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The Complete Snowboard Buying Guide and Size Chart

With winter in full swing, you’re likely to want to get out and enjoy the snow. While snowshoeing and Cross Country Skiing are both great, cost-effective introductions to winter sports, there’s something special about riding the lift to the top of the mountain and cruising down with your friends. Or at least doing a few laps on the bunny slope before enjoying some Après-Ski. Read on to learn everything you’ll need to know about choosing your first snowboard.

Once you know the specifics of the snowboard you’d like to buy, check out our roundup of the best snowboards for bombing the slopes and some of our favorite snowboarding brands.

Snowboard cruises down run

What Size Snowboard Do I Need?

There are two different sizes to consider when getting a snowboard: length and width. To determine what length of a snowboard to get you can use your height or your weight. While your height will give you a general understanding, it won’t be as accurate as your weight. If using your height the snowboard should be about as tall as your nose when standing on its end. A little shorter is okay, though no shorter than the top of your chest.

If you’re going by weight, use the handy chart below from REI. Follow the link to read more of their advice on how to choose a snowboard.

REI Snowboard Size Chart

Rider Weight (lbs.) Snowboard Size (cm)
110–120 128–136
115–130 133–141
125–135 139–147
135–145 144–152
140–155 149–157
150–165 154–162
160–175 159–167
170–185 160+
180–195 160+
190–205 160+

While this info should serve as good general guidelines, there are some benefits to choosing longer or shorter boards based on your riding style. Check out the video below from EVO to learn more.

How to Choose the Right Size Snowboard

The other consideration is snowboard type, which is determined in part by the shape of the board. The below video from EVO is a great overview of the different types of snowboards.

How to Choose a Snowboard & Snowboard Size

Is Snowboarding Easier Than Skiing?

Yes and no. The general advice seems to be that skiing is easier than snowboarding, initially. However, once you’re through this initial hurdle, it can be easier to get better at snowboarding than it is to get better at skiing.

Is Snowboarding Hard For Beginners?

Snowboarding can be hard when you first start out. It takes some time to figure out how to lean forward and backward without catching the edge of your board, which causes you to fall. The other element that can be challenging and both your feet are strapped to the board, whereas with skiing you can move them independently. This takes some getting used to.

One of the best ways to ease into snowboarding is by taking a lesson. Your guide will give you all sorts of tips to improve your technique. They’ll also make sure you stay on appropriate terrain. No matter what outdoor sport you’re trying, hopping on the advanced track before you’re ready is a sure way to get disheartened.

Snowboarders Walking

How Much Is a Snowboard on Average?

Expect to spend around $300-500 on your first snowboard. You’ll want to make sure you get boots and bindings, as well. You’ll also need goggles, a helmet, gloves, snow pants, and a snow jacket to keep you warm on the slopes. If you’re just getting into winter sports, that’s a lot of gear! But buying second-hand, keeping your eye out for deals, and borrowing gear from friends until you’ve got your own setup will all save you some dough.

Is it Expensive to Snowboard?

Like many outdoor activities, there is an initial investment in snowboarding. If you’re just starting out, or going on a trip with friends, consider renting gear instead of buying. Many companies offer season rental programs, which are great for two reasons. One, you can try out the gear before you buy it to make sure it’s a good fit. And two, they’ll often allow you to apply your rental credit to your future purchase helping defray the cost.

If you’re in the Portland area consider renting from Next Adventure. Otherwise, call up your local sports shop to see if they offer rentals.

Once you’ve got your board and your gear, though, snowboarding doesn’t have to be expensive. The only other cost is the lift pass. Depending on how often you snowboard you might want to buy a pass for the day or the season. Thankfully, quality gear will last you a long time, and it’ll probably be your preferences and ability level driving you to get new gear long before your old gear has worn out.

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