Man standing in front of cabin with his snowboard

1. TYPES OF SNOWBOARDS

Whether you're cruising the slopes, dashing through backcountry trails or landing a backside 360 in the park, knowing your riding style will help you select the right snowboard.

All-mountain

The name says it all. All-mountain boards are made to explore different facets of snowboarding. Groomed slopes, powder snow, and backcountry trails can all be experienced with this board. They offer more buoyancy in powder snow and their directional shape offers better grip and control over your trajectory.  Get ready for a new adventure each time you go snowboarding.

Freestyle

Shorter than all-mountain boards, these twin-tip boards (the front and back are 100% symmetrical) make it easier to ride in both directions and stay balanced when making turns. If you don't really have a need for speed and would prefer having fun in the park landing tricks and riding rails, then this board is for you.

Freeride

As directional boards with a fishtail design, these are meant to be ridden with one tip facing downhill. The board's flex is also stiffer than a freestyle snowboard. Freeride boards are for the adventurous type who likes to explore natural, ungroomed terrain.

Splitboard

Made for backcountry riders, this board essentially splits into two ski-shaped boards to facilitate ascents with climbing skins. Once at the mountain top, the two halves re-attach into a snowboard for an intrepid descent in deep powder snow.

2. BOARD SELECTION GUIDELINES

Length

The basic criteria to choose a snowboard size will vary depending on the rider's weight, height and riding style. The rule of thumb is that the board should be about 20 cm shorter than your height. Then, adjust by considering other criteria like ability level and the board's weight. Shorter boards are easier for beginners to learn with. Keep in mind the learning curve is quite short and snowboarding is fairly easy to pick up. Shorter boards are particularly adapted to park terrain, half-pipes and rails. Longer boards offer more stability and speed and are best suited for freeriding.

Flexibility (flex)

The board's flex varies from soft to very stiff. A soft flex is good for beginners and park riders as it is easier to manoeuvre when turning, allowing for smoother moves, especially at low speed. Freeride and backcountry snowboarding demand a stiffer flex for a better edge grip and stability at high speeds and through sharp turns.

Shape

True twin, asymmetrical, directional, volume shifted, and directional twin are some of the board shapes on the market today. Twin-tip boards are best suited for all-mountain riders and beginners. If you want to learn how to ride switch, this board shape will make it much easier. Asymmetrical boards improve manoeuvrability and are also a good choice for beginners.

3. TO ROCKER OR NOT TO ROCKER

Rocker, camber, or flat refer to the board's profile. It influences the board's contact point with the snow. Many board shapes will actually use a combination of these technologies to offer optimal performance.

A rocker or reverse-camber snowboard is perfect for backcountry and deep powder snow. It offers superior float and increased manoeuvrability when turning, reducing the risks of catching an edge. Rocker boards are known to be a lot of fun!

A camber snowboard has a slight upward curve in the middle of the board with contact points towards each end. This board profile is best suited for groomed trails and hardened snow. While it requires a bit more expertise to handle, it offers precision, power and increased edge hold.

A flat board remains in contact with the snow in between the tips. It is the easiest profile for executing transitions smoothly. It has a superior edge grip than a rocker profile and greater manoeuvrability than camber.

Summary: A few options are available to first-time snowboarders, depending on your riding style and snowboarding goals. A twin-tip or asymmetrical all-mountain board, with a rocker or a combination of rocker/camber profile and a soft to medium flex, is a good starting point for beginners.

Snowboarders rocking the mountain

Have fun

Snowboarding is easy to learn and no matter which board you choose, you will have a blast on the slopes!