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When Ted Shred first hurled down the ski slopes in the early 1980s on his homemade snow board, few people saw any real possibilities for a sport. It looked a lot like the highly unpopular uni-ski of the time and, besides that, it was outright reckless.
flickr image by bobaliciouslondon

Twenty five years later, snowboarding has equalled skiing in popularity and still has cool appeal for the youth, despite the fact that it has been around for over a quarter of a century.

Snowboards are the most vital part of the equipment choice for any boarder. Not only does the brand and design of the board function as a calling card to others but the snowboard has the greatest influence on whether you are shredding or falling over and sledding down the hill.

Just like skis, snowboards are available in three main types, representing the different styles, experience and terrain of the boarders out on the slopes. The first and the most popular by far is the aptly-named “freeride.” This class of board appeals to the mass of boarders that want to explore the entire mountain and perhaps mix it up a bit at the park.


flickr image by JoshDobson

The freeride boards are light and flexible and have a definite front and back with the bindings set a little further towards the tail of the board. This works to increase control and manoeuvrability for all levels of boarded. This is a good snowboards choice if you don’t want or need any of the specialty boards.

Next up are the “freestyle” class of snowboards. This group of boards is specially designed for those who want to ride the half pipe, grind the rails and otherwise assault the board park. The boards are shorter, lighter and more flexible than the freeride boards, which makes them ideal for the tricks boarders perform. Because of this design, these are also newbie favorites since it tends to be the most forgiving board and works fine on medium sloping groomer runs. But what you gain in convenience and flexibility, you give up on the strength of the snowboard’s edge. Since snowboards control the turns on the downward long edge of the board, if you remove mass there you also give up control.

snow boardingflickr image by serrechevalier
The “carving” class of snowboard is for the racers out there on the slopes. These are thinner and longer boards designer for racing speeds and the carving needed to come down the steeps. They are stiff so that they can hold an edge and execute a tight turn but the give up here is that the boarder needs to be adept at control because the snowboard will keep going in one direction without some work. As a result, this board is not designed for beginners and is best left to the seasoned snowboarder.

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