We carry snowboarding boots, boards, and bindings from Burton and Flow, two brands that have been making innovative and fun boarding products for a long time.  Here are some questions to consider when buying new boarding equipment:

Where on the mountain do I prefer to spend my time?

There are three broad categories of snowboards: freestyle, freeride and powder boards.  Boards can be anywhere along the spectrum between these boards, so the first question is: where will you ride? The prefect board exists for just about every particular riding style. A soft, “buttery” board will be great for riding rails and boxes but not so good in the pipe, and a pure powder board isn’t the best when the conditions are firm. It pays to get the right board, so think about where you’ll be spending most of your time on the hill.

Where am I looking to take my riding?

With snowboards, it is not necessary to buy a beginner board even if you are just starting out. If you see yourself putting some time into your riding and growing in ability, it makes perfect sense to buy a better board that will not limit your riding a couple years down the road.

Does my equipment match?

Cosmetic looks we will not dwell on, but in terms of performance there are several points to mention. Board, boots and bindings need to share similar flexes to get the riding characteristics that you are looking for. For instance, if you buy a stiff board to rail the turns, your old soft boots won’t let you carve like you should. Secondly, the board needs to be the right width for your feet so you don’t have a lot of boot overhang and drag an edge. Narrower boards do give better heel-to-toe response so there is a balance of traits to consider. Thirdly, do your bindings fit the boots well? You can compensate to some extent for a sloppy fit by cranking the bindings down but that does not feel good. The reverse fit issue can be easily true as well. Whenever buying a new binding, boots, or both make sure they are fitted up together before you go to the mountain, as there are no standard settings, and you can’t ride if your straps don’t reach far enough to buckle up.

What camber will work best for my riding?

It used to be that the only flex question was how stiff the board was and if the tip and tail flex was the same.  Now there are a lot more choices in flex to give you a wider range of performance traits.  Here are the broad categories of flexes currently available.

Traditional camber: Best for carving on hardpack, halfpipe, and big jump lines.

Rocker: This flex started off the flurry of experimentation and is still a lot of fun in powder and for goofing around.  They are the most loose and catch free feeling boards available, but they do give up some pop and liveliness to boards with camber.

Flat camber:  This flex was made popular in park riding as it is great for locking on rails and such without too much sacrifice on the rest of the mountain.

Camber – Rocker hybrid:  These boards aims to keep some of the playfulness and looseness of a rocker board with more of the power that a camber board has.   A great choice for an all around board, much better in powder than a camber board, still carves well, and super fun.

We  have a camber/rocker hybrid board to demo so you can see if it is right for you.

What length do I need?

One place to start is to look for boards that come up to around your chin, and then go up or down from there depending on your preference.  Check out the weight range that the board lengths are designed for and go for the lengths that put you more in the middle of the range.  Some boards (such as the Burton boards with “raduction”) are designed to be ridden up to 10 cm shorter than traditional boards so that you can get the handling benefits of a shorter board without getting a board that is too soft to ride well.

Do I need a wide board?

Snowboard design and stance preferences continues to evolve and most boards are a little wider than they used to be.  Not all boards are available in wides anymore and some come in “mid wides” only. The traditional rule of thumb is around a size 11 or more should be on a wide board, and that works well for most people.  Because your riding style, stance width and stance angles all play into your ideal width you may want to choose differently.  Some smaller footed people really like a wider board as it reduces the boot out syndrome when your board digs into the snow on steeper angle carves, and some bigger footed people really like the quicker feel of a narrower board.