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How Tall Should Your Snowboard Be?

Published on 05/12/2023 · 8 min readWhen deciding what snowboard length to choose, there are many factors to consider! Snowboarding Expert Gaelen Mast goes over those factors below!
Gaelen Mast, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Gaelen Mast

Photo by Shad Meeg

Hi! My name is Gaelen, and I’ve devoted more than half of my life to snowboarding! Over the past 11 years, I’ve worked as a snowboard rental technician at multiple mountain resorts and in a snowboard shop. I’ve also worked with thousands of customers on Curated to help them find the right gear for their specific needs and wants! During this time, I’ve been responsible for sizing hundreds of customers in-person for rental gear and hundreds more online here at Curated when I’m recommending boards. I’ve spent plenty of time studying how different snowboard sizes affect different riders, and today I hope to help you answer the question, “How tall should my snowboard be?”

Does a Snowboard’s Length Really Matter?

The short and simple answer is yes; the size of your snowboard does indeed matter. However, snowboard size is not a “one size fits all” (pun intended) type of deal. I’m 5’10”, and the primary snowboard I ride is 153cm, but this doesn’t mean every other rider who’s also 5’10” should run to Curated and purchase a 153cm snowboard. Deciding on your snowboard size requires a bit more thought and subjective reasoning.

That’s why you should never use an online snowboard sizing calculators that simply ask you for your height and then spits out a size recommendation based on that; they aren’t taking every factor into account, including the most important factor: your weight!

Wait, Weight?

That’s right. Gone are the days when you simply held a board up, and if it was around chin height, you were golden. Nowadays, body weight is the biggest factor in determining your board size. In fact, almost every manufacturer gives each of their specific board models a “suggested weight range” for each size they produce of that model.

For example, the 153cm board I alluded to riding to earlier is the Rome Party Mod. Rome gave the 153cm size of the Party Mod a suggested weight range of 130-174lbs, I’m 150lbs, so I fall into this suggested range, and therefore, I know the 153cm version of this specific board model is good for me. Again, this doesn’t mean every 153cm board has a 130-174lb weight range, just this one.

Now, if you did some of your own research and found the snowboard sizing chart on Rome’s website (nearly all manufacturers will have a similar sizing chart detailing the suggested weight range for each of their board models and sizes), you would have seen that the 156cm size of the Party Mod can accommodate a weight range of 143-187lbs. So why did I go with a 153cm snowboard length over 156cm if I could have technically used either? The answer: personal preference.

Sizing Charts Are Nothing More Than a Guide

Please do not treat a sizing chart as an end-all answer because it’s not! While height is a hugely important factor in choosing your approximate snowboard size, following a sizing chart will often give you two different snowboard size options (as it did for me with the Party Mod), and choosing one of these two sizes is going to come down to your personal preferences, mainly your skill level and terrain riding style.

You see different styles of riding call for different board sizes. For example, if you want a freestyle board that’ll be used primarily in the park, you might opt for a shorter board as it’s easier to pop and throw around. You might also want a shorter board if you’re a beginner, as they’re easier to control. On the flip, if you’re riding powder and want maximum stability in an all-mountain snowboard, you might opt for a longer board. And what about if you’re a taller rider but are a total string bean, and the board size recommended based on height wouldn’t even pass your shoulder? As you can see, there’s no simple formula to determine the length of your snowboard, and a sizing chart should simply be considered a starting guide.

This article is about why choosing the correct snowboard length matters, not how to choose the correct snowboard length. So if you’d like to explore all the nuances of picking the right board length, feel free to check out this article that breaks down every small detail.

What Happens if You Choose the Wrong Size?

Photo by Benjamin Hayward

Put simply, if you choose a board that’s drastically too large or small for you (think 8+ centimeters too big or too small), then the board isn’t going to feel or ride like it was designed to. It will make it harder to snowboard than necessary, and it can be outright dangerous if the board rides unpredictably.

If Your Snowboard Is Too Short

If your snowboard is too short for you, it will feel unstable when it shouldn’t. Think of experiencing a lot of chatter (vibrations in the tips that can reverberate underfoot) when riding even at slower speeds.

Snowboards are designed with a specific soft, medium, or stiff flex. If a board is rated as a “medium flex,” this will only be true if you fall within the designated weight range for the specific board model and size you choose. If you pick a board that’s too small for you and you’re over the recommended weight range for the size you pick, it will feel softer flexing than intended. And if you’re too far over the weight range and it’s an especially soft flex, you lose this stability, and riding at speeds or on off-piste terrain can get sketchy real fast!

Another issue with a board that’s too small for you is that it might be too narrow for your snowboard boots. Snowboard width typically increases with board length, and if you choose a board that’s way too small for you, there’s a risk that your boot size will greatly exceed the width of the board, causing the dreaded toe drag or heel drag. This is when your toes or heels catch in the snow when making a turn, and it’s a great way to end up on your butt in the blink of an eye!

If Your Snowboard Is Too Long

Photo by Ken Douglas

If your snowboard is too long, it will take extra effort to control and tire you out much quicker. The concept is the same as with a board that’s too short, except the opposite. If you choose a board size that's too long for you (aka above your weight range), it will feel like a stiffer flex than intended. A stiffer flexing board takes more effort to control and can really make life difficult if you’re a beginner or even an intermediate rider.

A board that is too long for you will also likely be slower to respond, which can be a messy situation if you’re heading toward another person or a tree. In addition, you won’t be able to make quick or tight turns as easily, which can be a huge disadvantage if you’re trying to do precise riding, like in the woods or terrain park.

Finally, you’re more likely to catch an edge accidentally with a board that’s too long for you. That’s because there is a more effective edge (length of the board in contact with the snow) on the board that you have to manage, and if you’re not experienced or not paying attention, there’s more edge you can catch in this scenario.

Don’t Sweat It; It’s Not That Important

I made it seem like a BIG deal if your snowboard is too small or too big for you. However, you will be okay if you’ve got a board that’s not absurdly too small or big for your weight and height.

I’ve found there’s a range of about five centimeters I can ride boards in, and they all feel comfortable, which is true for most riders. Even though I ride a 153cm, I’d be comfortable and not hindering myself if I rode boards anywhere from 151-156 cm. It comes down to personal preference, and you’ll be able to ride a range of board sizes just fine if you’re not on something absurdly small or long.

Try not to get set on one size you NEED to ride. If you’re renting a board or shopping for a new one, it’s good to have a baseline idea of which board size you’d like. However, if the rental shop or the board you’re interested in is 1-2cm shorter or longer than you’re used to, don’t sweat it. It won’t impact your ride, and you probably won’t notice the difference after a few laps.

Choosing Your Next Snowboard

Photo by Unofficial Squaw

Hopefully, this article has dispelled some falsities around snowboard sizing and has helped you understand when snowboard height does and does not matter. However, if you’re still wondering about the best snowboard size for a particular model or board style, you don’t have to figure it out yourself!

To ensure you get the perfect board size for any snowboard you might be interested in, feel free to head over to Curated. You can chat with a Curated Snowboarding Expert and have your questions answered and receive suggestions on any snowboard gear in real-time from an industry professional. This process only takes a few minutes and is totally free; it’s the easiest way to ensure you get the board you want and eliminate buyer’s remorse! So don't let an ill-fitting snowboard hold you back; start your snowboard gear hunt now at Curated.


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