So you’ve seen the Winter Olympics and the X-Games. You’ve watched videos of Billy Morgan land the first quadruple cork and Jeremy Jones tear through powder lines in the deep Alaskan backcountry. It doesn’t take long until you realize that snowboarding is a thrill. And it doesn’t take much longer until you realize that you want to shred the slopes, too. 

Snowboarding is one of the most electrifying hobbies out there. It’s an adrenaline rush that paradoxically calms your mind, a workout that doesn’t take too much added effort, and a generally thrilling activity that is at once a sport, lifestyle, and form of expression. On the slopes, everybody is included and supported.

First thing is first, though. Before you learn how to do a double cork, you need to learn how to get down a bunny hill without crashing into a skier or a lift pole. And in order to do that, you need to buy a snowboard. This article will discuss the best snowboards for beginners – a board that will ease you into the sport and push you towards where you want to go (and help you stop before you crash into a ski lift).

What You Should Know Before Buying Your First Snowboard

Carving Powder

So what’s the best beginner snowboard? It depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want to butter across boxes, bomb steep hills, float through powder, or hit the jump line for hours in a row? The most advanced riders will want snowboards that specializes in one or two of these activities, but the best snowboard for beginners will first and foremost ease you into riding, making your first J turns, learning how to carve down green and eventually blue hills, and taking your first few laps in the beginner terrain park.

Generally, you’re going to want an all mountain board. A soft and technical snowboard specifically made for the terrain park is going to cause you unnecessary trouble starting out (unless you’re sure you want to ride park almost exclusively) and a powder board isn’t going to be your friend on an icy day. It’s better to learn how to ride on a snowboard that is well-suited for any feature on a hill, whether that be the bunny hill or a small jump. 

Before we begin reviewing the best snowboards for beginners, let’s go over a few basic must-knows regarding snowboards, including snowboard size, profile, and shape.

Looking for snowboard boots? Check out the Best Snowboard Boots For 2019/2020.

What Size Snowboard Should I Get?

Snowboarding At Sunset

A short snowboard will better equip you for the terrain park and a longer board will give you more stability for turns, but too long of a board will negatively affect your control. The general consensus is that the snowboard should reach from the floor to somewhere between your chin and upper lip. Thankfully, charts exist that could best instruct you as to which size board you will need. This link has a treasure chest of information on snowboard sizing and includes a calculator to determine what size snowboard you should ride.

Rocker vs. Camber

Will the best snowboard for beginners be rocker, camber, or a mix of both? 

Simply put, camber boards are a convex shape and rocker boards are a concave shape. Look at the following image for an example.

Camber snowboard vs rocker snowboard

Traditionally, almost all snowboards were made using the camber profile. Boards with a camber profile have a contact point near the tip and tail, but otherwise, the board is raised. 

The pros of camber snowboards are: they offer the rider more stability at high speeds, more pop for ollies, and help the rider hold an edge when they turn.

The cons of camber snowboards are: they are more prone to sink on a powder day due to the board’s shape, which could be a big risk if you’re riding in a snowy area. Also, while camber boards are better at holding an edge, beginners might have trouble getting out of their turn and catch an edge (which means you’re going to fall, which you will anyway, but this might mean you fall a bit more). Tricks on boxes and rails might be a bit harder to pull off with a camber board, but this is less of a concern for the beginner rider.

Rocker boards are flat between the bindings and raised at the tip and tail. They might also be called banana shaped, reverse camber, or anti-camber, but rocker is the most used term to describe the snowboard’s profile.

The pros of rocker boards are: they offer the rider a greater ease of turning and are less likely to catch an edge than rocker boards. Rocker snowboards are a breeze on powder days and will allow the rider to press and butter on boxes and rails.

The cons of rocker boards are: they are generally looser, meaning that a rocker board might be more difficult to control than camber. They don’t hold an edge as well as camber boards and they don’t have as much pop for ollies as a board with a camber profile. Rocker snowboards are going to be a lot less comfortable and controllable when it comes to landing jumps as well.

Like everything else, there are trade-offs. Rockers are the most popular choice for beginners, but a rocker board has its shortcomings, too. The good thing is that most snowboards today are made with a mixture of a rocker and camber profile. They offer riders the best of each board profile while minimizing their shortcomings.

Snowboard Shape

Not Beginner Snowboarding

The best snowboard for beginners might be one of a few shapes of boards: true twin, directional, and directional twin. There are a few more shapes but they’re all a variation on these three. 

A true twin snowboard means that the board is perfectly symmetrical. The tip and tail are indistinguishable and the bindings are set at an equal distance from the center. True twins are great for terrain park riding due to their symmetrical nature which makes riding switch a breeze.

Directional snowboards usually have a pointier nose than tail and bindings are set back towards the tail. They are best for carving downhills and riding powder, but they do not accommodate switch riding very well and thus aren’t recommended for terrain park riders.

Directional twin snowboards are usually symmetrical like a true twin board but, like directional snowboards, bindings will usually be set back towards the tail of the board. This means that riding one direction will be slightly more comfortable than the other, though switch riding will not be nearly as challenging as it would be with a directional snowboard.

Where Should You Buy Your First Board

It is worth clarifying that there is no single best beginner snowboard. Even if a snowboard is all the rage, that does not mean that it will suit your style and your body type perfectly. With that said, it’s very important to rent out the board you’d like to buy, if possible, and ride it for a few hours to know that it suits you well. This will, of course, be harder for the complete beginner who doesn’t know how to ride at all, because a beginner is probably going to be too busy mending their bruises to be able to differentiate all the nuances of different board types. 

One important thing to determine early on is whether you want to ride regular (left foot in front) or goofy (right foot in front). The simple test for this is to stand up straight and have somebody push your back gently, but hard enough to set you off balance. If you step out with your left leg first to catch your balance, you’ll probably want to ride regular, and vice versa. This is important to know because bindings will be set up to accommodate you best for the direction in which the board will usually be going. 

The following websites have a large collection of snowboards and great prices, but be sure to ride whichever board you might want to buy prior to purchasing anything if at all possible.

Beginner Snowboard Comparison Table

Men

So you want to know which snowboard is best for beginners? I’ll remind you again that no single snowboard exists for every rider on earth, but here are several options. 

Regarding the categories: style indicates whether the board is for freestyle riding, powder, all mountain, or some combination; shape indicates whether the board is twin, directional, or directional twin; profile indicates whether the board is rocker, camber, or some mix; lengths indicates the sizes in which the boards are for sale, though they are usually in increments of 2-6 cm between sizes; and the price is self explanatory. A lot more categories exist including flex, effective edge, and sidecut radius, among many others, but as we are discussing the best beginner snowboards, these categories are not as important.

Make and ModelStyleShapeProfileLengths (cm)Price
Arbor FoundationAll MountainDirectional TwinRocker148-162$319.95
Salomon SightAll MountainDirectional TwinCamber between the bindings, rocker outside147-166$349.95
Burton RipcordAll MountainDirectional Flat between the bindings, rocker outside150-162$261-$322
Ride AgendaAll Mountain FreestyleTwin TipFlat between the bindings, rocker outside149-155$359.95
Rossignol DistrictFreestyleTwin TipRocker/Camber/Rocker146-159$319.95

Women

Make / ModelStyleShapeProfileLengths (cm)Price 
Arbor EthosAll MountainDirectional TwinRocker144-153$319.95
Salomon Lotus All Mountain FreestyleDirectional TwinFlat with camber under the feet135-155$299.95
Burton StylusAll MountainTwin TipFlat between the bindings, rocker outside138-152$359.95
Ride HeartbreakerAll Mountain / FreestyleTwin TipFlat between the bindings, rocker outside139-150$349.95
Rossignol GalaAll MountainDirectionalCamber between the feet, rocker outside142-150$319.95

The Best Beginner Snowboards Reviewed

The boards listed here are several high quality boards to start you off as a snowboarder. They’re built for beginners meaning that they’re easy to control, neither too soft nor too hard, and affordable. Cheaper snowboards exist — $100 boards could be found online — but you get what you pay for, and you simply cannot get a well built snowboard for $100. To follow is an analysis of 5 of the best beginner snowboards for men and for women, in no particular order.

Men

Arbor Foundation

Arbor Foundation Snowboard

The Arbor Foundation is a great snowboard for beginners with a rocker profile, directional twin shape, and all mountain style. While the rider might some control because the board’s 100% rocker profile, the snowboard’s Grip Tech sidecut adds 4 contact points underfoot to grip the snow and make up for lost control. The directional twin shape, meaning that the bindings are slightly set back, allows the rider to have the most possible control riding their preferred stance without making riding switch too much of a challenge. 

Arbor is a great and frequently underrated snowboard company. Their snowboards carry a 3 year warranty, proving the company’s trust in their work. Arbor is also notable for their sustainability. They source their materials from the most ethical and environmental places possible and use recycled material as much as possible.

Overall, the Arbor Foundation is a fantastic board for being economical, suited for beginners, and environmentally sustainable.

Salomon Sight

Salomon Sight Beginner Snowboard

The Salomon Sight is another fantastic beginner’s snowboard with camber between the bindings and rocker on the tip and tail, directional twin shape, and all mountain style. Salomon’s Aspen Strong core technology means that the board will be more resistant to impact from jumps, drops, and crashes, and that the flex of the snowboard will be loose enough to carry you through variable snow conditions without every compromising flex for control. 2mm thick rubber pads are inserted into the sidewalls of the board, dampening vibrations and reducing fatigue regardless of the snow conditions. Snowboarding is at times a challenging exercise and these rubber pads will relieve a lot of the stress that the feet would otherwise absorb.

Salomon is a trusty brand of snowboards, skis, and outerwear that was founded in 1947. While the company is perhaps more known for their skis than snowboards, their snowboards are not to be ignored. The Sight is a snowboard built for beginners, providing them relief in their riding while also being built to handle the rider’s first few jumps and ungroomed trails.

Burton Ripcord

Burton Ripcord Snowboard

The Burton Ripcord has a flat profile between the bindings, providing greater stability and balance than camber profiles, with rocker in the tip and tail. It is a directional board meaning that the bindings are set-back to provide stability and comfort for the rider going in their chosen direction. This is a bit of a trade-off considering that riding switch will be slightly uncomfortable, but most beginner riders won’t have to worry about riding switch too much. Finally, the all mountain style of the board means that the board could be ridden in most areas and in most conditions. The board has a channel system instead of binding inserts, providing easy adjustability for the rider with the freedom to set their bindings at any point along the Channel. 

There is little need to introduce Burton. Burton was around when snowboarding began and continued to innovate its products, designs, and ideas as quickly as the sport itself. Some people swear by Burton and others consider Burton a domineering corporation in a sport that was built on individualism and freedom, but there is no doubt that Burton builds a fantastic snowboard. With that said, the Ripcord is a snowboard that you could trust. 

Ride Agenda

Ride Agenda Snowboard

The Ride Agenda features a flat profile between the bindings with rocker on the tip and tail and a twin-tip shape. The board is built for all mountain freestyle riding, which is somewhere between all mountain boards that could ride any terrain and freestyle boards that are specialized for jumps and jibs. This snowboard will suit the rider who aspires to be proficient in the terrain park and still have the ability to ride other trails. The Agenda has a soft flex which is perfect for beginners and aspiring park riders. 

While all these beginner snowboards can continue to be ridden as the rider progresses, the Agenda is built with progression in mind, suiting the intermediate rider well. The Agenda is the perfect board for a beginner who wants to be terrain park focused, if not a park rat.

Rossignol District

Rossignol District Snowboard

The Rossignol District features a camber profile between the bindings, with rocker on the tip and tail, and a twin tip shape. The District is, at its heart, a freestyle board. It’s light and flexy which is perfect for jumps and rails. If you’re a skateboarder or somebody who is 100% sure that all you care to do is be a park rat, you’ll like this board. Unlike the other snowboards reviewed here, the Rossignol District is specifically made for beginners who want to spend their time in the terrain park.

Rossignol, like Salomon, is originally a ski company, but their snowboards are built with the same precision and care as their skis. The District might be a bit less forgiving on the bunny hill than the other boards on this list, but it is specifically a park board and it’s in the terrain park where the board will shine. If you’re a freestyle rider at heart, this board is for you.

Women

Arbor Ethos

Arbor Ethos Women's Snowboard

The Arbor Ethos is a great snowboard for beginners with a rocker profile, directional twin shape, and all mountain style. While you might lose some control over the board with its 100% rocker profile, certain things like turns will be quite a bit easier with the Ethos. The directional twin shape, meaning that the bindings are slightly set back, allows the rider to have the most possible control riding their preferred stance without making riding switch too much of a challenge. 

Arbor is a great and frequently underrated snowboard company. Their snowboards carry a 3 year warranty proving the company’s trust in their work. Arbor is also notable for its sustainability. They source their materials from the most ethical and environmental places possible and use recycled material as much as possible. If you consider yourself to be an earth child, this is your board.

Salomon Lotus 

Salomon Lotus Snowboard

The Salomon Lotus’s profile is flat with camber under the feet, providing stability when turning and a decent amount of pop. The directional twin shape ensures that the snowboarder will have great control riding in their chosen direction and have the ability to ride switch, too. It is an all mountain freestyle board, able to keep the rider stable on any trail yet flexy enough for park riding. Salomon’s signature Bite Free Edges means that the snowboard is less likely to catch an edge on a turn.

This might not be the best beginner snowboard for you unless you’re pretty sure that you want to spend a good amount of time catching air on jumps and riding the rails. If you want somewhat of a mix between all mountain and freestyle riding, this is one of the best choices out there. Salomon is a trusted company and the Lotus is a great board.

Burton Stylus

Burton Stylus Snowboard

The Burton Stylus has a flat profile between the bindings, providing greater stability and balance than camber profiles, with rocker in the tip and tail. It is a twin-tip board, meaning the board is symmetrical and thus a little better for riding switch than other options. While riding switch shouldn’t be one of the very first skills a snowboarder works on, it’s important to not leave it until it’s too late, or else it might just feel awkward. 

Finally, the all mountain style of the board means that the board could be ridden in most areas and in most conditions. The board has a channel system instead of binding inserts, providing easy adjustability for the rider with the freedom to set their bindings at any point along the Channel. 

There is little need to introduce Burton. Burton was around when snowboarding began and continued to innovate its products, designs, and ideas as quickly as the sport itself. Some people swear by Burton and others consider Burton a domineering corporation in a sport that was built on individualism and freedom, but there is no doubt that Burton builds a fantastic snowboard. With that said, the Ripcord is a snowboard that you could trust. 

Ride Heartbreaker

Ride Heartbreaker Snowboard

The Ride Heartbreaker is flat between the bindings with rocker on the tip and tail. The board will be able to make turns easily which will be a huge help to the beginner snowboarder. Its twin tip shape and all mountain freestyle abilities means that the Heartbreaker, like the Salomon Lotus, is for the rider who is as interested in the terrain park as groomed trails. 

The board is very lightweight and has a soft flex, so jumps and rails will be the rider’s friend with the Heartbreaker. The Heartbreaker is great because it suits the intermediate rider just as well as the beginner, so it will be a while until you outgrow your board in ability.

Rossignol Gala

Rossignol Gala Snowboard

Last but not least, the Rossignol Gala has camber between the bindings and rocker outside with a directional shape. A true All Mountain Board, the Gala is made for the rider who envisions themselves riding groomers and typically steering clear of the park, though that doesn’t mean that this board cannot handle park features.

This board offers easy turning capabilities and easy control, a perfect mix of Camber and Rocker profiles. The Gala will be kind on a powder day just as well as an icy day and will offer a forgiving ride for the beginner snowboarder.

Conclusion

The Best Beginner Snowboards 1

I hope this guide was helpful to you, that your questions were answered, and that your first snowboard is on its way! As I said throughout this article, there is no single best beginner snowboard and that is why it’s best to determine a few things beforehand. Do you want to ride park? Do you care more about ease of turning or control? Do you want to ride powder or groomed trails? These questions, among others, will determine which board is the best beginner snowboard for you, and hopefully, the boards listed here will correspond to your needs. Happy riding and please, be sure to always wear a helmet!

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