If you’ve found your way here, we’re going to presume a couple of things. One, you love the snow. Two, you don’t love rental gear. It must be time to drop some ducats on a new board hey? At Outdoria, we’ve organised snowboards into women’s and men’s models by brand, type, length, width, rocker/camber profile, and ability level, making it super easy for boarders who know what they want to narrow down their options and find the best snowboard quickly.
But if you’ve never bought a board online before, all those options might start to sound more intimidating than hitting your first double diamond in a blizzard. What size snowboard do I need? What’s the difference between an all mountain and a freeride board? The questions come thick and fast, and even if you know your ideal size, it can still be difficult to know which board is right for you.
Whether you’re looking to buy your first snowboard, or it’s your first time shopping for snow gear online, we’re going to show you how to choose a snowboard to match your style of riding and ability level. Our ultimate snowboard buyer’s guide gives you the tools and knowledge you need to make a confident, informed decision… which will (hopefully) translate to absolutely killing it on the piste.
Things to Consider Buying a Snowboard Online
There are some key factors to consider when choosing which snowboard is right for you. Think about:
- Board type
- Snowboard width and boot size
- Riding ability
- Binding compatibility
- Rocker / camber profile
While not an exhaustive list of all the different considerations you could make when choosing a snowboard, the following factors are more than enough to help you make the most informed decision when buying a board online, and getting it right the first time.
To match a board type to your style of riding, you need to ask yourself two questions: what type of terrain do I most like to ride? And how do I want my board to feel?
All mountain snowboards are highly versatile, suitable for beginners and for riders who like to explore a wide range of terrain.
Directional boards are designed to be ridden in your dominant stance more often than switch. Bindings will usually be set further back towards the tail allowing riders to get to high speeds on well-groomed runs. (Not to be confused with all mountain and other board types that feature directional shape).
Freeride boards are for those who like to leave the groomers and tackle a range of terrain. Freeride snowboarders often prefer to ride their natural stance, so freeride boards are often setup for directional riding.
Freestyle boards are also sometimes called park boards as they are typically shorter, suitable for riding rails and doing tricks.
Powder boards are obviously designed for shredding fresh pow. Longer and wider than other snowboards, they float easily on the surface of deep snow and have a surfy feel.
Splitboards are for backcountry snowboarding. They can be separated into two pieces and worn like cross country skis, enabling you to hike to fresh, untouched terrain outside the resort’s boundaries.
If you’re new to snowboarding, you’ll most likely want to choose an all mountain snowboard. All mountain boards give you the best chance of riding well across a range of mountain terrain. However, a lot of snowboards these days are very capable in a range of environments. Make sure you read the product description closely to see if the board you like is also suitable for other styles of riding.
Now you know which type of board is most suited to your style of riding, let’s look at how to choose the right size snowboard for you.
If you’re looking to buy your first snowboard, there’s a good chance you’ve already rented one. Walking into a rental shop on the mountain you were probably amazed at the way the store technician took one look at you and magically determined what size board you needed. How did they do this? Easy, by looking at how tall you are.
One of the quickest ways to get a rough idea of what size board you need is by standing it next to you. A board that reaches somewhere between your nose and your chin is about right. Notice we used the words ‘about right’. Your height is a useful indication of a good board length for you, but is not the most important factor to consider.
Choosing a snowboard length is all about your weight. Picture two guys who are both six feet tall: Jim weighs 100kg, and John weighs 77kg. The amount of force they will be transferring through their board to the snow will be drastically different. Therefore, Jim needs a longer (and potentially a wider) board than John to carry his weight. Makes sense right?
To get an idea of what length snowboard you should be looking for, check out the charts below:
DISCLAIMER: These charts are designed to give you a rough idea about the ideal board length for your weight and height. Notice they refer to all mountain snowboards. Freestyle riders will usually go 2-3cm shorter, and advanced models/powder boards will usually be 2-3cm longer. If you are unsure whether the snowboard you like on Outdoria is the right size, email the seller and organise to get fitted in store.
It’s important to note that personal preference and rider ability also play a role when choosing a snowboard. There is an enormous range of board styles and shapes out there today, and an even greater variety of riders, each looking for a different set of characteristics in a snowboard.
Confident all mountain riders will sometimes be more comfortable riding a longer board than beginners. But experienced freestyle riders will usually prefer a shorter, snappier board for aerial manoeuvrability.
If you can, get out there and rent a range of different board sizes and styles before settling on your first snowboard.
That brings us to boot size.
Snowboard & Boot Size Compatibility
Your boots are arguably more important than your board. It’s a good idea to make sure you have a pair of comfortable snowboard boots before purchasing a board.
The size of your boots will determine the width of your board. Boots that are too big for your board will hang over the edge in the middle of a turn and hit the snow. Boots that are too small won’t allow you to apply enough pressure into your turns, decreasing responsiveness. The chart below should help you work out what size board you will need to pair with your boots.
DISCLAIMER: Always make sure to check the product listing to ensure that your boots will fit your snowboard’s width.
Snowboard Base & Binding Compatibility
There are four main types of snowboard hole patterns, some of which are only compatible with certain snowboard binding disc mounting systems.
- 2 x 4 – 2cm by 4cm hole pattern compatible with most discs
- 4 x 4 – 4cm by 4cm hole pattern compatible with most binding disc mounts
- 3D pattern by Burton – compatible with many bindings including Burton EST bindings
- Burton Channel System – Only compatible off the shop floor with the Burton EST Binding. Additional mount adaptors can be purchased separately from some binding manufacturers to make them compatible with the Burton Channel system.
This video gives you a better idea of how the Burton Channel System works with EST bindings:
At Outdoria you can also limit your search to snowboards that are suitable for your level of ability. This is a great way to save time in your search for a board online.
What makes a snowboard suitable for an advanced rider but unsuitable for an intermediate or beginner?
There are a number of contributing factors. Some advanced snowboards feature a stiffer flex than beginner boards. Advanced boards will also be more expensive than beginner boards, featuring high-grade construction techniques and materials, and unique rocker / camber profiles.
The rocker / camber profile of your snowboard will greatly affect the way it performs and feels on the slopes. Below we’ve listed some of the most common profiles you’ll find at Outdoria.
Cambered profiles create a lot of pop, encouraging a lively feel between turns. Camber is a popular profile among park riders and snowboarders who like to ride fast on groomed runs.
Rocker is the opposite of camber. The tips curve up from the centre creating a floaty feel making them ideal for powder boards and those who prefer a loose, buttery feel.
Flat boards are a good in-between option creating a decent amount of float, encouraging fast turns.
Rocker / camber / rocker profiles are suitable for a range of snow conditions and terrain. They’re popular among free riders because the tips float well in deep snow, but they can also hold a tight edge on groomers.
Camber / rocker / camber boards offer unique feel that forces the rider to flatten the raised cambered sections. This puts a lot of energy into the board allowing for hard carving and aggressive turns.
Rocker / flat / rocker is another board type that is good for powder and some freestyle riding. The tips feature camber to increase flotation while the waist is capable of holding turns better than a rocker board.
What about snowboard flex?
Flex varies from board to board depending on the type of board, its rocker / camber profile, and its price. Generally speaking, stiffer boards are favoured by advanced snowboarders who like to ride fast on groomers or off-piste, whereas softer flex snowboards are great for park riders and beginners.
Where to from here?
We’ve created this guide to give you a clear idea of what you should be looking for in a snowboard. Focus on being realistic about your ability; think about the kind of terrain you like to ride; match your board to your weight, boots, and bindings using our size guides; and look for a board that not only matches your riding style but your personal style as well.
We’re the first to admit that purchasing a snowboard online can be difficult if you haven’t owned one in the past and don’t know what to look for. In these instances, nothing beats getting sized in store.