How to Buy Your First Snowboard

Cayley Alger, Coalition Snow Ambassador gets high in The Remarkables, New Zealand|  PC: Ryan Flack

Buying a new snowboard is like buying a new car, though without the horrendous mechanical bills. Just like a car each one is designed for a different purpose, a different driver, and a different aesthetic. Before you enter the realm of shopping for a new board, whether that be in the virtual or the real world, here’s a few tips to ensure you don’t walk away with a dud.

1.  Consider yourself first - Your body I mean. This is not your ticket to become a narcissistic fool. But rather pull out the tape measure, step on the scales even measure your foot if it’s particularly long, and crunch some numbers. Consider your own strength and don't underestimate it.

2.  Where will you be riding? Fresh Japanese pow or pristine corduroy groomers? Or will you be doing park laps for days?

3.  And finally, general wear and tear. Boards will soften over time so what feels relatively stiff and poppy from the old push test in the store will eventually give a little. Take it out for a demo if you can.    

With that in mind, consider the following factors when searching for your perfect board.                

Length: Shorter boards being easier to maneuver or manipulate are generally advised for the beginner riders, though are also aptly suited to the jib freestyle enthusiast too. Look for one that reaches the collar-bone to chin area. The longer the board the more effort it takes to maneuver. Though it all comes down to personal preference. Generally speaking the increased surface area will aid that float in the Japanese pow (or Sierra cement, for that matter). 

Directional vs Twin tip: Which way will you be riding your board, and by that I mean which direction. Will you be mixing it up between regular and switch frequently? Directional boards generally have a slightly longer nose than tail. Where as a twin tip could be chopped down the middle and you would be given two identical halves which is more ideal for stopping 180s, 540s and 900s.

Width: Is generally fairly proportionate with the length and recommended weight guidelines of the board, though if you do have exceptionally long or tiny feet definitely worth looking into the exact measurements. Riding something a little too wide is just going to increase the amount of time it takes you to get form edge to edge. While anything too narrow will cause toe or heel drag – and no one wants that.

Profile: Finally the board's profile. The introduction of hybrid camber and rocker boards is not to completely bewilder you. Camber works on a scale of positive, neutral and negative. Positive camber is little more poppy and responsive to holding an edge where as negative or reverse camber ultimately has a more forgiving response though less edge grip or bite.

Graphic: If you're like me it has taken a little self-control and restraint to channel my board buying decisions to more logical considerations. I guess you could say I’ve come a long way from shopping for artwork instead of snowboards. Though considering the amount of time we spend on a mountain 6 hours a day preferably 5 to 7 days a week, having something aesthetically appealing attached to our feet is an important factor. Consider it a small expression of your personality and an extension to your riding.

Now judging by the fact you're already on this website and you’ve now made it to the end of my long-winded article. I’ll make an educated guess and say that the pink, flexy board can safely be crossed off your wish list.