How To: Carry a SUP

Transporting a SUP

First, you’ll need to get the board from your house to the water, which typically involves a car ride. A roof rack works perfect. To protect the board, it’s best to use a bar pad on the rack. It’s best to stack the board on the roof with the fin up, towards the front. Surf-specific straps that won’t crush the foam on the board will allow you to strap it down. If you have a truck with a flatbed, be sure to put the board in a protective travel bag or to surround it with padding.

Once you’ve reached your destination, it’s time to bring this monster to the water! The vast majority boards have carrying handles these days to make transport a cinch. Just put the board under one arm and grab the handle. If it doesn’t have a handle, overhead carry with hands on both side rails will do the trick.

 

Carrying a SUP Overview

  1. When lifting a board, bend your knees and keep your back straight.
  2. Beware of wind when carrying your SUP, and carry your board on the downwind side.
  3. To get board to a head carry, start on one end, lift, and walk your hands to the center of the board.
  4. Be aware of your blindspot and wind when shoulder carrying a SUP.

 

How to Grip Tape a Skateboard

 Grip Taping a Skateboard

Sooner or later you’ll need to know how to grip tape a skateboard.  Grip taping a skateboard is very simple process that involves a small amount of tools and skills.  However, gripping a deck can be tricky, but with a few tips the process can be easier than expected.  It’s so easy even a monkey can do it.  (see video above for monkey)

Some projects, like assembling a bike, use many tools – to grip tape a skateboard there is only 4 things need:

  1. Skateboard
  2. Grip Tape
  3. Razor Blade
  4. Screw Driver *Philips

There is a four step process to grip tape a skateboard.  A fifth step can be added to the end for finishing touches:

  1. Laying Down the Grip Tape
  2. Scoring the Grip Tape
  3. Cutting the Grip Tape
  4. Polishing the Grip Tape Off
  5. Finishing Touches
Like a treflip, practice makes perfect.  Go get some.

 

Step #1 – Laying Down the Grip Tape

Lay a skateboard top up on a flat surface.  Peel off grip tape backing.  Hold the grip tape between your thumb and index finger.  Line up the grip tape with the skateboard while using your middle finger as a support guide.  Set down the grip tape on the tail and gradually roll the grip tape at an angle (to reduce the amount of air bubbles) towards the nose.  Squeeze out extra air bubbles by laying grip tape backing onto grip tape and slide your fist from the center of the skateboard towards the edges or pop the air bubbles with the tip of a razor blade.

Step #2  – Scoring the Grip Tape

Score the grip tape with the side of a screwdriver in one firm quick pass.  Keep a tight grip on the screwdriver as you hold it at a perpendicular angle with the skateboard’s edge.   The skateboard can rotate around as you score.  Scoring the edge helps to remove the grit around the skateboards perimeter that will assist in the next step.

Step #3 – Cutting the Grip Tape

With a new razor blade cut four perpendicular slots from the screwdriver score to the outside of the grip tape above the wheel wells.  This will allow you to cut the grip tape into four sections; two on the rails and two on the tips.  Hold the razor blade at 45° and use your middle finger as a guide that rests on the skateboard’s edge.  In a smooth consistent motion run razor blade along screwdriver score.  Save the extra pieces for the next step.

Step #4 – Polishing the Grip Tape Off

Use excess grip tape pieces from the previous step to polish off the skateboard’s edge.  Fold the pieces in half so they won’t stick to your fingers.  Firmly press the excess grip tape on the skateboard’s edge and run along perimeter.

Step #5 – Finishing Touches

Use a small diameter philips screwdriver to poke through the bottom of the skateboard’s insert/hardware holes.  Clean out insert/hardware holes by pressing and rotating screwdriver on the top of insert/hardware holes.

After grip taping a few deck you’ll be able to do it in under 1 minute.  Best of luck and have fun skating.

 

 

 

Paddle Boarding for Beginners

Beginning Paddle Boarding

Getting Started with Paddle Boarding

Stand Up Paddle Boarding. Paddle Boarding. SUP. Whatever you’d like to call it, paddling around on a giant surfboard while soaking in nature’s beauty is truly priceless. Paddle boarding has gained immense popularity the past couple of years for good reason. It offers a solid upper body and core workout, while being easy accessible. Nearly any body of water will work – ocean, lake, river, and even reservoirs.  Many people are attracted to paddle boarding because it’s a safe, non-impact and easy to learn sport that brings peace and serenity while spending time on water. Paddle boarding requires minimal equipment that can often be shared among family members and friends. A one time investment will bring years of fun on the water. Sold? Alright, let’s check out where to begin…

Paddle Boarding Gear
Fortunately, only a few pieces of equipment are essential for stand up paddleboarding.   Additional info on SUP Gear.

  • Paddle Board – The paddle board itself is the biggest investment, which is why it’s not a bad idea to borrow someone else’s board or rent before diving in on your own board. Sizes are based on the paddler’s weight and experience. More experienced and lighter paddlers can get away with a narrower board, which allows for quicker, smaller turns and also glides faster on the water.  Beginners and novice paddlers should go with a wider and flatter board as this will provide much more stability.
  • Paddle – The paddle quality is nearly as important as the board itself. If you’re paddle is sized incorrectly, a fun day on the water could turn into tired shoulders and frustration. The paddle should be an average of 8″ – 12″ taller than the paddler standing barefoot. Experienced paddlers will be happier with a light weight carbon fiber blade, while less a less expensive plastic blade will do the trick for beginners.
  • Clothing – For summer time flat water paddling, all you’ll need are trunks or a bikini. Woo too! Ocean paddling can be breezier, thus sometimes requiring a rash guard even in the summer. Year-round paddling, regardless of the body of water, will require a wet suit to stay comfortable.
  • Sun ProtectionSunglasses are strongly recommended since the sun’s rays reflected rays on the water will be intensified. Even overcast days will warrant eye protection. A hat is also a good idea to shield the sun from your face. And of course, don’t forget your sunblock!
  • Personal Floatation Device (PDF) – A life jacket is required by the US Coast Guard if you’ll be paddling beyond the surf zone in the ocean. Parks have various rules and regulations, so be sure to read up before hitting the water. You certainly don’t want to miss out on a day of paddling because you don’t have your PDF or have to pay a fine!

How Do I Stand Up On My Board?
Once you’re in shallow water, standing beside your board, place the paddle so it’s perpendicular to the board. With your hands on either rail (the sides of the board) and one hand grasping the paddle handle, climb onto the board. Beginners should first kneel on the board, just behind the center, in order to find balance. The nose shouldn’t pop up, nor should the tail dig into the water. Once you’ve found the sweet spot, stand up!

Where Do I Stand on My Stand Up Paddle Board?
Unlike surfing, a paddler’s body faces the nose of the board. Feet should be parallel, about hip width distance apart, just behind the center of the board. Knees should always be slightly bent and the head and shoulders should always be upright.

How Do I Paddle?SUP beginner
Practice, practice, practice! The angle of the paddle shaft should be vertical in order to go straight. If it’s at an angle, the board will go sideways. Shifting your weight to side that you’re paddling on will also make for straight and faster paddling. Push down on the paddle handle grip with each stroke. Switch paddling sides every four or five strokes and be sure to reverse your hands. It’s that easy!

How Do I Turn?
Turning quite simply involves paddling longer on one side until the nose of the board turns, also called the Sidestroke. Paddle on the right to turn left and vice versa to turn right. Another quick way to turn is to Backpaddle to to paddle backwards on either side of the board. You can also drag the paddle in the water for a quick turn. Lastly, you can make a Sea Stroke to change direction. Plant the paddle as close to the nose as possible and drag it back towards the tail in the water.  Check out all of our Paddle Board Turning Tips here.

 

How To Mount Snowboard Bindings

Getting your snowboard setup dialed is akin to fine-tuning a car, but much easier. Still, you want things to be just right when you mount bindings on your board, from choosing binding angles to stance width and forward lean.

Finding a comfortable stance width comes first – most riders use between 21”-23” stance widths.  To measure, use the distance from the middle of one baseplate to the other, or use the reference stance that is typically marked on the topsheet as a guide. All snowboards use the same four-hole mountain pattern, with the exception of Burton (see www.burton.com for instructions on using their Channel System). (Learn more about your natural stance,  “Am I Goofy or Regular?”)

Once you’ve determined your stance width, set your stance/binding angles. A pretty common setup is +18 on your front foot, and -6 on your back foot. That said, freestyle riders may go +15/-15 or even more duck-footed. On the other extreme, freeriders may go +18 up front and 0 or +3 on their back foot. It comes down to what feels comfortable, and your style of riding.

Once you adjust your binding baseplates to the appropriate angles, center the bindings over the board and align the holes in the plates with the inserts in the board. Drop 4 screws through each baseplate and loosely tighten. Re-measure your stance width just to be sure, and then use a screwdriver to tighten down the screws. Get them tight, and check them again after a day of riding to be sure the screws aren’t loosening up–it happens.

Now to adjust your binding highbacks to the board. You want the highback to be as aligned with your heelside edge as possible, so loosen the necessary screws on the binding chassis and slightly twist the highback to align. Keep the highback in its new position while re-tightening the screws.

Last but not least… Looking at the back of the highback, there should be a forward lean adjustment. Forward lean literally pushes your calves forward, forcing you to bend at the knee and get lower. Some people like Zero forward lean, others kick it up a notch or two. Again, it comes down to personal preference and riding style.

Okay, now get out there and test your setup. Don’t be afraid to tweak your stance width, bindings angles and forward lean throughout the day until it’s picture perfect. Ride on – MH

How to Pack Your Backpack


Whether you are packing for a short or long hike, you must always be prepared for the worse. A few key items to bring along with you on you hike are: map and compass, plenty of water, rain gear, adequate food, knife or utility tool, first aid kit, fire starting materials (matches, lighter, flint and magnesium block) and extra clothing.

When packing you backpack it is important to stage everything that you want to take with you on you hike. This wil give you the opportunity to make sure you get the gear you need and allow the chance to leave the gear you don’t behind. As a rule of thumb it is all ways a good idea to pack the heaviest items in the center and as near your body as possible, this will you keep you balance on uneven terrain.

If you are looking for the Perfect day pack, then look no farther then the North Face Tree Hugger Backpack

North Face Tree Hugger 32L Backpack $139.95

 

Start you weekend off right with the Tree Hugger backpack by North Face, then come by the shop for your free hug and extra Karma points!  Made from recycled materials this backpack  is lightweight, durable and perfect for those day trips into the backcountry.

Key Features of The

  • 100% recycled polyester webbing, mesh, foams, and pack fabric panels
  • Recycled, plastic buckles
  • Convenient exterior pockets
  • Comfy, breathable mesh back panel
  • Multiple compression points
  • Weight: 2 lbs 14 oz (1290 g)
  • Volume: 1950 in3 (32 liters)
  • Fabric: 100% merino wool ripstop

 

Just Call 800.992.7245


AT The House, We offer the best price matching guarantee on all of our products. If you find an advertised price lower than ours from a legitimate authorized internet retailer and the product meet the eligibility requirements, we will match that Price!

What is Snowboard Sidecut?

And how does sidecut affect a board’s ride?

Sidecut sounds important, but it’s one of those terms that’s thrown around frequently in the snowboard world and not that well understood. Maybe that’s because it involves math and geometry—not a favorite subject for most. Simply put, sidecut is the arcing, hourglass-like curve that runs along your edge from tip to tail. How deep that curve is defines how your board turns.

If you think of the sidecut as an arc, imagine that this arc is part of a larger circle. The deeper the sidecut, the smaller the circle (and the radius). The deeper the sidecut, the sharper the board will turn. Many freestyle riders prefer a deeper sidecut.

On the other hand, a longer radius (shallower sidecut) will turn wider and is optimal for providing stability at speed and making long, arcing turns while still holding an edge.

Your board can only carve a turn that’s as long as its sidecut, ie. Ride’s DH has a 7.95-meter sidecut, which means it is only capable of carving a 7.95-meter radius turn. It’s confusing, but just envision these arcs and carves as part of a larger circle. Or let Tom Burt do the explaining.

Legendary Knowledge

Tom Burt, snowboarding legend, also happens to be a mathematician and is very knowledgeable about snowboard tech. Here is his take on sidecut and how he integrates it into his pro model, Winterstick’s Tom Burt Pro 172cm. (Yeah, Tom rides a 172cm board no matter where or when, and that’s the only size his board is available in.)

“I use a 11.0-meter radial sidecut,” Burt says. “Two reasons: the ability to do large to small carving turns, and control at speed. For turning, sidecut dictates the carve. If a board has a small sidecut, say 8 meters, a carve with this radius is the biggest turn it can make.  If you try to do a longer turn you will have to release your edge and slide to do a longer turn, thus losing edge control during the turn. Whereas starting with a straighter sidecut will allow a long turn while carving.  Of course smaller turns while carving are possible by flexing the board during a turn. Depending on the amount of force to bend the board will dictate how small of a carve can be made.  A board with a 11.0-meter sidecut can be bent to carve a 8-meter turn but a board with an 8-meter sidecut can never carve an 11.0-meter turn, only eight or smaller.  Control at speed is a big factor of a larger sidecut.”

Sidecut School

 

While most brands have their own custom sidecut technologies, for the most part they break down into two general types: radial and progressive. A radial sidecut has an unchanging radius (arc remains consistent) along the entire side of the board. A progressive sidecut, has several different measurements as it moves along the edge. Then you throw in Magne-Traction, essentially serrated edges found on Lib-Tech, Gnu, and Rossignol boards, and you have sidecut redefined again.

Sidecut tech continues to evolve and get renamed, but the general purpose remains the same: sidecut enables your board to turn when and how you want.

Shop The House selection of snowboards.

Snowboard Rocker & Camber Explained

Rocker. Positive Camber. Rocker + Positive Camber. It reads like the ingredients list for a mad science experiment, but for a snowboarder these are tech terms you want to understand.

Positive Camber

To see a board’s camber profile, place the board base down on top of a table or another long, flat surface that extends beyond the tip and tail. If nothing like that is available, place it base down on the floor, but this works best if you can look at the board’s side profile from eye level.

First, if possible, get to eye level with the board’s edge so you can look straight-on at its side profile. With a camber snowboard, the area in between the bindings will be elevated off the surface. Press down on the elevated area and feel it flex to flat; when you relieve the pressure, the board recoils and the midsection is again elevated. That is positive camber.

People like positive camber boards for several reasons, including the “pop” it provides for ollies and airs, and the powerful edgehold for icy or variable snow conditions.

Rocker

Rocker has become very popular over the last few years, ever since Lib-Tech introduced its Banana Technology. Now rocker is present in nearly every snowboard line, and there are several different types.

To see a board’s rocker profile, lay it base down just like you did with the positive camber board. With standard rocker, the area in between the bindings is more or less flat instead of elevated, and if you push down on the midsection there won’t be that downward flex or recoil when you relieve pressure off the board. That is rocker, however there are multiple types, explained below.

With Tip Rocker, the nose of the board will be elevated off the flat surface, starting from your front binding. This makes the board float more easily in powder. For example, Burton’s S-Rocker uses this technology.

Tip and Tail Rocker offers a free-floating nose and tail, and that provides a very surfy ride in powder. With this combination, the board is typically flat binding-to-binding and the tip and tail then rise from outside the bindings. This combination is very good for powder, but not the best for icy conditions.

Then you have hybrid rocker. For example, rocker between your feet combined with positive camber at each end of the board. Or, positive camber between your bindings and rocker outside of them. The goal here is to offer the surfy ride of rocker with the pop and edgehold provided by positive camber. Companies continue to refine all these formulas and integrate them into their snowboard lines. Find the one that suits your style and get out there and ride.

Check out our full catalog of snowboards.

-Mike Horn


Best Snowboard Jacket Features

Every brand name is going to have their own bells and whistles on their jackets, but there are some features that are pretty universal. One of the most common features is pit zips. Pit zips will allow heat to escape from the arm pits, which is the hottest area of the body. Riding sideways on a snowboard allows for cross-flow ventilation through the vents. Pit zips make for easy climate control by simply opening or closing them as needed. Some jackets will have ventilation through the chest and in the back, which will also allow for cross-flow venting.

Almost all jackets are going to have a powder skirt. A powder skirt is separate waistband that buttons in the front to keep snow and other elements from coming up into the jacket from below. The secondary seal for your waist is the hem. The hem will sometimes have draw cords that you can pull to cinch the hem tight around your waist. The cords are usually at the bottom of the jacket by the zippers or they will be inside the pockets.

Most jackets will have audio and goggle pockets. The audio pockets are usually located in the chest area. Some will be a zipper pocket just behind the main zipper of the jacket. The goggle pockets will normally be found lower around the waist area. Over the years the pockets have become more technical. Jackets are now made with specific pockets for iPods with headphone wiring going up to the top. In some newer and more expensive jackets there will be built in audio system. These will have a control panel on the sleeve and some might even have headphones built in to the hood.

Another great feature of most insulated jackets is extra insulation that is added in specifically targeted areas of the coat. Fleece is the most common material used for this, but depending on the jacket other materials will be used too. The extra insulation will be placed in areas such as the front hand-warmer pockets so your hands will stay better protected from the wind, and in different areas in the liner of the coat for warmth like the lumbar area or chest. Fleece will also normally be placed at the mouth area around the zipper to reduce abrasion.

Every year there are new features that are added to jackets to make a snowboarder’s day more convenient and comfortable. Most jackets now will also feature thumb gators to keep snow out of gloves and some might even have a face gator built into the hood to protect the riders face on those extra cold days. Be sure to read the specs carefully when buying a coat to get all the features you will need on a great day of shredding.

 

How to Buy a Snowboard

When you start shopping for a snowboard there are two major areas that you will need to understand to make sure you are getting the right board. First, is information about you. Second, is information about the board. Under those two areas there are many little subheads which we will discuss. There is a lot of information so we have split this article into two parts. If there is jargon used that you don’t understand right away, just hold tight, it will all be explained.

Information About You

In determining what types of board you should be looking at you will need to know your skill level, your riding style, your boot size, how much you weigh and how tall you are. This information will help you to determine the length, shape, flex and width of your board.

Experience Level

There are three skill levels of riding; beginner, intermediate, and expert. A beginner is someone who has never been snowboarding before or someone who is still slowly feeling their way down a run. An intermediate rider is going to be more solid on their feet, comfortable riding toe and heel edges, maybe starting to ride switch, and possibly starting to ride a little park or advance their riding is other ways. An expert rider has a sound confidence having a board strapped to their feet. They are able to adapt to elements and conditions as they come upon them and can ride the steepest terrain under control.  Pro sometimes might be considered a level, and these kids, let’s just say they are more comfortable on a snowboard than they are walking on their own two feet because they ride more than walk.

It is important to know your experience level when buying a board because many boards will be made specifically for riders at each level. You also will want to plan ahead so that as your riding progresses you won’t out grow your board too quickly. If you’re looking at boards online there will generally be a description to go along with it. What skill level the board was intended for will be specified in this explanation.

Riding Style

What type of riding you intend to be doing will be the biggest deciding factor in which board you should get. The types of snowboarding include, but are not limited to, freestyle, freeride, all mountain and powder riding.

Freestyle riding involves all the tricks in the terrain park or around the mountain. These riders will be jumping, riding rails and boxes and the halfpipe. Freestyle riders and beginners usually like a lot of the same elements in a board they will make it easier to control and maneuver. This includes a shorter board and a soft flex.

Freeride is leisurely snowboarding cruising around the runs and going for long deep carving, higher speeds, and more natural terrain. These riders generally like a positive camber board because they provide more edge control and a better pop from edge to edge. They will also like a directional shape.

All mountain riding is freestyle and freeride combined. This rider will be taking in the whole mountain by spending a little time in the terrain park on rails and jumps and a little time cruising around carving hard. Boards for all mountain riding will have a twin directional shape, around a 5 flex and the length should be adjusted based on which style the rider tends to lean a little more towards.

Powder hounds are the riders that you won’t find at the resorts. They are out hiking around the backcountry, dominating big mountain lines and keeping a close eye out for avalanches. This type of riding should only be attempted by highly advanced riders, or at the very least under the super vision of an advanced rider. The boards they use will be stiffer and longer and there are many specific cambers made just for riding in powder. This is all designed to get better float on top of the snow and for more control.

Length

All boards are measured in centimeters from tip to tail. The length of the board is going to be very important to its performance. A generic way to determine if a board’s length is right for you is to stand it on end holding it up next to you. For just general riding a board should come up between your shoulder and nose. There are many general sizing charts to help find the right size for you, but it is good to know why they are placing you where they do on the sizing chart.

Once you start adding other factors such as your weight and riding style you will get a more personalized fitting board. The rule is, if you are a heavier person you will want to add a little more length to your board, and if you are lighter you will want to get a shorter board. As for riding style, freestyle riders will like a shorter board because they are easier to spin and turn. Beginners will also like a shorter board for its easy handling. A shorter board might usually come up to about your Adam’s apple.

Freeriders and powder riders are going to want a longer board that would be between their chin and nose, or is some cases even longer. A longer board will provide more stability at higher speeds and more surface area to sit on top of the snow. Once you start getting into an intermediate or expert level of riding you should have a good feel for what length works best for you. If not, go to a demo day at a local hill and try out a few different lengths.

Shape

Your style of riding is also going to determine the shape of your board. There are four basic shapes you will see; twin, directional, twin directional and tapered. This refers to the length and width of the nose and tail.

A twin board is called that because it is symmetrical, or the nose and tail are identical in length and width. A twin board is used mainly for freestyle or beginners. They are designed to be ridden forwards and backwards, which is called switch.

Directional boards are designed to go one way and will have a longer and wider nose than tail. They will give the rider more suspension and performance in riding that one direction, nose first, downhill. A twin directional board, just as the name implies, is a mix of the two shapes. It is meant for an all mountain freestyle riders and will provide stability at higher speeds and carving, but will still allow for switch riding and freestyle terrain use.

A tapered board is designed more specifically for powder riding. It is an exaggerated version of a directional board.  A tapered shape has a much wider nose than tail that will give the board more float in powder. This shape will also allow you to ride a shorter board even though you will be riding powder.

Flex

After you decided on the length and shape of your new snowboard you will want to consider what kind of flex you want the board to have. When we mentioned soft or stiff boards before flex is what we were talking about. Often a number will be assigned to the flex of a board. This is the rate of the flex on a 0-10 scale, 0 being a noodle and 10 being a brick. Flex is another area that will depend mostly on personal preference, but there is a general contentious that is agreed upon.

Freestyle riders and beginners should look at boards with a softer flex because they are easier to press and they won’t hook into its edge quite as quickly. All mountain riders usually prefer mid-range flex. This type of flex is good for all kinds of riding and you will see a lot of snowboarders with boards that fall in to this range. A stiff board is best for hi-speed snowboarding because of its stability. Typically freeriders and powder riders will use a stiffer board, but all types of advanced riders use stiffer boards for different reasons. Anywhere from park freestyle to backcountry freestyle and more.

Soft boards will be much more responsive to your body movements making it easier to change edges and control your board. Stiff boards are going to have more stability at higher speeds and in powder they are going to hold its form much better, which will preserve a lot of the rider’s energy. Halfpipe riders will also want a little bit stiffer board because of their higher speeds and big air maneuvers.

Flex can also vary throughout the board. Some freestyle boards will have more flex at the center and be stiffer at the nose and tail. The less flexible freeride boards are going to have a stiffer tail that will help the rider power through uneven terrain and give the board a little more pop. This is also why halfpipe riders like a directional board with a stiff tail like this.

Width

The size of your feet is going to make a difference in what board you buy. If you have a boot size 10 or less a regular width board will work fine for you, but if your feet are bigger than that you need to consider getting a mid-wide or wide snowboard.

A mid-wide will be for anyone with 10- 11 ½ size boot. Size 12 or larger should be looking to get a wide board. Having this extra width in your snowboard is going to minimize toe and heel drag. Ideally you should only have about ½ inch, maybe one inch, of toe or heel overhang. This will keep your toes and heels from dragging in the snow when carving on your edges to turn and will give you a much smoother ride. If your feet are still too big for even a wide board they also make an extra-wide, which will be best for people with size 14-15 boots.

Information About The Board

Once you know what type of board you should be looking at you can take a closer look into the board and the construction of it. Knowing how the board is made will help you match your riding style to get a better performance out of it. Key things to know about in this area are the core, base, side cut, side walls, camber and mounting options.

Core and Overall Construction

Some top of the line cores will be made out of synthetic materials like honeycomb, aluminum or fiber base, but about 85% of snowboards have a wood core. Whatever the core is made out of what you are looking for in a core is for it to be light as possible, but also as strong as possible. There are a lot of different ways wood cores can constructed and that will be the main reason for their variation in price.

Higher quality boards will use several layers of wood to strengthen them. The wood core can also be engineered with the wood grain running in different directions in different areas of the core. This will help to increase strength but will also promote edge grip. All wood cores are vertically laminated. Most of them will be laminated from tip to tail, but there are some less expensive boards that will have a plastic spacer in the tip and tail rather than having wood run all the way through it.

That wood core is then going to be surrounded by fiberglass and this will generally determine the stiffness of the board. Snowboards with a single layer of fiberglass weaved in a single direction are going to be softer and have more flex. Which is how freestyle riders and beginners generally like their boards. Stiffer boards will have fiberglass laid in multiple angles. This is going to increase the rigidity and durability of the snowboard. There are also different qualities of fiberglass, and the higher the quality the lighter weight it will be. Remember the goal of the construction of a snowboard is to be as lightweight but also as strong as possible.

The top sheet on a snowboard is what contains the graphics and it can be made out of different materials. Usually top sheets are made out of a very thin layer of wood, fabric or a material that is made out of beans. Top sheets can protect the fiberglass and core from damage, but your decision in buying a board should never be persuaded by the top sheet materials or graphics.

Base

The base will be the next decision to make. Beginners should look at getting an extruded base. This base is less expensive, requires less maintenance and wax, and they are easier to repair if damaged. A higher quality base is a sintered base. They are more expensive and require more maintenance, but they have much better performance.

Some freestyle riders will like an extruded base better because they are easier to repair, and with riding boxes and rails a board is sure to have more damage and take a lot more abuse. Beginner and intermediate boards will most likely also have an extruded base because of their low cost. If a freestyle board has a sintered base it is most likely going to be a pipe or back country freestyle board. Freeride and powder boards will also more commonly have sintered bases so the rider can reach higher speeds.

Sintered bases are much more resilient to cuts and abrasions, but if damaged they are harder to repair. Sintered bases are also much faster because they are more porous and are able to absorb more wax. The more wax a base can hold the more water it will repel, making the board glide over the snow faster, rather than getting suctioned down by the water.

Because they are more porous, if a sintered base isn’t waxed regularly their performance will greatly decrease, but if an extruded base is left unwaxed its performance won’t differ that much. Rub on waxes work well on extruded bases and are quickly and easily applied, or they should have a fresh hot wax around every eight times out. Sintered bases will require a hot wax about every three to five times out.

Another big difference in bases is how the graphics are applied to it. The traditional way is to subliminate the base. Subliminated bases  use a clear P-Tex and inks and colors are added to it. It is a less expensive way to produce a board and it allows for more colors to be used. A newer way to produce a base is to use a die-cut method. This is when the colors are cut out and inlaid next to each other. This process makes the board lighter weight because there is no ink added. Die-Cut will also create a much more crisp and clear graphic on the base.

On most boards a number will be assigned to the base. This number indicates the amount of pores in a square inch. The numbers can run anywhere from 500 to 8,000. The higher the number the faster the base will be, but will also require more waxing.

Side Cut

Snowboards will differ from brand to brand in their side cut. Side cut is the curved cut in the sides of the board that give it an hour glass shape. The side cut is measured in meters by the radius of the circle that would be created if it were continued all the way around. The smaller the numbers are the tighter the board will turn. The larger the numbers are the more a board will have longer, arcing turns.

Freestyle riders will want a board with a smaller side cut because that means more material has been cut out of the sides making it more reactive. Powder riders will want a bigger side cut because that means that the side cut is shallow giving the board more surface area that will float over powder better. Large side cuts are also good for speed.

There are a lot of new side cut technologies that have now become more readily available in boards.  Lib-Tech played a big part in the side cut revolution with their Mange-Traction, Burton just recently introduced their Pressure Distribution and yet other companies like DC have a nine radius side cut, which combines nine different radius sizes to create the curve of the side cut. These technologies are all designed to increase your edge grip on icy hard-packed terrain. The basic difference between these specialized side cuts and a smooth single radius side cut is that these will have bumps or areas in the side cut that will create additional contact points to grip better in the snow.

Side Walls

Sid walls are the vertical area on a board between the base and top. They can be constructed a few different ways with various materials. They hold the board together and protect the edges of the core from damage. Some boards are made with a cap construction where the top sheet wraps over the edges of the board. A cap side wall with generally hold better in icy and hard packed conditions and they will be more durable, but if they are damaged it is much more difficult to repair. A sandwich construction is more common in boards because it is easier to produce, making it cheaper and it is much easier to repair.

There may be slight differences in the performance between the two constructions but the main thing to look for in side walls are the materials. You should find one that is going to be as strong as possible without adding too much weight. A description of the materials used should be provided in the board’s description, or if not, the brand’s web site should have a description under their technology section.

Camber

A camber board is a traditional style of board that has an arch at the center and the nose and tail are the main contact points. Boards are now being made with rocker technology, or reverse camber. All types of riders have found benefits in riding either type of camber, so this is really a personal preference area.

Traditional camber has been working great for snowboarders since the beginning of snowboards. Camber gives freestyle riders more pop and all mountain riders more responsive edge changes. It will allow boards to ride smoother through uneven and rough terrain because it can flex more to accommodate for various conditions. Camber boards will also hold their shape and flex longer than most rocker boards.

Freestyle riders tend to like rocker boards because they won’t catch edges on rails, backcountry riders like them because they float over powder, and beginners like them because they roll from edge to edge easier.

Each brand will have its own version of both camber and rocker boards so you need to read descriptions carefully to understand how their version will influence your riding. Some rocker boards will have the upward curve of the nose and tail start after the binding. These boards will have a really loose feeling to them which is better for rails. The Banana style rocker will sit completely flat where weight is applied. This allows the board to arc, making it better for all types of terrain when other types of rockers are specifically for park or urban riding.

Companies are now experimenting with camber in all kinds of ways. Some boards have rocker in the center and camber at the nose and tail, while others have camber in the center and rocker in the nose and tail. Yet others will have completely flat boards or some will have camber at the nose and rocker at the tail. There are so many kinds of camber to know about that if you don’t understand what you are looking for it may be best to ask someone at your local shop or call and ask a customer service person for advice. They will most definitely be able to shed more light on what you would be interested in.

Mounting Bindings

When buying a snowboard you need to have some sort of idea what kind of bindings you want to get. A lot of Burton boards are not compatible with just any binding. For example, the Burton Channel is a single track on the board which requires an EST binding. Or many Burton boards have a three hole insert pattern when most bindings have a four hole baseplate. So you need to double check that your bindings will attach to your board correctly.

Some boards will have different mounting options for specific bindings, it is important to make sure when buying a board that you get bindings that will connect to your board correctly. Most brands will have boards and bindings that will work interchangeably with each other, but there are some that won’t, so be sure to ask or read carefully before buying.

The Downlow on Down Snowboarding Jackets

One specific type of insulated snowboard jacket that is available is a down jacket. Of all the variations of snowboard jackets, a down jacket is the warmest. They are easy to spot because they are extra thick and puffy. If a rider is going to be consistently in colder climates a down jacket is a really good style to consider.

Down is rated by its size and will usually range between 400 and 650. The higher the number is the lighter the down is going to be and it will pack down much smaller. A down jacket will have compartments sewn into the jacket that are designed to keep the down in a targeted area of the jacket.

With down and insulated jackets the manufacturers will place more insulation through the torso and less in the arms. Not only does this promote more flexibility but it is also going to keep your core warmer therefore keeping your extremities warmer. If the body’s primary organs are warm the blood flowing from them out into your arms and legs is going to be warm. The torso also has the greatest amount of surface area, which sadly allows it to lose the most heat, so it is important to keep it insulated.

A down jacket can also act as extra padding if you fall. It takes a little bit longer for the air to escape through the shell so it creates a sort of cushion. For this reason a freestyle rider or beginner might like a down jacket, but for the most part down jackets are most desired by freeriders. A snowboarder out in the backcountry is going to face more elements than a snowboarder lapping the park and they will need that extra warmth and protection.