What Should One Look For When Buying A Snowboard?

Things to look for when buying a snowboard

Most important features: What most people want to keep in mind is body weight, footbed length, current ability, hopeful future progression, terrain, snow conditions at area/s, etc.... A great tech/ sales person hopefully can sort this for you.

Look out for twist: Many boards don’t have a flat bottom (board has a slight twist, maybe about 1/16-1/8 of an inch from frontside to toeside). This causes edges to catch resulting in falls.

On a traditional camber snowboard, turn it upside down, and make sure the high spots on the ends are parallel. This is how you can tell if there is no twist to the snowboard.

Determine which type of snowboard you want based on snow conditions: There are so many mass produced varieties now, the options can be huge. Traditional camber, no camber, rocker, hybrid rocker, etc..

Weather patterns in the Sierra Nevada mountain range around Tahoe tend to be seasonal. So far (2015/16), the storms have been relatively cold and intervals between storms have been short. This results in great powder days that causes some enthusiasts to get rocker type snowboards for easier powder riding.

What is the board made from: Board construction can be huge. As with many sports products, lighter and stronger commands a higher price often. Tossing heavier and more sluggish fiberglass will probably put the starting price of a deck at $500, with prices climbing fast. Features such as rocker and magna-traction edges can cause higher prices. If magna-traction is an option, make sure to evaluate how the edges will be tuned.

There probably is a book out there somewhere on how to select a snowboard. For people with deeper pockets and or who prefer specifically reacting equipment, multiple decks is an option.

Image posted by Jack

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.


  • Vale: Good tips! Maybe you could do another blog on which boards are good for different snow conditions and riding types :) When I was looking for boards I remember looking at whether the board was for all mountain, freestyle, park riding, etc. The specifics I checked were effective edge, whether it was directional or twin tip, how heavy it was, how stiff/flexible,...
  • PerryRObray: Very competent comment. I usually snowboard around Tahoe, hence the rocker reference for 2015/16. I have snowboarded the San Bernardino mtns. The great sales person pointed me to a stiff board and very supportive binding system for the significant amount of ice.
    Seems big mountain areas are into long effective edge (length of the board in actual contact to the snow). Higher speed stability should be much better this way. Lower speeds with long effective edge can require advanced skills for better control. Also, shorter nose and tail enhance spinning.
  • Vale: Thanks for those additional tips :) How is the season so far? I have yet to ride out west.... one day!!
  • PerryRObray:

    Some Tahoe resorts reported 3 times the normal snow pack for the Thanksgiving holiday. Very dry snow for this area.

  • Vale: wow!
  • PerryRObray: Probably going to be a great snowpack. January should be full tilt off trail cruising. About 4 years ago there was a similar winter at Tahoe. Huge season for backcountry ventures.
  • Vale: Backcountry is my favorite! Nothing like first tracks :)
  • PerryRObray: 2016/17 season at Tahoe is full blown wide open. All terrain is currently open. For off trail first tracks riders, rocker types are almost certainly preferred.

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