So you’ve bought a brand-new snowboard, and it’s your pride and joy. It would be terrible if something happened to it. So short of covering it in bubble wrap, you want to do everything you can to keep your new ride in great working condition.
There are a few ways that snowboards can break. Some of these breakages can be fixed, but others can’t. You can break a snowboard by landing hard on the tail or if you land awkwardly with lots of force in one part of the board. Other damage includes blown edges, holes in the base, and scratches.
The horrible truth is that snowboards can break, running your day, so let’s look into how it happens in detail, what you can do to avoid it and what to do if the worst should happen.
How Snowboards Can Break?
Snowboards can break, but these breakages are very few and far between. All snowboards are durable and built to take a lot of punishment.
When you see some butter on a snowboard, you’ll be surprised how much it can bend before anything happens.
However, snowboards are not indestructible; if there’s enough force exerted in the right place, the laws of physics will take over, and your snowboard will snap.
There are several reasons snowboards could snap, but there are a few common causes of broken snowboards.
During my first winter working in a French ski resort, a guy I was working with bought a brand-new snowboard. He wanted to try it out, so he hit the big black jump in the park on the first day.
Unfortunately, as he came to land, most of his weight went on the board’s tail. He heard a massive crack, lost control on the landing, and slid down the mountain on his back.
Luckily he was fine and just laughed it off and managed to ride the rest of the way back down to the resort with the tail virtually hanging off.
There are a few reasons why this could have happened.
This guy was tall and heavy; the jump was massive. The angle of a snowboard when he hit the landing, combined with bad luck, snapped the tail, ruining his brand-new snowboard.
If he’d landed his board with a flat base and with soft knees, the force would’ve been evenly spread throughout his snowboard rather than concentrated on the tail, causing the breakage.
There was obviously something wrong with the snowboard as it was brand-new. This can happen due to mistakes in the production process.
Most of the time, these issues never come to light, but the extreme way he landed meant that the board couldn’t cope with the forces.
Luckily he bought his snowboard from a local shop, so he took it in, and they replaced it under warranty. He was lucky because he got a brand-new snowboard the very same day.
If you are a park rat and spend a lot of time hitting rails on your snowboard, it will become weaker.
So if you land on a rail hard after clearing a large gap too many times, you may be in for a nasty surprise when your snowboard snaps.
There’s only so much punishment a snowboard can take. So be mindful when you land on hard objects like rails regularly.
Most of the time, an awkward landing won’t affect the integrity of your snowboard; however, this is one of the leading causes of a cracked snowboard.
The more experienced you are, the better at jumping you’ll become, so your landings will be better and more precise.
Also, you shouldn’t be worried about your snowboard snapping as it’s not common, and you don’t need anything else slowing down your progress.
The mountains are unforgiving places; even though a snowboard is made as durable as possible for shredding a mountain, it will become weaker over time with stress and impact.
If your snowboard is quite old and there is an underlying break or a split inside its core, you’re gonna have a bad day if you have one of those awkward landings.
Therefore, if you have an old snowboard, donate it. The chance of it snapping on large jumps, rails, etc., is more significant.
As with anything in life, you get what you pay for. Snowboards have excellent construction; however, if you buy a cheap one, the quality will not be as good as a big brand snowboard.
Therefore, if you find a snowboard from a brand you don’t recognize, it’s best to do your homework to see if they have quality construction.
It’s always a good idea to talk to more experienced riders or a sales assistant in a snowboard shop.
They will have a good idea of the quality and have enough experience to see which snowboards are the most durable.
Another thing that you should look into when buying a new snowboard is the warranty. Some snowboards may seem expensive for what they are, for example, Burton Snowboards.
But when you look at the warranty and customer service, you’ll be surprised and happy to get a new snowboard quickly after breaking one.
Another friend of mine had a Burton Canyon, which was faulty, and it started delaminating. It was a year or two old, but he contacted Burton, and they said they would replace it.
However, they didn’t have the exact board anymore, so they gave him next year’s version instead.
Not all snowboard brands are this good, so it is worth checking out customer satisfaction and the warranty before you buy any snowboard.
Unfortunately, riding over rocks when snowboarding is very common, especially if the snow cover could be better.
Riding over a rock will usually scratch the base of your board, but sometimes it can go deep enough to create a hole that goes all the way down to the snowboard’s core.
One of the worst things that can happen when you ride over a rock is that the rock can pull the metal edge from your snowboard, which is very bad news.
If this happens, you should take your snowboard to a good snowboard tech to see if they can fix it as soon as possible.
You may see small holes caused by rocks next to your metal edges which should be addressed.
You may be tempted to fill them with wax; however, it isn’t always a good enough plug to stop water from getting in, which will eventually delaminate your snowboard.
When your snowboard becomes delaminated, it should not be used as it will snap.
When a snowboard delaminates, the layers that form its construction begin to peel apart. You get this on snowboards with poor construction and after water has made its way inside a damaged board.
When this happens, the edges can crack and come off the board.
If your snowboard has snapped around about the tail, nose, or even in the middle, use it as an excuse to buy yourself a new snowboard.
Even if your snowboard is repairable, it’s not going to be great, and do you really want to trust a snowboard that’s been snapped while you’re shredding hard?
A new snowboard isn’t cheap; however, it will give you peace of mind, and you really don’t want to injure yourself because your snowboard repair wasn’t good enough to keep you riding safely.
Your snowboard base goes through a lot of punishment, so you should expect damage and scratches from time to time. Minor scratches are often filled when you wax your snowboard or when it’s serviced.
If your base has shallow or mid-depth scratches and gouges, you can fix it yourself with a simple servicing kit at home. This is good fun; grab a beer, melt in P-TeX into the hole and make it as good as new.
There are loads of videos on YouTube telling you how to do this. Sometimes holes and gouges are too large or deep to fix yourself effectively.
Sometimes you can repair it quickly, but the hole can come back after a few rides.
For more severe damage, it’s much better to take your snowboard to a shop so a specialist can do a proper job, especially if the damage is close to the edge.
How long a snowboard lasts comes down to a few factors. For example, you may ride aggressively or put your snowboard through lots of punishment, resulting in a shorter lifespan.
Most people regard snowboards to be good for about 100 days of riding as long as you ride in the manner it is designed for.
If you stick to the groomers and powder but don’t spend much time in the snow park, your snowboard will last much longer than 100 days.
The terrain also affects your snowboard’s lifespan, and some resorts are notoriously hard on snowboards.
When a snowboard approaches the end of its lifespan, you’ll notice it becomes more flexible, less stable, and less responsive to your inputs.
You can do a few things to look after your snowboard to make it last longer. Let’s go into the best ways you can take care of your pride and joy.
It’s a good idea to be on the lookout for rocks and tree stumps, especially when you’re riding in the backcountry.
This is obviously good safety for you, but it will also keep your snowboard in good condition.
If you are riding at the beginning or the end of the season when the snow cover is thin, be mindful of rocks in the snow, even on the groomed slopes.
Sometimes when it’s really thin, the rocks on the slopes can look like chocolate chips. This is when you need to be careful where you turn and have your ollie game on point.
As I said before, awkward landings take their toll on your snowboard. If you jump and land with good form, you will be less likely to damage your snowboard, causing it to unexpectedly break one day.
Use your knees like shock absorbers, and land with a flat base, so your board isn’t subject to excessive forces. Also, it looks way more steezy when you get it right!
You won’t be able to see interior damage to your snowboard’s core. Still, you may notice horizontal damage to the top sheet or base, indicating a crack.
This is not good news, but it’s best to check your snowboard and find damage before you head back out onto the mountain.
I like to inspect my base after each ride to see if it has been damaged and needs to be repaired quickly.
It’s best to fix any damage as soon as you see it, as you’ll forget, causing it to worsen or even result in other problems like delamination.
Keeping your edges sharp and your base waxed goes a long way to extending the life of your snowboard.
A layer of wax doesn’t just keep your snowboard running as it should, but it also gives it an element of protection from rocks and sharp chunks of ice.
You can buy a servicing kit so you can look after your snowboard at home. This is a good idea, as you know your snowboard will be ready for the next powder day without taking it to a shop.
After a day of shredding the mountain, your snowboard will have snow and ice stuck to it. Don’t be tempted to stuff a wet snowboard into a board bag, as it will cause your edges to rust.
If you have to put it in a board bag, wipe the edges with a cloth, and leave the bag slightly unzipped so moisture can escape.
It is best to leave your snowboard out until the snow and ice have melted, and your board is dry. Don’t lie your snowboard down with the base on the floor.
It’s much better to lay it down with the base facing upwards, so the snow and water will run off it.
If you prop your snowboard upright or put it in a rack, remember that your snowboard’s tail will sit in a pool of water. This will cause the metal edges to rust, which separates them from the board.
Therefore, put a towel under your snowboard so it soaks up the water, and dry it as soon as possible.
When storing your snowboard over the summer, ensure it isn’t subject to any humidity. Moisture will rust the edges and delaminate or warp your snowboard.
So keep your snowboard in a warm, dry place until you’re ready to use it again.
You should also give it a layer of storage wax. This is when you melt hot wax onto the base but don’t scrape it off. The idea is to seal your snowboard’s base, preventing it from drying out.
When it’s time to ride the following winter, scrape your base and buff it to a nice shine to ensure it runs fast.
So now you know that it is possible to break a snowboard.
But these instances are rare, so you shouldn’t worry about it too much unless you ride an old snowboard or are particularly unsympathetic to it when you ride.