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How to buy a Snowboard

Buying a Snowboard isn't as easy as it used to be. There are about 50-100 different Snowboard companies out there competing for your hard earned cash, (or your parents). With so many great choices, the snowboarder of today needs to be informed, so we put this segment together in hopes that How to Buy a Snowboard will be an exciting and pleasurable experience.

There are many different types of snowboards available today.

Here are the most common types of snowboards:

  • Park/Pipe Snowboards
  • Wide Snowboards
  • Powder Snowboards
  • Snow Decks
  • Boardercross
  • Signature Series boards

What was once a simple idea, has gotten pretty hi-tech these days. It is a good idea to make sure your snowboard lingo is up to date. For some important verbage and ammunition for your buying experience it is a good idea to brush up on snowboard definitions.


Snowboard buying requires a few important questions to be answered, but you'll be stoked to know that you already have the answers. Your weight, height, foot size and riding style are the main factors that will define the appropriate stiffness, height, width and shape of the board you'll buy. However you will need to know:


Your riding ability?

Beginner- first time, newbie, taking a lesson, snowboarded 1-3 times.
Intermediate- board 3-5 times a year, ride fakie, catch some air, turns no problem.
Advanced- you know who you are !


What type of riding style do you enjoy most?

The riding style you prefer will help determine the type of board you should buy.
There are many different opinions on how many riding styles there are but we are going to break them down in to three main categories of riding styles.
The three most common riding styles are:

1. All Mountain / Freeride style-a freeride or all mountain snowboarder utilizes the whole mountain. You enjoy carving, catching air, basically all riding aspects.


2. Freestyle or Technical riding- includes mostly trick riding. Jumps, spins, grabs, jibbing, rail sliding, basically tearing it up. Technical freestyle riding is usually found in the parks or near the halfpipe.Freestyle/Technical boards are the best choice for a beginning snowboarder.

3. Carve/Alpine style-combines speed and deep turns and utilizes everything the mountain has to offer. Alpine riders are continually transitioning from one turn to the next. It is all about high speed and hard carving.


After you have decided on your ability and riding style we can move on to the most important board buying decisions: Board length and width. This is not only a function of your height but also your weight.

Snowboard Length - A good rule of thumb is that the board should stand between your chin and your nose when set on its tail.


Snowboard Width - is usually directly related to your foot size, you need a board wide enough so your heel and toes do not drag in the snow while performing a turn.

Body Weigth - A major factor in determing the correct board size also has to do with your weight. Riders who are heavy should look for boards that have a stiffer flex. Lighter riders will need a board with a softer flex.


CHOOSE YOUR SNOWBOARD
Now its time to pick out the RIGHT board for you, if you are a:

All Mountain/Freeride boarder :: your choices are many as this is the most popular type of board and can be used anywhere on the mountain.


Freestyle/Technical boarder :: your boards are built for performing tricks; spins, airs and riding fakie (backward). Freestyle boards are very responsive; the soft flex makes them forgiving and easy to turn, which also makes these good beginner's boards.


Alpine/Carve boarder :: then you want a longer board for riding and carving downhill, these boards are stiffer and narrower than other types of boards. Alpine/Race boards are not made for doing tricks.


So far so good, now that the appropriate type of board for you has been determined. Theres just a few more things to consider, for instance:
Brand, Price $, and Graphics, not necesarily in that order because these choices are all personal.

Snowboard Brands - There are well over 50 brands to choose from. Many boarders choose to buy the same brand as their favorite pro snowboarder. Some buyers choose to ride a brand made locally. There are alot of ski companies that have hopped on the snowboard explosion. Do your homework and research the brand that interests you for what ever reason.


Snowboard Prices - A new snowboard costs between U.S. $99.00 and up to $1200.00 plus. This buying decision is directly related to how much money $ you can spend on your snowboard. Most Snowboard companies offer a selection of boards at different prices. The higher end boards are usually called Signature Series and are designed by a pro rider and usually carry their signature. These are the tippy top of the line boards and the highest priced, sometimes only a limited edition is produced. The least expensive or Price Point Series boards are produced for the buyer whose most important decision making factor is price. When shopping online merchants always consider Shipping and Sales Tax into the price.


Graphics - Snowboards are a great way to get a message across. Most buyers choose a snowboard because of its graphical nature. This is a way to show the world your inner spirit, or not. Snowboards are quickly becoming works of art. Most Snowboard companies provide a large selection of designs and colors to choose from. Many manufacturers will keep the same graphic for the model type board regardless of size. Others use graphic design to separate board size. There are a lot women's boards coming out with some really cool girly designs too. Some companies like Monson snowboards will actually let you design your own graphics. Graphics is a personal decision and should be considered only after the proper board characteristics have been decided. But most riders choose a board based on graphics rather than compatability.


TIME TO BUY

Wait, Rent first - If you are beginner it is a good idea to rent. This will allow you to try a few different styles, models and brands of Snowboards. Most resorts offer snowboard rentals. Board, boots and bindings can all be rented at the same time. Many local sporting goods shops also offer snowboard rentals. This is helpful to do the day before so all proper adjustments can be made.

What about a used snowboard? - A used board is a great way to go if your budget is tight. Used boards can be found on the internet, newspaper classifieds, online bulletin boards (like in Snowboarding.com's Forums). Most used boards ride just as good as a shiny spankin new one, unless its physically cracked or broken, a used board can provide as much fun as your rich buddies signature model.

Hey What about Last years models? - This is a good way to get a new board at a great price. Unless some new material is found in outer space, it is a safe bet that last years model will ride just about as good as this year's. Summer time is a great time to start your search for last years model, (even though its the same calendar year). Most shops want to get rid of these boards so they can make room on their shelves for the new boards.


IN CONCLUSION

Where to Buy ? - These are the basics of How to Buy a Snowboard. All the major aspects have been covered and hopefully the buying process will be simpler for you. Buying Snowboard Gear Online has become a fairly popular method or purchase. Most Online Merchants offer Free Shipping if for orders over $50, $75 of $100. Additionally, you may also be able to save on local sales tax which could be up to 10%. Check Out The Snowboard Buyers Guide for product information, reviews, and price comparisons