For new riders selecting a snowboard can be daunting. Beginners need adurable yet maneuverable board that they can keep using as they improve.
The best type of snowboard for beginners to learn on is an all-mountain, camber board that is the right size for their height and weight. Learning on a board that fits, mostly based on weight, with a traditional camber build intended for groomed trails gives a beginner the best learning experience.
When looking at boards, several technical terms are used to describe different elements of a snowboard’s makeup. While the terms mentioned above are the best for learning, it can help to know what else is available to make the perfect board selection.
What Type of Snowboard Should a Beginner Get?
Ideally, a beginner with little to no experience should learn on a snowboard that is more standard than many options on the market today.
A beginner will most likely be working on fundamentals, learning to balance and turn, and will do so on groomed trails.
All mountain boards with a traditional camber are best for this. Regardless of the type of snowboard a rider uses, size should always be a driving factor.
The first thing to consider when shopping for any board, including your first, is the board size.
With a longer board, balance can come easier, but control is often sacrificed.
Beginners may want to reference a size chart (like the one below), but as a rule of thumb, the board should be between the chin and nose when measuring against one’s body.
While height can be used as a loose guideline, weight is a more important factor.
A longer board is often hard to bend and control but even harder for a person who weighs less.
It can often be better to size up/down from the suggested board size based upon your height if your weight fits another size more appropriately.
|RIDER HEIGHT (IN)||RIDER HEIGHT (CM)||RIDER WEIGHT (LB)||RIDER WEIGHT (KG)||SNOWBOARD SIZE (CM)|
|4’10”||147||110 – 120||50-54||128 – 136|
|5′||152||115-130||52-59||133 – 141|
|5’2″||158||125-135||57-61||139 – 147|
For example, someone who is 5’6″ and weighs 130 lbs should opt for a board closer to 147 cm than one on the 157 cm side.
Snowboard technology focuses on bettering the experience for the rider and often tailors to a particular style of snowboarding.
While most of these types will not apply to a beginner’s experience, knowing the different types of boards available can aid in understanding why an all-mountain board is a better fit.
All-mountain boards are the most standard style of board.
They hold an edge well on icy terrain, are maneuverable enough to be brought into the park, and are ready to be taken off the trail on a fresh snow day.
If you’re only going to have one board, as many people do, an all-mountain board is the best choice.
Park or freestyle boards are a broad category of boards that are best for halfpipe, rails, jibs, and jumps.
They’re the most comfortable to ride switch with and often have additional flexibility to provide more
confidence in some tricks.
These do not come without sacrifice to the rider. Both freestyle and park boards result in a lack of control for an untrained rider.
A more rigid board focused on riding in one direction provides more balance to a rider looking to master fundamentals.
Powder boards are great for days after a heavy snowfall.
They’re geared for riding in a single direction, with flexibility in the right spots to help keep the nose above the fresh snow.
For a beginner mainly riding on groomed trails, they’ll find turning to be slower and harder to control.
Freeride boards are a bit of a hybrid of powder and park.
Often designed to be more directional than a park board, they retain some of the flexibility and maneuverability that comes with a park board.
While these boards can function on the mountain normally, they are geared towards powder and off-trail riding, which may not be suitable for a beginner.
Racing boards are intended for only one thing: speed.
They’re extremely stiff to ensure racers don’t lose their edge at higher speeds and are very directional, as going backward in a race is unnecessary.
Neither of these attributes aid in fundamental exploration.
The bend of a board can change the feeling of a ride, especially when learning. While looking at different board shapes, the board’s camber is often referred to.
Different bends allow for unique riding experiences by shifting the pressure points a rider uses to interact with the hill.
Camber can be observed by looking at a board side on. If someone stands on the board, the areas of the board between the bindings will be flattened.
But without this weight, different points of the board will be raised as it lies on the ground.
This bending adds to the pressure against the ground when snowboarding.
The bend will push harder against the snow in the areas of the board you can see making contact with the ground while no weight is added.
Traditional camber provides the best experiences in learning to snowboard. The board bends to raise in the center, providing additional pressure underfoot.
This will give the beginner more control when turning and aid in learning to keep their weight centered.
The rocker is the opposite of a traditional camber board, with the arc of the board resembling the foot of a rocking chair.
While the bend in the center can be subtle, a rocker or reverse camber board is easier to lean with and get off balance.
Additionally, edges slip out easier at higher speeds, especially without experience.
Hybrid boards can improve a rider’s experience in certain environments.
They’re typically tailored to different riding styles, alleviating pressure in different zones of a rider’s edge.
While they are great options for a rider looking for something specific, learning on a board like this does not translate to future riding as well as other board types.
Boards with no camber, or flat camber, are not a bad choice. They act as a middle ground between rocker and camber boards.
There is little benefit for a beginner using a flat board, but it should not negatively impact the experience as others may.
A lot goes into selecting a board, and when doing it for the first time, there can be an overwhelming amount of information available.
When snowboarding for the first time, you want to select a board that will help you learn the fundamentals.
Sticking to all-mountain, traditional camber boards and ensuring you find the correct size for your height and weight is a sure-fire way to get the best experience for a beginner looking for their first board.