Welcome to Eternal Board Shop

Snowboard Buyer's Guide

There is a lot to consider when you are buying snowboard equipment, especially if you are new to snowboarding. We want to give you a little insight to what everything means, so you can make a good choice on your snowboard for next season. When you are looking for a board you really need to start by asking yourself some questions about what you want the snowboard to do for you. This will help you find a board that will match your individual riding style.

 


 

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So Where Do You Ride?


Depending on where you ride you will find a snowboard that is built to your needs. Whether it is in the park, pipe, all mountain, big mountain or even powder specific there is a board out there for you no matter what your riding style.


Park Specific Snowboard


Here is the scenario; you spend almost all of your time in the terrain park, hitting hand rails, jibs and any kicker you can find. Well, we got a board for you. Park boards are pretty task orientated. Usually you are going to find that these decks have a softer flex as well as a “relaxed” side cut.

  • A softer snowboard is going to be a bit more forgiving on your landings. If you don't come all the way around on that 540, a soft flex will let you cheat it around, and still impress your friends. The softer flex also allows for better manipulation of the board on rails.
  • A park snowboard will generally have a relaxed side cut so it does not want to turn as hard. Again this makes for a more forgiving feel. If you are spending most of your days lapping out the park then you will definitely want to get a park specific snowboard.
Shop for Park Snowboards like:


All Mountain Freestyle Snowboard


A freestyle snowboard is one of the most versatile boards out there. Often it is a board that can handle any challenge you throw at it. Cork 5 in the park no worries. Drop that 20 foot cliff off the top of the hill, done. Just cruzin’ around, this snowboard will really do it all. Typically these boards are going to be a mid-stiff flex. They will also have a good amount of side cut. Both the stiffer flex and more side cut combine to make all mountain freestyle boards very responsive.

Shop for Freestyle Snowboards like:


Freeride Snowboards


A freeride snowboard is a close cousin to the freestyle board. Freeride boards good for riding around the whole mountain, just not much in the terrain park. Freeride snowboards are usually very fast, very responsive, very good in powder and on groomers. These boards are going to be on the stiff side. Basically the stiffer a snowboard is the better it is at holding speed. You will find that freeride boards are generally on the longer side as well. If you were to cut open one of these snowboards, you will find a much wider use of exotic materials like carbon fiber, thus there is often a higher price tag attached. A “freerider” is going to spend a lot of time in the steeps and on groomed runs where speeds are higher than in the park. If you like to bomb the entire mountain but stay out of the park, then you're a freerider. Do note that a freeride snowboard is an aggressive board, they are usually a little much for beginners.

Shop for Freeride Snowboards like:


Big Mountain Snowboards


Big Mountain is for the guys dropping big back-country steeps. They are not riding resorts with these boards. While it is sometimes tough to tell the difference among park, freestyle, or freeride snowboards, big mountain boards will be much easier to pick out of a line up. These snowboards have all kinds of different shapes. Some are tapered others are rockered and many of them use a combination of both. Eternal carries Big Mountain boards but selection is limited due to the specific nature and limited access of big mountain riding. For most casual back-country riders a freeride snowboard is going to be a great answer.


Shop for Big Mountain Snowboards like:


Women’s Snowboards


Yep it is true men and women are built differently, so now their snowboards are built differently. There are three big physiological differences that are considered for women’s specific boards:

  • Foot size, center of gravity, and body mass, all of which affect the way a snowboarder interacts with their equipment.
  • Women’s boards are engineered for smaller feet, lower centers of gravity, and lighter weight.

Female riders of all abilities can find boards and snowboard boots specifically tailored to these physiological differences and you will still find all of the different types of snowboards in the women’s specific category.

Shop for Women’s Snowboards


Kid’s Snowboards


Most snowboards that are under 140cm are generally kid’s boards. For the most part these are no frills very simple soft snowboards, which makes for a forgiving ride. Since the groms are lightweight and not very strong yet the soft board helps them maneuver it around.

Shop for Kid’s Snowboards

OK you have picked where you ride but now you need to figure out how to pick length and width, flex and camber.


Snowboard Length


The long standing rule of thumb is to grab a board off the wall and it should hit you just under the chin. This is still a good jumping off point; however your weight is a bit more important. A snowboard acts like a leaf spring, in that it has no clue how tall the person standing on it is, but it does know how much they weigh. Below is a sizing chart with some simplified info about board length, but the best place to find this info is typically on an info sticker on the snowboard itself, because the numbers always vary from board to board.

A Snowboard Sizing Chart (but they are not all created equal)


Your Height (in)

Your Weight (lb)

Snowboard Size (cm)

<4'10"

105 - 120

120 - 135

4’10” - 5’

115 - 130

130 - 140

5’ - 5'2"

125 - 140

135 - 145

5’2” - 5'4"

135 - 150

140 - 150

5’4” - 5'6"

145 - 160

145 - 155

5’6” - 5'8"

155 - 170

150 -160

5’8” - 5'10"

165 - 180

155 - 165

6'+

185+

160 - 170


Additionally keep in mind:
  • For a park or freestyle board you should err  on the shorter side. Shorter snowboard = easier to spin.
  • Beginners should also look at boards that are on the shorter side, they will be easier to maneuver.
  • All mountain and freeride boards you should go longer. Longer snowboard = higher speed and better float.
  • For all of those little up and comers you should also consider that they are still growing, so buying a bigger snowboard here is OK as long as it is not too big.

Snowboard Width


The second measurement to make is width. For the most part, snowboards are just in two categories of width, standard and wide.

  • Standard width is anything under U.S. size 11.
  • Wide is basically anything over an U.S. 11 - 11.5 shoe size. The idea is that you do not want too much of your toe and heel to be overhanging the profile of the snowboard itself.
  • Keep in mind that women's and children's boards do run a bit narrower and don’t often have wide options, so women and children with bigger shoe sizes should consider  going to a men's board.

Snowboard Flex


Having already made a decision about whether you are a park, freestyle, freeride, or big mountain rider, you have narrowed the decision of flex. But of course within one category you can find many different flexes. Keep in mind two main ideas:

  • A softer flex is going to be more forgiving which is good at the beginner level. This also makes for a board that can be manipulated easily by the rider which is good in the park.
  • A stiffer board is going to handle speed much better. At high speeds there are much higher forces acting on the board.

Camber or Rocker or Flat or Early Rise or What Ever You Call It


Right now in snowboarding it is an exciting time when it comes to shape. For a long time the “traditional” camber was king. In the last five years there has be a revolution in the design and engineering of snowboards. The diagram below shows the basic differences between these shapes.

Snowboard Camber Types traditional rocker 0

You may ask which is best, but right now there is no clear answer and you can find all of these shapes, as well as combinations of them, in every category of board.

  • Snowboards with “Rocker” or “Reverse Camber” make for a very playful and forgiving ride. The tip and tail of the snowboard come up off the snow closer to your feet so there is less material to catch your edge on.
  • Traditional Camber makes for a very stable platform which is great at high speeds.
  • Zero Camber offers stability as well as a playful feel.

If you are not confused enough on the subject you may want to read our quick guide to “How The Snowboard Bends.”

Core Profile


In addition to camber there are three main different core profiles. Each does something slightly different.

  • Directional means that the board is built stiffer in the tail than in the nose. The side cut is also set back on the snowboard. These are for people that primarily ride one direction (little to no switch stance riding).
  • Directional twin is when the core of the board is directional but the side cut is twin (centered on the board and the same front and back). This is for riders that favor the front foot but often ride switch.
  • Twin is when both the core and the side cut is the same front and back. This makes the snowboard preform the same in either direction. It is great when you are doing a lot of switch ride especially in the park doing tricks.

Hole Patterns


Before you make your final decision you do need to be sure that your bindings will be compatible. Most snowboards will have one of four hole patterns.

Snowboard Hole Patterns

There are snowboard bindings that will offer mounting plates that make them compatible with different hole patterns but not all have that ability please be aware of it.


Your Budget


Hey the economy is tough but physical activity is a great way to release stress. You don’t have to have the latest and greatest snowboarding equipment to become a good snowboarder and enjoy the sport, but you should have the RIGHT equipment. Make sure fit and sizing are appropriate for you. If you are going to put a few more bucks into something, put it towards the boots. The boot is the one piece of snowboarding equipment that actually touches your body, so make sure it fits right and is the proper performance level. The right boot will lead to days, weeks, months, and even years worth of great riding.


Snowboard Graphics


Let’s be honest, we all got to look good out there. Make sure your investment is something you like to look at, because if you don’t look good we don’t look good. Remmeber if you cannot afford a new board you could always toss some new stickers on the old board to freshen it up a bit.

There is a lot to consider when buying a new snowboard. We have laid out a basic guide, but it is only a guide. Please remember that these are just “rules of thumb” and there are always exceptions to the rule. We hope this guide helped you narrow things down.  As always, you can give Eternal’s staff of seasoned snowboarders a call at 800.838.3762 or email our Customer Service Department. We are always here to help you get on the snow and start shredding.