New to snowboarding but not sure where to start?
If that’s the case, you’re likely struggling to get all your gear ready to brave the cold, but how much thought have you put into the snowboard itself?
Let us help you get the best snowboard for your skillset and your budget by taking a look at the list we’ve compiled below, the best beginner snowboards complete with pros, cons and small write-ups about their capabilities and why you should consider them.
There’s no one answer to this question, since beginners will all have different strengths and weaknesses, so we’ve tried to include some variety but what makes a good beginner snowboard doesn’t change that much.
Still, this means that our number four could be your number one. The best we can do to answer which snowboards are best for beginners is to include a buyers’ guide and a small FAQ so that you yourself can get educated on what makes a quality snowboard, and decide for yourself which one you want.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Why it’s Our Top Pick
If you’re in a hurry to hit the slopes, we have what we believe to be the best beginner snowboard here for you. This way you can get all the boring logistics out of the way and get out there as soon as possible.
We chose the Burton Ripcord Snowboard since it was specially made as a beginners’ option by a reputed snowboarding brand. See why we chose this product in detail below:
Has a trademarked Flat Top profile which helps stability and balance, offers the best of both worlds from camber and rocker style boards. Includes Easy Bevel edge which makes sure you stay in control.
Has a longer, resilient nose than the tail to concentrate tail pop without sacrificing control and flow, a variant the classic directional flex snowboard design to introduce newcomers. That nose also has a 5mm taper to allow for smoother turning, an invaluable aid for newcomers to snowboarding.
FSC Certified Fly 900G Core uses two wood species combined to lighten the board compromising on strength or flex, allowing a newcomer to experience all three in one product.
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Our first option comes in from known snowboard brand Burton, the Burton Ripcord Snowboard which they claim is the most progression-friendly snowboard they’ve made yet, so how couldn’t it be the number one pick for the best beginner snowboards?
It’s constructed with Flat Top’s trademarked profile that combines the stability of a camber with the more playful personality of rockers.
This includes Easy Bevel tech which gives maximum edge control, something beginners will need when starting out.
Turning is also made easier thanks to a 5mm taper at the nose so that it’s wider than the rest of the board.
This softer flex board is an easy-going alternative to other directional boards one would want to use to start out and gives you room to grow into an intermediate but for any additional expertise you’ll need to swap this board out.
It has an FSC Certified Fly 900G Core, which means that its core from tip to tail is composed of a two-wood composite, the species chosen to specifically lighten the board without sacrificing strength or flex.
Our second option is the Salomon Sight Snowboard, a hybrid board of both cambered and rockered elements thanks to its Cross Profile construction that aims to deliver performances that harness the best qualities of both.
It’s the Cross Profile’s camber between the feet that really stands out and makes this a perfect beginner for someone with ambitions of cambered snowboarding.
It’s forgiving for how much camber there is in the construction of this snowboard and can even act as training wheels of sorts if you have ambitions of getting deeper into cambered snowboarding.
It also has Quadratic Sidecut which uses elliptic curves into the sides of the board for easier turning and edge to edge transitioning than you’ll get with other boards. Those sides are dampened thanks to 2mm rubber block inserts in order to properly distribute pressures that hit the edges of the board across the whole construction equally.
This means that impact vibrations on the body are reduced, eliminating the aches and fatigue that they can cause that can otherwise put a downer on your early snowboarding experiences. It’s a very geographically versatile board, being an all-mountain one, and should take you anywhere that any (sane) person would want to snowboard.
However, like with our first product, it’s not a very versatile board in terms of performance level. It’s a beginner to intermediate board, and you’ll probably end up wanting something more after honing your skills with this.
The next product is the K2 Standard Snowboard 2020, a board designed with skill progression in mind and so geared towards longevity in your snowboarding experience.
This means that it can follow your advancement in skill further than many other products can. It has a catch-free rocker baseline construction that is beginner-friendly since it ensures you link turns without worry.
The rocker in the tip and tail aids confidence which allows faster skill progression on all kinds of terrain. At its core is an aspen wood core, it’s simplistic, being made of a single wood, but it’s a durable and flexing wood.
The board also has an extruded 2000 base which is cheap to repair and even cheaper if doing it yourself, since it’s easy to do and helps teach an invaluable lesson in snowboard maintenance.
The extrusion of the base does make it less durable, however. We supposed that point is moot when a lot of the repairs are accessible enough to perform yourself, but it is something to be aware of and could cut a day of snowboard training short.
Another Burton product for our fourth entry into this list, it’s the Burton Instigator Snowboard. The Instigator shares much in common with the Ripcord, having a trademarked Flat Top profile for stability and edge control while achieving the looser feel you’d expect of rockers (or come to expect, being a beginner).
It also has the same trademarked Biax Fiberglass which features torsional, soft flexing tech which is not only good for jibbing in parks but is also forgiving towards newcomers.
Where the Instigator really differs, however, is its core. It has a Super Fly 800G Core that’s loaded with pop and uses dual-density vertical laminations of alternating softwood to hardwood which reduces weight but makes sure that performance doesn’t suffer.
Those woods are Dualzone EGD engineered wood grains designed to have more edge-hold and responsiveness, something beginners need in a good snowboard to learn from their early riding experiences.
Our final option for a beginner snowboard is the very Capita Horrorscope Snowboard. Horrorscope boards like to focus on the light and poppy side of snowboards, and this is fine if that’s what you’re on the market for, but if you’re a beginner you’ll be limited in your terrain since this board isn’t dampened that well.
Luckily it turns great, so you can get off of any damaging terrain you may encounter rather quickly.
Its popping ability comes from an FSC certified core of flexible wood, and around that wood are two biaxial coverings made from fiberglass in which Magic Bean resin is pumped for maximal structural integrity.
On the snow you really feel its flat-rocker profile, though compared to some of the other hybrid profiles in this list this product doesn’t do much with any camber it has.
It’s a forgiving and stable board that’s best when being used in an educational capacity.
Best Beginner Snowboard - Buyers Guide
How to choose the best snowboard for beginners
Here’s where we’ll go through some of the specs that snowboards have, explaining what they mean and how they translate into a beginner’s snowboarding experience.
A lot more goes into a snowboard than you may realize, having been engineered to perform to incredible standards in some of the harshest elements in the world.
The first thing we should tackle is one of the more obvious factors, the length. You should understand how length changes riding types before trying to make a decision.
Depending on the activities you have planned, for beginners we think it’s best to take a snowboard in the middle of the length range so that you can get a feel for it and have a baseline of what you’re looking for in a snowboard so that you can be free to upgrade or downgrade the length as it suits you.
Otherwise a good general rule to follow is that longer boards are better for freeriding whereas shorter are better for freestyling.
The next logical part of the board to discuss after the length is the width, which is mainly decided by how big your snowboarding boots are. This is because they’ll get mounted perpendicular to the length of the board and must fit snugly and appropriately.
If they don’t then you’re asking for trouble, since a part of your foot touching the floor during a slope will create a hefty amount of drag to almost certainly make you wipeout, or even damage a limb at worst. Your toes and heels should just be over the edge when mounted.
As we’ve seen, there’s different types of snowboards out there for a variety of different styles, all of which are made with size, engineering and build in mind. Freeriding boards are, as the name suggests, for riding free in the wild. It can be used for off-trail and mountains where more sensitive slope stuff won’t.
Freestyling boards are for terrain park riding and perform better in other controlled environments. They become difficult to control in powder, so be careful. Speaking of power, the next type is power boards which, surprise, do very well on freshly lain, powdery snow.
Once again, this type suffers on groomed runs due to their specialized nature. Finally, we have the all-mountain board which is designed for all mountains, all the time, without the negatives of freestyling and power boards.
They make for unremarkable boards usually, but that’s exactly why we’d recommend this type to a beginner in snowboarding so that they can get a feel for an all-rounder board.
Snowboard shapes can also vary to help riders achieve certain performances. This will be dependent on your riding style and which slopes you’ll be tackling. Boards that are symmetrical in their design are called twin tip boards, and they ride well no matter which direction you’re going.
On the flipside, there’s asymmetrical boards which tend to be stiffer at the tip or tail, or purposely unequal profiles so that they can turn harder and sharper than other boards at the heelside but softer at the toeside.
Then there’s dimension boards which have, well, dimensions which focus them into being used in a singular direction. They’re great for freeriding. You can ride them switch if you’re that committed to it, but they won’t be anywhere near as efficient.
Finally, the last important part of a snowboard’s shape you should know is whether it’s rocker or camber, and what those two terms even mean.
Rocker could be described as a very slight upturn where the snowboard’s center comes into contact with the snow in such a way that the tip and the tail are elevated.
Logically following then, camber is the opposite where the snowboard is bent slightly downwards so that the tip and tail get more contact with the snow than the center does. So, what’s the difference?
When you’re on them, the entire board is flat anyway so it’s more about spreading pressure equally across the snowboard for both styles.
The styles aren’t even mutually exclusive. Boards that are more cambered tend to have better control whereas rockered boards are more agile in how you can move and turn them.
Where flexing is concerned, beginners should opt for soft flex boards. They bend easier than other, stiffer boards and this makes them easier to turn, which you’ll appreciate when you’re rushing headlong into a poor aspen tree.
Soft flex will be good to correct for the mistake you will make while also instilling some confidence in your snowboarding ability. Stiff boards obviously perform better and is what the professionals use, but if you’re reading this then you’re probably not there yet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best snowboard profile for terrain parks?
Terrain parks are where the most tricks are usually performed, so for park boarding you’ll want a board that can execute whichever particular trick you want to show-off while not being too specialized to barely function as your average board.
We think a twin-tip board could do the trick, since they are absolutely symmetrical and perform the same no matter which foot gets used. This means the board lacks direction, too, which allows for plenty of tricks that involve switching up your feet on the board.
If you’re a beginner then you should know that a flat board is better if you’re planning on grinding, but it’ll give you less pop and so more flat air. Otherwise, a normal rocker-camber profile should suffice.
What’s sidecut and why do I need it?
In skiing and snowboarding geometry, sidecut is the difference between the board’s middle compared to the nose and tail so that it tapers in slightly at the center. It’s a big design feature in modern snowboards and skis since the tapering in creates part of a circle’s radius.
This helps the snowboard drive through the snow on a consistent circle-shaped path when you turn the board onto its edge. As you can imagine, it’s invaluable for turning so that you can be agile but not sacrifice stability.
What is P-Tex and why is it used?
P-Tex is just the tradename of a material you’ve probably heard of before, polyethylene. P-Tex is the polyethylene base material that most snowboards and skis are made from. It’s a very specific type of plastic that can absorb wax, which improves glide, control and predictability of the board for the snowboarder, if you were wondering.
P-Tex provides snowboards with a smooth, wax-friendly base so that you won’t experience dragging or sticking. When snowboards sustain damage from the wilder slopes out there, P-Tex is what they use to repair so that the board can stay as consistent as possible in its construction.