There are many key specs you should look out for when choosing the best freeride snowboard for your particular needs.
This post will go over the specs of the freeride snowboard, why they are designed the way they are and the different variances so you can get an idea of what specs are right for you and whether a freeride board is right for you.
Just to be clear on my definition of what a freeride snowboard is (some people consider freeride and all-mountain boards to be the same but they are definitely completely different beasts!) check out my 6 styles of snowboarding post.
Freeride snowboards are invariably on the stiffer side. This is partially personal preference but most freeride boards tend to either have a stiff or medium-stiff flex. Some come in a more medium flex but they are the minority.
You’re unlikely to see any medium-soft or soft freeride boards!
This stiffer flex helps with better edge-hold and stability at high speeds.
The 26 freeride boards that I look at had the following flex ratings:
|Stiff (9 or 10 out of 10)||19%|
|Medium-Stiff (7 or 8 out of 10)||54%|
|Medium (5 or 6 out of 10)||27%|
|Medium-soft (3 or 4 out of 10)||0%|
|Soft (1 or 2 out of 10)||0%|
Another option worth checking out if you aren’t sure about whether you want a freeride or all-mountain board is an aggressive all mountain board – these are usually quite stiff too but have some qualities of all-mountain boards.
Check out this post on all mountain boards if you think an aggressive all-mountain board could be more your style.
Freeride boards usually have a tapered directional shape – and sometimes a directional shape – but always some version of directional.
This is because freeriding requires optimal performance in one direction down the mountain and there is no need to be riding switch – at least not for any prolonged length of time.
Of those 26 boards:
Freeride boads usually have a setback of 20mm or greater.
Again, there is no need for a centred stance because there is very little switch involved.
But, more importantly, that setback stance makes it easier to keep the nose above deep snow.
If you were centred on the board you would have to work extra hard on leaning back and keeping that nose up – this is not only exhausting but it also takes your focus away from riding and finding the best lines and avoiding those obstacles!
|Between 5mm and 10mm||0%|
|Between 10mm and 15mm||8%|
|Between 15mm and 20mm||31%|
|Greater than 20mm||62%|
There are various camber profiles for freeride boards but some are definitely better than others – this is again partly personal preference but there are certainly some profiles that are better for freeriding in my opinion.
The most popular, and best in my mind, camber profiles for freeride boards are the hybrid camber and hybrid rocker shapes.
The camber sections of these shapes helps with edge-hold (hugely important for freeriding) and the rocker sections help with float in powder – also really important.
Check out the link below to see a more in depth analysis on the camber profiles of a selection of different style of snowboards (including freeride boards).
Freeriding is a hard charging agreesssive style of riding so it needs a hard charging aggressive style of base.
Freeride boards predominantly come with sintered bases. Sintered bases are faster and glide better than extruded bases (if you maintain them properly).
So if you get stuck in any flat sections in the backcountry or slight uphills you will glide for longer meaning you can get through some sections without taking your board off that might otherwise not have been able to with an extruded base.
They are also just faster – so better for freeriding!
When choosing a freeride board you should choose a board that’s longer than the average board.
This extra length will help with speed and stability.
Check out the link below to learn how to work out your “standard length” (this is mostly based on your weight) add an extra 2-3 centimetres to that standard length to get your freeride length.
Freeride snowboards tend to be slightly narrower than the average snowboard.
This allows it to be more responsive and faster from edge to edge – important when you are trying to negotiate trees or narrow chutes.
But you still need to make sure that the board isn’t too narrow for your boot size – if your boots overhang too much you might get boot drag on hard carves. Check out this post for how to choose the right width.
It’s a really good idea to match your freeride board with low profile (reduced footprint) boots. This will allow you to ride a narrower board with less chance of boot drag.
Over To You…
That’s all from me – now over to you. I hope this has helped you to decide whether a freeride board is right for you and the key specs to look out for when choosing a freeride snowboard.
Check out the links below to see what I consider are currently the best 5 freeride snowboards on the market.
If you have any questions or believe that I’ve left anything important out please feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.