Snow is one of the things that makes life a little bit more magical. But, if you’re a person who loves adrenaline and speed, then you’re probably loving it for different reasons rather than sledging or watching it fall.
Snowboarding is one of those thrilling sports that has become more and more popular. You don’t have to be a young person to try it – it’s fun for all ages. What isn’t as fun though, is that you should do a fair amount of research before getting into the sport. Snowboarding requires some knowledge and skills, but also thermal clothing to stay warm (the last thing you want is freezing up in the snowy mountains) and the right protective gear.
However, the thing that most people getting into the sport struggle with is finding the right board. Each board is suitable for different terrains and snow depth. In other words, people get a powder board or a split board for completely different reasons.
Types of Snowboards
Snowboards have different constructions and are made of various materials. No individual type is better than the others and you should pick the one that works best with your height, weight and riding style.
However, people usually pick their boards based on the terrain they’ll be riding on. Here are the categories to help you find the right type of board:
All-mountain – suitable for any terrain
Freestyle – great for the park
Freeride – ideal for ungroomed snow in any terrain
Powder – excellent for deep powder snow
Splitboard – best for the backcountry
But this is not all there is to know, so, let’s discuss each type in more detail.
If you want to have the option to use your board on all kinds of snowboarding slopes, then this is certainly a board you’d want to get. It’s also recommended for beginners who haven’t still figured out what riding style is best for them.
The freestyle snowboard is all about tricks and making a show out of this activity. It’s dangerous to use such a board if you aren’t experienced yet.
This model is best for ungroomed snow in any terrain. It is specially designed for adventurous riders who spend most of their time off the groomed runs. Freeride snowboards are often directional boards; this means they are meant to be ridden with one end always facing downhill. The flex of this board is usually stiffer than that of a freestyle board.
If you’re going to ride in deep powder snow, you’ll need to get a good powder board. This piece of snowboarding gear is specially designed with deep snow in mind. Plus, many powder boards include a rocker for better flotation.
A powder snowboard is available in different shapes depending on your size and style and is a bit taller. These models have a wider nose that decreases into a narrower tail. The side cuts can go from mellow to sharp in, sharp out. Keep in mind that this isn’t a board you should take out on every day. It was designed to let you experience deep snow and slay pow turns, so if you’re new to snowboarding, you might want to practice a bit with an instructor before trying out powder boards.
Splitboards are ideal for climbing in the backcountry. These boards split in half to make two skis and allow climbing on untracked backcountry slopes. Their design is ideal for adventurous boarders who have skills, confidence and knowledge to explore unpatrolled slopes. Be sure to get climbing skins and a split kit (they’re sold separately).
Choosing the Right Snowboard Design
To pick the right length for the snowboard you’ll need to consider your height and weight but also the type of snowboarding you plan to get.
In the beginning, when snowboarding was still a new thing, people would pick their board lengths by standing boards on their tails to see how tall they were compared to their height. If the nose of the board was reaching somewhere between their chin and nose, it was the right size. This method is still applicable today, but it’s far more precise if you use your body weight. For example, you might see that a 158cm board has a recommended rider weight of 70-90 kg.
To the right width, you’ll need to see how your snowboard boots fit on the waist of the snowboard. If you pick the right width, your boots will extend just a bit over the edges of the board (about 1 – 2 cm on each edge). This would help you have good leverage while turning. If the board is too wide for you and your boots don’t extend at all, you might have a more arduous time getting the board from one edge to the other. On the other hand, if your board is too narrow and your toes and heels extend too much, you might end up dragging your toes and heels, which could make you lose control.
Directional boards are designed for riding in one direction and are excellent for high-speed carving. Many freeride boards and some all-mountain boards are directional. True twins are symmetrical and show no difference in performance whether you ride them forward or backward. This feature makes them popular for park and pipe riding. Directional twin boards are ideal for people who ride all over the mountain, from groomers to the park.
Interesting Facts About Snowboarding
- There is evidence of people snowboarding as early as 1910. They would strap wooden boards to their feet and use horse reins or fishing lines to help them move down mountains or slopes.
- Sherman Poppen is the person credited with starting modern snowboarding in 1965. He was an engineer from Muskegon, Michigan, who decided to put together two skis and added some rope for steering. His wife called it a snurfer, as a mix of the words snow and surfer.
- Until the early 1980s, snowboarding was banned at resorts. It was considered to be dangerous and a teenage fad. In 1983-84, the Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont opened its slopes up to snowboarding.
- The first Snowboard Olympics started in 1998. There are 10 snowboarding events on the Winter Olympics now.
- The youngest person to win an X-Games snowboard event was fourteen-year-old Chloe Kim.
- Africa has 7 snowboard resorts.