Hey – so I’m going to cover some snowboarding terms definitions here. I will update the list as I think of more terms that need defining.
This is likely to be an ongoing project! – it may start out small but I’ll be sure to add to it as I think of more terms as I go along.
I will try to link any terms to other posts here so that you can get a more detailed explanation where needed.
If you have any other terms you can think of that you want defined just leave a comment in the comments section at the end of the post. O.k. let’s have a look at some common snowboarding terms.
I will begin by covering some stance terms and some snowboard parts and jargon. As I add to it I will cover bindings & boots and some trick lingo and slang terms.
Check this out to learn about how to choose the best stance for you
Regular Stance: Rider who feels more natural riding left foot first down the mountain
Goofy Stance: Rider who feels more natural riding right foot first down the mountain
Stance Angle: The angle that your bindings are set at. There are several difference stance setups you can have with most falling into different variation of the Forward Stance and the Duck Stance (see below).
Forward Stance: A forward stance can be defined as any stance that has the back foot binding with a positive angle. A classic forward stance might be front foot binding angle of +18° and a back foot binding angle of +3°. Freeriders and some all mountain riders tend to use some variation of the forward stance.
Duck Stance: What I would call the “full duck stance” starts with a front foot binding angle of +15° and a back foot binding angle of -15°. There are many variations of this depending on personal preference and riding style – and anything with a negative back foot binding angle comes under a form of duck stance. Duck stance is mostly used by freestyle riders and some all mountain riders and is particularly useful for riding switch.
>>Click here to find the best stance angles for your riding style
Stance Width: Simply means how far apart the bindings are (therefore how far apart the legs will be. Typically this is close to the shoulder width of the rider.
Reference Stance Width: The stance width that the manufacturer of the board considers the most likely stance width for that board. You will always be able to set up your bindings narrower or wider than the reference stance width.
Stance Offset: The stance offset refers to where the bindings sit on the board in relation to the centre of the board. There are two types of stance offsets – a setback Stance and a Centred Stance (see below).
Setback Stance: A Setback Stance means that the front binding will be further away from the nose than the back binding is from the tail. For example a setback stance of -20mm means that the bindings are set 20mm closer to the tail than they would be if centred on the board.
Centred Stance: The distance from front binding to nose is equal to the distance from the back binding to the tail. The centre of each binding is equidistant to the centre of the board. In other words the bindings are centred on the board. This is the preferred stance for beginners and freestyle riders.
Snowboard Parts & Jargon
This is by no means an exclusive list. Snowboards are very technical beasts but this should explain some of the more commonly used terms and will be added to. Any corrections, questions or additions you would like to see etc, please add to the comments below.
Nose (aka tip): The front of the snowboard
Tail: The back of the snowboard
Width at inset: The width of the board where the bindings are
Effective Edge: The length of the edge of the board that makes contact with the snow. For example a board might be 159cm long but have an effective edge of 120cm – more here
Flex: Essentially how ‘bendy’ the board is (that’s the technical term J). This is rated anywhere from soft to medium-soft to medium to medium-stiff to stiff.
Click here to learn about snowboard flex in detail
Shape: The shape of a snowboard generally refers to the differences between the tail and the nose. For example a true twin shaped board has a tail and nose that are identical in shape and flex. (see below for other shapes).
Tapered directional shape: The nose is longer and wider than the tail and the flex is typically softer in the nose.
Directional Shape: The nose is longer than the tail and the flex is typically softer in the nose.
Twinish Shape: Has a similar shape to a true twin but the side cut is directional and the shape of the nose and the tail will differ slightly.
Directional Twin Shape: The nose and the tail are the same size but something is different (not symmetrical). Typically either the tail has a stiffer flex, or the nose might be raised slightly higher or have a different camber profile.
True Twin Shape: The nose and the tail are identical. The true twin is completely symmetrical. The nose and tail have exactly the same shape, the same flex, the side cut is the same in both directions from the waist and the stance is centred (see above for centred stance).
>>Click here for more information on the different shapes and how they affect the way the board rides
Side cut Radius: Picture a snowboard from a bird’s eye view. The board curves out from the waist towards the tip and tail. That curve is what is known as the side cut radius. This is measured in meters and is the radius of an imaginary circle, if you were to keep the circle going around. More on sidecut radius here.
Camber Profile: O.K. now let’s look at the board from side-on. The camber profile refers the curve that is created under the board. A convex shape (like an “n”) is known as camber and a concave shape (like a “U”) is known as rocker. There are quite a few different camber profiles some combining camber and rocker along different parts of the board. For example a hybrid camber might have camber between the bindings and then rocker from the bindings towards the tip and tail (illustrated below). There are numerous variations of this and numerous different possible camber profiles.
The Different Camber Types
Traditional Camber: Camber from contact point at the tip all the way to contact point at the tail
Rocker/Reverse Camber: Rocker from contact point at the tip all the way to contact point at the tail
Flat: As it sounds – completely flat from contact point to contact point
Hybrid Camber: Camber underfoot (between the bindings) and rocker between the bindings and the tip and tail (camber and rocker sections can start and finish in different places but this is the general meaning)
Hybrid Rocker: Rocker Underfoot (between bindings) and camber between the bindings and the contact points at the tip and tail (plus variations).
Flat to Rocker: Like the Hybrid camber except with a flat profile between the feet.
>>Click here for more about the different camber types and what camber profile is best for you
For a comprehensive guide to tricks definition check out our Snowboard Tricks Definitions post.
More to Come
As I’ve mentioned this is a work in progress and will be added to over time. If there’s anything you’d particularly like to see explained here please mention it in the comments below. Similarly, if you have any questions about any of the terms mentioned above please leave a comment below and I will reply as soon as possible.
Could you define manuals, lips and side hits?
Manuals are also known as tail presses and nose presses. It’s a term borrowed from skateboarding – see more here
How to best describe a lip? It’s the part of a jump that ramps upwards. So you can have a steeper lip that ramps upwards more aggressively or a more moderate lip which is flatter and doesn’t give as much of an upward kick off the jump – gives a flatter trajectory. Usually smaller or more beginner jumps have a flatter lip.
Side hits are basically natural jumps or bumps that are formed on the side of groomers. Sometimes jumps in the trees can be referred to as side hits – and sometimes as natural hits or natural jumps. But yeah pretty much anything that you use to jump off that’s not in a park or purposefully created to use as a jump.
Hope those make sense
Got it. I figured that’s what they meant but have never actually looked up the real definitions. Thanks!
Fannetta Lim says
Great article. I don’t snowboard. It seems scary but after reading your article, I’ve a whole new concept on that!
Hey Fannetta – it’s not really that scary once you get going!
This page is coming along well, i like the exaggerated illustrations. I would like to see more of that to illustrate the angles in the stances. It’s hard to visualize 18 degrees vs 3 degrees.
Hey John. Thanks for the comments and for the suggestion. I will def add that in.
UPDATE: Have added those in now. Check it out above.
I once learned how to board almost ten years ago and I unfortunately haven’t been back since. But this is fueled a desire to go again, so I remember how I ride. Thanks for the post!
Hey Sarah – no worries. You should definitely get back on the board!
David Snodgrass says
learned a lot about snowboarding today
Hey David – thanks for the comment – glad to educate!