I have created the smart rating system as a means to score snowboards to give an overall snapshot of a snowboard’s performance and as a means of easily comparing different snowboards in the same category.
Warning: This is intended for those who are curious of how my snowboard rating system works. Snowboard construction is a complex business. So too is an accurate snowboard rating system. You’ve been warned!
Note: This rating system received a big overhaul on September 7th, 2015 (and has been constantly evolving since) – if you are looking for the old rating system please follow this link
Why Does the System Need to be “Smart”
Not all snowboards are created equal.
In fact not all snowboards are created for the same purpose.
So when deriving a rating system for snowboards it’s important that the rating system takes into account the purpose that the snowboard is designed for. It doesn’t do much good to rate a freestyle snowboard in the same way that you rate a freeride snowboard.
If you rate a freestyle snowboard on the same criteria that you rate a freeride snowboard then you aren’t going to get information that is useful.
So in creating my smart rating system – which has been carefully thought about, tested and revised several times over – I had to take into account the different purposes of different snowboards so that the appropriate score could be derived.
Why Maths plays a Part
Snowboards are complicated beasts!
So to create a ratings system for such complicated items is a complicated business, if you want to get an accurate score that truly reflects the performance of the snowboard and reflects that snowboard’s performance in direct relation to its purpose (freestyle, all-mountain, freeride etc).
And since we are dealing with numbers in a rating system then we are dealing with maths! Not the most popular topic – but a very useful one. If your maths isn’t that sharp and you don’t get the system, just know that this system has been thoroughly thought out, tested and analyzed.
And that said, I have tried to make the system as simple as possible.
A Score Out of 100
For those of you that understand it easily straight away you might be wondering what I was harking on about above. I hope this is the case for most as I have tried to simplify the system from the old system.
Both the old system and the new, I believe, are very robust and produce accurate ratings. However, the new system is intended to be easier to understand as it produces a score out of 100. A score out of 100 is more easily recognizable and easy to compare between different snowboards.
The old system produced a score that wasn’t really out of anything. You could still compare the different scores – as the higher the number the better – but it wasn’t as clearly definable because it didn’t have the familiarity of a score out of 100.
The other reason I have changed to a score out of 100 for consistency. All of my other rating systems (for bindings, boots etc) all have scores out of 100 (these were developed after the original snowboard rating system). So this way the scores across the entire website are out of 100.
How the Rating System Works
With all that said – here is how the system works.
Like the old system there are different points allocated for different board characteristics depending on the style of the snowboard.
I currently have the following 7 different rating systems.
- Aggressive All-Mountain-Freestyle
The reason for this is simple. Different types of boards need to be better at different things. For example, a freestyle board needs to be good at hitting jibs, butters, riding switch etc – so a scoring system for freestyle boards should give more importance to these factors.
However, none of those factors are important for freeride boards – so freeride boards won’t be rated on those factors – or at least those factors won’t receive a lot of importance.
There are 8 different categories that I rate a snowboard on. Those categories are as follows.
- Uneven Terrain
Each category is allocated a certain number of points depending on the type of snowboard. The points allocations are outlined below. The total number of points add up to 100 for each type of snowboard.
As you can see – more points are allocated to aggressive-all-mountain boards and freeride boards for things like carving and speed – and more points are allocated to more freestyle oriented boards for things like switch, jumps and jibbing.
For each category the boards are rated out of 5. For example a board that is perfect – or as perfect as you can get – in powder would get a 5 out of 5 for powder.
If this was a freeride board then it would then score 20 points for powder. If it was a freestyle board it would score 5 points for powder.
If that powder score was 4 out of 5 then if that board was a freeride board it would score 16 out of a possible 20 points for powder. If it was a freestyle board it would score 4 out of a possible 5 for powder.
Note: The ratings are derived from my own experience with the boards in addition to ratings found on other reputable sites – the most used website for such is thegoodride.com
Because it’s the very nature of snowboards that they are unable to be brilliant at everything it’s inevitable that scores will look unnaturally low.
For example a board with a stiff flex is going to naturally be better at carving but won’t be very good at jibbing. And a medium flex board will be ok, but not brilliant, at both.
This leads to – and I won’t bore you with the details as to why – scores out of 100 that wouldn’t look very good if they weren’t normalized. This is particularly the case for all-mountain boards. By normalizing really it just means that the scores more closely reflect the actual quality of a board in its given category.
If the highest scoring board only gets 80 out of 100 it sounds like it has a lot of weak areas. However, that board might actually be perfect for the particular tasks it was designed to perform. A score of 80/100 doesn’t reflect that fact and gives an inaccurate rating.
All Mountain Boards Particularly Susceptible
This is particularly the case with All-Mountain boards that would seldomly receive scores of 5 out of 5 for any given category since it is trying to strike a balance and be at least pretty good in all of the categories.
To counter this I have normalized each rating system. This is less complicated than it sounds.
How the Normalization Works
It is simply a matter of taking the highest score in the particular category of snowboard (plus a couple of extra points to allow for the fact that there is always potential for improvement and no board is 100/100) and using that as what I call the “Normalization Denominator”. This isn’t as complicated as that name sounds. An example will help to illustrate this.
For example, the highest score for an all-mountain that I have seen (from analyzing 39 different all mountain boards) is 73. From what I have estimated an all-mountain board could have a possible score of 80. So the “normalization denominator” for all-mountain boards is 80.
So to get the normalized score out of 100 I then simply divide each snowboard’s score by the estimated highest potential score of 80.
For Example: In the case of the all-mountain board that scored 78, the normalized score is 91.3/100. Which is calculated like this:
- 73 divided by 80 multiplied by 100 (73/80*100) = 91.3
The reason that this is done is that the score 91.3/100 is a better reflection of that boards performance than 73/100. 73/100 doesn’t sound very good but in actual fact that board is the best all-mountain board I have seen, therefore 91.3/100 is a better reflection of that board.
The following shows the different normalizations for the different types of snowboard.
|Number of boards analyzed||44||55||39||25||29|
|Highest score of those boards||85||79||73||84||82.5|
|Highest score after normalization||94.4/100||92.9/100||91.3/100||93.3/100||91.7/100|
|Number of boards analyzed||19||19||26||6||9|
|Highest score of those boards||85||78||72||77||77.5|
|Highest score after normalization||94.4/100||91.8/100||90.0/100||90.6/100||91.2/100|
It’s all good if you don’t understand this completely, but if you were curious as to how my rating system works here it is.
I always try to show perspective when rating any snowboard gear. Just seeing a score of 80/100 isn’t much good if you don’t know how it compares to other snowboard gear in the same category.
So I will always try to show the following:
- The average score of all gear in that category
- The highest score of all gear in that category
- The lowest score of all gear in that category
- Where that gear ranked in that category
For example let’s imagine you were looking for a freestyle snowboard.
I would then show:
- The number of freestyle snowboards that I had scored
- The average score of all of the freestyle snowboards that I had scored
- The score of the highest scoring freestyle snowboard;
- The score of the lowest scoring freestyle snowboard; and
- Where that freestyle ranked amongst all of the freestyle snowboards that I scored
Thanks for Reading
I hope this has helped you to understand my rating system if you were curious as to how it worked. Of course if you have any questions or comments regarding this system please feel free to contact SnowboardingProfiles.com using the contact form on the contact page.