Style accounts for the way we do many different things. It accounts for the way we dress, the way we hold ourselves, and even the way we snowboard. Best of all, when we know and understand the way we snowboard, not only can we learn to ride better, but we can pick the right snowboard type and choose the right snowboarding equipment.
What kind of snowboarder you are fits into six broad types. This article will explain those six styles and how you fit into them.
Powder-holics are at their best when they are on powder—fresh, fluffy snow that makes you feel like you’re floating when you go down it. They seek it out like some people hunt rare orchids or the perfect martini. But it’s more than just a hunt. It’s a quest. Some powder-holics won’t even bother to go out when there is no fresh powder available. In fact, they often will not even get their board out in the absence of powder. This story changes somewhat when powder-holics might need to cut through patches of hard snow or ice to get to the fresh powder, but cases like these are considered a simple inconvenience. Powder-holics use specially-made powder snowboards that are specifically designed for that fresh powder.
Freeriders are most at home in the backcountry when things are wild and free. After all, what freeriders are after is fresh powder or groomers. Freeriders live for speed, bowls, chutes, cliffs, and trees. For freeriders there is only one direction: down the mountain. Mention going in another direction, and chances are good that a freerider will look at you like your head is screwed on sideways. On second thought, don’t even worry about mentioning another direction to them. Freeriders are of exploring the mountains all day, every day. Freeriders, as you might expect, prefer stiffer freeride snowboards that let them tackle a variety of different things.
All-Mountaineers start to hyperventilate and maybe even froth at the mouth a little when you mention mountains, because they are all over them, regardless of what that mountain offers. It doesn’t matter whether that mountain offers trees, groomed trails, backcountry, uneven terrain, or practically anything else—all-mountaineers are all over it. These types of snowboarders are pretty close to being do-it-all riders, leaning more towards freeriding than freestyling, although the latter would certainly come into an all-mountaineer’s repertoire.
All-mountaineers are among the most versatile of snowboarders, although they lean more toward freestyle rather than freeride. All-mountaineer freestylers tend to head to areas where they can find more natural features than most, but that doesn’t prevent them from attempting whatever they are on the hunt for at the moment ceases them. All-mountain freestylers don’t mind just riding, but when the opportunity presents itself for something different, they are all over it if it presents something fun and different.
Freestylers and Park Rats
To heck with the mountain—let’s make the whole thing into a park. That’s the attitude of the freestylers and park rats. It doesn’t matter what the challenge is, freestylers and park rats are up to it. For this reason, it’s best for a freestlyer or park rat to have a good, quality board. It should be something that can handle a good landing but at the same time take a good groomer, or a mountain, whatever the boarder is in the mood for.
Why head off to the mountains if there’s plenty of good snow in the city? That’s the attitude that urbaneers live for. Being an urbaneer is being smack in the middle of snowboarding and skateboarding—they do everything skateboarders do, just on snow instead of cement. These folks want an urban board or a jib board. Urban boards have a great deal of flexibility to take the action when it’s called for.
Where Do You Fit In?
Okay, now that you have the vocabulary down, where do you fit in? The good news in this is that there are plenty of different boards out there for practically any user, and if shredding has been difficult in the past, it might be because you’re using an improperly sized board or the wrong style board altogether. Now that you know all the styles and a bit about the boards that match up with each, you can grab your snowboard out of its snowboard bag and really get started.