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Snowboarding Equipment, Snowboards, Boots and Bindings
With the advancement of snowboarding technology, there is now a huge selection of boards. Free riding, all mountain, and freestyle are some of the different styles of boarding. All use a slightly different board.
Types of Boarding
Free-riding is why the sport of snowboarding began. It means ultimate freedom. Navigating down sweet lines, chutes, groves of trees, jumping off cliffs, riding the powder, and whatever else one can think of are all what free-riding is all about! Stay away from those parks and timed runs, though. A freestyle board is usually directional, meaning the tail and nose of the board are shaped differently to allow for maximum control while floating down powder runs.
All Mountain Board
All mountain boards are usually a well rounded mix of free-ride and freestyle boards combined. They mean what their name says: all mountain – they’re good all over the mountain, in the park, half pipe, backcountry, and powder days!
Freestyle snowboarding started when skateboarding skills were mimicked in snowboarding. Freestyle snowboarding means manipulating your board to perform tricks while riding rails, half pipes, quarter pipes, and picnic tables. A freestyle board usually has a twin tip shape, meaning the nose and tail of the board are shaped identically, making it easier to ride switch footed.
Snowboard racing boards are designed for ultimate speed - longer, narrower, stiffer, and directional. Only the most advanced rider should attempt to ride a racing board, as the slightest mistake can lead to drastic results.
Choosing the appropriate size is important when purchasing a snowboard. Length charts advise length parameters based on rider’s height and weight. Personal preference is also a big part of choosing what size board. Not only the length, but the waste width (the distance of the narrowest part of the board) and side cut (the distance between the narrowest and widest parts of the board) are important, as well.
Inside a Board
A board’s flex determines its use. For beginners, a more flexible board is recommended. This allows the rider to make the board bend easily; therefore, learning turns and stops quicker. A stiffer board is usually for the more advanced user, allowing them to gain more control at higher speeds, and react to a more dramatic spring back after the board is bent.
Boards are made of several different materials. Polyethylene, referred to as “P-tex,” is the material that contacts the snow. It offers a slick, semi-dense finish, allowing optimal glide over the snow. Repairing nicks from hitting rocks and other debris is easy, while waxing the board is something that needs to be done constantly for optimal riding conditions.
Other materials are designed for the different kinds of riding, such as racing materials.
Lines of Boards
Most brands have different levels of quality in their boards. Certain brands are made more economically, appealing to the beginner. There are many snowboarding brands out there, with more popping up every year. Within a certain manufacturer, most make the entire gamut of boards: cheap ones to pro-style models that cost a pretty penny to specialty freestyle boards.
Snowboard boots are just like buying any other kind of footwear – each brand fits differently. Finding the size and style that fits correctly is vital.
Comfortable / Stiffness
It’s important to make sure your boots fit. Wearing boots that smash your toes, are too loose, or cause blisters really makes for an unpleasant day on the slopes. Male vs female, child vs adult Achilles tendons differ, making the fit of a boot different for everyone. Make sure your foot is secure and snug in the boot. Heel lifting is bad - make sure your boot keeps your foot from heel slippage.
Boots are made with various stiffnesses. Freestyle riding promotes a looser boot, while free-riding boots tend to be stiffer to offer more support.
Technology always progressing
Boots are ever-progressing. Each year, manufacturers come out with different styles and features, some practical and others gimmicky. Obviously, technology progresses towards more comfort and efficiency from a boarder’s perspective. So, a newer pair of boots is always a plus.
Bindings are what strap your boots to your board. They have evolved significantly over the years, offering more support, functionality, and efficiency.
Fit your board
Bindings are a fairly general item to buy. They usually come in small, medium, and large, based on boot size. They still need to fit on the board correctly, not too big as to hang off the edge of the board so the boots could hit when turning.
Stiffness / HiBacks
Just like boards and boots, bindings have stiffness ratings too. They also have hi backs, giving more support. For some, they can cause a small pain in the calf area by rubbing it the wrong way.
Different baseplate configurations
The baseplate is the bottom part of the binding that has screws in it to attach to the board. There are different types of configurations based on brand name. Be sure the baseplate is going to fit the board correctly.
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