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General

<<< What are the different riding styles and what do they mean?


Freeride is generally used to describe "just cruising around the mountain". Some people get into aggressive freeriding, which involves a lot more tight carving, and faster speeds.

Alpine is basically racing. Alpine boards are generally more narrow, and obviously, faster than your average board.

Freestyle is tricks. Rails, jumps, kickers, etc. Freestyle boards are generally pretty flexible and have a quick response.

Park is just that. Boxes, Half-pipes...park boards are generally a little stiffer than a freestyle board.

Backcountry is what the name says. This is on a mountain without a resort (or the back of the resort). A lot of pro's do backcountry all the time. Backcountry is riding in all that beautiful, untouched powder out in the middle of nowhere. Generally a backcountry board is longer than your average freeride board.

<<< What do the different types of setups mean?

Step ins require a specific type of boot, and you simply step in to them. They were designed for ease, although ice and snow can get stuck in the bars and make it difficult, but steps can be easy entry. Some, including myself, don't find step ins to be very stable, especially in the park.

Strap ins are probably the most popular type. Its your typical binding, where yu place your foot in, and there are two straps you place over your boot and tighten. These also have a highback for the backside of your boot. Straps are very stable and secure, although a strap can break occasionally, especially in extreme temperatures.

Flows are probably the easiest bindings to step into. They use the same concept of easy entry that step ins do, but succeed in making the binding feel more secure.

<<< Should I go strap-in, step-in, or flows?

Its all personal preference. Some feel more secure with straps, others love the easy entry to steps or flows. The best way for you to figure that out is to try them for yourself.

<<< How are snowboards sized?

They are sized by the overall length of the board, in centimeters. For example, a 154 board is 154 centimeters long, simple as that.

<<< What is a stomp pad?

A stomp pad is a, more often than not, spikey plastic thing that goes in between your bindings. Some are large, some are small. The reason for this is so that you can put your foot on it when your getting off the lift and it wont slide off the board on the descent. They do help a lot for controlling the board better. Some dont use them, but they are a good thing to have.

<<< What is a snowboard leash?

Snowboard leashes are a necessity up on the mountain. You connect on end to your bindings, and the other to your boots. This way, if for some unknown reason you pop out of your bindings, your board wont go barreling down the mountain or something.

<<< What is a snowboard lock?

Snowboard locks are valuable locks that cost around 10-15 dollars. They can be worth over 300 dollars if used right, if you catch my drift. If you have an expensive board, there is absolutely no reason you shouldnt have one of these. It provides incredible peace of mind when your in the lodge munching on food. Last thing you want to see is your baby gone, and you having to walk down the mountain and no longer have a board. There are some
a$$holes out there.

<<< How often should I wax my board?

Waxing makes the board less resistant to snow. Boards naturally come with a factory wax that lasts 2 weeks or so, and afterwards you need to wax it yourself. You can take it to a place to wax it (costs around 15-20 dollars) or do it yourself with some wax and an iron. If you go often, its best to do it yourself and save yourself some money.

<<< How much can I expect to pay for a decent setup?

If you know what your doing, you shouldn't need to spend over $1000, but you can go less or more expensive depending on the company and your experience.

<<< I'm a beginner and have no idea what to buy, where do I start?

I've always found its better to go to a local shop and rent a set up for the season. You can usually do this for around $200 for the whole set up, which is a lot cheaper than buying a set up. This way you can just return your equipment if you decide you don't like snowboarding. And if you decide you love it, then you can buy some better equipment next season.



Snowboards


<<< What are the differences between snowboards, for instance "All Mountain" vs. something else?


All mountain boards are just that. All Mountain. They are the more versitile boards that can handle anything you can throw at it. Most all mountain boards have an area of focus though, such as "all mountain freeride", which is very versitile, can pretty much handle anything, but is a little bit better at freeriding. All mountain boards usually have a little bit of stiffness to it, but much less stiff than other types of boards. They're pretty balanced. Basically, there are varying degrees of stiffness and appropriate sizes for each type of riding style.

<<< How do I pick the right style of snowboard for me?

It depends what you like really. If your a beginner, and don't know what you like yet, then my suggestion would be an all mountain freeride board. If you like the pipe, get a park board. If you like jumps and kickers, get a freestyle board, if you like to cruise around, get a freeride boards. Nobody can tell you what kind of board to get, you have to decide that for yourself. Knowing what style you want to focus on will come with experience.


<<< How do I determine what size snowboard is right for me?

That all depends on your style and your weight. Its a common misconception that your height plays a factor, but your board does not know how tall you are. Your board does know how much weight you exert down on it though. Park boards are the shortest, freestyle boards are a little bigger, freeride boards are bigger, and backcountry and alpine boards are the biggest. Here's an example: I'm 6'1'' 175 lbs. For me, a park board would be around a 156-158ish range. For a freestyle board, I ride a 161. Last season, for a freeride board I rode a 167. If I wanted a nice backcountry board, I might look at a 171 or something along those lines. You have a pretty big size range of boards you can handle, it just depends on what your doing.

Experience also plays a factor. For a beginner, you should probably start out on a board in the freestyle-freeride range for you, so its easier for you to handle.


<<< How do I know if I need a "wide" board?

Typically, you can ride a normal width board if you have a boot size under an 11 mens. 11-13 is the range for mid-wide boards, and 13+, you're going to need a wide. Thats just a generalization though, there are wasy to get around that. You can duck your stance, to give your feet some extra room, or you can buy risers (Burton, Palmer, and K2 make good ones) that you place on your bindings. They lift your foot off the binding to give your toes the clearance they need. I don't recomment risers for anything other than freeriding though, risers can cause you to lose the feel of your board, and their not as secure as riding without them. That can be very bad if your in the park.

<<< What makes a "Woman's" board different?

Boards built for a woman are shorter, narrower, lighter and a little more flexible than those made for men. They take into account a woman's lower center of gravity, lighter weight, and smaller foot size. This makes the board respond more easily to the direction you give it through the feet and the knees and allows for better turning performance.


What makes one brand of snowboard better then another brand?(expense vs. quality, materials, workmanship, etc...)
Bindings

<<< What are the different types of bindings out there?


Step Ins and clickers are bindings that require usually stiffer boots, and dont require you strapping in at all. You simply...step in...to the binding, it clicks into place and your ready to go. Some believe that the lack of straps makes these bindings less responsive, while others think it doesnt matter. Most like them because theyre a lot more painless than strap ins. Flows are a peculiar type of binding that you can slide out of easily due to the highback retracting down and you being able to slide your foot out. Expensive, neat and cool. The traditional bindings are the strap ins, and are still the binding of choice for most riders.


What are the differences in the styles of one type of binding?


<<< What makes one brand of binding better then another?

Basically some of the major differences between some diff. models of strap ins is going to be the material used for the areas on the binding and the quality of the workmanship, as well as strengh and lightness. Aluminum makes for a very strong binding, but plastic is obviously going to be the lightest...although softer. The Ride aluminum bindings are known for being light, yet strong.
I used to have plastic bindings, they were pretty weak and too flexible and breakable. I wanted something solid, light, and made with quality.
That's why I bought the 05 Ride Flight Tomcats...huge difference. The material for the straps is much stronger and will provide better response and a more comfortable fit. The heelcup is inserted with some carbon stuff that's specialized to provide flex in key areas.

Certain companies have good reputations for making reliable, strong, and responsive bindings.
Decide how much you're willing to pay for little upgrades on the more expensive models. Things like sturdy cranks that'll do up your straps in 3 cranks or less, as opposed to something cheaper where you find yourself sitting there cranking to eternity.

Every company will also have a different "feel" to them. For example, Ride bindings are generally stiffer than a lot of other companies out there because they use metal baseplates. Thats not the case in all of their bindings, just the majority. The best way you can get a feel for bindings is to strap in on them, and put them on your board in the shop if you can. Just from standing there and leaning, you should be able to see how comfortable it is and how well they fit your boot.


Also consider things like the material used to cover the baseplate and the straps. Minimal padding will only make your ride uncomfortable and less responsive. More padding could make the binding a bit heavier depending on whether it's plain foam or a lighter, more specialized material. But it will provide for a really good fit. There are also shock absorbers that can pass straight from the baseplate to the board or be removed to lighten things even more. My tomcats' chassis(bottom piece of the binding) is in one piece to make it lighter, but that also means it's not as adjustable as other bindings, which is why they have more precise sizing for Ride's Flight series then they do for others.

<<< How do I know which binding is best for me?

Depends on what you do. If your into freestyle then a strap in binding
with a tall highback is a good way to go, like the Burton cartel. If your into free riding, a solid binding like the Flight Tomcat that excels at most things are a good option. Good bindings to look at are:

Ride Flight Tomcat
Burton Cartel
Burton Mission
Salomon SPX Pro
Drake F60

These bindings excel at most things and are good options. However, most beginners would be wise to go with a cheaper binding, such as a Burton Freestyle to start. These bindings are often less responsive, but seeing as new snowboarders wouldnt know the difference between a responsive binding and less responsive binding, the learning curve would be easier with a cheaper binding.


Boots

<<< What should I look for in a good boot?

Comfort Comfort Comfort. It doesnt matter if the boot is 5 dollars or 5000 dollars. If it fits you, and its comfortable, and you dont have heel lift, then by all means GET IT. I cant stress that enough. Boots are the single most important thing to buy in a snowboard set up so DONT SKIMP ON BOOTS. No feet are the same, what is great to some sucks to others. I bought a half size too big and paid for it later. The bottom of my feet KILLED me down most long runs, and had to go and get a new pair of boots. So the best bet is to go into a store, try on boots, so which size is good, and get whichever feels best. Try on multiple sizes. Just because your 11, doesnt mean that you cant have a 10.5 or 10 boot. It should be snug, not loose. Loose is bad.

<<< What makes one boot better than another?

Some have more technology in them. Example, BOA lacing. Fancy lacing system that helps a bunch. Others have better outer soles for hiking, made better, last longer, are warmer inside. If they are not comfortable though, it will not matter.


Stance

<<< What do "Goofy" and "Regular" mean and how do I know which one I am?

If you ride Goofy, it means that you are more comfortable with your right foot in your front binding, and if you ride Regular, it means that you are more comfortable riding with your left foot in the front. As the names suggest, most people are Regular.

There are many proposed ways to find out whether you are Goofy or Regular; run on a slippery floor and then suddenly slide, and see which foot is in front; ask a friend to push you from behind and see which foot steps forward; when riding a bike and you pause up on the pedals, which foot is in front; which foot do you start with when going up steps.

What is a "duck stance"?

What are "risers"?

<<< How do I determine my stance?

There are many proposed ways to find out whether you are Goofy or Regular; run on a slippery floor and then suddenly slide, and see which foot is in front; ask a friend to push you from behind and see which foot steps forward; when riding a bike and you pause up on the pedals, which foot is in front; which foot do you start with when going up steps.

While these are creative and may work for some people, they should only be used as guidelines, and your stance should not be wholly determined by one. You should try several to get an idea of where you are, but truly, the only time you will really know is when you're on the mountain and it feels wrong. If that happens, go to the shop or ask an instructor or more experienced friend to reverse your stance for you and see if it feels more comfortable.

Your dominant foot may or may not coincide with your dominant hand, and it may or may not coincide with which one is dominant if you play a sport.
Clothing/Accessories

<<< What kind of jackets, pants, and other stuff should I wear?


Some people color coordinate and all that business, you can if you want, but make sure you are warm. NUMBER ONE THING. Stay, fricking, warm. Get a nice jacket with some fleece lining, warm pants, and wool socks. Also make sure to wear either thermals or long underwear underneath your clothes. Beanies and gloves are a must as well. Nothing is worse than riding and having one of your extremities (nose, finger, toes, legs, ass) be cold as crap. Some people like to get the little pouches that are warm for 8 hours or so and put them in the gloves. It all depends on you and how your body reacts to the cold.

<<< Should I buy one of those funky hats? (Jester, clown, octopus, etc.)

No. Under no circumstance should you be wearing one of those ridiculous hats.

<<< Should I take a backpack?

If you plan on riding in the backcountry, don't wish to visit the lodge when you're hungry, or find yourself with the need to carry an amazing amount of little trinkets in your pockets while snowboarding, you need a backpack. Make sure you have a water bottle, a snowboard tool (screwdriver and such), a snickers or something in case you want to eat but dont necessarily want a meal, and anything else that you can think of. I always carry an extra pair of gloves in case mine get ice in them. Also a good place to store papers, like a map of the mountain or an MP3 player. Please note that while being very useful, many snowboarders find that backpacks throw off their balance and hinder their ability to ride. Others see no difference in their riding, it all really boils down to personal preference. A beginner might find it too distracting and off-center to wear a backpack when first learning to board.

<<< Are MP3 players safe on the slopes?

Yes. They are built solid, but must remain in a warm place if you want the battery to last long. They drain a lot faster in the cold, so putting them close to your body is a good idea. Boarding to music is a much different experience than not boarding to music. It helps you ride better, and try things that you might not if you werent jamming.

<<< Should I get a snowboard bag?

Yes, if you plan on traveling a lot with it. Get a padded one. They run about 50 dollars, and they'll save your board a lot of distress on plane rides. As you may or may not know, people at airports dont care for your equipment. Yes its true. They WILL throw it, and it will get damaged if you dont have a padded bag.
**This thread is a compilation of various snowboarders' answers to the different questions and consists of both fact and opinions. Certain answers may contain the words of more then one person to preserve the goal of introducing and providing information about snowboarding to those that need it.

Huge thanks to the following members of snowboarding2.com for their specific help in creating this FAQ and for their opinions and the time they spent answering questions:

-[i]jjyank

-executiveblondi
-actionwoman
-jam*wil
-mystikarkitect
-repins



**Please do not hesitate to private message or email me for any new questions you think should be added, any answers to the un-answered questions, or just feedback in general about this FAQ.

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