As in many industries, there is an abundance of misinformation in the snowboard world. The following tips come from years of experience in the industry, and are designed to cut through some of the tech talk and misleading jargon. If you would like us to find you the perfect board for your needs, please use our contact form to send us the following information: Weight, Shoe size, Preferred style of riding, Ability level, Areas at which you most typically ride. Click the highlighted link to view all of our current snowboard deals. Click the highlighted link to view all of our current snowboard package deals.
| Definition of board types
You may have noticed that there are a lot of categories for snowboard types these days! To make that even more confusing, there is a lot of duplicate names that describe the same riding type. Freeride, All Mountain, and Freestyle/Freeride boards all refer to the same board type. This is the catch all category in snowboarding. It refers to boards that are designed to do everything pretty well. They can be taken into the halfpipe, or ridden in powder and cranked up at mach one speeds. They are not designed to win halfpipe events, or compete with race boards on the course. Jib, Freestyle, Park, and Halfpipe boards are generally shorter and have shallower sidecuts that are optimized for Jibbing, hitting rails and obstacles, riding on "flatland" or manmade "terrain parks", halfpipes and natural formations. These generally softer boards are designed to get instantly on edge, but lack a lot of carving potential when they get there. These are more specified boards, and are often not the only board for the riders who buy them. Slalom/Race boards: These uncommon specialty boards are easily identified by only having one raised tip (the nose) and a flat tail. They do one thing exceptionally well. They go fast in hardpack conditions. They are not optimal for other types of riding. Big Mountain: A term sometimes used for the biggest possible freeride board that a given user would choose. This is the one you take heli-boarding to Valdez. Powder Specific. These are just what they sound like. Boards optimized for those perfect powder days.
Sidecut refers to the hourglass shape of a snowboard or more accurately the specific shape that is cut into the sides of the board. As noted above when discussing board types, sidecut greatly determines the type of turn that a board "wants" to do. The deeper the sidecut, the more aggressively the board wants to turn. Some boards have symmetrical sidecuts while others have progressive sidecuts. This effects the feel of the board through a turn. Progressive sidecut boards tend to flare out at the tail and are designed to "kick" the rider out of a turn, while symmetrical boards are smoother when riding "switch" (backwards). Be warned that sidecut technologies have advanced greatly over the past 10 years and there are a multitude of varieties currently in production. Sidecut can be symmetrical, where the sidecut is uniform (radial) from tip to tail. Asymmetrical sidecuts can refer to the toeside and heelside edges having different shapes or to the sidecut not having a uniformly radiused shape from tip to tail.
Directional or Twin
Twin originally was the term used for any board that had a lifted tip and tail. All boards today, outside of race boards and the occasional concept board, are really twins by that definition. This means that both tip and tail are raised from the snow, and that the board can be easily be ridden switch. The distinction then, should really be between "true twins" or "pure twins" and "directional twins". A pure twin is a board that is shaped identically on each side of it's center point (from tip to tail), and has the same flex pattern in it's nose and tail. A directional board or directional twin will either have a longer nose than tail, or a softer nose than tail (and many times both). To complicate this further, there are also "asymmetrical twins" which have identical tips and tails, but the toe and heelside edge shapes are different from one another.
Don't spend too much time debating tip and tail construction
Many first time buyers become focused on the differences between manufacturer's approaches towards tip and tail construction. Some brands argue that wood in the ends is the way to go for a consistent flex pattern. Others state that you need fiberglass for low swing weight. Some argue that extra metal edge should be laid in, to protect from damage, while others feel this added weight is unacceptable. Truth is, it really doesn't matter much at all. First off, most boards are damaged in the pickup on the way up the hill or by trying to jam the tail into snow that turns out not to be snow on the way in to grab a burger, or by the baggage handlers at La Guardia. No type of end structure will prevent against this. Metal edges all around, when struck hard, often wedge themselves into the board, creating more damage than had they not been there. On the other hand, the weight of the small amount of metal added, can barely be felt by even the most seasoned rider. Similarly, wood in the tip, adds almost no weight, but doesn't really enhance the ride either. The downside of having wood to the end is that if the board does sustain edge damage to the core, the wood will absorb moisture and is much trickier to fix. The bottom line is, be careful with whatever board you choose, and don't let this be the deciding factor.