If you like exploring and want to see everything the mountain has to offer, you need a freeride board. Freeride snowboarding is all about conquering ungroomed slopes, going hard and fast, and having an awesome time along the way. It’s a fantastic way to challenge yourself as a snowboarder.
To make sure your run goes as planned, a good board is key. Compared to standard all-mountain boards, the best freeride snowboards have certain design differences. As you’ll see, these differences include size, shape, flex, and several others.
For this reason, we’ve created a detailed buying guide aimed to make choosing a board a bit easier. But before we get into that, check out our list of top freeride boards that we’ve carefully picked out for you.
How To Choose A Freeride Snowboard – Buying Guide
Before buying a new snowboard, you should carefully consider all of its features and see whether they are suitable for your style. There are several snowboard types available, so it’s fairly easy to find the right one. For those of you who enjoy high-adrenaline rides on wild slopes, a freeride board is a necessity. The best snowboard for freeride should allow you to go fast, make hard turns, and float on the snow easily. Take a look.
While most snowboards have similar construction, certain things can improve freeride board’s performance. As you probably know, the base of a snowboard can either be extruded or sintered. Freeride snowboards with sintered bases generally achieve better results on downhill descents.
Because of the way it’s made, a sintered base is tougher, more compact, and gives a better glide. This is why it’s able to reach higher speeds when going downhill, which is desirable for freeriding. In addition, it’s also better for gliding over terrain that is flat. On the other hand, a sintered base is more expensive and requires a different type of snowboard maintenance.
In addition to the base, the other parts of the board need to be well-made too. We like to see a high-quality wooden core in the board because it makes the board lighter and overall better on the snow. Unfortunately, these construction features raise the price of a snowboard. This is why we’ve also included some more budget-friendly options in our freeride snowboard reviews.
Size (Length and Width)
Compared to other snowboard types, freeride snowboards are generally longer. This allows them to achieve higher speeds when you’re going downhill and give you a better balance too. Both mens and womens freeride snowboards are (on average) a few centimeters longer.
Besides length, board width also plays an important role. As you know, a freeride board also needs to float in powder snow. A larger surface area of the board makes floating easier, which is why many freeride snowboards are wider than average.
As with any board, the size of your snowboard boots dictates the width that you should get (toes or heels shouldn’t stick out when you’re carving). This is why a top rated snowboard for freeride should also come as a wide version.
According to experienced snowboarders, the best freeride snowboards have medium or firm flex. In case you’re not familiar with the term, the flex is how much the board bends under pressure. The firmness of a freeride board makes it more stable at higher speeds. Compared to freestyle snowboards, freerides are significantly stiffer.
Additionally, stiffer boards are considered to be more aggressive. Because of this, they are also able to reach a much higher speed. It also makes carving a lot easier, because it holds edge better when you’re turning. However, stiffness can be a problem for beginners because a firm board doesn’t exactly tolerate mistakes. If you’re not an advanced or expert rider, a medium flex board would be the smartest choice.
We also want to add that some of the best freeride snowboards have an asymmetrical flex. What this means is that the tail is stiffer than the nose. A softer nose with a rocker profile keeps the board afloat in deeper snow, while a firmer tail is better for making precise turns in ungroomed snow.
Because of the nature of freeriding, most freeride boards are directional. What does this mean? It means that they are designed to ride in one direction only (riding regular, very little switch). Switch riding is important for freestyle snowboarding, which is why this type of board often has a twin shape. Unlike them, the best snowboard for freeride is made to go fast in a position where your standard foot is forward.
As you’ve had the chance to see, the nose and tail on these boards are not the same. The nose is often pointed to contribute to speed, while the tail shape improves floating. Some even have a swallowtail (typical for powder snowboards) to make the float even better.
You’ll often come across the term ‘tapered nose’. This means that the nose is wider than the tail. This is desirable in freeride snowboards because it gives you easier turn initiation and makes exiting turns easier. It also improves the stability and float of the board.
Profile (Rocker vs Camber)
First things first, let’s briefly explain what a snowboard profile is. You determine the profile by putting the board flat on the ground (without any load) and looking at it from the side. If the middle of the board is lifted and ends are touching the ground, the board has a camber profile.
On the other hand, if only the middle section is touching the ground and the board curves upward toward the ends, it has a rocker profile. Of course, many combinations of these two exist, depending on what your goal is (in terms of performance).
Many freeriders like camber-dominant freeride boards with rockered noses and tails (rocker-camber-rocker profile). This profile (camber) gives you a good edge when carving because a larger surface comes in contact with the snow.
The rocker ends make floating on deep snow easier (the nose doesn’t get buried). In addition, a rocker also goes on your legs easier. If the board doesn’t have a rockered nose, you need to press on the tail more to keep it afloat. As you can imagine, this can become very tiring after a while.
It’s very important that freeride snowboards maintain their stability when going at higher speeds. As we’ve mentioned earlier, this is why they are longer and wider than many standard all-mountain boards. This design ensures better stability and makes it easier to turn and keep the board afloat. In addition, the firmness of the board prevents it from feeling flimsy at higher speeds.
We also want to add that the stance on many freeride boards isn’t the same as on most regular boards. It’s moved a couple of inches back (toward the tail) to make the stability better. It also makes it easier for you to press hard on the tail and keep the nose above the snow (very useful in deep snow).
Thanks to all these construction features, freeride snowboards are able to handle almost any type of snow out there. However, they are not exactly the best choice for beginner snowboarders. They might be very difficult to control if you don’t always know what you’re doing.
Q: What Is A Freeride Snowboard?
A freeride snowboard is a board designed to give you the ultimate off-piste experience. Because of this, it’s different from most regular boards. It’s stiff, fast, floats well, and often has a tapered directional shape. All this allows it to handle everything you may come across when going down uncharted mountain sides.
It’s an incredibly exciting board to ride, especially in fresh snow. Keep in mind that most of these are not great beginner boards. However, if you’re an upper-intermediate/advanced rider, the best freeride snowboards are going to give you a blast.
We also want to mention one more thing related to freeride snowboarding. Because it means going off-piste, the risk of triggering an avalanche is significantly higher. Unfortunately, this is more common than you would think. This is why you need to think about avalanche safety and be informed about what to do if an accident happens. It’s also a good idea to have an avalanche beacon with you, or even an avalanche airbag if you’re going into avalanche-prone areas.
Q: What Is Freeride Snowboarding vs Freestyle?
Freeride snowboarding gives you full freedom when going down the mountain. You are not limited to pistes and groomed snow – you have the freedom to go where you want and do what you want. Freeride snowboarding means riding ungroomed terrain, doing hard carves and going fast on steep slopes. To do this, you need to have a great snowboard technique that can get you out of tricky situations.
On the other hand, freestyle snowboarding is the complete opposite. Freestyle snowboards are used in man-made terrain parks to do tricks. You use placed objects to perform jumps, jibs, and tricks. It goes without saying that you need different types of snowboards for these two activities. Even though the names sound similar, freestyle and freeride are two very different things.
Q: What Is The Difference Between Freeride And All Mountain Snowboarding?
As we’ve explained earlier, freeriding means mostly riding the board off-piste. This makes the runs more exciting because you don’t know what you’re going to come across. Freeriders are usually more experienced snowboarders, able to combine different elements of snowboarding.
All-mountain snowboarding includes a bit of everything – groomers, off-piste, and even occasional tricks. However, an all mountain snowboard spends most of the time on a piste, so the design is mainly oriented towards performance on groomed snow.
Globo Surf Overview
Freeriding is all about finding new adventures and conquering ungroomed snow. Choosing the best snowboard for freeride will raise the adrenaline and improve the overall experience. We hope our guide and product selection have made the choice a little bit easier for you. Have fun on the snow!