Hey, I found this breakdown on a different site and it helped to explain to me what I was looking for in more technical terms, so I thought I'd share. Got the following here http://www.snowboarding.com/dcforum/...mID2/2779.html
"So many people fall into the trap of big name snowboard companies when shopping around for boards. They don’t know what to look for and get a lot of big words with no explanation from company sites and store clerks. They end up just relating quality to price. The snowboard industry is one of the few markets that can increase demand by increasing the price of their goods. People want to be able to say: “I spent 650$ for this board” rather then “My board’s torsional flex has increased pop for my aggressive style of riding”. So here are the main components that make a board what it is.
- Fibreglass: There are three main types of fibreglass used in boards, biaxial (crossed over once at 90 degrees) (relatively stiff), triaxial (crossed over twice at 45 and -45 degrees) (stiff) and quadraxial (crossed over at 45, -45 and 90 degrees) (this one is very rarely used since it can be too stiff). Triaxial fibreglass is used in most of the higher end boards since it's stiffer and will help you carve at high speeds (since your edge will hold much better) and reduce chatter (continuous vibrations that worsen the faster you go). It will also hold better through crappy conditions. Most companies use two sheets of fibreglass. There are companies, like Never Summer, who use four. Some will find this makes the board too heavy or stiff while others believe its indestructible behaviour makes up for it. Rome also has a fibreglass that crosses at 30 degrees instead of 45, which perfectly follows the torsional flex (flexibility along diagonal lines on the board when you turn) of the board for heavier riders or very aggressive carvers.
- Cores: If your ever wondering what the main difference between a 400 to 800 $ and a 1000+$ board is, it's the core. The most expensive boards use an aluminium honeycomb core (Burton Vapor for example) or a full carbon fibre core. The rest use wood cores. It's very difficult to know which core is the best, unless you know all the properties of every single wood in the world, but you can rest assured that higher name companies have a good balance between wood types to heighten the performance of their boards. Common sense also helps in this case. For instance, a core that uses bamboo (a robust and springy wood) will give the board a lot of pop. Cores are the main determinants of longitudinal (flexibility along the length of the board) and torsional flex.
- Base: There are two main types of bases: extruded and sintered. The production of an extruded base involves melting grains of Ptex with heat and pressure so that they bind and create a singular unit. Sintered bases only use pressure to bind the Ptex, creating tiny porosities (small spaces) between the clumps. Contrary to what you might think, this is actually the better base. The irregular shape of the base reduces suction on the snow and increases wax absorption gratefully increasing your speed on the mountain. There are also bases composed of combinations of materials such as graphite, which make them even faster.
- Sidewall: Side walls are wrapped around the boards sides to protect the interior materials from the elements and help keep everything glued together. Most sidewalls are made of ABS (type of plastic), but some companies (like never summer or libtech) use UHMWPE (Ptex like the base), a stronger material.
- Carbon fibre: Some boards have carbon fibre placed at key points in the board to adjust the flexibility. A carbon spine will mostly adjust the longitudinal flex of the board, carbon fibre strips along each rail (between sidewall and middle of the board) will adjust both the longitudinal and torsional flex of the board, etc… The adjustments are made according to the riding style of the board.
- New technology: Snowboard companies are constantly trying to innovate new ways of producing boards to gain competitive advantage. Libtech is the leader of snowboard innovations introducing tech like Magne-Traction (wavy edge set up) or their new banana tech changing the camber (curvature following the board’s length) from convex to concave (I heard it wasn’t bad). Companies like Rome tried switching laminates from fibreglass to carbon fibre this year. You have to keep yourself up to date on these new board techs, they either change the world of snowboards or fail miserably.
(There are other elements such as top sheets, inserts, edges, glues, etc... But if your buying an expensive board (being 400$+ ), these will be of good quality)
Now I know I didn’t cover absolutely everything, I’ve got to study at one time or another, so if you want to add something or disagree with something I wrote, feel free to reply.
Hope this aids you in your next board purchase. Never stop shredding!"
"good post! i couldn't agree more. in fact, i'm going to anchor it up top to make it easily found by people confused over what to look for in a board...
couple things to add though.
bases: a sinistered base needs to be waxed more often than an extruded base to keep that faster speed, but a sinistered base will also last you a heck of a lot longer than an extruded base will. if you do a lot of jibbing, or ride a lot of thin cover, consider a sinistered base or you'll constantly be gashing it. however, extruded bases are easier to repair than sinistered bases when you do gash them all up, so you could just keep dripping p-tex candles into all of them...
fiberglass: a more expensive board doesn't *necessarily* mean it's usually made with triaxial fiberglass. it depends a lot on what kind of board you're getting; all-mountain or park. if you want a soft park board, look for one made with biaxial fiberglass. you should also look for a board made with biaxial fiberglass if you're just learning to ride or if you just want a really forgiving board, because you won't catch as many edges on a softer board. the flex absorbs a lot of what would just totally catch you up on a stiffer board. however, like ElDanio said, a stiffer board will hold a better edge with speed and won't feel like you're riding a wet noodle.
sides: there's 2 types of sides to your board - cap and sidewalls. cap construction is the one where the topsheet continues down the side right to the metal edge. sidewalls are when the topsheet is flat and stops at the top of your board, and there's a "wall" that goes down to your metal edge. cap construction is usually found on less expensive boards, but supposedly holds a better edge on hard snow. i've found no difference between the two, but capped is harder to repair and sidewalls can take a beating.
it really isn't "you get what you pay for" in terms of snowboard buying. the best board depends on your own riding level and style, and if you know the tech of a board, and what you want in a board for your riding, you can find expensive boards that won't cover everything you want, and cheaper boards that very well might. so start checking those tech labels instead of buying the boards with the pretty graphics that the salespeople insist you want without even knowing how you ride."
Thought it was helpful