With all the technical terms involved in today's snowboards, choosing the right ride for you can be very confusing. What does Camber mean? How does Effective Edge effect a board's ride? How much Flex do you need? Are Core Materials important to understand? We at The Stoke Shop understand your anxiety on picking the right board. After all, you are about to drop a big dime on a ride that you will be depending on during the snow season. We want our customers to be completely satisfied with their purchases, so we put together a few key terms and their definitions to help you make a informed decision before you buy that high dollar snowboard.
TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
ALL-MOUNTAIN BOARD OR FREESTYLE BOARD? All-mountain boards are built for snowboarders who are interested in cruising around the slopes. These boards feature a nose that is a little fuller than a freestyle board, which will help keep the nose up on the snow in powder conditions. All mountain boards also have the rider's stance, or where you can place you bindings, closer to the tail of the board compared to a freestyle board. All mountain boards are designed to be ridden in one direction, the nose going down the slope. Freestyle boards are for the rider who is interested in riding in the park, halfpipe, or performing technical tricks and rotations. Freestyle boards are usually designed as a "twin tip", meaning the board doesn't have a defined nose or tail and can be ridden with either end pointed downhill. Freestyle boards also have the rider's stance centered in the length of the board.
BOARD LENGTH: This is a critical factor when choosing the right board for you. One good way to judge if a board is the right length for you is to stand behind your board with the tail on the ground at your feet. If the nose of the board ends somewhere between your chin and your eyes, you have choosen a board with a good starting length for you.
Some other factors to think about when determining board length: A rider's weight plays a role in determining a good board length. A bigger rider could use a longer board because they need a bigger platform to ride on, while a thin rider can get away with less weight. Riding style also is a factor to consider when choosing a good board length. All-mountain or steep terrain riding should be done on a longer board which allows for greater stabillity and carving turns. Freestyle or Park riders prefer a shorter board because it allows for quicker, tighter turns and it is easier to spin during jumps or tricks.
EFFECTIVE EDGE OR CONTACT LENGTH: Effective Edge or Contact Length is the length of the sidecut of the board. Longer Effective Edge means more stabillity at higher speeds and more edge grip during carving turns. Shorter Effective Edge means the board will be easier to manuever and easier to initiate turns.
BOARD WIDTH: The width of the board is measured in three places: near the nose, at the middle of the board, and at the tail. Your boot size is key factor for finding the right width for you. Riders with big boot sizes (10+) will need a wide board to prevent too much toe or heel drag (its okay for your toes or heels to hang over the board a 1/4 inch or so). If you choose a board that is too wide, you won't be able to engage your edges and manuever properly. Generally, a wider board give more stabillity in powder and on landings from jumps, while a narrow board quicker edge to edge responses.
- CORE MATERIALS: The core of your board provides the energy or "snap" of your board. Wood is the popular choice among most snowboard makers. Poplar, ash, birch, maple, spruce, cedar, and fir are all fine examples of wood cores and are sometimes used in combinations together. Cheaper boards will use foam or urethane for cores because they are less expensive to work with than wood.
REINFORCEMENT FIBERS: These materials provide your board with durabillity, as well as performance factors. The most common reinforcement material is fiberglass, which is applied in different angles and layers. A new material is Carbon Fiber, which is lighter and stronger than fiberglass. These materials absorb the pounding from the terrain and the rider without showing signs of distortion or cracking.
BASE MATERIALS: All snowboard bases are made from polyethylene (PE). How the bases are applied is the key factor here. Extruded bases are made by melting down PE pellets, then the melted material is forced through a small, thin opening creating a flat basesheet. Sintered bases take powderized PE and heats it up, then a machine presses it into a large slab. Thin layers of this slab are thin cut off creating thin snowboard bases. Sintered bases have a higher molecular weight than extruded bases, and provide a better glide on the snow and more wax retension. Electra Bases are even higher tech. Electra bases have a small amount of graphite added to the PE, which helps reduce friction between the snowboard and the terrain.
I hope that the terms described above will give you a better understand of snowboard materials and technical terms. Now that you are armed with this information, you can feel more confident that you are choosing the right board for you before you spend your hard earned cash!