Skip to main content

Pop and jib this winter with our snowboarding flex guide

It's important to opt for the right snowboard flex rating for you

Snowboarder with orange board
Grekov's / Shutterstock

Along with snowboard length and style, one of the first things you’ll see when looking at a new board is the flex rating. A list of numbers is one thing, but what really matters is performance. Picking any kind of snowboard gear is a highly personal choice. Some snowboarders get on with the flex and bend of a softer board, while others enjoy the float and stability of a stiffer model when they’re snowboarding.

Once you’ve ridden enough boards, you’ll start to get a feel for what you prefer. With that in mind, we strongly recommend taking any and every opportunity that you get to test out or borrow boards. But while you’re finding a way to get your hands on every snowboard on the market, we’ve put together this snowboard flex rating guide so you can make the right decision on your next snowboard.

Snowboarder mid-flight
Victor Rodvang / Unsplash

What do snowboard flex ratings mean?

Snowboards are generally rated out of 10 for flex — with 1 being the most flexible, and 10 the stiffest. Generally, these snowboard flexibility ratings fall into three categories.

  • 1 – 3 — Soft flex. Flexible snowboards are best suited to tight turns and jibbing around on the mountain. Beginners can get to grips with low-speed turns and understand how a snowboard moves more easily on a flexible board, while advanced freestyle riders can pop and spin more easily.
  • 4 – 7 — Mid flex. Most all-mountain snowboards have a medium flex, offering a balance that allows you to ride every style of snow. These vary from soft-mid to stiff-mid flex, but they are generally capable in every area, without necessarily excelling anywhere.
  • 8 – 10 — Stiff. It can take some time to get used to a stiffer snowboard, but for snowboarders with certain styles, they’re exactly what you need. At high speed, stiff snowboards don’t have the same chatter and instability as a flexible board, making them popular with racers and carvers. They also float better on steep powder runs, so they’re great on the deep stuff — unless you’re in tight trees, that is.
Snowboarder on halfpipe
Rowan Simpson / Unsplash

Longitudinal vs. torsional flex

The majority of the flex that is spoken about when it comes to snowboards is longitudinal flex — this is the flex from the front to the back of the board. This can either be progressive or continuous. Continuous flex is uniform throughout the board, while a progressive flex will differ between the center of the board and the tip and tail. This could either be a stiffer center with softer ends, or, more commonly, a stiff tail and softer front end for increased pop and float on all-mountain boards.

Torsional flex is not talked about as much. This is the flex that a snowboard has across the center, and it’s generally understood to have less effect on how a board performs. That said, a board with a higher torsional flex can be easier for beginners who can feel that their feet have different roles on the snowboard, and for those who want to perform tight turns or quick tricks. Like longitudinal flex, torsionally stiffer boards are more stable at high speed and float better in powder.

A group of friends posing with their snowboards and skis while standing in the snow.
Laura Corredor / Unsplash

Which flex rating is best for beginners?

While the optimal snowboard flex rating has a lot to do with the type of riding you plan on doing, a good rule of thumb for beginning snowboarders is to avoid stiffer boards. A board with a flex rating between 7 and 10 will give you a very stable ride at high speeds or in icy conditions, but they require solid technique, which is why beginners should stay away from them. Boards that are more flexible are more forgiving for beginners, though the tradeoff is that they are not as good for high speeds or icy conditions.

If you’re looking for speed, or plan on riding in icy or uneven conditions, look for a snowboard with a flex rating somewhere in the middle. The board will still have enough flex to be forgiving and turn easily, but it will give you stability at higher speeds that a more flexible board can’t.

Tom Kilpatrick
A London-born outdoor enthusiast, Tom took the first ticket out of suburban life. What followed was a twelve-year career as…
Forget rice: This is how to actually fix a wet iPhone, according to Apple
Have a wet iPhone? This is how you fix it
Various iPhones on a table.

The world is full of precarious situations for our unsuspecting smartphones, particularly when it comes to water exposure. Whether it's a sudden downpour during a hike, an accidental drop into a sink, or a plunge into a lake, our iPhones are constantly at risk of water damage. While most models are water-resistant, none of them are completely waterproof.

Understanding this vulnerability, Apple has put forward a series of recommendations to mitigate the damage when your device encounters mishaps like these. Apple's guidelines are crucial for iPhone users, providing a lifeline for your device in what can often be a moment of panic and uncertainty.

Read more
This van life camper van sleeps 8, goes everywhere, and you can rent it for less than a hotel would cost
Explore the best of the U.S. in these custom-built, four-wheel-drive, go-anywhere rigs
Moterra Campervan rental parked in a Utah National Park campsite.

The quintessential image of modern van life is one of unbridled freedom, of taking to the open road, of living on your terms and going whichever the wind takes you. While that can be pretty accurate, actually living the van life can also be expensive. There’s buying the van, the time and investment required for building it out, and, of course, the looming cost of repairs, which can seriously add up. But what if you could have all the fun of van living without the expense and hassle of actually owning a campervan? That’s where comes in.

Here’s the low-down on Moterra Campervans
Moterra Campervans is a rental agency offering short-term campervan rentals in the United States. These aren’t your old-school Westfalias (no disrespect intended) but high-end, late-model, four-wheel-drive, van life-worthy rigs ready to take you just about anywhere. Picture your next vacation: Trading in your typical hotel room and boring rental sedan for a go-anywhere van life rig purpose-built for exploration.

Read more
Travel tips: 5 easy ways to pack more efficiently for your skiing or snowboarding trip
Skier in Japan powder

Traveling is one of the best parts of being a skier or snowboarder. Across the globe, there's an abundance of ski resorts and mountain ranges, each offering a unique experience on the snow. Getting there can be a challenge, especially in places that are very far off the beaten path. From travel logistics to gear choices, it’s essential to optimize your plans and equipment so you can enjoy the mountains to the fullest. If not, your trip can be a series of hangups.

For a seamless getaway, we’ve compiled five travel tips to help you pack for your skiing or snowboarding getaway. Let’s dive in.

Read more