Riding styles are important variables when it comes to choosing the right snowboard. Basically, riding styles refer to the type of mountain terrain you prefer to ride on. Some people like to ride all-mountain while others may prefer to ride on powder or in the park. There are specialised snowboards for specific terrain, conditions, and applications but there is also some overlap. Below you will find an overview of the most common snowboard riding styles.
Powder snowboards love powder and are built for the rider that only goes outside when there’s a lot of snow and shelves his snowboard when the conditions are different. However, they might ride a groomer or two when the snow is really good after the powder is done. Most powder boards perform well when the snow is deep but then have trouble when it’s a normal groomer day. Powder boards sometimes feature a wider nose and a tapered narrower tail. Their stance is often set back to help the rider float through the deep snow.
Freeride / Backcountry
Freeride snowboards are designed for the rider who spends most of his time off groomed runs and in a variety of mountain terrain. Freeride now has a broader definition since a lot of snowboarders are turning the mountain’s backcountry into a park. Usually freeride snowboards perform aggressively, are directional, usually tapered and their stance is set pretty far back.
If you spend more time on rails than you do on the chairlift, your riding style is most certainly freestyle. Freestyle snowboards tend to be a bit shorter in length and riders love to use them on terrain park, rails, jibs, and jumps. The boards aimed at freestyling often have a true twin shape and are mostly chosen by the snowboarders looking to ride the terrain park. A more versatile variant of a freestyle board is the all-mountain freestyle, which combines the versatility of an all mountain snowboard with the playfulness of a freestyle snowboard.
Belonging to the most common riding style, all-mountain snowboards are designed to work well in all types of snow conditions and different types of terrain. All-mountain snowboarders are versatile and prefer to ride on all that a mountain has to offer. Therefore the vast majority of snowboarders choose all-mountain boards for their great versatility. If you’re just getting started or unsure of exactly what you need, an all-mountain snowboard is a great starting point.
Riders that like to spend equal time in the park and the mountain often choose an all mountain freestyle snowboard. When on the mountain these riders like to turn the mountain into a park and occasionally enjoy groomers and lay down some good turns. There are some good boards for those who want to ride the mountain like a park. Plus these boards are also not bad when it comes to riding the mountain at more moderate speeds.
Like most freeride boards the once for an aggressive all-mountain style of riding are stiff and aggressive but usually aren’t tapered or set as far back. Although most of these snowboards are stiff and aggressive they can also be forgiving.
Aggressive All-Mountain Freestyle
These boards are usually for riding the same conditions as the all-mountain boards except their stance is centred and the board is often a twin or twinnish. Aggressive all-Mountain freestyle boards are for those who like to charge the mountain regular or change and treat it like a high-speed terrain park.
Backcountry boards or also called split boards and are built specifically for the backcountry rider. These boards are designed to break into two separate halves for touring and climbing which also requires special bindings. Once you’ve reached the top, you reconnect the two halves for the ride downhill and ride normally. Don’t forget the appropriate avalanche safety equipment and knowledge of the terrain, weather and snow conditions when you head out into the backcountry!
These snowboards are mainly built for the jib park and the street. Their size is on the smallest side of the board spectrum and their flex is usually pretty soft. Some riders also take it off the mountain to find some urban features to hit.