My GNU 2006 Carbon Highbeam has served me well for 10 years. Yup, 10 years. That’s how I learned that the most important factor when buying your first snowboard is growth potential. My old GNU board is stable, flexible and durable, and despite being totally beaten up it still works for all-mountain and park riding.
Trust me, you want a snowboard that’s going to grow with you and let you develop your own unique riding style.
Some beginner snowboards are too one-dimensional to take you through the intermediate level and beyond, and you’ll find yourself prowling snowboard websites and deck reviews again before too long.
The goal here is to get things right on the first purchase. Even if you want to change things up down the road and try a new board with a different style, these boards can last you very long term and become your ol’ reliable, your every day board that you always have on hand—and that you can always count on for a good ride.
What Do Beginner Snowboarders Need to Know to Buy in 2019?
It’s normal to feel unsure about what board characteristics are actually essential and which are more secondary. There are just a few main recommendations for this:
- Go all-mountain or park. If you’re eager to do tricks, you’ll have more fun with a park board. If you’re more about speed, all-mountain is the ticket.
- Invest in a reputable snowboard brand. Here are the top snowboard brands you should consider in this day and age.
- The ideal shape is True twin (meaning the board is symmetrical) and the ideal stance is centered stance (your body weight is distributed evenly, centrally).
- Once you’ve picked a board, pay more attention to sizing than anything else. Sizing will vary by brand. If you’re young and still growing, you can stand to go a little long. Buying a shorter board is fine for anyone interested in tricks. Here’s how to pick the perfect snowboard size based on your board’s brand and your height and weight.
One last tip is to go with a snowboard made for women. First of all, the separation of men’s and women’s snowboards has more to it than different graphics.
Women’s boards are often lighter, narrower or built with more flex or to flex better in certain places. They’re designed to suit our generally smaller builds, lower weights, lower centers of gravity and smaller shoe sizes. Regardless of ride style, women’s boards also tend to have different side-cuts for greater turning power and control.
In addition, the more we support the women’s snowboards that are tailored to us and our rides, the more we’ll help that market grow.
Tired of reading lists of Roxy, DC and Burton boards?
While the review sites will generally stick you with a board from a major brand name, we’re digging into more local, handcrafted and American-made brands too. These boards usually have more personality and will help you develop a really cool style of riding, plus they’ll be something you’re proud of for years to come.
And you’ll get instant mountain cred when peeps see what you’re riding.
Beginner park boards are relatively short, sweet and simple decks that focus on the getting the undercut and sidecut just right, so that you get more control, tighter turns, neater lines and higher air.
These are great boards for beginners, and have been known to help newbies master the basics (especially turns) faster than other boards. Once you’re past the beginner stage, you’ll be doing tricks before anyone else, too.
1. GNU B-nice
I already warned you of my bias in the introduction—but actually it’s not bias, it’s belief. These carbon GNU boards are the perfect blend of flexy, stable and durable. They’re fun rides that can get you all over the mountain and the park.
2. YES Emoticon
The 2016 version of this deck has won awards for its power, control and style. There’s a really unique undercut and sidecut that allow for sharp turns and overall great control, which is awesome for park and all-mountain riding—though this board is made for stuntin’.
3. Ride Rapture
Here’s a simply great twin rocker offering mad control and added stability for gaining speed. For beginners looking to master their turns and ride with polish, this board can get you there for park and all-mountain riding. As of the time this article was published, the official Ride site is out of stock.
4. Rome Lo-Fi Rocker
This is a weirder looking board than the rest—it has a unique shape, style and flex, but it’s a worthy ride for complete newbies looking to hit the more advanced levels faster. This is a board you’ll never regret investing in, as it performs every bit as well for park and all-mountain riding, being both flexy and stable. Thanks to its uniqueness, you’ll have more room to grow, play and experiment.
5. Capita Space Fantasy
This board is 100% park, and it’s made to take a beating on jumps, rails and jibs. It will ensure your beginner crashes and burns without so much as a complaint, and is durable enough to last you years to come.
All-mountain boards are usually built for both park and downhill riding, perhaps with a slight preference for downhill. They’ve got less control power but more stability and less chatter at higher speeds. If speed’s what you’re after, one of these boards is right for you.
6. Never Summer Women’s Proto Type Two
Here’s an all-mountain that could just as easily make the cut in the park category. If you’re feeling indecisive about which style of riding you’re going to pursue in the future, this is a flexible, sturdy board that will let you keep your options wide open.
7. Arbor Swoon Rocker
Ready to swoon?
A clean, simple, symmetrical and well-balanced board crafted by a reputable brand. What more can you ask for? If you’re more of a purist and don’t care for all the added features, this is a smart board that will give you great rides for years to come.
It’s designed for the cool, laid back riders who want to surf through mountains and powder like it ain’t no thang.
8. Arbor Collective Poparazzi
Another day, another Arbor Collective deck I’ve decided I can’t live without. With this deck, Arbor Collective decided to combine the stability and timelessness of the Ethos with a few more unique features and greater flex.
9. Rossignol Gala Amptek
This is a lovely, friendly and simple board that is all-around smooth and easy to ride, designed for beginners who want to ease into riding. It’s got more flex and turn power than your usual all-mountain board, and it wants you to catch an edge and beef it as infrequently as possible. Perhaps the best part is that it’s extremely affordable, costing well under the average price of a beginner snowboard.
10. FLOW Bella Snowboard
FLOW is known for its commitment to technology and crafting complex, unique and innovative snowboards. The Bella is born from this tradition, and offers a bunch of solid snowboard tech, increasing durability and weather resistance, reducing chatter and caught edges, maximizing your ability to pop, jib and flip even on one of their sturdiest all-mountain boards.
Did you meet your new best friend? I really hope so. If you end up with one of these babies, let us know how your first ride goes.