How to Shop for a Snowboard

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Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this article about how to shop for a snowboard helpful.

When shopping for a snowboard, first, you need to decide if you are looking for a Beginner/Intermediate or an Advanced snowboard. You also need to determine your riding style, as well as some other additional features like length, shape, flex, width and camber.  Use this guide to find the right board for you and then check out the list of awesome snowboards that follows.

Beginner Snowboards:

  • Are less expensive and made of materials that are softer and more forgiving.
  • Have an extruded base material, meaning it is more durable and less maintenance required to maintain.
  • Have a slight camber so that the board edges curve upward slightly, to make it harder to catching an edge.
  • Heavier in weight
  • Are not specifically designed for any one particular style, they are meant to be versatile and for all conditions.

Advanced Snowboards:

  • Will be more expensive
  • Filled with the latest technology and super-light materials. (think carbon fiber)
  • More style-specific. Advance riders know what they like to ski in and want their board to perform best in those conditions.
  • Will have a  sintered base, this makes the board faster and allows the wax to be absorbed better but it requires more maintenance.
  • Will be stiffer (unless you are looking for a snowboard for the terrain parks) to go faster and carve turns.
  • Most shops offer Demo Board or Performance Board Rentals so you can take them for a spin before you decide to lay big money down for an advanced board.

Determine Your Riding Style:

Freestyle riding means playing in the terrain park or doing tricks around the mountain. These riders will be jumping, riding rails, boxes and the half pipe. Freestyle riders and beginners usually share the need for a board that is easy to control and maneuver. Shorter board and a softer flex is preferred

Alpine/ Freeride is cruising groomer runs and going for long deep carving at higher speeds. These riders want a positive camber board to provide edge control, deliver quick edge turns and stability for speed. These boards are meant to be ridden only in one direction.

All Mountain is the most popular it means you will be riding the entire mountain from groomers, to the terrain park, to glades and everything in between. Super versatile and perfect for beginners too. The board is directional, meaning the tip is different from the tail. Despite the directional shape, it can be ridden backwards too.

Powder riders are purely back country. This type of riding is only for highly advanced riders. The boards are stiffer and longer and designed to get better float on top of the snow.

Additional Features:

Length –Boards are measured in centimeters from tip to tail. The length of the board is important to its performance. A generic way to determine if a board’s length is right for you is to stand it on end holding it up next to you. For general riding, the board should come to between your shoulder and nose.

Shape -There are four basic shapes; twin, directional, twin directional and tapered. This refers to the length and width of the nose and tail.

  • A twin board is symmetrical, the nose and tail are identical. A twin board is used by freestyle and beginners because they are designed to be ridden forwards and backwards, or “switch”.
  • Directional boards go one way, nose first, downhill and will have a longer and wider nose than tail.
  • A twin directional board is a mix of the two shapes. It provides stability at higher speeds and carving, but still allows for switch riding and freestyle terrain use. Very versatile.
  • A tapered board is for powder riding. It is. The tapered shape has a much wider nose than tail and that gives the board a ton more float in powder.

Flex – Next you need to consider what type of flex you want the board to have. When we say soft or stiff boards, flex is what we are talking about. Flex is based on a 0-10 scale, 0 being a noodle and 10 being a brick. Generally, beginners and Intermediates and most all-mountain riders like lots of flex and more advanced riders like stiffer boards but it is all a matter of preference.

Width – The size of your feet will determine what board you get. If you have a boot size 10 or less a regular width board will work just fine for you, but if your feet are bigger than that you will probably need to purchase a mid-wide or wide snowboard so you don’t have any toe or heel drag.

Camber:

  • Traditional Camber has an arch at the center and the nose and tail are the main contact points to the snow. Perfect for Beginners
  • Rocker & Reverse Camber – A rocker and reverse camber creates upturned tips and tails and the design is excellent in powder, jibbing and rails. Beginners like this because the board rolls from edge to edge easier.

See Also: Best Travel Snowboard Bags


Here are some great MEN’S all-Mountain and Freestyle snowboards and complete snowboard packages that are awesome and affordable. These boards are a great choice for any beginner or intermediate riders or advance riders that like to play mostly in terrain parks.



Beginner  & Intermediate Snowboards


System MTN Snowboard, APX Binding & Boots Package

This all-mountain snowboard package is a Bestseller! If you are looking for and affordable, COMPLETE snowboard package that is great for all levels and designed to float in powder, power through trees and still handle the terrain park with ease, this is the board for you.

  • Camp Seven System MTN Snowboard -The MTN is a camber-rocker-camber design that increases float in powder and helps to stop you from catching an edge. The small cambered sections in the nose and tail allow for explosive pops, Ollies and jumps.
  • The light Poplar wood core has two high-density stringers running just outside the center of the board and down the center of the board.
  • Twin tip design means this board can be ridden regular or switch.
  • System APX Bindings:
    • A super-light binding, that offers awesome performance.
    • Full length EVA base pad.
    • Either-Or toe strap that can be ridden toe cap style or over the forefoot.
    • Gel insert contoured straps.
    • Inside routed ladder straps
    • Aluminum 4 tooth ratchets makes strapping in is a breeze.
  • APX Boots:
    • Simple and classic styling
    • Metal hooks for lacing
    • Thermofit heat moldable liners for a customizable fit.
  • 3 year warranty on each item

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STAUBER Summit Snowboard and Bindings

An All-Mountain snowboard with a Camber Rocker Camber design which is great for beginners as well as powder runs and the jib park. A high-quality beginner board AND bindings that is very affordable. You can own a snowboard and bindings for the same price as 2-3 days of renting a snowboard.

  • Twin Directional means you can ride it switch.
  • The extruded base means it is durable and easy to maintain as it does not need to be waxed nearly as much as a sintered base.
  • STAUBER Bindings:
    • Lightweight
    • Reinforced adjustable high back binding
    • Ankle strap and toe cap strap.

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Camp Seven Valdez Snowboard, Bindings & Boots Complete Package

Camp Seven Valdez Snowboard is an All-Mountain snowboard perfect for a variety of conditions and terrain. A great snowboard for beginners and intermediates who want to ski the whole mountain in a variety of conditions or an advanced rider who likes the park. This affordable setup includes everything you need, board, binding and boots. This is a great deal!

  • Camber Rocker Camber design is great in the powder but also offers a lot of “pop” in the jib park.
  • High quality Poplar core has stringers running down each edge of the board, creating a stronger rail to help drive your edge into the snow! This board offers all-mountain flex and a lively feel.
  • Summit Bindings:
    • Full-length EVA base, your feet are always comfortable even going through the iciest chop.
    • Either-Or toe strap can be ridden toe cap style or over the forefoot allowing a customizable fit.
    • Gel insert straps
    • Aluminum ratchets system make tightening and loosening super easy.
  • System APX Snowboard Boots:
    • Offers both superior comfort and performance.
    • Simple and classic metal hooks ensure a secure hold and lasting power.
    • Moldable liners offers a customized fit.
  • 3 Year Warranty for each item

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Camp Seven Drifter, APX Bindings and Boots Complete Package

Another Camp Seven Snowboard that is awesome for All-Mountain whether you are looking to ski deep powder, killer groomers, or terrain parks and the half pipe. A complete, durable snowboard package that offers everything you need at an affordable price

  • Camp Seven Drifter Snowboard:
  • Boasting the lightest core, the Dual Density Poplar DD2, with an artisan grade heartwood stringers so that you never lose an edge.
  • APX Bindings:
    • Lightweight and durable.
    • Full length EVA base pad so your feet are comfortable and securely attached to the board.
    • Versatile toe strap can be ridden toe cap style or over the forefoot.
    • Gel insert contoured straps.
    • Inside routed ladder straps
    • Aluminum 4 tooth ratchet straps make tightening and loosening easy.
    • High back offers enhanced control and speed
    • Anatomically correct foot bed offers a more natural stance.
  • APX Boots:
    • Comfortable, durable boots for performance.
    • Simple and classic metal hooks make for superior lacing.
    • Thermofit heat moldable liners for a customized fit.
  • 3 Year Warranty on each item

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Flow Vert Snowboard, Bindings & Boots Package

If you are looking for ease and comfort with tons of performance than this complete snowboard package is for you. The BOA closure system makes t quicker and easier to hit the slopes with an easy turn of a dial. Perfect All-Mountain board that is great for all levels.

  • The Flow Vert Snowboard is an all-mountain snowboard with a Flat design and gently rockered nose and tail that makes for a stable ride with less chatter.
  • Boasts a twin tip design, combined with a Poplar wood core, allows for a balanced ride whether ridden regular or switch.
  • Board contains a high-density, extruded base that is extremely easy to maintain and repair.
  • Flow Alpha Stormtrooper LTD Bindings:
    • Comfortable and supportive strap with Full EVA Toe and Heel inserts for performance and comfort.
    • The one piece MINI-ratchet strap is a little different then traditional straps but will hold you comfortably and securely. May take time get use to this type of strap if unfamiliar.
    • High back binding offers enhanced control and speed.
  • Flow Vega LTD BOA Men’s Boots:
    • A softer boot
    • Featuring the convenient BOA closure system; just lace up your boot with the simple turn of the dial. SUPER EASY!
    • The boot liner fits like a glove.
    • This boot has great traction on snow and icy surfaces.

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Burton Ripcord Snowboard

No snowboard list is complete without a Burton board, Burton is the original innovator of snowboarding and they really know what they are doing. The Burton Ripcord is designed to accelerate beginners and intermediates into more advanced riding.

If you are looking for a name brand you can trust, look no further than Burton. This is a great, All-Mountain board that will enhance your riding and take you to the next level at an affordable price.

  • .This is a directional snowboard meaning it is really meant to go nose downhill.
  • The Flat Top with an easy bevel on the edges ensures more stability and less chance of catching an edge.
  • Extruded base means it is easy to maintain but still goes very fast. This Burton Ripcord is a step up from most entry level boards.

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Ride Agenda Snowboard

Ride Agenda Snowboard is a Freestyle board that boasts Ride’s exclusive new Slimewalls Technology, which is a skate-inspired urethane sidewall technology for extra-smooth riding & long-lasting durability.

This is a great name brand freestyle board that will serve you well in the terrain parks, on rails, jumps and anywhere you want to do tricks. The Ride brand has been around for years and has proven itself a leader in the snowboard industry.

  • Its twin tip design makes it easy to ride in either direction, regular or switch.
  • The camber is Flat, Low-Rise Rocker which is a versatile option used in freestyle boards because they are very stable when riding rails, thanks to the flat section between the bindings.

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See also: The Year’s Best Ski Goggles


Leave a Comment

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Did this answer all your questions about how to shop for a snowboard? Please leave a comment about any of these snowboard packages and please tell us your favorite board to ride and why. We would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading.

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  • Hi! This is a great review of snowboards and I love all the details you put into what types and styles of boards out there for both beginners and advance snowboarders.

    I am a beginner myself. I never did much skiing or snowboarding until I moved to Denver, CO. I have always been drawn to snowboarding more than skiing but that might have to do with being a avid skater most of my life. It seems after reading your post, that buying a snowboard is not that different from buying a skateboard.

    I do have a question for you about one of the boards you mentioned. I may be getting ahead of myself but would the Ride Agenda Snowboard be a little too much for a beginner to start with?

    I'm all about the tricks and I would be willing to drop money down on a board that would be made for just that. If you think it's not the right fit for a beginner, which board would you suggest for a beginner who wants to start learning some tricks too?

    • Hello Tina, Thank you for the comment and welcome to the area. Living in Denver makes it so easy to go snowboarding on the weekends.

      The Ride Agenda snowboard would be a GREAT beginners board especially with your skatepark background.  Because it is a freestyle board it will be very flexy and forgiving although keep in mind that the flat camber might cause you to catch an edge easier. These are technically men's snowboards, that does not mean that a woman can't ride them but know that men's boards are usually a little heavier and not quite  as flexy as the woman's version but if you love the board it should not stop you from purchasing.  However the bindings that come in this package fit men's feet from 8-12. You might do better purchasing board and bindings separately so you can get the correct size bindings for your boot.

  • Hello I am shopping for my husband.  He has never gone snowboarding but wants to learn.  He has skied and loves skateboarding.  I am going to buy him a snowboard set up for him as a surprise gift. H is 6 foot tall and about 185 lbs What do you recommend? I am thinking the System MTN complete snowboard package because it has board, boots and bindings and it is relatively inexpensive.

    • Hello what a great gift, I think your husband will love it.  Yes, the Systems Camp Seven complete snowboard packages are perfect for never-ever snowboarders.  They are an all-mountain board at a very affordable price.  Since you will be buying these as a gift you will need to know the snowboard length and your husband's boot size.  Since your husband is 6' I would go with the 163 cm snowboard length.

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