There are lots of different aspects to snowboarding. What are the different styles, and which one is right for you?
- Freestyle boarding – this is great for people who want to do jumps and tricks. You’ll be in the terrain park, getting big air, and hopefully not landing TOO hard. It’s recommended to have some protective gear if you’re going to do serious freestyle riding, like a spine protector in case you land on your back. Prepare for 360’s and some serious adrenaline. Not for those afraid of heights!
- Carving – the way to go for those who love speed and G-forces. With hard boots and a very narrow raceboard, you’ll have perfect control over the edges of the board. These boards have good control even at very high speeds. They have serious grip even on icy slopes, and can carve such a tight curve that you might lose your lunch if you’re not ready. Your legs are totally locked to the very stiff snowboard. However, be aware that carving boards with hard boots are not easy to control: it’s like driving a Ferrari. You should be experienced and confident with a standard snowboard before switching to a full-on carving setup. When you see someone speeding down the slope leaving a 2” deep channel in the snow with every curve, you’ll know they’re riding a raceboard.
- Freeriding – an all-around type of boarding that combines the best of all worlds. Stiffer boards make for better riding on groomers, but still allow you to do some tricks now and again. With soft boots you’re still riding in comfort, but the bindings are harder than the standard freestyle bindings.
- Off-piste riding – generally considered part of freeriding. There’s nothing like floating on half a meter of fresh powder, as it sparkles in the first sun since the storm came through. It can be tricky to learn off-piste snowboarding, but Skiing.ie has some tips for you here [insert link to powder article]. The feeling of riding in deep powder is similar to surfing, and is completely different from any other kind of snowboarding. You’re not so worried about catching an edge, but have to be careful that the nose of the board stays above the snow. With a big enough freeride or freestyle board you can easily ride off-piste and check out those fresh snowy areas between the slopes.
Are you ready for this winter? Do you have all the gear you need? Have you planned your vacation at a premiere resort? Take a look at some past articles by Snowman and get prepared for an awesome year of boarding!