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Snowboard Buying Advice

advice for buying a snowboard

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Buying a snowboard these days can be confusing, so we've teamed up with Snow and Rock snowboard buyer Mark Harries to bring you some top tips to make things easier. Arm yourself with his expert knowledge, set your budget, then go out and have some fun.
Read through buyers' guides and reviews to see what's available. Find a reputable shop that is staffed by boarders.

Assess your level honestly or you could find yourself careering out of control.

Mark says: "If you are just learning then a board suitable for beginner/intermediates will help you progress faster than going for a more advanced snowboard that may be unforgiving to ride."

It's very important to go for a board that suits you, so think about what type of boarding you are going to do most of the time (piste/off-piste/snow park) and go for a board in that range.

The type of boarding you do, your height and your weight are used as a guideline. In general, taller heavier men take longer boards than smaller, lighter men and women. Freeriders tend to go for longer boards, as do riders who want stability. Fun park freestylers go for shorter twin tippedboards.

Mark says:"If in doubt ask a member of staff or refer to the weight ranges provided by the manuafacturer."

Riders with larger feet now have an extensive choice of wider boards. This prevents toes and heels catching the snow when the board is on an edge. Freeriders may also appreciate a wider board for increased stability and flotation. However, as wider boards tend to be much slower edge to edge, many riders prefer a narrower board. Riders with bigger feet that still want the precision of a narrower board can set their binding angles steeper.

Mark says:"Some snowboard brands now produce boots that are shorter in overall sole length, meaning riders with larger feet can benefit from a footprint that can be 1 whole size smaller, meaning less overhang and the potential to ride narrower boards. Anything larger than around a 9/9.5 and you should be looking at a wider board."

Each board has its own individual flex pattern and, as a general guideline, the more experienced you are, the stiffer the board you will be able to cope with.

Mark says: "Softer flexing boards are more suitable to riders learning and are more forgiving, making them easier to turn and progress. They may also suit freestyle park riders that need more contol on park features. Stiffer boards require more energy to control so are suited to more advance riders that like a more challenging ride and more stability to tackle terrain at speed."

Demo boards:
It may be possible to demo a board before buying it. But choice may be limited and the state of the board should be taken into consideration.

Mark says: "This gives you an idea how the board will feel on snow, and allows you to compare if you torn between snowboards."

Don't buy a board just because you like its funky graphics...