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Presenting a Few Tips for Snowboard Shopping

Shopping for a snowboard? Good timing, since REI has more than 40 boards on sale through Monday, Nov. 26. (Plus, additional snowsport gear is also on sale through Monday.)

How do you decide which board is right for you? Consider 3 tips taken from an article I wrote titled Snowboards: How to Choose, part of REI’s free Expert Advice library of articles and videos.

1. Match your board to the terrain you ride.


All-mountain boards perform well on groomed slopes. (© REI/Damon Parrish photos)

Your choice of boards includes:

All-mountain: Performs anywhere on a mountain—groomed runs, backcountry, even park and pipe. Maybe 90% of all boarders ride all-mountain boards. Good, too, for beginners or someone returning to the slopes after a long layoff.

Freestyle/park: Light, short, flexible snowboards with twin tips. For boarders who want to push limits in terrain parks (rails, boxes, spins, tricks); not as good for stability or fast cruising on hard snow.

Wide: Extra-wide snowboards designed for riders with large feet (men U.S. size 11 and higher; women size 10+). They prevent toes from dangling over edges and causing drag.

Splitboards: Boards that split in half, attach to each foot and permit climbing on backcountry slopes. Connect the halves to ride downhill. For riders who have the skills to safely explore unpatrolled terrain.

Freeride: For swift downhill riding on backcountry slopes and traveling fast top-to-bottom on groomed runs. May be called alpine or carving boards. Stiff, so they’re stable when cruising hardpack.

Powder: For riders who spend time in deep pow among trees and in backcountry bowls. Wide waists, even wider noses and rockered (upturned) tips and tails work together to keep edges from catching or sinking.

Note: Women-specific boards (REI offers more than 50) usually feature narrower waists and softer flex. If shopping for kids, avoid putting them on an adult board and hoping they’ll grow into it. An oversized board can be tough for a young person to manage and slow a child’s development.


2. Rocker or camber?

In brief, rocker (aka reverse camber) makes riding easier by making a board:

  • Easier to maneuver
  • Easier to keep afloat in powder

Camber (aka positive camber) supports faster riding by giving a board:

  • More springiness
  • Better edge control

Many rocker-camber combos exist, so many that all the choices can make your head spin. Learn more in the REI Expert Advice article Rocker for Snowboards Explained.


3. Don't overlook the importance of boots.

I’ve heard this advice from lots of serious riders: If you’re going to splurge, splurge on boots, since they play a big role in a rider's comfort. Your feet will likely reward you with no discomfort. Learn more in another REI Expert Advice article Snowboard Boots: How to Choose. We've got an article for choosing bindings, too.

Posted on at 6:30 AM

Tagged: REI Expert Advice, Snowboarding, snowboard boots, snowboards and snowsports

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useful tips, cool.

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