Everyone has their own unique style and their own preferences as to how and where on the mountain they ride. But what style of snowboarder you are will fit somewhere within 6 broad types.
It’s a spectrum rather than a black and white ‘this is you’ kinda thing, but where you are on that spectrum will be somewhere within these 6 broad style types.
For example I would say I am a Freestyle All Mountaineer but possibly leaning slightly towards the mountaineer end of that particular spectrum at the moment – I would choose to go for a Freestyle-All Mountain snowboard.
Why Should I Want to Know my Riding Style?
The main reason you want to define your snowboarding style is for equipment choices. Your board, binding and boot choices in particular will be largely influenced by what your style is – (what you like to do on the mountain on your snowboard).
This is important. For example, if you only want to spend all day in the park jibbing then you aren’t going to want a stiff board that is designed to excel in the free-riding arena. Likewise, having a board that is great for doing tricks and riding switch isn’t going to serve you if all you want to do is ride groomers or bomb the backcountry.
So, what are the 6 Riding Styles?
The following is how I break down the different riding styles. You should fit somewhere in here. Not necessarily perfectly. There is a board, bindings etc out there for every style, so once you know where you sit you can use that information for helping your buying or renting decisions.
In my experience most people fall somewhere in between Free-rider and Freestyler but there are definitely some Powder Fanatics and Noodlers out there.
If you are a Powder Fanatic, you reserve your snowboarding energies for powder days.
You seek out powder wherever possible and don’t even bother going to the mountain when there is no powder (or you have a specific board just for powder days).
You might need your board to be able to get through some hard snow or ice patches to make it to the powder pockets in the backcountry, but for you this just a means to an ends to get to the pow! Some powder fanatics might own two boards so they can ride when powder isn’t present.
You are at home surfing the powder or carving the groomers. But mostly, the backcountry (off-piste) is your country and chutes, speed, bowls and trees are your friends.
You struggle to fathom the need for a board to be able to go in both directions – there’s only one way down the mountain baby!
You don’t care for the park – you just want to explore the whole mountain all day (everyday if you could!).
Freeride boards are great in the powder but also for bombing harder snow.
You want a bit of everything. You want one board to be able to take you over the whole mountain, groomed trails, back country, uneven terrain, chutes, the park, you name it.
As opposed to the next category (Free-Style Mountaineers) you will spend more of your time on the downhill than you would in the park or treating the whole mountain as a park. But freestyle would certainly come into your repertoire at times.
Depending on if you like to ride more casual or if you like to ride aggressive there are snowboard options out there for you.
You are the true all rounder. You spend equal time in the park and on the trails.
O.k. if you had to decide you would be a park rider first and foremost but you definitely like to spend a reasonable amount of time up the mountain.
When you are doing the downhill thing you tend to use the mountain like a park – but hey why wouldn’t you!
You need your board to be able to do everything you need it to in the park (jumps, jibs, switch, tricks) and the pipe, if you ride it, but also be able to hack it in the downhill stakes and be able to keep up with your mates.
Again your riding might be more aggressive or more casual and there are boards to suit both.
You wonder why they don’t just turn the whole mountain into a park.
Jumps, Boxes, Rails, Tricks, Switch (what’s switch? – you’re as comfortable riding in one direction as the other) are the only words in your snowboarding vocab.
You don’t want a noodle (you want to ride the pipe too! and the occasional trail to rest up for your next park session) but the most important thing is that your board can handle the park and the rest of the mountain is just a nice scenic backdrop to help you enjoy the views on the lift ride!
You want a noodle. You want what is known as a street/jib board.
You never leave the park (even to visit the pipe!) and you want your board to flex over those rails and boxes like a….. bendy piece of wood 🙂 – o.k. so I’ve never been good at metaphors – you get the drift!
If your street had any kind of slope and was covered in snow and rails there’d be no need for you ever to even go up a mountain!
Where do you Fit in?
O.k. so now you should have a good idea where you fit in. There will be a snowboard for every style you see above and you should fit in, at least to a large degree, with one of the above types. ‘
Your style is unique but it’s important to broadly define your style so that you get the board that will help you to do what you love to do most.
Also – it may be the case that you like to do a variety of things like an all-mountaineer but would prefer to have a different board for different tasks. This is also a good way to go. For example, you might get a freestyle snowboard for the park and a freeride snowboard for when you want to hit the backcountry.
Thanks for Reading
I hope this article has been helpful. I’m always curious to know what riding style other people are into so if you feel for it, leave your style in the comments below. Any other comments or questions very welcome also.