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How to Buy a Snowboard for Beginners? Everything You Need to Know!

How to Buy a Snowboard for Beginners? Everything You Need to Know!

Did you know that all snowboards are different? Buying your first snowboard can seem overwhelming. I am going to help make it easier for you by explaining everything I know about how to buy a snowboard for beginners.

Snowboards for Beginners

How should you buy as snowboard for beginners? A beginner snowboarder should buy the right sized board based on his or her height and weight. They should also purchase a board that is labeled as a beginner by the manufacturer and has a soft or medium-soft flex. 

There are so many different options when looking to buy a beginners snowboard that it can be confusing and overwhelming. 

Understanding the differences in snowboards and knowing what to look for will make finding your perfect board easy.  

Buying your first snowboard should be fun and exciting. If you follow the tips in this guide then you will know exactly what to look for when finding your perfect board. 

Choosing The Best Snowboard For a Beginner

Having the right snowboard for your experience level is very important for learning and progressing your snowboarding skills. 

Here is a table for quick reference that includes the main things that you need to look for when shopping for your board.

CamberHybrid, Flat-to-Rocker, Hybrid Rocker
FlexSoft or Medium-Soft
SizeDepends on Your Weight (see table below)
WidthDepends on Your Boot Size (see table below)
Ability LabelBeginner Boards or Beginner to Intermediate
TypeAll-Mountain
Price$300 – 400 
What to Look for In a Beginner Snowboard

The table above is a great quick reference for specific things to look for to buy a snowboard for beginners. However there are many different specific that are important to understand before investing in your your first board.

Understanding Snowboard Camber 

One thing that you should look for in a beginner board is the correct camber for your experience level. Here is what you need to know about snowboard cambers.

If you set a board down on the flat ground and look straight at it from the front side it will have a slight arch.

This might be hard to see, but different snowboards have different cambers. They also have two other slight curves on each side called rockers. 

While you won’t really be able to see these arches, it can affect how your snowboard feels on the snow.

Here are some common cambers you will see when looking to buy different snowboards. 

  • Traditional
  • Completely Flat
  • Continuous Rocker
  • Hybrid Rocker (best for a beginner)
  • Flat to Rocker (best for a beginner)

What snowboard camber is best for beginners? Beginners should look for a board with a camber that is “Flat to Rocker” or “Hybrid Camber”.

These will feel the best for beginners because they give a feeling of stability on the board and make turning easier. 

What camber should beginners avoid? The “Traditional” and “Completely Flat” camber are not good for beginners and should be avoided.

The “Continuous Rocker” is a better option than the flat and traditional cambers but it is not ideal for beginners. 

Here is a very helpful video showing the different cambers and explaining each one.

Snowboard Flex Ratings

All snowboards have a flex rating. A flex rating system is measured from 1-10 that rates how flexible a snowboard is. The lower the number = the softer the board. 

Different snowboards and brands have their own flex system. So the flex rating for one brand might be a bit different than another. Generally, they are all similar and are measured as the following.

  • 1-2 For Soft Boards
  • 3-5 For Medium Boards
  • 6-8 For Stiff Boards
  • 9-10 For Very Stiff Boards

Soft Flex

A low flex rating of 1-2 is perfect for a beginner snowboard. Buying a snowboard that is more flexible will be easier to turn and control at low speeds.

Medium Flex

A board with a flex rating of 3-5 is also a great option for beginners. Some beginner riders might even prefer a medium flex. It really just depends on your personal preference and riding style.

Stiff Flex

When you have a snowboard that is a stiff flex (6-8) it will have better response at higher speeds. Stiff flex boards are NOT a good option for beginners since they don’t turn well at lower speeds. 

Very Stiff flex

Boards rated 8-10 have the least flex of all. These boards are NOT for beginners, but for expert riders who want a stable ride at higher speeds. 

While a soft and medium flex both are both great options to when you buy a snowboard for beginners, I would recommend getting a medium flex snowboard. You don’t want your board to be too flexible, and it gives you the ability to progress.

Proper Snowboard Size

Snowboards come in different sizes. It is important that you choose the correct size board. If you buy a board that is too long then it will be hard to control. If you buy one that is too short, you won’t have very good stability. 

The snowboard length that you need will be determined by your weight. You can use the table below to see what size board you will need. This chart is also just a general size chart. 

You will want to use the size chart provided by the specific board brand that you plan on buying to get the best sizing as there can be variations. 

Rider Weight (lbs.)Snowboard Size (cm)
110-120128-136
115-130133-141
125-135139-147
135-145144-152
140-155149-157
150-165154-162
160-175159-167
170-185160+
180-195160+
190-205160+
Snowboard Size Chart

The table above will give you the general sized board that you should look for to buy a snowboard for beginners. You can also go a bit longer or shorter than what is suggested depending on how you will be riding. 

Fast aggressive riders will sometimes like a longer snowboard, and freestyle riders might want their board a bit shorter. Try out some longer and shorter boards to see what length feels most comfortable.

Her is a helpful video that explains how to choose the best size snowboard.

Best Width for Your Snowboard 

Snowboards also come in different widths. The ideal width of a snowboard should be just wide enough for your boots to hang over the edges slightly, but not too much. 

The proper width will make sure that you achieve maximum edge control and make sure that your toes and heels don’t drag. 

Snowboards come in four different width options. I have listed them below.

  • Narrow Width
  • Regular Width
  • Mid-Wide Width
  • Wide Width

Most of the time a regular width will work just fine. If you have a smaller or larger foot you will want to make sure that you find a snowboard that fits your boot size.

I have also included a table below of the snowboard width that you will want to buy based on your boot size. This is just an average to give you an idea of what to look for when you buy a snowboard for beginners.

Since different boards and manufactures have different sizes, you should always check their specific size charts before purchasing. 

Boot Size (US Men’s)<78-9.510-11.511.5+
Boot Size (US Women’s)    5-99.5-1111.5+13+
Snowboard WidthNarrowRegularMid-WideWide
Snowboard Width Size Chart

Here is a helpful video that explains how to make sure that your snowboard is the proper width. 

Ability Level Ratings

Every snowboard is designed for a specific level of experience. Some snowboards are made for beginner riders and others are made for experienced riders. 

An easy way to know if a specific snowboard will work for a beginner, or your skill level, is to just look in the specs or at the manufacturer information. 

There will be an ability section that specifics if a specific board is meant for beginners, intermediate or expert riders. 

Different Types of Snowboards

There are different types of snowboards depending on your style of snowboarding. The most popular type of snowboard for beginners is the all-mountain style. 

Here is more information about the different types of snowboards and what riding conditions they are best for. 

All Mountain

These work well in all snow conditions and terrain. They are the most popular option and also a great choice for beginners. 

Free Ride

These boards are for more experienced riders that spend most of the time on varied terrain and not on the groomed trails. They tend to be longer in size and have a stiffer flex.

Freestyle

These boards are shorter and the best option for riding terrain parks. They also make a freestyle-all-mountain board that is better for parks and other snow conditions. 

Powder

These snowboards are for fresh deep powder. They are perfect boards for riding when the snow conditions are just right. Probably not the best option for a beginner board. 

Snowboard Shapes Best for Beginners

There are different shapes of snowboards. It is important to understand the advantages of each shape and what shape snowboard you should look for as a beginner. Picking the right shape will help you to make the most out of your board.

Twin Shape

This is the most popular shape of snowboard. It is perfect for most terrains and riding switch. It is recognized by it’s equal tip and tail. This is a great shape of board for a beginner.

Directional

Directional snowboards will often look different on one side of the board. The board is shaped with a nose and tail appearance. They are best for riding in just one direction. 

Twin Directional

These boards have symmetrical noses and tails, but with the shape of a directional board.

The twin directional is basically a combination of the popular twin shape and the directional shape. Perfect for riding all-mountain and freestyle terrain. 

Here is a helpful video that explains and shows the different board shapes available.

How much does a beginner snowboard cost? 

On average, snowboards cost about $200 – $450. You can find snowboards for less than $200 during the offseason when prices are discounted.

You will also need to buy boots for about $150-$200 and bindings for around $200. For a complete setup of boots, board, and bindings you can expect to spend $550 – $850.

Gender and Age-Specific Snowboards

When shopping to buy a beginners snowboard you will see options for men’s boards, women’s boards, and kids’ boards. You might be wondering if it really makes a difference to buy these gender and age-specific boards. 

I would definitely recommend purchasing boards that are specific to each person. Here are some more specifics about each of these options and what you can expect.

Women’s Snowboards

Snowboards for ladies normally have narrower waists (the middle area of the snowboard). The boards are designed this way because women normally have smaller feet. Having a narrower center allows the boards to turn easier. 

Women-specific snowboards are also lighter and normally have a softer flex. This all gives the snowboard a better response and makes it easier to control. 

Men’s Snowboards

Boards that are designed with men in mind will be wider since men normally have larger feet. Made out of a heavier material, and have less flex. They are also a bit longer than the women-specific boards. 

Since men are usually taller, heavier, and tend to ride harder than women it gives them better stability and control.

Kid’s Snowboards

Snowboards specifically designed for kids are not just smaller adult versions. The kid-specific boards actually are constructed to meet the unique needs of a kid rider. 

You will normally find that they have more flex and that they are designed to help kids in learning and progressing.

One thing to note is that the boys’ and girls’ styles of kid snowboards are actually exactly the same except they have gender specific graphics. 

Try Before You Buy

Since buying your first snowboard is a large investment, you might want to try out some different snowboards to see what you like best. 

It is a good idea to rent snowboards your first season, or at least your first few times on the mountain. This is because you get to try different boards to see how they ride.

Some ski resorts or local ski shops even offer demo boards where you can rent specific types of boards to see how they feel. It’s a great idea to try out a few different sizes, brands, and styles before you buy your own snowboard the is meant for beginners.

What else do I need to buy with my snowboard? 

When purchasing your snowboard you will also need to get boots and bindings. You can buy these as a package deal or purchase them all separately. 

You will find that the price of boots and bindings can be very different depending on low-end and top-quality options. 

When buying your bindings you will want to make sure that they are compatible with your board and boots.

While most are compatible, there are some instances where specific bindings don’t work with certain boards, or they might require a certain style of boot. 

Make sure you check with the manufacturer to ensure that all your equipment will be compatible before you purchase.

Bindings

Having good bindings is important because they are what directly attaches you to the snowboard. Good bindings will keep you comfortable and help you get the best performance out of your board. 

There are a few different types of bindings. The most common bindings you will see are “strap-in bindings”. These are perfect for any type of riding and easily adjusted. 

They also have “speed-entry or rear-entry bindings” which are a newer style of binding and could take some time to get used to. This style is quick to strap your boots in and saves you time. 

The newest style of bindings is the “step-on-binding”. You will need to make sure that you have a special step on boot if you opt for this style. 

On average bindings will be about $150 for lower-end bindings. Higher quality ones will normally cost between $200-$300. 

Here is a video with some more information about choosing the best bindings.

Boots

Since your boots will be actually touching your feet, having nice comfortable boots can make your snowboarding experience much better. It is really important that you find good boots.

This might even be an area where you should spend a little extra money if you have to. It will be worth it! Snowboard boots are sized the same as US shoes, but the sizes can vary between each manufacturer. 

Snowboard boots have different flex ratings. The boots are rated from 1-10 with 1 being the softest and 10 being the stiffest.

The flex in your boots is just a personal preference. Most of the time beginners will prefer more flex, and the experienced riders like their boots a bit stiffer. 

You will also find that boots have different lacing styles. This is also just a personal preference. The common lacing style that you will see is the “traditional lacing”

These are just normal laces that are easy to use and adjust. The downside to the traditional lacing is that they sometimes loosen during the day. 

Another style is called “quick-pull lacing”. These are faster than the traditional ones and allow you to tighten different areas of the boot independently from each other. These laces are quick and easy and you can tighten them while wearing gloves. 

The other style of lacing is called “Boa Lacing”. This style has a little round dial on the front of the boot that allows you to twist it to tighten and loosen your boots. These are also quick and can be adjusted with your gloves on. 

When buying your first set of snowboard boots, you should at least try on some different boots on at your local ski or board shop. You want to get a good idea of how they fit and what brands and lacing styles you prefer. 

How to store your snowboard? 

Snowboards should be stored in a temperature-controlled space with low humidity such as a closet or bedroom. Boards should not be stored outside or in the garage. They need to be free of moisture and debris to keep from scratching or rusting. 

You should store your board standing up on its tail rather than lying it down flat. Just make sure there isn’t anything leaning against or putting pressure on the board. 

I would also recommend purchasing a snowboard bag. You can get a good quality bag for about $50-100 and they are very useful. 

A snowboard bag will help keep all your gear stored together and make it easier to transport.

These are perfect if you are transporting your board inside of your car. It will keep all your gear separate from other people’s gear, and help to prevent your board from getting scratched. 

How to keep your snowboard in good condition? 

After you purchase your snowboard, it is important that you make sure it is properly maintained. This will keep it in good condition, ensure that it will ride better, and make it last longer. 

On average, you should plan on waxing your snowboard after every three trips. You will need to learn how to wax it yourself, or you can bring it into your local snowboard shop and pay to have it waxed. 

Here is a video that explains a bit more about how to know when it is time to wax your board.

Should I buy a snowboard online or in-person?

Buying online will offer more selection, convenience, and cheaper prices. Purchasing a snowboard in person allows you to see and try the equipment on.

Buying your snowboard online or in-person is a matter of personal preference. If you do decide to buy online, I would suggest trying on some boots at your local board shop first.

While the board and bindings are easier to buy online, you want to try boots on first just to make sure they will fit properly and feel comfortable. 

I would also suggest that you check the return policy when purchasing online. You want to make sure that if your boots come and they don’t fit, or you don’t like them, that you can ship them back for the right size. 

What is the best time to buy a snowboard? 

The best time to buy a snowboard is at the end of the season from March to June. This is when snowboards and gear from the current season will go on sale to clear out the inventory. You will also find great deals in the summer, but the stock may be more limited. 

Final Thoughts

There are so many different options to choose from when you decide to buy a snowboard for beginners. The key to picking the right one is to look for an all-mountain hybrid or flat-to-rocker camber, a soft or medium flex, and a board rated for beginner to intermediate riders. 

You should also make sure you find proper fitting boots and quality bindings. Make sure that you look at a size chart and width chart so that you purchase the right snowboard length and width.

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