Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Boston, MA
What’s the difference between freeride boards, freestyle boards, etc (DRAFT)
I. What’s the difference between freeride boards, freestyle boards, do-it-all boards, etc.?
Snowboards are generally categorized into four different groups, depending on the type of riding they are designed for. Remember when we talked about picking out a deck that you had to determining “what kind of riding” you were going to be doing? Well, here are the different types of decks and the types of riding they are designed for.
a. Freestyle Boards: These boards are shorter, softer and flexible. They are intended to be ridden in terrain parks. Their smaller size size and flexibility makes it easier to do tricks, spins, jumps, jibs, etc. An average size freestyle board is usually around 148cm - 154cm. Within this category, you will generally find specialized boards, such as halfpipe-focused boards, or boards that are designed for mostly jibbing and rail performance. These boards are typically not optimal for riding in powder, at high speeds or for true carving. In fact, they can be quite unstable anywhere out the terrain park.
b. All mountain Boards (a.k.a "Do-it-all" boards, "All Mountain Freestyle" board, etc): This is a catch-all category used to describe boards that perform fairly well in different mountain conditions, and across multiple styles of riding. They are not top-of-the-line boards for racing, carving, jibbing or riding the terrain park. However, they are decent within all those different conditions. All-Mountain boards usually have a medium flex and are a very good choice for riders who spend a majority of their time freeriding, but like to go into the park every once in a while. They excel no where, yet can be ridden anywhere. Average size all-mountain boards range in size from 154cm - 160cm.
c. Freeride Boards (a.k.a Big Mountain, etc.): These are boards designed to for freeriding and typically don’t perform well on park features. They are often optimized for powder riding, speed and maneuverability. They do well off of natural or manmade kickers, cliffs, etc. These boards typically have a stiffer flex. These boards are longer than both freestyle and all-mountain boards. On average they are 158cm and over.
d. Alpine Boards (a.k.a Slalom boards or Race boards): Alpine boards are designed to do one thing very well: go fast in hard, groomed snow conditions. They are typically used by competition racers and are not designed for powder conditions. They are truly directional and not intended to be ridden switch (backwards). They are usually paired with hard boots and metal plate bindings. Alpine boards have a very stiff flex.
Many novice riders initially choose to buy an all-mountain board. This allows them more flexibility in learning to ride different styles or conditions. As we mentioned earlier, novice riders may actually hamper their development if they purchase a more advanced setup, such as a pro-model pipe board, so it’s important to stay true to your actual riding style. A side note to throw in here; many new riders start trying to ride the terrain park before they can get down any other trail properly. Learn to walk before you run.
FAQ CONTINUES AT THE "What Size Board Should I Get?" THREAD.
Much of this information was paraphrased from an article written by Chris Uriarte, Mark Helwig and David O’Malley. Some of it is even directly quoted from them. We are taking no credit for being the original authors of this work, and give credit to Chris, Mark and David. Thanks, guys.
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