A Guide to Buying the Perfect Snowboard

A Guide to Buying the Perfect Snowboard

Snowboarder and Gear Junkie

By Snowboarder and Gear Junkie \ January 8 2019

Picking the perfect snowboard can be an extremely difficult decision to make. The truth is, every snowboarder rides differently so you can't rely on one person's opinion and should double check the stats of a snowboard before pulling the trigger. Looking at the board's flex, shape, profile, and sidecut radius can really help you get a feel for how it's going to behave.

  • Flex: The softer the flex of a snowboard the easier it is to control and manipulate at slower speeds. Stiffer snowboards are much more stable and responsive at high speeds.

  • Rocker/Camber: This is the shape of the profile of the snowboard. When companies adjust what they call rocker and camber points. Now you don’t necessarily need to know what this is but snowboards with more rocker are more forgiving and float easier in powder while snowboards with more camber are more responsive and have more pop. Most snowboards are hybrid rockers which means they have a certain percentage of camber between the feet and rocker moving towards the tips/tails. By looking at what percentage you have you can predict if the snowboard is going to be more forgiving (more rocker) or snappy (more camber).

  • Shape: This is how much nose or tail your snowboard has. True twins have the same length nose and tail for riding both directions. Directional snowboards have much larger noses than tails for float in powder and are designed to ride one direction. Finally directional twins have only slightly larger noses than tails so they can still be ridden both ways while also adding some additional float in powder.

  • Sidecut radius: This determines if the personality of your snowboard is quick and nimble or fast and stable. A smaller sidecut radius will arch further into a snowboard. This gives the board the ability to make quicker and sharper turns. A larger side cut radius cuts less into the board allowing a rider to make bigger arching turns that are more stable at high speeds.

Below I've created a guide to four different types of snowboards using examples from our partner at Rossignol.


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Beginner Snowboarder

Rossignol Circut

Flex: 4/10
Rocker/Camber: 20% camber 80% rocker
Shape: True Twin
Sidecut radius: 155cm 7.65M

If you are just getting started riding snowboards these are the types of numbers you are looking for. Flex around a 4 will let you be comfortable making your first turns but once you gain confidence it is still stable at speed. Having majority rocker will create will lift the edges and eliminate catching your edge while still preserving some pop. Finally, the sidecut is 7.65M which is fairly tight perfect for small, slower turns at first.


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All Mountain

One LF

Flex: 7/10
Rocker/Camber: 40% camber 60% rocker
Shape: Directional Twin
Sidecut radius: 8-8.9m

The One LF is a perfect example of a versatile all-mountain snowboard ready to take on anything. Its medium stiff flex allows it to be in control at high speed but nimble when navigating tight tree’s or on laps through the park. The directional twin shape provides powder confidence while still being able to ride switch. The sidecut allows this board to be maneuverable but again still stable at high speeds. As you can see this board has a little bit of everything and its numbers cross paths with an entire quiver of snowboards in one.


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Big Mountain

Rossignol XV

Flex: 9/10
Rocker/Camber: 40% rocker 60% camber
Shape: Directional
Sidecut Radius: 8-9.9m

For riders looking to take their skills to the big mountain terrain, you need a big gun like this. The XV is not only stiff but likes to make larger arching turns. Its shape sets the bindings back providing more nose which leads to more float in powder. This board also features more camber providing a snappy, explosive feel when loaded up making turns.


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Park

Retox

Flex:8/10
Rocker/Camber: 100% camber
Shape: True Twin
Sidecut Radius: 6.9m-7.3m

The retox is Rossignol’s flagship park board. It starts with a full camber profile creating the maximum amount of response but even more important riding park is pop. It also is fully true twin making it just as comfortable regular and switch. Rossignol went will a stiffer flex which allows for stability hitting jumps and a deep sidecut for quick maneuverability navigating through a parks features.


Now that we have covered the four basic types of snowboards you can see the differences between from flex to shape and sidecut to camber. Taking a few minutes before you pull the trigger on your next snowboard to apply what I explained above will ensure its the right pick for you. The other major factors vary brand to brand including serrated edges, lifted edges, and build quality. Picking long-standing brands like Rossignol can help ensure the board not only rides as you expect but holds up over time. Pro tip: don't rely too heavily relying on reviews. Every rider is different in every aspect and really only you know your style.

And, if you're new to snowboarding, we have put together a full list of snowboard schools and education programs to get you started!

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