Buying a board is a big step and can be exciting if you know what you want. Each snowboarder wants different things so before you buy decide what it is you want to do with your board and what kind of snow your planning on boarding in. Different boards are going to help you rip it in the park than those designed for shredding on the mountain or enjoy the backcountry. So before you buy you should ask yourself these questions: Where will I do the majority of my riding? And what kind of snow will I be riding in?
The most important thing to consider when buying a board is the length. The length is measured in centimeters and depends on a few aspects. One aspect is your weight. Most boards come with size guidelines. However, a good rule of thumb if a size guide is not available is the longer board goes fast and the short board has more control. Stand the board up on its tail and hold it up to you.
Short (collarbone to chin) – shorter boards lead to more control. Riders who are inexperienced would probably want a board on the shorter side. Boarders who ride mostly in the park would also consider riding a shorter board.
Long (nose to chin) – all-mountain riders love the longer boards. The longer the board, the faster you will go. You forgo some control; however, you get more speed and float on snow.
Longest (nose or above) – if you ride in deep powder, a really long board might be a good option.
The next thing you need to consider is the width of the board. You want your feet to expand across the whole width of the board to ensure control. If your toes or heels hang off the edge of the board you need a wider board.
The size of the board is the most important when picking out a board that is right for you. There are many other variants in the board that you may want to consider. There is the flex of the board, camber and base. Although these are just small things, experienced riders may want to consider these when buying a board.
The camber of your board refers to the arch that extends the length of the board. For a more in depth overview of camber check out this post.
There are two types of bases: extruded and sintered. Extruded bases require less maintenance and wax. The extruded also is easier to fix when broken. A sintered base requires more waxing and maintenance but have better performance. The sintered base requires a regular wax otherwise the performance will decrease.
The flex of the board is basically how flexible the board is. A soft board is easier to control and less likely to catch edges. It’s a good option for freestyle riders. All-mountain riders usually prefer a mi-range flex, which is the most common. This flex is good for a variety of riding. If speed is your name, you will want to look for a stiff board. The stiffer boards are more stable at high speeds. They are also good for riding in powder.
When it comes to finding your perfect board, ignore the graphics and focus on what you want your board to do for you. Find out what aspects are important to you and find the board that fits your needs.
If you are new to snowboarding or just looking to upgrade some gear before the next season, here are the basic accessories every snowboarder should have before they head up to the mountain:
Music: No doubt about it, plugging in to your favorite tunes can make you shred harder than anything else. Make sure you have a protective case and good sturdy headphones.
Helmet: If you want to ride hard don’t forget to pick up a helmet. It may look silly, but it will make crashing a lot more enjoyable. And don’t pretend like you don’t crash. If you don’t crash, you aren’t going hard enough.
Warm socks: Don’t underestimate the importance of good, warm socks. Keeping your feet warm will keep you on the mountain longer. Nothing can end a trip faster than frozen toes.
Gloves: Pick sturdy, warm gloves that aren’t too bulky or hard to work with. Some people prefer mittens with liners, while others want gloves. It’s all up to your personal preference. But whatever you pick make sure you can do your bindings with ease and without compromising hand warmth.
Goggles: Picking the right goggle is important. It’s too scientific to explain here so check out this site. It will tell you everything you need to know about the goggles you need for the weather you will be boarding in.
Shovel: You don’t need a fancy shovel, but if you feel like making a quick kicker it will help a lot. Any shovel that can collapse or fold in to make it more compact and easy to throw in a backpack will do.
Screwdriver: If your bindings come loose on the mountain having a tool kit handy could save your day. You can purchase small ones that you can carry around in your bag or jacket pocket.
Leash: Yup, you need one. Most mountains won’t even let you on the lift without one. Save a lot of grief by getting one before you get there. It’s not fun to be inches from the gondola just to be told you need a leash before heading up.
The sun comes out and the lifts shut down, but those muscles you’ve created from all your winter shredding can be kept all year long. Staying in snowboarding shape during the off season can leave you ready to hit the slopes as soon as the snow comes. Here are some tips to stay ready for winter, even in the summer:
Mountain Biking is a great cure for the summer blues. It’s a good workout for your legs and as an added bonus it keeps you close to the place you call your winter home — the mountains. Many of the same mountains you shred in the winter are available for mountain biking in the summer. Check with your local hill to see if they offer summer lifts.
Riding other boards
Keep in touch with the feel of a board by trying one with wheels or one in the water, such as a surfboard, skateboard, wakeboard or mountain board. Nothing can compare to the feel of fresh pow underneath a freshly waxed board, but it can keep the boarding cravings under control until snow can be found. And hey, many new boards now mimic the way a snowboard feels, so it will be like you never left.
Endurance is important. Come winter time you don’t want to be about to hit a sick kicker and feel the gnawing pain of fatigue. Running and hiking can help with your endurance and keep your heart going. A good cardio workout is important to keeping in shape.
Anaerobic (Strength training)
If you are lazy or just low on cash and can’t hit a gym very much this summer, here are some things you can do in your own home to strengthen your muscles so you can nail a backside 360 without breaking a sweat or worse, a bone. Pull out some old soup cans or weights and do lunges and squats. These will help strengthen your quads which is important in pulling off a sick trick or just casually maneuvering down the hill. You can also do some calf raises to keep the burn off when your flying down toeside. Your core and arms are just as important when being impressive on the mountain. Make sure you spend some time doing push ups, crunches and planks.
Any abs, arms or leg exercises you can do will help. Stay strong and fit and maybe the pain of snow-less days will subside with time. But, if you can’t quench your summer frustrations by working out, try strapping in anyway. Salt Boarding
Because let’s be honest — nothing feels as good as being strapped into your favorite board.