Different types of snowboard

7 Different Types of Snowboard Explained

Snowboarding takes many forms. Some riders love hanging in the park. While others live for powder days.

There is a different type of snowboard for every situation. And knowing how each one performs will help you choose the best option for your riding style.

I have been snowboarding for 20 years. And have been an instructor for over a decade.

During that time I have had the pleasure of trying so many boards. So I am well-positioned to offer expert advice.

This article explains every type of snowboard. And answers some common questions asked by riders.

Let’s start sliding.

5 Different Types of Snowboard: Quick List

  1. All-Mountain
  2. Freestyle
  3. Powder
  4. Alpine
  5. Splitboard

5 Different Snowboard Types Explained

All-Mountain

This is your ‘jack of all trades’ snowboard. Everyone starts here.

This type of board suits every rider. And can be used in all conditions.

The shape will be true-twin – meaning the shape on each end is 100% symmetrical.

All-mountain boards usually have a medium flex and consistent flex pattern. You know what you are getting from this board. No surprises.

These boards have a mild camber – just enough to create a carved turn. But are much less cambered than aggressive alpine boards.

All-mountain boards can be made to suit any level of rider. Expect beginner boards to be softer and more forgiving. While expert boards are stiffer to create speed stability.

You can take an all-mountain board anywhere. It will rip on the piste and stay afloat in powder. You can venture into the park as well.

All snowboard brands have their own ‘ride anything’ board. But my most recommended is the Burton Ripcord. It will go anywhere and is great for learning new skills.

All-Mountain snowboarding

Freestyle

Freestyle boards are built for the park.

This type of snowboard will give you confidence on big jumps. And provide a perfect deck for riding rails and boxes.

Freestyle boards tend to be shorter. This makes it easier to spin. And makes them easier to control through jumps and jibs.

A shorter board also means reduced weight. Jumping onto rails and performing tricks becomes easier without extra weight.

Freestyle boards are also more flexible. This gives the board more pop and makes it feel playful. And makes it more forgiving on sketchy landings.

You will also find more camber on a freestyle board. This gives a better pop in the park. But can make it feel less forgiving at times.

I have tried multiple freestyle boards over the past 20 years and my favourite is the Salomon Sleepwalker. It’s a time-tested board that has been around for a while. And seems to work for most riders.

Freestyle snowboarding

Powder

Designed for the deepest snow. Everybody’s dream.

Powder snowboards have a wide nose that floats on top of powder. This tapers into a narrow tail – allowing the tail to sink improves nose floatation.

Flexibility is increased on a powder board to give it a more forgiving feel. And make it easier to manoeuvre in tight treelines.

They also have a stance that’s set back. Shifting the weight backwards allows the nose to float above deep snow.

The rocker shape of powder boards also helps get the nose above deep snow. And they have increased surface area to increase floatation.

Every aspect of a powder board is designed to keep you above the snow. Rather than sinking or nose-diving.

Powder boards are incredibly fun to use. There is no feeling like surfing above the deep powder. As an instructor, it’s my favourite lesson to teach.

My favourite powder snowboard at the moment is the CAPiTA Navigator. This board is new to their range but still exceptional. I like this board because it’s accessible to riders of many skill levels – from intermediate to expert.

Powder snowboarding

Alpine

Alpine snowboards are built for speed. They carve with precision down fast groomers and are the board of choice for racers.

Alpine snowboards are longer to improve stability at speed. They are narrow to allow for fast edge-changing.

Everything about them says ‘Go faster!’.

These boards are stiff to improve stability. With a cambered shape that helps you carve and create edge angles.

The hard edges on alpine boards delivers better grip on hardpack snow.

A binding position set back on the board puts weight on your back foot. This gives you a stable carving stance.

Alpine boards come with step-in bindings that are used with hard shell boots. Anyone that loves snowboarding for the boot comfort will be disappointed.

You will notice that the bindings clip your feet in a forward-facing position. This improves carving control and speed.

I am not a big alpine snowboarder myself. It’s a nice area of snowboarding. And these boards lack the versatility to utilise the entire mountain.

Alpine Snowboarding

Splitboard

A splitboard is designed for the backcountry.

It’s a snowboard that can be split into two skis. This allows you to hike up hills in search of powder snow. Just like a backcountry skier.

Skins can be applied to each ‘ski’ when the board is split. This provides grip on the snow for climbing.

The two halves can then be attached together when you reach the top. That turns your splitboard back into a snowboard shape so you can ride down the hill.

Splitboards have special bindings that can switch between snowboard and touring modes.

In touring mode, the bindings act like a traditional ski touring binding. Pointing forwards and with flexibility for you to walk uphill.

The bindings can be switched back into snowboard mode. This is a traditional snowboard stance for your downhill slide.

Splitboards are for advanced riders. You need to have excellent technique before heading into the backcountry.

I advise taking a backcountry safety course in advance.

Price is another factor. Splitboards get very expensive – so you must be committed before you invest.

I know a lot of folks the splitboard – and they tell me the Jones Solution is the best board around. I can’t argue with them – they’re seasoned professional backcountry guides.

Splitboard

How many different snowboards are there?

There are 5 different types of snowboard: All-mountain, freestyle, powder, alpine and splitboard.

Some riders will say that 7 types of snowboard exist. They will add ‘powderhull’ and ‘park’ to this list.

But powderhull is another type of powder snowboard. And park falls under the freestyle category. That’s my opinion as an instructor!

You may also hear people class ‘beginner’ as a type of snowboard. But it’s not.

Most beginner boards are just all-mountain boards that are more flexible and lighter.

How do I choose a snowboard?

You choose a snowboard by considering your skill level and the type of snowboarding you enjoy.

Knowing your skill level helps you choose a snowboard that suits your ability.

Beginners and intermediates need a forgiving all-mountain board. This makes it easy to learn new skills and try different terrains.

Advanced riders already know what they enjoy. They can choose a type of snowboard that fits their riding style.

Person choosing a snowboard

Advice from a professional

90% of riders need an all-mountain board.

Once you reach an expert level – you can then specialise.

I advise every level of snowboarder to have an all-mountain board. Then add to your collection with additional specialised boards.

Some of these boards can be very specific. An alpine board will not be fun on a powder day.

You need to think carefully about the terrain you will most frequently ride. And make an appropriate choice.

But that’s enough learning about snowboards.

Let’s head to the mountain and start shredding.