A quality snowboard shop will help you talk through these considerations so you can choose a board that’s truly right for you. In the meantime, this guide will give you a good idea on choosing the right snowboard size, so you can shop with confidence and be sure you end up with the board you want and need.
If you’re just getting started snowboarding, it can be exciting to head straight to the slopes. But it’s important to take the time to get the right gear, from the boots and jacket down to the board itself. If you’re just renting for now, the standard guideline is to choose a board that comes up as high as your chin, and lower than your nose. This is a good start for choosing the length of a snowboard, but there’s a lot more to it than height. In fact, some pros consider weight to be even more important than height when sizing a snowboard, and that’s a factor that isn’t considered if you’re just shopping by the height of your chin alone.
Your preferred snowboarding style, the terrain you’ll be snowboarding on, and the kind of snow you’ll encounter are all going to play into your decision, as will your preference for speed and stability or turning and maneuverability. Longer boards are faster and more stable, while shorter boards spin and turn easily in a park or half-pipe.
Height does matter, and though “somewhere between your nose and chin” is a good start, there are charts available that you can refer to for suggested centimeter lengths relative to your own height. It’s an important element to consider, because taller people will have a wider stance than shorter people, and shorter boards force a narrower stance. For comfort on a snowboard, height should be the first caculation, and it’s one of the easiest to figure out, but it’s definitely not the only factor to consider.
Sizing a snowboard based on weight is so important because your weight distribution on a board will affect your stability, float, and your speed. If two people weigh the same, but are vastly different heights, they might want to consider boards that are the same or similarly sized, because their weight will be distributed similarly. Like weight
Like height and weight, your skill level plays a part in sizing a snowboard. In general, beginners should choose a smaller board within their appropriate size range, because shorter boards are much easier to control and steer. You can even go a full few centimeters down from the recommended chart size. More advanced riders tend to prefer longer boards in their size range, because they can be faster and more fun to ride.
That said, you’ll learn faster than you think you will, so shop at the level you want to be, and don’t restrict yourself to a learning board that you’ll outgrow quickly.
Gender and Age
It can be practical to consider gender and age when sizing a snowboard. Boards designed for women are narrower, for smaller waists and feet, and shaped differently to accommodate the way that womens frames, body structures, and stances drive force and power into a snowboard. Taller women, and women with bigger feet, might want to shop in the men’s section—and of course, smaller women with smaller feet can too—but gender can be worth at least considering.
Although children do grow quickly, and it’s a good idea to shop for snowboards at the level you want to achieve, rather than the level you begin at, try to avoid buying adult boards for kids. Though they may grow into it eventually—maybe sooner rather than later, as kids do grow quickly—they’ll struggle with it in the beginning, which will impede learning and could drastically slow their development. Don’t stick a kid with an oversized board if you can help it!
The width of your snowboard will be relative to your snowboard boots, so make sure that your boots are sized correctly before you shop for a board! The correct snowboard width, or “waist,” will be just a bit thinner than the size of your snowboard boots. The toes and heel of your boots should extend ever so slightly over the edges of the snowboard waist. You don’t want them to go so far over that they hit the snow when you’re turning, but you do want a little bit of grace over the edges, which will give you leverage and power for turns.
Style and Terrain
What kind of snowboarding do you want to do? Whether you’ll be freestyling in a park, or freeriding down mountains, you’ll want to choose a board that’s appropriate to your riding style. In general, freeriding, or riding down big, steep mountains with loose powder and rough terrain, is easier on a longer board. Longer boards gives you superior power at higher speeds, higher stability, and good float.
On the other hand, shorter boards are good for the maneuverability required for freestyling, or hitting halfpipes in the park. Freestyle snowboards are smaller and designed to be lightweight and flexible. Shorter boards are easier to spin and do tricks on, because they’re easier to control, just like small cars.
If you’re going to be doing a little of both, a longer board in the freestyle range will give you the balance you need for high speeds while still handling well in the park.
You Deserve The Best
We’ve tried to cover the basiscs of board length and how to choose the correct snowboard size for your trip but there are a number of other factors to consider which we haven’t been able to cover. For a more in depth analysis check out this snowboard buying guide: https://www.snowcentral.com.au/snowboard-buyers-guide/
Shopping for a new snowboard is a fun experience that will set you up for success on the slopes, if done right. Use this guide to help you choose the board that is most appropriate for your height, weight, and shoe size, and to size a snowboard that’s best for your age, gender, and riding style. Don’t skimp on this part of the process! Just a little bit of extra attention to sizing in the beginning will set you up with a board you’ll get to enjoy for years to come.