest on the board. Narrow waists are better for beginners and provide ease when turning.
The vibration of the board, especially at higher speeds or during turns.
If the edges of the board are too sharp, they might catch the snow too frequently. De-turning dulls down the edges.
Many snowboards have an angular edge that provides better grip, sharper turns, or overall less snow accumulation. A bevel should be higher for racing snowboards, lower for freestyle riders.
Now that you have a clear understanding of different terms, it's time to move onto the actual factors to consider. As the guide states, these are according to the beginners. Therefore, we won't get too deep in the details or information that could confuse the beginners. The aim is to keep the explanation in layman's terms to make it easier for anyone to understand. So without further ado, let's begin:
For beginner snowboards, it's vital to consider the type because each model is suitable for a particular task and requirements. The categories often make it easier for you to select the right board for the purpose. It can simplify the entire process. Hence, here's a quick overview of each one:
These are perfect for snowboarding parks and to get crisp turns with stability. Freestyle is an excellent choice for those who seek to have some fun. It is exciting and often used by those seeking to perform stunts.
However, they are not great for long-distance travel or high-speed. They are shorter in length and often have too much flexibility to provide stability for high speeds or long trails. These are good for small snowboarding areas with slopes and ascends to jump, flip and such.
Often confused with freestyle, it is an entirely different type of board. A freeride board is for downhill rides, so it doesn't need you to provide much acceleration. It is not suitable for climbing up the mountain than it is for ascending. Therefore, it brings you more stability and the ability to make turns.
If you have an adventurer's spirit and like to explore trails that aren't set or groomed, this is what you will pick. Freeride boards are built to withstand the random snow terrain's unpredictable nature and bring you control in those regards.
A powder snowboard is excellent for quick slips and acceleration on the delicate blanket of thick snow. It is built for a region with heavy snow and often provides you the ease of gliding. Therefore, it has higher acceleration and lighter weight. It brings you an experience of 'floating.' If you want to enjoy the surfing-type activity on snow, this is what you choose.
A powder board is directional and makes turns smooth but doesn't offer sharp turns or abrupt activity that a freeride or freestyle could bring you.
Forget about these categories for beginner snowboards. Splitboards can split into two to provide you the ability to climb uphill. However, it requires a lot of skills and control for you to maintain the board. It is essential when you're sliding down the hill that you'd need a lot of control over the split board. Therefore, these are the worst you can choose for beginners.
This is perhaps your ace in the hole, a jack of all trades. All-mountain snowboards bring you performance for every type of trail. If you're a beginner who's still exploring which 'style' of snowboarding is right for them, this could be a great choice. It would prevent you from investing in too many boards to try different styles.
You have the flexibility to get customized options from directional to twin directional and much more. However, all-mountain snowboards offer versatile use. Thus, they don't excel in any, they are balanced. Correlatively, you can make some tweaks to make them good in a specific spectrum than another.
The size of the board will determine how efficiently it will use your force to maneuver. It will evaluate the stability while turning and whether it can make sharp turns or not. More importantly, the length of the board often decides its durability and integrity.
While categorizing would easily save you the trouble, these tips related to size consideration will further help you make the right choice:
Of course, you need to consider the length of the board. The general rule of thumb depicts that no board should be longer than your nose length if you put it up right next to you for length comparison. However, different boards have different size requirements. The better rule for most is to consider the chin's length at best. The base of neck to chin length is suitable for beginners.
Longer boards provide better acceleration and speed, while shorter ones are better for maneuvering needs like taking sharp turns. It comes down to what do you prefer. The next consideration when choosing the length would depend on your weight. Heavier riders should go on the higher-end of the length limit for the sake of the board's integrity.
For width, you have to place your feet (with boots) on the board's waist. Here, you will be able to judge the width by looking at the heels and toes' placement. If your toes and heels are going out of the board's width, it's a big no.
You need a balance where your toes aren't too out, just slightly out for you to give you control, around one to three centimeters. The heel should not be hanging outside at all. Similarly, you can't use too wide of a snowboard. They reduce your control over the board.
If your feet hang, you will fall more, and if your board extends in width, you will crash into things more. That's the best way to understand the importance of the right width.
Choosing the shape of the board has more to do with your riding style. You can most-likely skim this option if you have selected a category. However, some types may have two or all shape options available. In that case, to avoid confusion here is a quick overview of each snowboard shape:
A directional board has a nose on one end and a tail on another. It can only be ridden from one side and doesn't offer you the ability to change or switch sides. Most of the time, this one is suitable for added speed and acceleration. If you want to enjoy speed and take curves for turns, this is a great choice. Almost every board designed for long rides would have a directional shape.
The name true-twin is to distinguish it from directional twin. A true twin board provides you equal performance from both ends. Therefore, you can switch the sides while you're riding on the snowboard. This added flexibility helps much freestyle and freeride snowboarders. It provides them better control and stability for different terrains and stunts.
Directional twins could be a better choice as beginner snowboards. They provide a versatile use in different types of terrains and are commonly found in all-mountain snowboards. These are what you'd need if you want a versatile choice and want to learn different riding styles and whatnot. If you can't decide which riding style is for you, or if you like to enjoy all of them, get a directional twin.
The overall riding experience and control on the turns come down to the board's flex. There are two flexes that you'd have to consider longitude and torsional flex.
A flexible board is the best choice you can make as a beginner. It will be more forgiving and more comfortable to control. Generally, you shouldn't get to higher speeds until you are more skilled and confident. So higher flexibility and softer boards are more appreciable for beginner snowboards.
However, if you still want to get into the technical aspects, here's a quick overview:
It is flexible across the length of the board. If you get a stiffer board, you will feel more bumps on each ride, and it will be more sensitive. Higher stiffness is admirable for powder snowboarding or other high-speed requirements but would not be favorable for beginners. It is better to get a medium to soft flex in this aspect.
A torsional flex has more to do with the turns' controls and how your turns will be. A more flexible board in width means it will be able to take sharp turns. Less flexible means it is better for curves and long turns. It comes down to your riding style.
However, it's not a good idea to get too soft torsional flex as that would ultimately compromise the speed. It would be sensitive to any force or turns. Torsional flex should be around the medium to soft.
There are ratings from one to 10, and you would have to read them to determine the rating. Ten is stiffest, and a rating of one is the softest board.
This is something in-depth for choosing the beginner snowboards. We will try to keep it as simple as possible. Camber is the shape of the snowboard when you put it flat on the surface. Some snowboards are arched, and others have different designs. Here's a quick overview of each one:
This is the conventional design commonly used in freestyle and ride. It has a rising arch design in the center and provides more cushion to the riders. It is common for freestyle and freerides to snowboard.
This one brings you a better float and is commonly used in powder snowboarding. Flat chambers have almost no resistance. Alternatively, they are known as zero chambers.
This is the best choice for beginners because it provides an easier time sliding or gliding through the snow. You don't have to worry about considerations like edges and bevels for this design type as it is highly efficient. It enables you to make better turns.
You don't need to consider hybrid until you get more well-versed in the activity. Hybrid brings you the benefit of a versatile board that you can use in different snow trails. It can get very complicated for beginners. So there's no need for you to fall for the schemes that would say hybrid is best for you.
Of course, you can't just grab a snowboard and go out. Many other essential accessories will impact your experience. These will also determine your safety and overall protection while you indulge in the most enthralling activity on snow. Here is a quick guide to choosing the right accessories:
You can get any binding on your snowboard once you select the right board. There are three different types of bindings available for you. You can choose a strap-on binding for a stable connection with your board. This kind of binding is better for long-distance and high-speed snowboarding.
For freestyle or freeride, people prefer step-in binding, enabling them to use a button or a specific movement from the feet to unlock them. These would work for riders who don't like to be strapped to the board. If you want the freedom to step out anytime, these are a good option.
There's also a hybrid option available in case you want the flexibility of both of these. It will provide you a strap to harness for longer distances while there would be step-in primarily for stability.
Boots are the second most important consideration as they should be compatible with your bindings. You can't choose a binding that doesn't work with your boots. The primary objective of boots is to fasten you to your board.
The second objective is to act as a protective gear for your feet. So you might have to consider it's insulation, breathability, and flexibility. If you choose the wrong boot for the boar and binding, it can compromise your experience.
Some riders prefer to use a mask and prevent snow from hitting their face. It also enables them to have better breathing. If you're a freestyle or freeride snowboarder, a mask could be integral to prevent you from inhaling cold air that could damage your lungs.
Similarly, goggles remain an indispensable requirement in all types of snowboarding, especially for high speed. It doesn't just prevent snow but also other obstacles from hitting your face, and especially eyes. Snowboarding already requires too much control and balance.
A good goggle shouldn't have any colored layering and provide a clear view with scratch and damage resistance.
You might've not seen people wearing a helmet in shows or movies, but there are always helmets for snowboarders. You need to have a helmet as snowboarding is equally risky as other extreme sports, like skateboarding, cycling, or skiing.
However, a good helmet should fit inside your jacket's hoodie and often have space for you to wear an insulation cap. You can eliminate the need for a woolen winter hat if the helmet provides proper insulation.
A flexible jacket to provide you the ease of maneuvers and movement would be admirable. There are many snowboarding jackets available in the market. Their primary objective is to be waterproof, snowproof, and provide apt breathability with insulation. Some of them are stylish to bring you an appealing choice so you can look for it, as well.
A: Well, there are two types of material. Extruded would make the board less expensive and easier to maintain. It is cost-effective and the right choice for beginners. Once you start getting into performance considerations and become an advanced rider, you can consider sintered.
A: Sintered material is more expensive and would require a lot of frequent waxing. However, it is faster and more durable with more powerful performance. It also makes your board more lightweight.
A: Generally, it depends on how frequently you use it. As a general rule of thumb, it's better to wax your board once every three trips. In other words, wax after using the board three times.
A: Starters should stick around shorter ranges and use the all-mountain snowboarding range. It enables you to try different styles efficiently. As a beginner, you should avoid embarking on a long train that requires speed.
Powder snowboarding or downhill snowboarding should be avoided. Freestyle won't be a good pick either, as it requires you first to get used to the board. So a freeride or all-mountain is a better pick.
A: Most of the resorts and parks undergo maintenance for the typical trails people use. Those are the groomed snows, and it is easier for you to choose boards for them. Ungroomed snow has been fresh snow (similar to powder), but it wasn't maintained or groomed for visitors.
Thus, you have an unpredictable trail which many experienced snowboarders ride on to challenge themselves and improve their control over the boards.
Don't forget that price is not the determining factor. It's vital to get your value for money, and for that, you need to consider different specifications and aspects mentioned above. Color, aesthetics, and design would only matter after choosing the right board.
Today's technology enables you to get them customized in color and graphics later. Finally, never forget to test the snowboards before you buy them. Most of the dealers would enable you to try them. If you want to gift someone a snowboard to start their journey, this is the best way to make your pick.
Hopefully, all the tips and common questions provide you a better insight as well.
Now you're ready to choose the best beginner snowboards available in the market. So go out and find the one that is best suitable for your purpose and riding style. We hope you have a great riding experience.
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