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Help & Resources: Snowboard Equipment

Buyer's Guide For Snowboard Equipment by Chris Prunier, K2 Canada

When purchasing new or used equipment there are many factors to take into account. The skier's age, ability, height and weight are all things that must be considered. If you have purchased or been given second hand equipment you should have it inspected and tuned up by a reputable ski & snowboard retailer. Here are a couple of tips to help steer you in the right direction when choosing your new equipment.

Snowboards:

  • Ask yourself what kind of terrain you will be riding.  This will help you decide if you need a directional board or a freestyle board.
  • When deciding on your board length, a good tip is to have the board’s length end somewhere between your chin and nose.  If you will be riding more freestyle, go a little shorter around your chin.  If you will be freeriding, then choose a board a little longer around your nose.
  • If you wear boots size 10.5 or larger, you will need to choose a wider board to prevent “Toe Drag”.  Don’t go too wide, as the wider the board, the more sluggish it is to initiate your turns.
  • Sidecut is important as it will tell what type of turns the board likes to make.  If the sidecut is deeper and more aggressive, the board will want to make quick, tight turns. 
    If the sidecut is mellower and less aggressive, it will make longer turns and have better stability at higher speeds.
  • If you are just starting out, look for a softer flexing board with a mellow sidecut.  The softer flex will initiate turns easier and the mellow sidecut will allow you to get used to the board’s turns quicker.

If you are considering a used board, here are a couple of points to check:

  1. Check the camber of the board.  If there is no bounce to the board, it means that the product has been used quite a bit and won’t ride well.
  2. Check edges for rust or damage from impacts.  Edges should be square and not rounded.  A round edge will affect your edge hold on harder snow and ice.
  3. Check for cracks in the topsheet.  This is a good indicator of wear and abuse.
  4. Check the base for any deep grooves or impact damage.  This can be costly to repair and affects the performance of the board when sliding on snow.

Boots:

  • Your boots are the most important part of your new equipment buy.  Make sure that you take the time to try them on so that they fit well out on the hills.  The ideal fit is when your toes lightly brush the end of the liner while standing straight with no flex at your knees.  When you flex your knees forward, you should feel your toes slide back a bit as your heel locks into the heel cup in the boot.  All snowboard boot liners will compact by 20% in the first season.  Make sure you don’t size your boots too big in the store!

Bindings:

  • When choosing bindings, I always suggest matching the binding to the same company as the boot you have just selected.  This will ensure a correct fit between the boot and the binding.  Make sure that the binding fits your boot size.  A binding that is too small or too larger will cause pressure points to your feet as you tighten the straps.

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