Choosing a snowboard can be a daunting process as there are so many variables to consider. There are some boards which are geared more towards beginners compared to expert-level snowboarders as there are key characteristics which differ between them.
I’ll be comparing beginner, intermediate and advanced level snowboards so you can get to grips with the differences and figure out what type of board is best for your current experience and skill level.
Beginner vs Advanced Snowboards
Beginner snowboards are usually softer and have a flex rating of less than 5 which makes them slower, but more forgiving. Advanced-level snowboards are usually stiffer which makes them feel more responsive, and they also usually have more camber which makes them more stable at higher speeds.
|Beginner Snowboards||Advanced Snowboards|
|Lower flex rating (more flexible)||Higher flex rating (stiffer)|
|Rocker/ flat-rocker/ zero-camber profiles||Can be camber/ hybrid-camber profiles|
|Usually twin-tip shape/ directional twin||Can be any shape|
Let’s first look at the main factors which vary between snowboards according to ability level:
- Flex Rating
- Camber Profile
The stiffer a snowboard is, the more suitable it is for an expert rider and the less suitable it is for a beginner. More flexible snowboards are easier to turn and more forgiving compared to stiffer boards which suit advanced riders because they offer more edge grip and feel more responsive.
Snowboard stiffness is rated on a flex scale from 1-10.
In general, a beginner shouldn’t go above a flex rating of 5 otherwise they may find it more difficult to learn.
However, just because stiffer boards can only be used by more experienced riders does not mean that experts have to use a stiff board.
Some advanced riders still prefer the feeling of a softer board. You may also prefer a softer board if you are a park/ free-style rider or are lighter as stiffer boards are more suitable for heavier riders.
|Flex Rating||Flexibility Description||Suitability (Rough Guide)|
The camber profile of a snowboard refers to the curvature of the board when it is flat. You can get different combinations of “camber” and “rocker” to make up this profile. The camber refers to the convex shape and the rocker refers to the concave shape.
Check out this diagram to demonstrate.
There are several different types of camber profile that snowboards can come in.
- Camber: also known as traditional camber
- Rocker: also known as reverse camber/ banana/ continuous rocker
- Flat: also known as zero camber
- Hybrid Camber: also known as rocker/ camber/ rocker
- Hybrid Rocker: also known as camber/ rocker/ camber
- Backseat Camber: has positive camber under the back foot and zero camber under the front foot
There are also a few other variations for example, flat to rocker. This profile is a flat under the front foot and rocker under the back foot.