Tips For Buying A Snowboard

Starting out: Know Your Snowboard Riding Style It’s the first decision to make. It’s like a personality test:

All-Mountain riders enjoy the entire mountain with a day’s adventure taking them from the smooth groomers to the puffy backside and everywhere in between.

Freeriders look for high speeds on either groomed front runs or powdery backcountry.

Freestylers prefer to play in terrain parks and the half-pipe.

Snowboard Skill Level

Don’t be lured by graphics into buying a board that doesn’t suit your style. You’ll just wind up frustrated and the snowboard will spend more time leaning against your bedroom wall than shooting down the slopes:

Recreational riders will want a soft-flexing, forgiving, affordable snowboard they’ll be able to grow out of.

Performance riders are comfortable on most terrain; they’ll want a versatile board that offers them a change of scenery, and will take them to the next level.

Experts know what they want—an extra-stiff board with lots of pop and high-speed stability.

The Snowboard Basics


Many snowboards come not only in adult and child sizes, but are designed to accommodate the physical differences of gender, size and style as well. Because women tend to be shorter than men, have shorter legs and smaller feet, women may want to look for a board that is softer, lighter, narrower and/or shorter. Taller female riders may need a board that’s not as narrow but just as light. The same rules apply for children.

Snowboard Length

To choose the right board length, factor in terrain and snow conditions and your weight and height. In general, shorter boards are more maneuverable, while longer boards are more stable and take more energy to control. In general, a board that stands between your chin and nose is considered a good length. But your weight is important because you need to be able to flex the board to turn or do tricks. If you ride deep powder in wide open bowls, choose a longer board for greater flotation. If you gravitate to technical terrain, choose a shorter board for maneuverability. Plans for the backcountry? Consider a longer board for carrying the extra weight of a backpack.

Short Boards (below chin): Good for spins in the park and pipe; easy to maneuver, yet harder to control on steeps.

Medium Boards (chin to nose): Good for intermediate riders; handles a variety of terrain, from park to steeps.

Long Boards (above nose): Good for advanced riders who seek deep carves in deep powder at high speeds.

Snowboard Width

Snowboarders with a boot size of men’s 11 or larger may have “boot drag” on a standard-width board. Boot drag is when the toe and heel of your boot extend over the edges of the board. To alleviate this, you can either increase your stance angle so the boot is brought closer to the board, or buy a wider board for riders with big feet.


If you are a beginner or prefer snowboard parks or the half-pipe, consider a more flexible board. A softer board turns better at lower speeds. A softer board will, however, ‘chatter’ (vibrate) on long, fast runs. If you are more advanced and like all terrain, a stiffer board will give you great control on turns at high speeds but will be less forgiving at slower speeds. Keep in mind what’s called ‘torsional flex.’ Torsional flex goes across the width of the board. Not enough torsional flex and it’ll be difficult to hold an edge at the end of your turn.

Sidecut Depth

Sidecut is a measure of the turning radius, based on the curve of the board’s edge from its nose to its waist. A more gradual, longer sidecut measurement (a higher number) means the board has straighter sides and makes wider turns. The smaller the radius measurement (a lower number), the sharper the board turns. Deeper sidecuts allow for quick turns and are best for trick riding.

Board Materials

This topic can be overwhelming, but there are a few basic terms you should know.

Cap construction: This means the top sheet wraps all the way over the top and down over the edges eliminating a separate sidewall. This gives the board a more even flex with less weight.

Sidewall/sandwich laminate construction: This features layered materials; its edges are a separate sidewall. Laminated boards are durable and easy to repair. However, they’re also the most labor-intensive to make and therefore the most expensive to buy. You may find it worth it though, as they’re lighterweight and offer a livelier flex. This gives the board better transition and edge hold.

Core material: Wood or foam is usually used for the board’s core. Wood cores are the most common since they are firm, durable, responsive and even. Foam cores are generally softer, discourage vibrations and are more flexible, but they are less responsive than wood.

Base material: Bases are usually made from polyethylene and are either sintered or extruded. Sintered bases are made by heating powder polymers. They are durable, fast and hold wax well. Extruded bases are made by forcing polymer through a die. They are easy to repair and less expensive. Basically, sintered bases are extremely fast when waxed, yet very slow without, extruded bases are much faster without wax.

While this covers the basics, we still recommend talking to an experienced staff member at Hi Tempo. There are personal riding styles that should be factored in, but can only be done in person.

Stop in or call us for more information on Snowboards.
Call 651-429-3333 or click here for directions to the store.