Durable, sintered base and an impact-ready core are supported by carbon stringers. Plenty of flex for bonking off obstacles, along with good stability in less-than-ideal snow conditions. The 4x4 binding setup is ready for a variety of bindings.
Its narrow width may be too slim for riders with big feet.
This snowboard is a good choice for older kids who are ready to advance from the basics to taking some air, since this is made for ages 9 and up. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
Bindings could be sturdier and don't provide a good fit for all kids, especially those with smaller feet.
Stands out for being customizable, as beginners will appreciate being able to design their own graphics for the board. Made for beginners age 5 to 15. Sturdy build.
The bindings aren't nearly as tough as the board and have been reported by numerous unhappy consumers to break.
Great progression board for beginner to intermediate riders. Mixed rocker-camber shape provides stability and a longer effective edge for controlled turns. Its extruded polyethylene base is easy to maintain and resists gouges.
Not as flexible due to its mixed camber, limiting advanced air moves.
A great choice for youngsters, as it has a rugged build, bindings that adjust as kids grow, and brightly colored graphics. Designed for ages 5 through 8. Affordable.
Parental guidance is necessary for novices, as it has a learning curve and may be difficult for some kids to control.
Winter for many people means it’s time to step onto a snowboard and start shredding. For those just getting into snow sports, using a snowboard is a fun way to get onto the slopes quickly. The basics are simpler to learn than skiing, yet there are plenty of technical challenges for snowboarders as they progress in skill.
Buying the right snowboard means finding reliable equipment that enables you to take your time gaining experience and getting comfortable with the sport. But how do you know you’re getting the right snowboard for your skill level and the terrain?
Our buying guide covers the features to look for and what you can expect to pay. We’ve also included some of our favorites, so you can find the right snowboard for you, no matter your skill level.
Your height, weight, gender, age, and shoe size are the first things to consider when looking for a new snowboard. They will help you determine what size board you need.
Height and weight: Your height and weight help determine the precise length of snowboard to give you the best overall ride.
Shoe size: Your shoe size affects the width of the snowboard you buy. A snowboard that is too narrow for you will be hard to control because the toes of your boots will jut out too far, digging into the snow.
Age and gender: Kids, no matter how young, should get a snowboard that is fitted to their height and weight. That goes for women as well, who may also have a smaller shoe size and need a narrower, lighter board for better control.
You also want to think about how and where you’ll be using the snowboard most of the time. Terrain is a big factor when it comes to snowboarding. A groomed slope within the bounds of a ski resort (park) on a day with perfect temperatures offers a different experience than icy, hard-packed snow or fresh, waist-deep powder. Also, do you plan to ride fast and straight, do some huge carving downhill, or dream of shredding the half-pipe? The answer will factor into the snowboard you choose.
A lot of thought goes into snowboard design, so it’s important to be familiar with some of its elements and the options available.
The priciest snowboards are laminated sandwiches, with a topsheet over a fiberglass layer, a core made of wood or foam, and an extruded or sintered polyethylene base.
Tip: This is the front of the snowboard, though riders can go in either direction if they wish. In directional boards, the tip may taper to a point.
Waist: This is the middle of the snowboard, often the narrowest point.
Tail: The back end of the board is usually rounded, but it may have a unique shape in directional boards.
Top: The top layer, or topsheet, is often decorated with a printed graphic.
Steel inserts: Pre-drilled holes are for attaching bindings on the snowboard.
Edge: Each side of the snowboard is edged with a strip of steel to help the snowboard dig into the snow on turns. Steel edges may be partial, running just along the sides of the snowboard, or complete, wrapping around the sides.
Base: The polyethylene bottom of the snowboard is slick and abrasion resistant to help the board glide over the snow.
An important part of the base construction is the way that the board flexes, or doesn’t. Turn a board on its side or set it down on the snow and you’ll see the following characteristics:
Camber: Concave or upward flex is good for a responsive, poppy snowboard.
Flat: The base sits flat against the snow to offer better control and quick turns.
Rocker: This is convex or downward flex (also known as reverse camber). It can clearly be seen in snowboards with more upturned tips and tails. It’s a good shape for powder and for novices who are learning to turn.
Mixed: Variations like camber/rocker and flat/rocker snowboards are also available.
Directional: This type of snowboard is meant to be ridden in one direction, with a designated tip and tail. It’s perfect for long runs with lots of carving down the mountain.
Twin: This type of snowboard is designed to be ridden forward or backward (or riding switch), making it good for flashy moves in the pipe.
Knowing the conditions where you’ll be snowboarding can help you choose the right board. The following snowboards are best for the park.
All-mountain: Good on just about any terrain, in the park or the backcountry, this board can handle different kinds of terrain and is available in either directional or twin types. It’s a perfect all-around board for beginners learning different skills.
Freestyle: A shorter, flexible twin-type snowboard for riders who want to have fun, this snowboard sacrifices stability for lighter weight and lively response.
The following snowboards are great in the backcountry.
Freeride: This directional board is designed for riding across ungroomed snow, whether powder, packed, or variable.
Powder: This board is typically directional with a flat or rocker curve to float over deep powder.
Splitboard: A unique board for advanced backcountry explorers that splits in half to be used like cross-country or telemark skis to climb untracked slopes. Riders then put the board back together and glide back down.
Bindings: Union Binding Company Union Force Snowboard Bindings
Pay attention to snowboard manufacturers’ recommended bindings, but you do have a choice in the bindings you use. These are responsive, strong, and lightweight.
Boots: Vans Hi-Standard OG Snowboard Boots
Snowboard boots should be supportive but much more flexible than ski boots. These moisture-wicking boots from Vans promote airflow and offer a comfortable, cushioned fit.
Helmet: OutdoorMaster Kelvin Ski Helmet
Falling backward and hitting your head is no fun at any age. Protect your noggin when riding. This one is ASTM certified, adjustable, well ventilated, and comes in several colors.
Wax: Hertel Wax Super Hot Sauce
An uncolored, all-temperature wax that can be applied hot or cold is an economical way to give you more speed and control on the slopes.
Bag: Demon United Phantom Snowboard Travel Bag
Protect your snowboard to and from the park by keeping it in a padded bag designed for the purpose. Ultra-thick fabric, several handles, pocket, and wheels make traveling with your board a breeze.
Inexpensive: Surprisingly, you can find wood-core twin-tail snowboards aimed at kids and lighter-weight beginners for as little as $59 to $200.
Mid-range: The choices for topsheet graphics, riding styles, and build quality improve in the $200 to $680 range, but take your time looking, because the selection across this range is huge.
Expensive: High-end, high-performance snowboards can cost $800 to $1,150 or more.
We found a few more snowboards that you might like. We’re impressed by the fun, buttery performance of the Loaded Boards Algernon All-Mountain Twin Snowboard, along with its distinctive graphics that veer away from the usual technicolor rage fest.
The women’s Burton Stylus Snowboard caught our eye with its stylish topsheet graphic, a channel system for bindings, and a can’t-beat-it price point.
And the XGeek Snowboard offers beginners on a budget a lively cambered board for fun on the slopes.
Q. Do any snowboards come with bindings?
A. Low-priced snowboards are available, mostly for kids, with preset bindings. The disadvantages of these bindings are obvious: they don’t fit precisely to snowboarding boots, and they’re not positioned perfectly for your preferred stance. A pro shop can help you select and install snowboard bindings and tune your new board for the slopes.
Q. Kids grow so fast. Should I just buy a larger snowboard than recommended so it lasts a few seasons?
A. If a snowboard is too large, it will be hard for a child to ride and hinder their skill development. Worse, they may get frustrated and quit. Buy the correct size snowboard for their age, height, and weight and they’ll enjoy the experience more.
Q. Should I buy a snowboard based on its manufacturer?
A. Concentrate less on the brand of a snowboard and more on how well it fits you, the individual rider. As you gain experience and try out different boards, you may develop a preference for one brand over another. Or you may just buy boards with sick graphics printed on them.
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