So you’re looking to start shredding the slopes with a brand new snowboard, but you’re not sure what size snowboard you actually need? Look no further. Right here you’ll find a sizing guide that’ll help riders of all experience levels and riding styles.
Before discussing any specifics we should point out that snowboard size is 100% about rider preference. Snowboard size in relation to a person’s height and weight are in no way set in stone but can be used as a rough guide. No two people ride in the same way and everyone uses different riding styles and techniques when thrashing the mountain.
That being said, we can offer some general sizing recommendations and give you a starting point before you make a snowboard purchase. Review these sizing charts and see where you roughly fit into the mix in regard to snowboard length (we’ll discuss width later on):
STEP 1: DETERMINE YOUR HEIGHT & WEIGHT: The rider’s weight is typically the most important factor when choosing a size for your snowboard. Heavier riders will want to choose longer boards because they offer more surface area than a shorter board. Greater surface area will allow heavier snowboarders to ‘float’ on the surface of the snow rather than sink into the powder. This in turn provides greater stability for the snowboarder. Lighter riders are able to opt for shorter boards because they won’t sink into the snow as easily.
If you fall between weight classes you can then factor in your height to estimate the appropriate snowboard size. As a general rule your snowboard should come up to about your chin or nose level when standing on its end next to you (see image at left).
Check out the charts again and see where you measure up.
STEP 2: DETERMINE YOUR EXPERIENCE LEVEL: Now that we’ve determined a general starting point, let’s consider your experience level. Are you a newb or are you an experienced snowboarder? If you’re relatively new to the slopes, then you likely haven’t totally settled into any particular riding style just yet.
If this is the case then you might want to opt for a slightly shorter length for your snowboard. A shorter snowboard will offer more maneuverability and slightly slower speeds as you’re cruising down the mountain. This means you’ll have a lot better control and a much better chance at avoiding gnarly wipeouts with your follow boarders and skiers.
STEP 3: DETERMINE YOUR RIDING STYLE: If you’re an advanced snowboarder than you’ve probably settled into a riding style and might want to consider a few more options. The most common riding styles are freeride and freestyle so we’ll consider those for the sake of this article.
If you’re a freeride, or all-mountain, boarder you might want to consider a longer length snowboard. The longer length will provide greater stability in any conditions from the freshest powder to hard packed snow. Longer snowboards also allow for greater control at a higher speed because there is ‘more’ board to absorb impact and vibration. You should lean toward these types of boards if your looking to cruise all parts of the mountain.
If you’re more of a freestyle or park rider, then we’d definitely recommend picking up a snowboard that’s more on the short side for your weight or height class. The shorter length will allow you to position and maneuver yourself more easily on jumps, rails, or in the pipe. The shorter length also means that your board will weigh a bit less which will help you to really torque those spins and flips.
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So let’s say, for example, that I’m a 5’8″, 152 pound, snowboarder. That means that I’m probably going to want to look for a snowboard somewhere between 149 cm and 157 cm.
If I’m a freeride snowboarder, then I’d probably want to look for a board closer to the 157 cm mark – probably around 155 cm. If i’m a freestyle snowboarder, then i’d probably go for something closer to the 149 cm mark – probably around 150 cm.
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ONE MORE THING: Finally, you should consider the width of the snowboard. I’ve left this point for last because it really only affects a small amount of riders out there. Generally, the average snowboarder should be okay with any typical sized snowboard, but larger riders may need to invest in a wide width board. If your shoe size is larger than a men’s size 11, then this is you! You don’t want your toes dragging when you’re trying to cut an edge.
That just about sums it all up. We know it’s no easy decision to find the perfect snowboard. It’ll take a few trials before you know what fits your specific build and riding style. You may want to go out and test some rentals before purchasing a snowboard.
We hope this guide helps when making your next purchase.
We’ll see you on the mountain!