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The first thing to consider when getting a new board is the width of the board. If you have a size 10.5 foot or bigger, you should go with a wide board (you need a waist of ~255mm and up to prevent toe drag). As a rule of thumb, size boards up by how much you weigh, not how tall you are:
If you want a more maneuverable board for park and pipe, size your board down, and if you want more of a free ride board, go with a slightly bigger board. However, most people will want to be right in the middle of one of the above weight ranges.
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Burton Custom Snowboard
$169.99 - 569.99


The freeride style is the most common and easily accessible style of snowboarding. It involves, in the most simple terms, riding down any terrain available. Freeriding may include aerial tricks and jib tricks borrowed from freestyle, or deep carve turns more common in alpine snowboarding; basically utilizing whatever natural terrain the rider may encounter.

Freeriding equipment most commonly used is a stiff boot/binding with a directional twin snowboard. Since the freeride style may encounter many different types of snow conditions from ice to deep powder, freeride snowboards are usually longer and have a stiffer overall flex.

Freestyle incorporates man-made terrain features such as rails, boxes, handrails, jumps, half pipes, quarter pipes and a myriad of other features. The intent of freestyle is to use these terrain features to perform a number of aerial or jib tricks.

The equipment used in freestyle is usually a soft boot with a twin tipped board, though freeride equipment used in this context is often successful. The most common binding stance used in freestyle is called "duck foot" where the trailing foot has a negative degree of arc setup while the leading foot is in the positive range (i.e. -9°/+12°). Freestyle riders who specialize in jibbing often use boards that are shorter than usual ones that have additional flex and that have filed down edges.

The majority of snowboard competitions concern this style of snowboarding.

All Mountain
A hybrid between freestyle and freeride styles. If you don't know what type of rider you are, you probably fall into this category.

For help selecting the perfect board checkout the Snowboard Size Chart.


Often called a "true-twin" or "twin-tip," these boards are the exact same on both ends. A rider that prefers a twin board is one that likes riding switch, and spends equal amounts of time leading with either foot. Most of these are going to be freestyle boards because tricks in a terrain park require you to use both feet equally well.

Also referred to as asymmetric boards, these boards have a slightly larger nose than their tail. This helps give a rider more power and control through their turns. Most of these boards can be ridden switch rather easily, but they definitely feel better going one direction than the other.

Obviously, these boards fall somewhere in between a twin and a directional. These boards can be comfortably ridden switch, but the bindings are set back slightly so that the nose of the board is slightly larger than the tail.

Board Anatomy

Nose- This is what goes down the hill first, initiates turns, and keeps you up in powder. Typically, a board's nose will be bigger than its tail. The above board, Burton's Supermodel, is made to go off piste so it has an exaggerated nose to give it a little bit more float in powder. In twin boards though, there really isn't a nose and a tail, because the board is exactly the same one way as it is the other (for riding switch or fakie).

Binding Threads- These are threads inlaid in the board's core that allow you to attach a pair of bindings to it.

Waist- This is the narrowest part of the board.

Tail- This end normally goes uphill unless you are riding switch.

Edges- Thin strips of stainless steel made to bite into ice and snow to give you more control.

Base- The base is a high molecular weight plastic made to absorb wax and slide easily over snow and ice.


The core of a snowboard is typically wood (usually birch or popular), but can be made of foam (typical in cheaper boards) or even aluminum.

Often, the wood inside a board is supplemented with kevlar or carbon fiber. This gives the board additional stiffness and makes the board more responsive without adding too much weight.

The edge is a strip of metal tuned normally to just less than 90 degrees, which runs the length of either side of the board. This sharp edge is necessary to be able to produce enough friction to ride on ice. The radius of the edge directly affects the radius of carving turns and in turn affects the responsiveness of the board.

Kinking, rusting, or general dulling of the edge will significantly hinder the ability for the edge to grip the snow, so it is important that this feature is maintained. However, many riders who spend a fair amount of their time grinding park rails, especially handrails, will actually use a detuning stone or another method to intentionally dull their edges, either entirely or only in certain areas. It's relatively common for freestyle riders to "detune" the edges around the board's contact points. This practice can help reduce the chances of the rider catching an edge in a choppy or rutted-out jump landing or similar situation. This helps to avoid "catching" on any tiny burrs or other obstructions that may exist or be formed on rails, boxes, and other types of grind. Catching on a rail can result in a potentially serious crash, particularly should it occur on a handrail or more advanced rail set-up. It is important to keep in mind that drastic edge detuning can be near-impossible to fully reverse and will significantly impede board control and the ability to hold an edge in harder packed snow. One area where this can be quite detrimental is in a half-pipe, where well-sharpened edges are often crucially important for cutting through the hard, sometimes icy, walls.

The edges are incorporated into the outside edge of the board either by a sidewall (where some version of ABS plastic reinforces the edge and meets the topsheet), or a capped edge (where the topsheet rolls over to meet the edge directly). The vast majority of boards currently use sidewall construction because it typically rides more damp and is easier to repair.

A stiffer board more efficiently transfers the rider's energy from one edge to the other. Often beginners will gravitate towards softer boards because they are more forgiving. Stiffness is fairly equivalent to a car's steering. Older cars have lots of play in the steering wheel and cause the driver to physically turn the steering wheel a great deal to change the direction of the car (not unlike a soft board that requires more rider movement to turn the board). Whereas a new sports car will have stiffer steering, so smaller movements will translate into larger changes of direction (a stiffer board will amplify your movements so what you do on the board better be right, or it can take you in a direction you don't want to go... which normally ends in a face full of snow).

Many people that enjoy jibbing on rails find that softer boards are easier to balance on, so many upper level freestyle boards are softer even though they aren't necessarily for beginners.

Boots and Bindings
If you actually want to USE your snowboard, you need to have a pair of boots and bindings. Make sure you check out those pages for more info on them.
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