What Are the Different Snowboarding Styles?Published on 04/14/2023 · 5 min readSnowboarding Expert Will Koons breaks down the different types of snowboarding, what they all mean exactly, and gives some broad gear suggestions for each type!
Photo by Felipe Giacometti
tl;dr When the flakes start to fall, snowboarders all over the world rejoice. The feeling of carving through fresh powder is a sensation that never gets old. But did you know that there are multiple snowboarding styles to choose from, each with its unique characteristics? In this article, we will explore the different styles of snowboarding—including freestyle, freeride, alpine, and splitboarding—to help you find the one that suits you best. So, strap in and get ready to ride!
1. Freestyle Snowboarding: Unleashing Creativity on the Slopes
Freestyle snowboarding is the ultimate playground for riders looking to express their creativity, style, and individuality. This discipline is all about pushing boundaries and challenging oneself, with riders performing a diverse range of tricks and maneuvers on various natural and man-made features. Freestyle terrain can include jumps, rails, halfpipes, quarter pipes, and even snow-covered obstacles like tree stumps or boulders.
One of the most appealing aspects of freestyle snowboarding is its accessibility. Many ski resorts offer dedicated snow parks with meticulously designed freestyle areas, allowing riders of all skill levels to practice and perfect their tricks. From simple grabs and spins to complex flips and rotations, freestyle snowboarding offers endless possibilities for progression and self-expression.
Some of the most iconic names in freestyle snowboarding include legends like Shaun White, Hannah Teter, and Terje Haakonsen. These athletes have pushed the sport to new heights, inspiring countless riders to follow in their footsteps. To excel in freestyle snowboarding, a shorter, more flexible board is recommended, as it provides better control and maneuverability in the air and on rails.
2. Freeride Snowboarding: Embracing the Call of the Wild
For snowboarders seeking adventure and the thrill of exploring uncharted territory, freeride snowboarding offers the perfect opportunity to answer the call of the wild. This discipline focuses on navigating off-piste terrain, which encompasses ungroomed slopes, forests, and backcountry areas. Freeriders are constantly in search of natural features such as cliffs, gullies, chutes, and cornices to ride—often hiking or using a splitboard to reach their desired destination.
Some of the most influential freeride snowboarders include Travis Rice, Gigi Rüf, and Jeremy Jones. These athletes have paved the way for a new generation of riders, showcasing the breathtaking beauty and exhilarating challenge of backcountry snowboarding. To excel in this discipline, a longer, stiffer board is essential, as it provides better control and stability in various snow conditions.
Freeride snowboarding is not for the faint of heart. It requires a solid understanding of snow safety, mountain awareness, and avalanche risk management. Riders venturing into the backcountry should be equipped with proper safety gear, including a beacon, shovel, and probe, as well as the knowledge to use them effectively.
3. Alpine Snowboarding: The Art of Precision and Speed
Alpine snowboarding—also known as carving or hardboot snowboarding—is a discipline that celebrates speed, precision, and the pure satisfaction of clean turns on groomed slopes. Alpine riders use specialized equipment, including hard, plastic boots and a narrow, stiff board to carve deep into the snow. This setup allows for maximum edge hold and minimal skidding, enabling riders to slice through the snow with unparalleled control and finesse.
This discipline often involves racing against the clock, with riders aiming to complete a course in the shortest possible time. Alpine snowboarding has given rise to a number of accomplished athletes—such as Benjamin Karl and Ester Ledecká—who have made a name for themselves on the international stage. Alpine snowboarding requires a high level of skill, technique, and physical fitness, making it a popular choice among experienced riders who thrive on the sensation of speed and the challenge of executing perfect turns
4. Splitboarding: The Ultimate Backcountry Adventure
For those who want to combine the excitement of snowboarding with the tranquility of backcountry exploration, splitboarding is the perfect choice. This innovative style involves using a snowboard that can be split into two separate halves, which also function as skis for uphill climbs. Once you reach the top of your desired slope, you simply reattach the two halves, transforming the skis back into a snowboard for the thrilling ride down.
Splitboarding offers snowboarders the freedom to access remote, untouched terrain that is otherwise unreachable by traditional snowboarding methods. This eco-friendly approach allows riders to explore pristine mountain landscapes, far away from the crowds of popular ski resorts.
Notable split borders like Jeremy Jones, Xavier de Le Rue, and Travis Rice have helped popularize this style, inspiring riders to venture into the backcountry and experience snowboarding in its purest form. To get started with splitboarding, you'll need specialized equipment, including a splitboard, climbing skins, and splitboard bindings. Additionally, backcountry safety knowledge and avalanche awareness are crucial for a safe and enjoyable splitboarding experience.
Connect With a Real Expert
Snowboarding is a dynamic and diverse sport with styles to suit every rider's tastes and abilities. From the adrenaline-pumping freestyle and freeride disciplines to the precision of alpine carving and the freedom of splitboarding, there's a world of excitement waiting for you on the slopes. Trying out different styles can help you find your passion, push your limits, and make the most of your snowboarding adventures.
If you're unsure about which snowboarding style would suit you best, or need help selecting the proper gear for your needs, the Snowboarding Experts at Curated are here to assist you. Our team of knowledgeable and passionate snowboarding enthusiasts can guide you through the process of choosing the perfect board, bindings, boots, and other essential equipment tailored to your chosen style. Don't hesitate to chat with them and take your snowboarding experience to new heights. So, gear up, explore the diverse world of snowboarding, and create unforgettable memories on the mountain!