Types of Snowboards: Explained

From freestyle to powder—an introduction to the main types of boards


The wonderful world of snowboarding (and all the gear involved) can get confusing, especially if you’re new to the sport. Don’t let the terminology discourage you, any shop should have knowledgeable staff on hand to answer any questions. But before you head out, here’s an introduction to the main categories and a guide to help put you in the direction of what gear might work best for you.

The first thing you should consider when looking at boards is the terrain you’ll be riding. We’ve outlined the main categories below to help you start shopping in the right section.

These boards are for the multi-terrain rider who wants to tackle everything from resort slopes to backcountry. They are typically right in the middle on flex and size, stable enough to handle higher speeds but flexible enough to be forgiving. These versatile boards come in a variety of styles.

Light, short, flexible and twin tipped—those are the key characteristics of freestyle boards. Built for the park and pulling off insane tricks, these boards are a fun favorite all over the mountain. Not the best for flying through heavy powder, these boards are best for those looking for a playful ride.

As the name implies, these boards are best for making the powder days epic. Typically longer, wider and very stable, they are great at staying on top of the fresh snow and handling higher speeds. Occasionally unforgiving on sharp turns and off-kilter landings, this board isn’t the best choice for the park.

Made for tackling back country terrain, splitboards will help you reach new heights—no lift necessary. These boards separate into two skis to help boarders climb in the backcountry and the halves later connect to form a snowboard you can take downhill. This is a design to consider only if you have the knowledge and skills to take on backcountry riding. 


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