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Snowboard

Buyer's Guide

Patrick Steiner
Pro Advice

The first thing for me is where I want to ride. When I ride in the park I choose a different snowboard to when I ride powder. Don't worry - we have boards for everything!

Alex
Alex
Skate & Snowboard Buyer

Kapitola 1

Choose your riding style

Think about how you ride when you choose a snowboard. There are great boards for all styles. Read more about, all-mountain and freestyle riding, freeriding and splitboarding here.

Choose
your Riding Style
  1. All-Mountain
  2. Freestyle
  3. Jib
  4. Freeride
  5. Splitboarding

All-Mountain: Snowboarding anywhere and everywhere

An all-mountain board can ride in any terrain. These boards allow you freedom and are great fun regardless of where you ride. Beginners and intermediates love the versatility of an all-mountain snowboard and can improve quickly.

Freestyle: The snowpark is your home

Sunshine, a freshly groomed park and all your friends to share the day with. Does this sound like your dream? If so, then freestyle could be your style. A twin tip or a directional twin shape will serve you well when riding and landing in both directions in the park. Freestyle snowboards help you make the most of kickers, rails and the halfpipe.

Jib: Boxes, rails and urban features

Is your perfect day on the mountain spent hitting that box or handrail again and again? If this sounds like you, then look at jib snowboards. Similar in shape and profiles to freestyle snowboards, often ridden a little shorter for even quicker spins. These boards usually have reinforced bases and strengthened edges for repeated abuse from rails and boxes.

Freeride: At home off-piste

If your idea of happiness is floating through a field of virgin powder or attacking the highest peaks, then a freeride snowboard is for you. We have shapes and profiles which perform in fresh, deep snow. These snowboards are commonly directional with a broader nose than tail for greater floatation.

Splitboards: Freedom to explore the mountain

As splitboard is a snowboard which is split vertically down the middle. When split you can climb up the mountain with the aid of ‘skins’, with the two halves of the board acting as skis. When at the top you can reassemble your snowboard and ride down. Splitboarding represents true freedom. The ability to go anywhere on the mountain.

Jones splitboards with avalanche equipment and rucksacks
Kapitola 2

What is your riding level?

How long you have spent in the mountains and how comfortable you are on a board determines your snowboarding level. Be honest with yourself. If you choose the right snowboard for your level, then your progression will be faster and much more fun.

Choose
your level
  1. Beginner
  2. Intermediate
  3. Expert

Beginner: It's easy to get started

Shorter and softer boards are suitable for beginners as they make your first turns and tricks easier. An all-mountain snowboard will help you ride across the hill and learn quickly.

Group of beginners at the Blue Tomato Snowboard School in Obertauern

Intermediate: Mastering snowboarding

An intermediate snowboarder is becoming comfortable anywhere on the mountain. You might start going into the snowpark to try a few tricks or you might adventure off-piste. At this level, you can cope with most snowboards and can pick one for freestyle, freeride or all-mountain riding.

Intermediate snowboarders walking back from riding

Expert: A quiver of snowboards

An expert rider has spent a long time on the mountain - we don’t need you to prove yourself. Safe to say, you’ve mastered your side of snowboarding. You need specialised equipment for the different types of boarding you do, so a freestyle or jib board, a freeride snowboard and a splitboard. Build a quiver of snowboards!

Clemens Millauer hip jump at Nordkette Park Innsbruck
Kapitola 3

Which shape of snowboard?

Snowboards from Ride, Lib Tech, Bataleon, Rome and Burton

The shape of your snowboard has a massive influence on how you perform. There are shapes which work particularly well for all-mountain, freestyle and freeride snowboarding.

Snowboard
shapes
  1. Twin Tip
  2. Directional Twin
  3. Directional
  4. TAPERED
  5. Asymmetric

Twin tip: Symmetrical shape for freestyle

A twin tip snowboard has a perfectly symmetrical shape. The nose and tail have the same dimensions and the board rides the same both forward and backwards. This applies to the sidecut and flex, too. You find this shape in freestyle and jib boards as they are best suited for park, kickers and rails.

Graphic of a twin tip shape snowboard

Directional twin: Taking your tricks all over the mountain

The shape of a directional twin snowboard is symmetrical but other aspects of the board design are not. It could be that the binding inserts have a setback position or that the flex pattern and profile are for riding forwards. A directional twin snowboard will work in the park but you have the versatility for all-mountain riding. If you like to throw tricks when you’re freeriding, this shape is for you.

Graphic of a directional twin snowboard

Directional: For freeriding and carving on piste

As the name suggests, this shape is for riding forward. The binding position is moved backwards for a longer nose. This allows better floatation in soft snow and more power carving on-piste. A directional shape is found commonly on all-mountain and freeride snowboards.

Graphic of a directional shape snowboard

Tapered: Maximum floatation in powder snow.

A tapered board narrows towards the tail. This shape is particularly suitable for freeride snowboarding because it gives the board more buoyancy due to the greater surface area in the nose area.

Graphic of a tapered shape snowboard

Asymmetric: Easy Carving

The human body is not symmetrical, why should snowboards be? This shape counteracts the natural imbalances in your body for easy turning with a shorter sidecut toeside to heelside. You can find asymmetric freestyle, jib, all-mountain and freeride snowboards.

Graphic of an asymmetric shape snowboard
Kapitola 4

Which profile for me?

The profile of your snowboard is how it lays on the snow, from the side. Like the shape, the profile has a significant bearing on how your snowboard performs in different conditions.

Snowboard
profiles
  1. Camber
  2. Rocker
  3. Powder Rocker
  4. Zero
  5. Hybrid Rocker
  6. Hybrid Camber
  7. 3D Base

Camber: Great for power and grip

Camber is the ‘traditional’ profile for snowboards. Unweighted, camber is a gentle upwards curve between the tip and tail. When you put your weight on the snowboard, you have a uniform pressure from tip to tail. This profile is excellent for grip and power.

Grapic of a camber profile snowboard

Rocker: Catch-free, floaty and easy to turn

Rocker is a smoothly curved profile from tip to tail. The contact point is between the bindings and the tips and tails are raised. With a central pivot point, rocker snowboards are catch-free, floaty and easy to turn.

Grapic of a rocker profile snowboard

Powder Rocker: The greatest floatation in soft snow

Engineered for deeper snow. This profile has a more pronounced rocker in the nose of the board to help you float in powder. This profile an S-shape with a camber or flat area before or under the back binding. Often combined with a directional or tapered shape for the most fun freeriding in powder snow.

Graphic of a powder rocker profile snowboard

Zero: Stable and balanced

This type of board lies flat on the snow. A zero profile combines the benefits of rocker and camber giving a zero snowboard more edge grip than a rockered snowboard and making it less aggressive than a camber snowboard. Because of this balance, you find zero profiles on freestyle and jib snowboards.

Graphic of a zero profile snowboard

Hybrid Rocker: Stability, grip and floatation

A hybrid rocker has a rocker between the bindings, with camber in the tip and tail of the board. The rocker allows the snowboard to pivot easily and float in soft snow while the camber guarantees grip. A snowboard with a hybrid rocker performs in all conditions.

Graphic of a hybrid rocker profile snowboard

Hybrid Camber: Great for freestyle

A hybrid camber has camber under your body and bindings with rocker or flat section at the tips. This profile works particularly well with freestyle and jib snowboards. You get the grip and power of camber for going fast into kickers and jumping high onto features. The rocker or flat sections add just a touch of forgiveness so if you don’t stick the landing perfectly, just ride out!

Graphic of a hybrid camber profile snowboard

3D base snowboards: More float, less drag and added agility

These snowboards are not flat! A 3D base profile takes shaping to new levels. In the tip and tail of a 3D shaped snowboard, the sides are bent up to create a ‘spoon’ shape. This means you get a greater surface area in the tip for more float in powder. The 3D base ensures catch-free turning and landing on hard snow and a new level of agility in the park.

Graphic of a 3D base profile snowboard
Kapitola 5

The right size and flex snowboard

There are snowboards for every body type. Different lengths and widths are for riders of different heights, weights and shoe sizes. There are also different flex snowboards which shine in different conditions and paired with profile, shape and riding style combinations.

  1. Length
  2. Wide Board
  3. Flex

Which length snowboard is right for me?

One of the most common questions faced by our customer service team is: Which length snowboard should I buy? And the answer is. It depends! The traditional rule is that your snowboard should reach your chin, however with modern snowboard shapes there are exceptions. Freeride snowboards can paradoxically be both shorter and longer than this recommendation. You can ride jib snowboards shorter, so they are lighter and easier to spin.

Snowboards of different lengths from Capita, Bataleon, Ride, Lib Tech, Burton, Nitro and GNU
Pro Advice

My boards just reach up to my chin approximately - for riding kickers I like it a bit longer for having more control. On rails, I prefer shorter boards for more manoeuvrability.


Do I need a wide snowboard?

If you have a boot size of EU 44 or upwards, then you could need a wide board. Be careful to measure the length of your boots then compare it to the waist width given on every product description for a snowboard in the specifications. If it is the same or greater than the width of the snowboard, then you should try the wide version.

The wide version of the Capita DOA

Which flex should my snowboard be?

Another physical factor which can affect how you ride is the flex of your snowboard. Most manufacturers grade their snowboards on either a 1 -10 or a 1-5 scale. We have collected this information and graded a scale of soft-medium-stiff. A softer (1-4) board is suitable for beginners as it is easier to turn and is more forgiving for learning. Jib snowboarders use a softer flex for effortless landings. A medium flex (4-7) snowboard is better suited to intermediated, all-mountain and freestyle riders. The balanced flex will suit riding in all-conditions as well giving a little more support. Stiff flex (7-10) snowboards work best for freeride and splitboards, as you need the maximum of control and power.

Snowboarder flexes his board at Hochkeil
Kapitola 6

Snowboard tech

Snowboards often have a long list of features and tech. Some of this information is really important to how your board works, some less so! Here we break down the essential tech and features for you to look out for.

  1. Compatibility
  2. Sidecut
  3. Edges
  4. Base
  5. Core
  6. Setback

Does my snowboard fit with my boots and bindings?

Does it all fit together? Another really common question for us. And the answer is ….. probably! There are now two systems of mounting snowboards: the channel and traditional inserts packs. The most bindings come with two disks or disks which work with both systems. If you have any doubts, please contact our customer service.

Burton Mystery Fish with Malavita Bindings mounted into the channel system

How does my snowboard turn?

A very commonly used term when describing snowboard performance is sidecut, radius or sidecut radius. Simply put: the sidecut is how your snowboard turns on the snow. A longer sidecut radius (~7,5-9) is better for going fast with long carves. A shorter radius (~6-7,5) is easier to handle and turns quickly.

Needed to turn your board

To turn your snowboard you need steel edges, but there’s so much more than just that. For extra grip, some snowboards add serrations or extra contact points to the edges. These work like a serrated knife would cut into food, with the serrations biting into the snow for a stronger grip. Some boards have strengthened edges, which either use thicker or tempered steel. For jib and freestyle snowboards, these edges take the abuse from rails and boxes.

The tip and edges of a snowboard

Keeping everything running smoothly

At Blue Tomato we divide out snowboard bases into three categories: Sintered, extruded and premium. An extruded base is typically the cheapest, but the lowest maintenance: An extruded base is straightforward to repair and will run even when it isn’t waxed as often. A sintered base is harder and faster but requires a little more work. If damaged, repairs can be a bit tricky. A sintered base should be regularly waxed to keep running fast. The top level is the premium base. This is made from World Cup standard base materials and is the fastest available. You will find extruded bases on beginner level and jib boards, as they need little maintenance and jibbers can quickly fix any repairs. Sintered bases are often found on freestyle, freeride and all-mountain snowboards to go faster. The top splitboards, freeride and all-mountain snowboards use premium bases for the utmost speed.

Snowboards lying base upwards from RIDE, Burton, Rome, Bataleon and Lib Tech

Like a really tasty sandwich

What's inside my snowboard? There can be a lot squeezed in that 1 cm thick snowboard. Wood is the main ingredient to nearly all of the snowboards which we offer. Wood is often complimented by fibreglass which add torsional rigidity and flex when laminated at opposite angles to the grain. Other materials include carbon fibre and basalt for stiffness and titanal, cork and rubber for dampening. All of these materials are laminated and glued together using epoxy. ABS plastic is used for the sidewalls of the laminated snowboard and is both waterproof and shock absorbent.

Where to put your bindings

The setback refers to where the binding inserts are on the snowboard. On a twin tip snowboard, the binding inserts are always centrally positioned to ride the same forwards or backwards. In directional twin and directional shapes, the bindings can have a setback. This means that the inserts are towards the tail for riding powder snow. The more of a setback, the more powder-centric the snowboard is!

Bataleon Surfer with Switchback Bindings with a big setback
Více Snowboarding
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