There's a lot of decks out there these days. They come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it even sounds like you're suddenly in the suburbs and ordering Double Shot Non-Fat Vanilla Caramel Macchiatos with some sort of sugar replacement. This page will hopefully help you through that a little.
Here's the breakdown just in case you have ADD like we do and want to skip right to what's interesting to you:
Table of Contents
- Three Critical Pieces in Choosing a Snowboard
- Choosing a Board Based on Where You Ride
- Board Tech Stuff
- FAQ - (Things like "should I size up for backcountry?")
Three Critical Pieces in Choosing a Snowboard
- Length - Generally, aim for about chin height. If you're light as a feather, go down a size. If you're built like a brick house, bump it up.
- Width - Sasquatches or fairy feet. If your foot is over a size 11.5, consider a wide (generally over 26 mm waist width on our fancy spec tables but some are labeled for you). If you have super tiny feet, consider a narrower or women's specific model.
How You Use It - Banana, reverse, stiff, soft, early rise. Yes, those are real terms. However, for a minute, forget about how long or stiff your deck is, forget camber profiles and shapes. There's too much out there and it ultimately is all getting to one common end - Where do you want to ride? If you really want to geek out, we have that too, but we put it at the bottom because it makes our heads hurt, and it will probably make yours too. If you have real in-depth questions, we recommend just calling us. We do actually like talking to people.
Choosing a Board Based on Where You Ride
The industry has generalized terms, but there is no gold standard. Below you'll find how we define things.
- Splitboards / Backcountry - You don't like tons of people or I-70 traffic and you like powder so much that you walk up the hills rather than taking a chairlift.
- Powder - You grew up somewhere with good snow and are spoiled so you only ride when there's more than 12" of snow. Or you just really like powder.
- Freeride - You like to go fast, on steeper stuff.
- All Mountain - You like doing a little of everything.
- Freestyle - You are akin to a flying squirrel.
Let's keep things easy though. We'll ask you a series of questions just like the fancy online quizzes that we can't afford to make. How does it work? If you answer yes to the question, the boards just below it are for you.
We do make some women's specific models, but that's not to say a lady can't ride our other boards. In fact, if you are a taller lady, have larger feet, or just know you like to ride non-women's specific boards, we totally encourage you to investigate the other options.
CHOOSING A BOARD QUESTIONNAIRE (6 Questions)
1. Do you love powder? Like hiking or trail running in the summer? Worried about your weight from sitting at your desk job or too many beers? Do you hate lift lines and I-70 traffic? If you answered yes to the above, you should probably consider a splitboard as you read through the below.
- Backwoods Split
- Big Chief Split
- Range Split
- Riva Split (Women's Specific)
2. Are you new to snowboarding or want something that can do everything but doesn't specialize?
- Spruce (Women's Specific)
3. Do you want to do it all but avoid the park? Do you generally find yourself riding on powder days, weaving through trees, making surfy carves and/or cruising high-speed steeps?
- Riva (Women's Specific)
4. Have you been riding a little longer, don't really enjoy the park, and primarily enjoy going really fast on steep runs?
- Big Chief
- Riva (Women's Specific)
5. Do you enjoy freestyle riding (jumps, spins, cliffs) but want something that can handle some higher speeds and grippier turns?
6. Do you prefer log jibs, smaller features all around the mountain and the park as your primary terrain?
Really want to know why on each board? Call us, we like talking to people. Or watch the board videos. Or keep going down to the nerdier section below.
Board Tech Stuff
- Polymide Topsheets - Stuff is made from castor bean oil. It's more eco-friendly, increases durability through its rough texture, and the finish it provides is kinda like cooking spray for snowboards. It also makes stickers a bit more difficult.
- Flex - There's no scientific organization overseeing standardized flexes here people but we try to evaluate our boards as best we can.
- Longer boards give better edge hold and float in deep snow. Shorter boards are easier to spin and perform tricks on.
- Too narrow and your foot will drag in the snow. Too wide and you might not find the board as responsive as you like.
- What size board do I need?