Snowboard edge hold is more important for some riders than others. and how well your snowboard holds an edge will depend on a few different design factors in the snowboard.
First let’s take a look at some different riding styles and conditions and see which require more edge-hold.
Then we’ll see what the different factors are in your snowboard’s design that determine the quality of the board’s edge hold.
Who Needs Edge-Hold the Most?
Of course every type of rider in every condition needs some amount of grip on the edges so they don’t wash out in even the softest snow – but different styles and different conditions require different amounts of grip.
Freestyle riders aren’t generally in need of a lot of edge-hold. In fact freestylers will often detune their edges so that they don’t get them caught on obstacles.
Plus their game isn’t steep fast runs down the mountain. They spend most of their time in the park and if they do go on the mountain their activities are usually more playful than aggressive.
Also freestylers are less likely to come into contact with icy or hard snow conditions.
All Mountain Riders
All mountain riders need more edge hold than freestylers. This is because they are going to be exploring more varied terrain and are more likely to come into contact with icy or hard snow conditions.
In addition to this all mountain riders will be tackling steep fast terrain more often and will need that extra edge hold for better grip on that terrain.
Freerider’s need the best edge hold of all. Because their bread and butter is riding hard and fast in the most varied and most challenging terrain.
Superior edge hold is necessary to be able to negotiate this.
As has been alluded to above, the conditions you are riding in play a big part in what your edge-hold requirements are going to be.
If you ride in a conditions that are often hard and icy then you will require greater edge hold – otherwise you are going to be spending a lot of time washing out.
If you mostly ride in powder and soft snow conditions, then you are one lucky son of a ……. wait… sorry got off track there 🙂 If you ride in soft snow a lot then you aren’t going to require as much grip – and in fact too much grip can be an issue in the soft stuff.
What Design Factors on A Snowboard Help Edge Hold?
There are a number of things on a snowboard that contribute to better edge hold. Below I will look at the following:
- Edge sharpness
- Edge technology
- Camber profile
This one is pretty simple. The stiffer the flex the greater the edge-hold.
This is one of the big reasons that freeride snowboards tend to have a medium-stiff or stiff flex.
Freestyle snowboards, that don’t need as much edge hold, tend to have a softer flex to enable them to press, butter, hit jibs and get more forgiveness on landings.
All mountain snowboards, tend to have a medium flex. They require some decent edge hold but also need to be able to do some freestyle riding if the rider wants it. A softer flex also makes for a more playful, casual ride. The stiffer your board’s flex the more aggressive it will be.
Related: Flex ratings explained
As I mentioned earlier, freestylers tend to de-tune their edges (i.e. make them blunter) – this will decrease edge hold but will also make the edges less “catchy”.
All mountain riders will want to leave the majority of their edges sharp but will still probably want to de-tune the contact points to avoid catching an edge.
Most riders don’t really need super sharp edges (unless you are racing) but you will want to maintain your edges in terms of keeping them free of “burrs”. Un-burred blunt edges are better than sharp burred edges.
The most common edge hold technology is edge serration.
This is basically edges that have subtle serrations in them. This increases grip, particularly in icy and hard conditions. The most common edge serration tech that I know of is called Magne-Traction.
Lib Tech were the first company to come up with Magne-Traction and the technology is now used by a number of manufacturers including Lib Tech, GNU, Roxy and Rossignol.
The camber profile of your snowboard affects your edge hold as it affects where your edge makes contact with the snow and how much of your edge makes contact with the snow.
Typically a snowboard that has any camber or flat sections are going to have better edge hold than snowboards with a full rocker camber profile.
The longer the camber and flat sections the better the edge hold, generally speaking.
Of course there are reasons why you may not just want a full camber or full flat snowboard. Having some rocker in your camber profile helps with float in powder, easier turn initiation, better jibbing, better buttering and for some riders they just prefer a slightly looser feel underfoot.
Thanks for Reading
I hope this post has helped you learn more about snowboard edge hold and what kind of edge hold is best for you.
Any questions or comments or if there are any other factors that you can think of that affect edge hold please feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.