It’s easy to be confused when looking for a beginner snowboard package. The are many features to look for and you also have to chose 3 items- the snowboard, the boot and the binding.
Let’s start with the Snowboard itself.
The most important feature is the Snowboard’s “Camber” or arc. Traditionally boards have had a positive camber – they would touch the snow at the ends just before the tip and have an arc in the middle.
This gives the board more “pop” and also give you more speed. However, it makes the snowboard harder to ride, and therefore it’s not as good for a beginner snowboarder.
The problem was that positive camber boards used to be your only choice so many beginners had to struggle through a lot of wipe-outs and “head slams”.
But in the last few years Burton Snowboards have come out with a “Reverse Camber” board. If you look at one, it’s flat in the middle and lifts up at the tip and tail.
This shape makes the board really easy to ride. You are a lot less likely to catch an edge on the board which slams your body into the snow at high speed. Hooray. So this type of snowboard is great for beginners from that perspective, but it also has some of the traits it has will also carry over into the snowboard park. The looser feel of the reverse camber snowboard is going to make it great for jibing and the shape of it will make it great for pressing as well.
Next, Burton has something called “Cruise Control”. The width of the board is tapered a bit from tip to tail and although it is a bit hard to see, edges are lifted up a little bit in order to help you more easily initiate turns.
You can also chose between foam core snowboards and wood core snowboards. Burton boards also are made with a wood core whereas other (usually cheaper) snowboards are made with a foam core covered in fiberglass. These foam core boards are just not as effective as the wood core because the wood core is going to hold its shape and last a lot longer. Wood core snowboards (especially Burton) are pre-flexed so they are not going to wear out over time.
One last feature of to look for in a snowboard is the width of the snowboard – most boards are a fairly standard width, but there are some boards that are wider, such as the Bullet Wide. A wider snowboard allows it to accommodate people with longer feet. We suggest that if you have a men’s 10 or greater sized foot, you should look at getting into a wider board. It substantially reduces toe drag and makes for a better ride.
Of course you need to chose the right size of snowboard. Many winter sports store salespeople have the misconception that you have to chose the board based on height of the rider, and they will measure the board to your nose – but this is not accurate. The best indicator of length is the riders weight.
For example, a 158cm board is for great for someone 145-170 lbs. Then you can factor in your riding style. For beginners, you should chose a medium length board (for your weight). If you plan to spend a lot of time in the snowboard park, a snowboard at the shorter end of the range will be more maneuverable.
If you think you would be more interested in free riding, then a snowboard at the longer end of the range will help you get more speed.
Now you need to chose Snowboard Bindings. As a beginner, you will likely want to chose an entry level snowboard binding such as the Burton Freestyle. It has a fully poly-carbonate base which is designed to flex rather than bend – a big difference when you are carving up the mountain.
It also has big straps are also really soft for comfort and the flex is needed for a smooth ride. The front toe-strap can be used traditionally as a toe strap over the top of the boot, or it can be moved forward and used as a toe-cap which pulls the boot into the back of the binding for greater stability.
When you move into the higher-end binding, you are getting a more supportive high-back and you are also getting a fully designated toe-cap and a fully padded base-plate which reduces the buildup of snow and makes for softer landings.
Certainly a beginner may chose a mid-level binding as it will be more comfortable and stable.
Snowboard Boots first and foremost need to be comfortable for your foot. You should always try on at least 2 different styles to ensure you are getting a good fit. However, boots typically have 3 different lace systems – traditional lacing systems, speed dial (twist the dial to tighten the laces together) and the speed-zone system.
The Burton Speed-Zone system allows you to pull each of 2 laces – one tightens the top of the boot and the other tightens the bottom, so you can match it to your foot and riding preference.
Boots also have different levels of support. Beginners will typically want a softer boot as it will be more forgiving and easier to move in. But as your skill level increases you want more support for cleaner, harder moves.
I hope this helps you chose a great beginner snowboard package. If you have any more questions, feel free to call us at 855-738-9283.