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Freeride Snowboard Buyers Guide

Snowboarding is an adrenaline-pumping activity with fast-paced action. However, there is a wide range of styles associated with snowboarding. It could be hard to determine which suits you the best. If you're here, then you're looking for the best freeride snowboards.

A freeride snowboard has to be durable and provide stability for you. It should be able to deliver impeccable control for you as you're riding on uneven snow trails. There are many considerations that you would have to make. Of course, price does make a vital factor as you get what you pay for.

However, this guide aims to break down complex information in layman's language to help you make an informed decision. There's no need for you to fall under the specification considerations. Don't get enticed by the marketing schemes of the manufacturers.

Here is the ultimate buyers guide for freeride snowboards with some frequently asked questions, useful tips, and tricks.

What is a freeride snowboard? How is it different from other boards?

People often confuse freeride, freestyle, and all-mountain snowboard as the same thing. However, there is a significant difference between each one of these.

All-mountain or mountain snowboarding is a versatile type of snowboarding that you can do on almost any trail. Freestyle has more to do with snowboarding parks, full of stunts and other exciting activities.

However, freeride style is about riding the mountains on various terrains of the snow. A freeride riding is generally down the hill as you pick up the speed. It doesn't require you to have sharp turns, but directional control and a proper board to support it.

In freeride snowboarding, you might not know much about the trail and may come across unforeseeable obstacles. Some might require you to take sharp turns. There will be uneven snow and non-groomed trails that will appeal to your wild and adventurer side.

In simple words, freeride snowboarding is about sliding down the hill and controlling yourself with optimum speed as you move through unknown and uneven snow trails. It is one of the authentic methods to enjoy snowboarding. Therefore, you need freeride snowboards that can support these activities.

Reasons to buy a freeride snowboard

The reason to buy the right snowboard is to purchase the correct baseball bat, football shoes, or even the proper bicycle for cycling activities. In other words, each board has a specific purpose and performance-based around a particular requirement.

Similarly, a freeride snowboard is specifically for freeride trails. It will provide you optimum control, steady pace, and ease in movements. Here are some reasons to buy freeride snowboards:

Activity-specific tool

Just like any other sport or activity, you need a specific tool for the job. Similarly, you need the right kind of board to ensure a proper freeriding experience among different snowboarding types. It would help you get the best results with optimum performance.

Right for your skill

If you are a professional snowboarder, then you might have an individual style and skill. Your experience already tells you that no two boards are equal. However, if you’re a beginner, you might want to explore your abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Robust freeride snowboards will help you get an authentic experience of the activity and the type of trails. You will be able to determine whether these types of tracks are right for you or not.

Better performance & control

This point can’t be hard pressed enough. Snowboarding has too many factors like better edge control, grip, floating, sliding, different snow types, and trails. Therefore, if you want the best power and performance, you have to get an accurate freeride snowboard.

Ease of rolling down the snow

Freeride snowboarding is about sliding down from the top of the mountain. No other board will be able to do it as great as a freeride snowboard. Hence, these are also popular among teenagers and children. If you want to slide down the mountains on a wild trail without much control and other things, you need a freeride snowboard.

Factors to consider when buying freeride snowboards

So, you’re finally ready to grab one of the freeride snowboards and roll down the hill. Before that, whether you purchase or rent, it is crucial to check out these factors to make the right decision.

Remember, no two boards are equal in any way. If you don’t have the right information, you may end up with an unpleasant trip. Correlatively, you may end up injuring yourself. So here are all the critical factors to consider before you purchase freeride snowboards:

The type of board

Of course, if you're looking at freeride snowboards, you will look in the freeride category, right? Not necessarily. There are multiple types of snowboards available in the market. In this list, you have four boards that can deliver you optimum performance on freeride trails.

Sometimes we don't want an activity-specific board. If you're looking for a little versatility, here are the choices:

Freestyle

A freestyle board is more durable with proper flex to help you in snowboarding parks and other similar areas. These types of snowboards are great for beginners to intermediate level users due to the customization options available.

You can experiment with a freestyle snowboard. As these tend to be easier to maintain and cheaper to afford, it could be the right choice if you're new to freeride. If you seek to explore the freeride territory and keep the freestyle option open, this might be the type of board you need.

Freeride

A freeride board is much better for sliding down the mountain on the not specific or leveled trails. Most of the time, if you're looking to tackle the mountain, this could be a good choice. However, you have to remember that these boards are directional.

Ergo, you don't have much control in that area. Correlatively, a freeride board is still significant in freestyle and half-pipe snowboarding, just more focused on freeride trails.

Alpine

If speed is what you need and don’t have many options for tricks and skills, then alpine is a straightforward board. You can roll it down the path and receive the best speed. In other words, an alpine snowboard would be great.

All-mountain snowboard

These are the jack of all trades that work on any trail. If you’re looking for a flexible board for multiple tracks and well-versed performance, this is the right choice. Whether you go freeriding, downhill, racing, or powder snowboarding, these will deliver balanced performance.

For these boards, it all comes down to how well you can use them. If you want a free ride snowboard that can be good in other trails, this is the best option.

Size of the board

Once you choose the category, the most vital factor to start considering is the size. It is the kingpin of selecting the right board. In other words, if you have the right size, you can make almost any board work.

However, anything bigger or smaller will make you lose control. You will end up falling and crashing more frequently than you might expect. The entire control spectrum of the freeride snowboards depends on the size.

A general rule of thumb

The general rule of thumb for getting the right length snowboard is that it should be around the chin or nose length when you put it up straight. However, as it is a freeride snowboard, it can be a little shorter. Freestyle boards need to be shortest, but freeride snowboards should be more significant than freestyle and smaller than an alpine board.

In other words, for more speed and less control, you need a bigger size. If you don’t want to get too deep into it, just choose the freeride board around your chin length.

When not to follow the general rule

Length consideration works when you’re an average weighted individual in the size range. However, if you’re a person who has more weight than the average height, you need a more durable snowboard.

Alternatively, if you’re lighter, you might need a more flexible snowboard to get the work done. After all, the board's flex can backfire if you’re heavy, and the board isn’t set to support your weight. In these cases, you can also get a longer board for the proper choice.

Width of the board

The width is equally vital as it would impact the placement of your feet. If you have bigger feet, you need a broader board and vice versa. Mainly because if your feet are outside the board’s range, it will tangle with the trail, and you can potentially fall or injure yourself.

Feet under the board’s width would make it harder for you to control the speed and stop. The best way to get the right width for freeride snowboards is around the edge of the board. Your toes should be slightly outside the border, but not too much.

Binding compatibility of freeride snowboards

Boots are a vital consideration. For optimum safety, best control, and ensuring that you are on the board, you need to choose the right boots. Similarly, when selecting freeride snowboards, you have to consider the binding style.

It will determine how easy or challenging it will be to get off the board. Of course, as freeride snowboards require you to have better control, it might be a good idea to get a step-in board, but you will lose the firm hold. Let’s look at the three types of bindings available in freeride snowboards:

Strap-in

A strap-in snowboard will require you to use a harness or strap to wrap around your boots. It is a great way to keep your snowboard firmly stuck on your feet. However, it has a considerable drawback.

If you get it too tight or too loose, you may end up tangling or not getting off the board at all. In other words, it can be a little challenging for freeride style since you’re going to a non-groomed area. Correlatively, if you are racing or know the trail, these could be the right choice.

Step-in

A step-in type will hold your feet as soon as you place it inside. These have auto-locking or auto-harness to keep your feet planted firmly. However, you can easily undo them by pressing the button or through specific movements.

Overall, it will be easier for you to get out of the step-in binding if the situation calls for it. If you don’t want to get stuck to the straps, these are a great choice. Now, remember that if you get this binding, your freeride snowboard will grow in cost.

Hybrid

A hybrid snowboard binding encompasses both straps and a step-in module. It is the right choice if you are looking for more versatility. In case you want the ease of step-in, you have access to it. Similarly, if you want straps, that’s accessible as well.

Alternatively known as the flow-in bindings, these are the best choice, but costly.

The flex factor

If you’re talking about personal preference, here’s something that will impact the turns and changes in your motion. The board's flex is what determines how easy it will be for you to control the board.

Torsional flex

This flex factor will determine whether you can take sharp turns or not. Now, if you’re going for a trail that requires you to move around often, you need softer flex. Too soft will end up making it hard for you to pick acceleration at all.

Torsional flex also impacts the rigidity of the turn. If you have a soft flex, you will have a more balanced turn. A rigid torsional flex means no turning for you. So this breaks down to your personal preference and type of freeride trail you will embark on.

Longitudinal flex

The longitudinal flex dictates how well will your freeride snowboard receive the snow. There are different types of snow and quality. If you are going for powder snow, you don’t need to worry too much about flexibility, and it can be stiff.

However, if you are going for deeper and more rigid snow, then you’d need more flexibility. It’s to ensure you don’t feel too many bumps and receive a smooth ride. Most of the freeride snowboards are stiffer on the front and softer on the back.

Stiff or soft

The best you can do is get a stiffer or softer flex. If you want more control and change the directions often, you will need a softer flex. However, it also means that you will compromise the speed and acceleration.

A softer flex means your board will survive weight, force, and obstacles better. Stiff flex means it will have better acceleration at the cost of control. So it breaks down to your snowboarding style.

The shape of the board

Does the shape of your freeride snowboards matter? Yes. While you can experiment with the design and get many premium additions, some will impact your performance. If you plan on getting one of those high-end freerides snowboards, you might want to consider these factors when selecting:

Tip and tail

This will impact the directional control of your board and the speed of your board. If you get a directional shape, then you will have the added benefit of better speed. A twin (or same shape on both ends) enables you to have no problem when riding and changing from backside to front side and vice versa, the right choice for anyone looking to pull some stunts.

If you don’t want to consider the right direction, a true twin chape could be a great choice, as well. Directional twins allow you to have two different types of directional addition on each end. Hence, these are great for versatility and to counter different types of trail. If you’re looking for a versatile board, then you need a twin-directional.

Overall shape

The great thing about boards is that you can experiment with the overall shape. However, before that, consider the base of the board and chamber. You will find information about them below to make the right choice regarding the board's overall shape.

You can have any shape as long as it doesn’t impact your style and ability.

The base of the board

There are two types of qualities available for the base of the board.

Extruded

This is the most common type of base available. It requires low maintenance, and it is easier to repair. However, it is more prone to wear and tear and highly relies upon your use for the board.

While sintered boards require wax to perform optimally, if you don’t want to invest in wax, this is an excellent choice. An extruded base means it is polyethylene material, popularly known as P-tex.

Sintered

This is a premium-grade base that means you will have a faster board with better control. These are more durable and require frequent waxing for optimum performance. If you want speed, then this is the right choice.

For durability, gliding, and other requirements, a sintered base often has other materials like graphite added to it.

Chamber of your board

The chamber of your board is about the contouring. It is the area that comes primarily under the contact of the snow. A chamber's shape determines how the force is distributed and how well you can control the board.

Traditional

The traditional snowboard chamber brings you a well-versed performance with no tweak or drawbacks. These work best in any trail and withstand intense pressure easily. If you want a frictionless snowboarding experience, this could be an excellent choice to begin with.

Flat

A flat chamber will allow you to have better control at the turns. It will provide you better floating. These types are great for versatility and prove to be great for the rail type snowboarding.

Rocker

These types are better for stunts and control after performing the stunts. Hence, if you try something tricky with your freeride snowboard, you might want a rocker.

If you are more of a surfer-type snowboard rider, this could be the right choice for you. For beginners, rocker could be a great choice as it is easy to control and more forgiving than other chamber types.

Mixed

There are many options available that allow you to customize the contour. Of course, it means that there will be added cost. However, once you understand your riding style, your perks, and drawbacks, you can easily modify it for better output.

FAQs: Best Freeride Snowboards

Q: Who should use freeride snowboards?

If you're an adventurer who seeks to embark on wild snow trails for the true thrill of snowboarding, freeride style might be perfect for you. Freeride snowboards are great for unkept snow trails that are full of unexpected turns and challenges.

Q: Is freeride snowboard suitable for beginners?

Freestyle snowboarding would be better than freeride style for beginners. However, due to their robust design and better controlling, a freeride snowboard could prove to be a practical choice for beginners.

Q: How long does a freeride snowboard last?

It comes down to the price you pay for the snowboard. More expensive snowboards have premium-grade material that can last for years to come. A standard snowboard can last anywhere between 150 to 200 days. Any snowboard works optimally for 100 days before requiring proper care.

It also breaks down to your style of riding and how you use the snowboard overall.

Q: How to maintain your freeride snowboard?

Maintaining the snowboard is easy. As long as you keep it clean and waxed, it would function optimally. It is a good idea to clean your board after every use. Depending on the rides, you might have to wax once every 5-7 days at the least.

Conclusion

Snowboarding is an enthralling sport that can be elevated to extremely professional levels. Therefore, choosing the right snowboard plays a vital role. It is especially critical when considering freeride snowboards.

This guide is your one-stop solution to everything related to buying considerations. You might have also learned something valuable regarding other styles. With this guide, you might be able to figure out boards for different styles, as well.

After all, it all breaks down to size, width, binding, and board flex. The material and other factors influence all of these specifications. That's all!

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