How to Find the Perfectly Sized Women's SnowboardPublished on 02/20/2023 · 7 min readSnowboard Expert Kate Wilson explains how to find the perfect size and type of woman's snowboard for your height, weight, and riding style!
Photo by Fede Roveda
In the market for a women's snowboard? Maybe you're wondering what sets a women-specific board apart from men's or unisex options, or you're unsure about which camber profile and size are best for you. Well, you're in the right place, because this article will break down the details of women's boards, discuss the factors to keep in mind during your search, and explore the various options available depending on your riding style and budget. We'll have you on the perfect board in no time!
Do You Need a Women's-Specific Board?
At first glance, it would appear that women's boards simply offer more feminine colors and patterns, but they are actually designed with our unique anatomy in mind. For instance, a woman's board is typically more narrow to accommodate a smaller boot size. So a men’s snowboard 152cm in length will be wider than a women's specific model of the same size. This decreases the weight of the board slightly and keeps the overall size much more manageable for women.
Female boards also offer a softer flex, since women are generally lighter in body weight. A softer board does not require as much power to generate responsiveness, and it also decreases the risk of knee injuries that are common when trying to navigate a board that is too stiff or heavy.
With a variety of styles and colors available, there is no reason to shy away from a women's board, unless you wear a larger-than-average boot or your weight and height ratio requires a length that is not available in women's boards. In this case, you can still look for a softer men’s or unisex board that is a suitable width for you. Now that we've covered the differences between a women's and men's board, let's dig into other factors to consider when buying your first board!
General Sizing Guideline
When it comes to the ideal snowboard size, the length is crucial for both stability and control. A general rule of thumb is that a snowboard, standing up, should reach somewhere between your chin and nose—but don't let that be your only guide. To make sure you’re getting the right size; many snowboard manufacturers provide size charts or snowboard sizing calculators to help you find the perfect length.
The rider's average weight is one main factor in determining the appropriate length of their snowboard. A heavier rider will benefit from more surface area of a wider or longer board, while a lighter rider will not require this. The following chart offers a general guideline that determines the correct size according to your weight and height:
Skill level also comes into play when considering the correct size. Are you a beginner just starting out, or an intermediate rider looking to up your game? If you’re just starting out, a board that is 1–2cm shorter will be easier to control and help to instill confidence while you're learning. As you progress, you can look for the recommended size, or a slightly longer board, for more stability at speed and greater float in powder.
Now that we’ve covered the general rules regarding the length and width, let’s talk about what type of riding you'll be doing. Are you interested in building your skills and experimenting all over the mountain? Or is your goal to step it up and improve your carving and speed on harder runs? Maybe you've got your eye on the terrain park, preferring a more playful, freestyle approach. Or perhaps you just want to play around in some fresh pow. The following factors will help determine what type of board is best for you!
If you're seeking versatility, look no further. All-mountain boards like the Salomon Lotus, Arbor Swoon, and Salomon Rumblefish are perfect for riders who love to switch up their terrain and tackle anything from park runs to tight trees and steeps. With an ability to adapt to different conditions, these boards are a great starter choice for those not looking to advance in any specific area, but who want a strong board that can handle most everything thrown at it.
What to look for in an all-mountain board:
- Length and width are right in the sweet spot (middle), again for optimal versatility all over the mountain.
- A mid-flex that’s not too stiff or soft; a flex rating of 4–5 out of 10 is ideal for the rider who is cruising the groomers but still wants the ability to hit the park occasionally.
- True twin or directional twin boards allow for riding switch all over the mountain.
- Sintered base for speed if you're at intermediate level or above. Extruded is less expensive, offers slower speeds, and is a great choice for beginners.
- Most camber profiles are suitable. Rocker dominant offers a floaty, relaxed ride. Camber dominant will require more rider input, but delivers a more controlled ride with exceptional edge control.
- Smaller sidecut radius if you're doing short, tight turns in the trees.
Aggressive riders unite! If you enjoy carving your own trail, freeride boards like the Jones Hovercraft, Weston Riva, and Jones Solution are the perfect choice. With their stiffer flex ratings, precise edge hold, and more advanced profile, these boards are specifically designed to carve through ice or hard-packed snow and offer exceptional stability at speed—no matter where you take them.
What to look for in a freeride board:
- Longer length for added stability at speed and on jump landings.
- Stiffer flex.
- Tapered, directional shape which offers peak performance.
- Larger sidecut radius for larger turns and more control at higher speeds.
- Setback stance to keep the nose up in deeper snow.
- Camber board for aggressive carving or one with a hybrid profile (camber underfoot with rocker at tip and tail), which helps with edge hold when you need it and extra float in powder.
- Sintered base for hyper-fast speed.
Taking its inspiration from skateboarding, freestyle riding is focused on performing tricks and is commonly associated with terrain parks and man-made features. Are the rails, half pipes, and boxes calling your name? Do you just want to spin, jib, or jump your way down the mountain? Freestyle is the option for you, and boards like the Bataleon Spirit, Burton Rewind, and Roxy XOXO fit the bill!
What to look for in a freestyle board:
- Shorter length that allows for easier control when spinning and performing ground tricks.
- Medium/soft flex for optimal performance when jibbing, buttering, etc., with enough stiffness for stability on smaller jumps.
- Twin shape so that landing in either direction will feel the same.
- Extruded base is common, since speed isn't a priority.
- Any combination of camber profile will be suitable, however traditional camber provides great pop for ollies and jumps and adds a lively, energetic ride on the mountain.
Sometimes you've just got to escape the crowds and search for that pristine, untouched pow. From splitboards to powder-specific options, the Weston X Jessa and Weston Eclipse are just two boards that offer the lighter-than-air feeling of flying through a fresh blanket of snow.
What to look for in a powder board:
- Volume shifted for maximum surface area.
- Tapered shape, with the nose wider than the tail.
- Rocker toward the nose and setback stance for optimal float in powder.
Reach Out to an Expert
Lastly, personal preference plays a big role in choosing the perfect snowboard. From bright and poppy, to mellow and understated, there is an option for every skill level and riding style that is sure to fit your needs. Get in touch with myself or any Winter Sports Expert for free, customized advice and help finding the board that's right for you!