BIG ALBA'S GUIDE TO SNOWBOARDING
Welcome all to Big Alba's guide to snowboarding
! Hopefully with the information
provided you'll be carving
up the slopes
in no time!
NB: All information is based on this season's models and prices.
First thing first you'll need a snowboard. Whether you're going to purchase one or hire one, you still need to know which brand to get, and you also need to make sure that the salesman/saleswoman isn't trying to sell you something you don't need.
Which board you select varies greatly depending on your riding style preference (see riding style below), your skill level and your money frame. This can be a very daunting task, but hopefully this list of the four major companies shall make things easier.
Burton: Burton are a reliable, if not costly brand. Their boards range from first-timers to experts, and cost usually ranges from AU$800 and up (unfortuneately the Burton website does not list prices). I would reccommend Burton boards for intermediate to expert. See below for a full list of Burton boards.
Salamon: Salamon are my personal favourite brand (my current board is a Salamon). I find that they are just as good as a Burton board without the hefty price tag. Salamon boards range from around AU$500 (in the off season) and up. I would reccommend Salamon boards for intermediate experts and up. See below for a full list of Salamon boads.
K2: K2 is a reputeable rollerblade and ski company, though I can't say too much for their boards. They are a tried and true company, though have very little experience in making boards. They are a cheaper brand, their boards ranging from AU$400 to not much higher than AU$1000. I really wouldn't reccommend K2 to anyone, though if you were a begginer with a tight budget then the shoe probably fits. See below for a full list of K2 boards.
Airwalk: Airwalk is a good solid company. They started out manufacturing skateboards and have had plenty experience in both the skateboarding and snowbarding industry. Their boards are moderately priced, ranging from around AU$500 to AU$2000 and while not as good as Burton or Saloman, they are still make great boards (my previous board was an Airwalk), especially tailored for intermediates. See below for a full list of Airwalk boards.
Dragon: The king of freestyle boards. For experts ONLY, and those with money.
Balance: Runner-up next to the Dragon. As its name implies, it is more all-round than the Dragon. Still for experts, though comes with a lower price tag.
Custom: Park board. Specifically designed for kickers and halfpipes/quarterpipes. You'll be wasting your time with this board if you aren't going to be busting tricks, hence you don't want to be a begginer.
Motion: As the name would imply, this is a speedy board. It is also an all-round board, designed for the pipe as well as for freeriding.
Charger: Cheaper version of the Custom range. Same attributes, simply worse manufacturing.
Cascade: Tailor made freeriding board. This board will float over powder like a cloud car. This board will suit anyone who loves carving the mountian rather than busting tricks, and is also a good beginner board.
Frontier: Steep inclines become a breeze with the Frontier. Tweaked to the nth degree to ease the difficulty of big mountains. Great for experts and back country.
Cruzer: From first timer to five year consecutive champion. It doesn't matter what your skill level is, this is the board for you. Designed so you will never outgrow its skill level, though that doesn't mean there aren't better boards.
Power: This is the ultimate halfpipe/quarterpipe board. It will ride any transition like a dream, and gives you enough pop to go into outer orbit. This does mean, however, that you will need to change boards for parks and freeriding, which could be frustrating. For experts, but obviously steer clear if you aren't going to be doing any pipe riding.
Rush: Cheaper variation to the Balance range. This board has taken the all-round freestyle attribute of the Blance and tweaked it into an all-round halfpipe attribute. This means you can have some of the attributes of the Power while keeping the all-round ability. For intermediates and up.
Rippey: Big mountain free-ride board. You won't be wanting this board unless you go heli boarding or back country. This board is brilliant for carving but still retains enough flex to stop you bailing after a sheer drop. For experts only.
Canyon: A wide variation of the Custom range, for large footed people.
Floater: Very wide all-round freeride board. As the name inplies it floats over powder and carves very well. Intermediates and up.
Bullet: Faster variation of the Charger range.
nu: A true all-round board. It is tweaked to the nth degree so that all aspects are equal. Great for begginers and first timers.
Fusion: BX board which rips up BX courses with speed and precision. For intermediates and up.
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There are four primary riding styles. There are an endless number of secondary styles which are either simply variations or mixtures of the primary styles.
Freestyle: Freestyle involves mainly doing tricks any way you want (hence the name freestyle). Freestyle competitions include Board Parks, Big Air, Halfpipe and Quarterpipe.
Freeride: Freeride involves riding, pure riding. Not for speed, not for tricks, just for the enjoyment of riding, carving up big turns in the powder, or pressing your limits and slashing it up on the ice. There are no freeride competitions.
BX: BX stands for Border Cross. In BX its all about the speed and stability. BX races are held in a board park where the racers must go over jumps (hence the need for stability) and keep their speed, the winner the first to the finish line. There are no rules in BX xompetitions, except that you must follow the course and you cannot use your hands against opponents, so expect some elbows to be flying.
Alpine: Alpine is pure speed. Alpine boards are very different from other boards. They have the nose curved, but triangular, and the tail flat and straight (hence meaning you can only travel one direction, but making the board incredibly fast). Alpine boards are used mainly in Olympic and official competitions, you never see them in Extreme Games.
There is a vast range of binding brands to choose from, and unlike boards, it really doesn't matter which brand you buy. Try and stick to the same brand as your board, otherwise go for Burton, Airwalk or Salamon.
There are three styles of bindings:
Strap Ins: Strap Ins give you more sluggish turning, but more margin of error (due to more freedom of movement in the binding). They also take longer to get into, though these I my prefered bindings. These bindings are best suited for freestyle riders.
Step Ins: Step Ins give a mix of margin of error and responsive turning (moderate freedom of movement in the binding). Many people prefer this binding because all you have to do is simply step into the binding and your away, though this does require a special boot. These bindings are best for all-rounders and freeriders.
Hard Boot Strap Ins: Hard Boot Strap Ins give you incredibly responsive turning but absolutely no margin of error (minimal freedom of movement in the binding), hence forth making them incredulously difficult for tricks. They also require hard boots much like ski boots making it a rather uncomfortable experience (one of the reasons I stopped skiing). Usually only used by Alpiners.
Much like bindings, there are a great range of boot brands, and unless you're finicky it doesn't really matter which brand. Once again try to go for the same brand as your board (if possible), otherwise Airwalk or Burton, Airwalk being my preference.
Basically, the three boots are the same as the bindings. Either a soft boot (strap in boot), step in boot or hard boot. They can only be used in their corresponding binding so there is they have the same differences as above.
Not to be confused with riding style, riding types are versions of riding styles which decide where you ride. There are eight riding types.
Park: Version of freestyle. You want a board specifically designed for big air jumps, table tops and kickers. You'll be spending your time in a Board Park if you want to be a Park Freestyler.
Pipe: Version of freestyle. You want a board specifically designed for halfpipes/quarterpipes, something that can ride transition well. You'll be spending your time in a halfpipe, or an the quarters in a park if you want to be a Pipe Freestyler.
Powder: Version of freeriding. You want a nice wide board that floats over powder. You'll be spending most of your time on untracked runs if powder freeriding is your thing.
Slope: Version of freeriding. You want a board with nice sharp edging. You'll be spending most of your time on difficult, steep runs (those ones with black diamonds) if slope freeriding is your thing.
All-round: Mixture of freestyle and freeriding. You want an all-round board with lots of versatility. You either can't make up your mind, or can't let go of any one. Pipe, park, powder or slope... it doesn't matter, you do it all.
Back Country: People who enjoy back country must be very fit. You ain't getting no quad chiars or t-bars where your going, your climbing those mountains on foot. As the name suggests it is back, as in behind (or around) the ski resorts. It is untracked, and
, as you will be in the wilderness
where there are no patrols
and no maps
, so you must talk to people at your local ski resort
before going on a back country trip, and you must NEVER
be alone. That aside, Back country treks can be great fun
as long as the correct precautions
are taken. You get some great powder, and beautiful slopes with varying difficulty, plus there's no one else except your party
: Like back country, except you hike up BIG
mountains, or get taken up there on skidoos
. Big mountains like everest
and the likes, REAL BIG
: As above, except with the convenience of a helicopter
meaning you can take multiple runs. Very expensive.
Still compiling data, more to come soon folks.