An Expert Guide to Nitro SnowboardsPublished on 06/20/2023 · 11 min readRide with confidence and style! Our Expert guide to Nitro Snowboards showcases top-notch performance and innovation for your snowboarding adventures.
Photo by Jan Scherrer
TL;DR: While Nitro makes great boards, this doesn’t automatically mean every Nitro board is great for you. When choosing which Nitro snowboard is best for you, consider your skill level, favorite type(s) of terrain, and your preferred board size. Nitro also offers brand-specific technology such as Powerlite Cores, Reflex Core Profiles, and Railkiller Edge to enhance performance which should be considered when choosing one of their boards.
Hey there! 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, where I’ve helped advise many customers on boards to demo and purchase. I’ve also worked with thousands of customers on Curated to help them find the best possible snowboard gear for their riding preferences, ability, and budget.
Founded in 1990 in Seattle, WA, Nitro Snowboard is a global brand that produces snowboards, splitboards, bindings, and boots. Nitro has a slew of noteworthy innovations under its belt. In 1991, they produced their first swallowtail board, which they claim “started the powder board revival,” and in 1995/1996, they introduced the “Nitro quickstep binding,” a precursor to the very popular Burton Step-On bindings. They produced the first ever “fast lacing” boot system in 2004. These contributions to snowboarding and many others have cemented their place in the industry as a core brand. Today, they sponsor a team of over 30 men and women snowboarders, and their boards have become a common sight on the slopes.
What to Consider When Buying A Nitro Snowboard
1. Are Nitro Snowboards expensive?
No, Nitro snowboards are not expensive relative to other snowboard brands. Boards in their line-up range from about $350 for an entry-level beginner board up to $650 for an advanced snowboard. Compared to many other companies whose entry-level boards start at $400 and can go to $800+, Nitro is a pretty affordable brand, with many of their all-mountain boards (which is what most people will purchase) coming in around $400-$500. These prices are about average for the snowboard industry. Remember, though, a higher price doesn't always mean it's better for you. The most important thing is that the board aligns with what type of snowboarder you are.
2. What type of snowboarder am I?
Two factors will determine what type of snowboarder you are: your ability level and your preferred terrain. Ability level is the easiest to gauge as trails at a ski resort are typically rated as follows: green circle (beginner), blue square (intermediate), black diamond (advanced), and double black/triple black diamond (expert). While these ratings are standardized across all ski resorts, knowing what trail rating you can comfortably ride at your local mountain should give you a decent idea of your ability level.
Your preferred terrain is a little more subjective. Some people like to ride just groomed trails. Some like to seek out ungroomed off-piste riding, and some like spending their days in the terrain park doing tricks. Many people also like to dabble in a bit of everything, and that’s totally all right, too! You don’t need to fall perfectly into any of these categories, but take some time to consider what sort of terrain you enjoy the most and knowing this will come in handy later when we look at the different types of snowboards Nitro produces.
3. Should I get Nitro bindings and boots if I get a Nitro snowboard?
This is entirely up to you. Getting a complete Nitro set-up doesn’t offer any significant benefits (except knowing that your bindings are compatible with your board). Many people like to mix and match brands when picking out their snowboard set-up, but if it feels better to buy everything from one brand, there’s no harm in doing so. Some people will buy their whole set-up from one brand because they find a packaged deal, while others will do it simply because they really like the brand. It all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day.
4. What size Nitro snowboard is best for me?
The right-sized Nitro board will be the same size you’d choose for any other brand. If you don’t know your snowboard size already, you can use our snowboard sizing calculator or message a Curated Snowboarding Gear Expert if you have specific questions about sizing.
What Are the Different Types of Nitro Snowboards?
Like most other brands, Nitro makes snowboards for a variety of riding styles, meaning this is the section where you can consider your riding style and which type of board might best align with you! I’m including some of their most popular boards for each category to give you real-world examples.
1. All-Mountain Snowboards
These versatile boards are designed for riders who enjoy exploring various terrains and conditions on the mountain. They’re made for anyone looking for one board to do everything and can be suitable for day-one riders up to advanced riders. Most riders will want this type of board if they only plan on owning one snowboard.
- Versatile for various terrains and conditions
- Suitable for riders of all skill levels
- Typically a good mix of stability and playfulness
- Keep in mind
- Not specialized for specific riding styles or conditions like park or powder
2. Freestyle Snowboards
Freestyle snowboards are built for riders who love the terrain park and want to spend most of their time there. They will be better for rails/boxes, jumps, and general jibbing than other boards out there but aren’t designed to spend much time outside the park.
- Excel in a freestyle setting
- Typically very playful
- Easy to ride switch on due to true twin shape (usually)
- Keep in mind
- Less stable at high speeds and in challenging conditions
- Not good for aggressive carving or powder
3. Freeride/Powder Snowboards
Freeride/powder snowboards cater to those who like to ride aggressively on gnarlier terrain and in powder. They generally float better in powder, have superior edge hold, and have better stability at high speeds than other types of boards. The line between freeride and powder can become blurred easily, but freeride boards are usually more versatile and are more practical as a daily driver on groomed snow and in powder. On the other hand, powder boards are really designed to excel in deep powder (think 12+ inches) but aren’t the best option for anything else.
- Great for ungroomed trails and powder riding
- Can stand up to more aggressive riding styles
- Keep in mind
- Not suitable for park riding and jibbing
- Not suitable for beginners
Key Features to Look for in a Nitro Snowboard
Below are two lists of features to look for in your next Nitro snowboard. The first list is generalized snowboard features that one should pay attention to for any brand of board, and the second list is key features that are exclusive/semi-exclusive to Nitro boards.
- Profile: A snowboard’s profile is its curve against the snow when viewed from the side. The four main profiles are camber, rocker, flat, or hybrid, a combination of two or more. Each profile offers certain advantages and disadvantages; to dive deeply into snowboard profiles, check out this article here.
- Shape: Snowboards come in all different shapes, but the main three are true twins, directional twins, and directional boards. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages; to learn more about snowboard shapes, check out this article here.
- Flex: The third and final large feature to consider in a snowboard is its flex rating. Most boards are rated as either soft, medium, or stiff flexing and are sometimes rated on a 1-10 scale (with 1 being the softest and 10 being the stiffest). Like with profile and shape, each flex rating will offer its own advantages and disadvantages. You can take a deeper dive into flex ratings with this article here.
Specific to Nitro Snowboards, here are some notable features and technologies to consider:
- Powerlite Core: This ultra-lightweight tip-to-tail wood core reduces board weight while providing durability and a snappy response when carving.
- Diamond Laminates: These diamond-shaped carbon fiber layers are built into the board, making it more lively with more pop.
- Railkiller Edge: These extra thick and durable edges are designed to withstand impacts on rails, boxes, and other terrain park features.
- Power Pods: These are areas with extra width at the binding inserts. They provide more edge control, especially on hardpack and ice, and can reduce toe and heel drag for larger boot sizes.
- Cam-Out Camber: This hybrid board profile is specific to Nitro. It’s meant to provide the pop and response of camber while maintaining the forgiveness and playfulness of a rocker board, giving riders maximum versatility.
- Sintered Speed Formula II Base: This is a base that Nitro uses on many of its boards. It’s designed to be very durable and absorbs wax well, providing excellent glide.
As a quick note, while it’s great to understand how this Nitro-specific technology will affect a snowboard, don’t stress about them too much, as they won’t make a huge difference in how the board feels. Instead, focus on a board’s profile, shape, and flex to get the best idea of how it’ll feel and think of these Nitro-specific technologies as a bonus.
How to Choose the Right Nitro Snowboard for You
Now that we’ve covered the different types of Nitro snowboards and specific features you should consider for your next Nitro board, it’s time to put it all together and run through some examples! Below are two different scenarios of snowboarders looking for a new Nitro board. They all have specific needs and wants, and I recommend actual Nitro boards based on these factors.
Nicholas is a rider who spends most of their time on blue square and black diamond trails and is looking for a snowboard to help them progress to double black trails. They like riding a bit of everything but enjoys trees and powder, so they want something that can excel in those conditions.
Features Nicholas should look for:
- A board with a directional twin or directional shape for powder performance
- A board that contains partial or full camber in its profile for edge hold and stability
- A board with a medium/stiff flex for stability and power through carves
Trevor is a newcomer to snowboarding and has only been a few times. However, he’s a fast learner and is already tired of renting snowboards. He wants something beginner-friendly as he’s mastering his turns, but he’s okay with a bit of a learning curve.
Features Trevor should look for:
- A board classified as “all-mountain,” so he has maximum versatility as he explores what he likes to ride
- Rocker or hybrid profile so it has stability and edge hold but is still approachable
- Soft/medium flex for a forgiving and easy-to-turn experience
Cassidy is your typical park rat who spends all day, every day, in the terrain park. She doesn’t even like to think about riding outside the terrain park (unless it’s to get to the park). She wants a park-specific board to help her get super stylish on rails and boxes.
Features Cassidy should look for:
- A true twin or directional twin board for easy switch-riding in the park
- A full camber or partial camber board as it’ll be poppy and powerful
- A soft/medium flexing board for easy presses and butters
Find the Right Nitro Snowboard for You
Ideally, after reading this article, you’ve gotten a feel for Nitro Snowboards and what they’re all about. Nitro is a great brand, and if you’re interested in their boards, they likely have one that will suit you well. Hopefully, this guide can act as a starting place for your research on Nitro products; however, there is no need to take on this research process alone!
That’s because here on Curated, you can work with a Snowboarding Expert like myself (for free) to determine the best board for you based on your specific needs and wants! It takes only a few minutes to connect with an Expert and start chatting. There’s no obligation to purchase anything or any hidden fees. If you’re interested, you can get started here!