All about snowboards

Snowboarding is one of the most popular snow sports, and still has many fans and practitioners around the world. Practised for fun, but also as a high-profile competitive sport (and now part of the Winter Olympics), the discipline has a huge appeal.

In this article we focus on the different types of snowboard. These famous accessories, which are essential to the practice of this sport, are not all the same. Snowboards are classified into six main categories: free-style, free-ride, boardercross, splitboard, alpine and powder. Let's discover them all, one by one !

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Free-style snowboard

Also known as a Twin tip, this board has a symmetrical shape and was designed to glide in both directions. It has the advantage of giving emphasis to style and movements. These boards are generally wide and short, so as to give the snowboarder more stability when landing and "short turning" (meaning a short, quick turn in this discipline’s jargon). They also feature the particularity of combining flexibility and lightness, two fundamental qualities for performing tricks. The free-style snowboard is ideal for the Snow Park, the perfect place to perform many tricks. If you want to make moves that dazzle everyone, the free-style snowboard is the best board for you.

Freeride snowboard

This board features a nose and tail of opposing shapes to give you extra height in deep snow. It’s the ultimate all-rounder, as it’s been designed to adapt perfectly to all types of snow terrain. This board has a directional shape, which gives it excellent manoeuvrability. Although the freeride board was originally designed for beginners, more experienced riders can enjoy it too.

Alpine snowboard

This board is longer and narrower than the previous two. It’s designed for steep and intense slopes. It gives the snowboarder the ability to turn quickly without the risk of skidding or ‘carving’. However, in order to retain good stability at high speed, the snowboarder must wear very rigid snow boots. You mustn’t be fooled by its appearance, as this is a difficult board to handle in the snow. The alpine snowboard is mainly intended for the most experienced riders and, as such, is not recommended for beginners.

Boardercross snowboard

This is undoubtedly the least known type of snowboard. It’s medium sized, halfway between an alpine board and a freestyle board. It was designed for the obstacle course known as boardercross, a timed course that consists of gates, bumps and other sharp turns. Obviously, this is where the board gets its name from. It is made of Flex, a material known for its rigidity. It’s suitable for all categories of riders. Unfortunately, the discipline is in decline due to its decreasing popularity.

The Splitboard

This snowboard has the particularity of being able to be split in two lengthways. It’s therefore a snowboard that can be converted into a pair of skis, which makes it ideal for freeriding and snow touring. When split, the two parts can be unfolded further to form real skis. The splitboard is perfect for off-piste and downhill snowboarding.

Powder snowboard

Designed for powder, as its name suggests, this board is suitable for all kinds of snowboarders, from beginners to the most experienced. Its special ‘swallow tail’ is easily recognisable. This gives the board a high deformation capacity. The nose (front part) allows the snowboarder to progress faster and even provides a certain "flotation".

How to find the right snowboard size ?

Knowing the different types of snowboards and their characteristics is one thing. But to find the right snowboard, you need to choose the right size. One way to choose the size of your snowboard is to measure yourself against it. If you want to use it for freestyle riding, the correct height of the board should be between your chin and your collarbone. For freeriding, the board should be between your chin and your nose.

A snowboard size guide exists for freeride and freestyle, depending on the weight of the snowboarder.

Depending on your weight, and whether you freeride or freestyle, here’s the snowboard size you should choose :

For a weight between 32 and 35 kg: 134 cm (freeride) and 129 cm (freestyle)
For a weight between 45 and 49 kg: 143 cm (freeride) and 138 cm (freestyle)
For a weight between 64 and 67 kg: 155 cm (freeride) and 150 cm (freestyle)
For a weight between 82 and 85 kg: 162 cm (freeride) and 158 cm (freestyle)
For a weight over 100 kg: 165 cm (freeride) and 161 cm (freestyle).

Once you’ve found the right size, you’ll have to think about the budget for your snowboard.

What is the budget for a snowboard ?

Obviously, the choice is left to the discretion of the snowboarder according to their level and budget. But, generally speaking, a snowboard costs :

between 100 euros and 250 euros for entry-level
between 250 euros and 450 euros for mid-range
and more than 450 euros for high-end models.

In conclusion, the snowboard is obviously an essential for the practice of this snow sport. Combining flexibility, solidity, aesthetics and manoeuvrability, it will allow you to enjoy snowboarding. You now know the different types of snowboards available to you. Start by determining which discipline suits you best. Then choose the snowboard that best suits your needs, depending on the board size, your weight and your budget.

Find out more :

5 technical criteria for choosing a ski or snowboard jacket
What are the different types of ski and snowboard jackets ?
How to choose snow goggles ?