How Much Should You Spend on Your Snowboard Setup?
Snowboarding is a pretty expensive sport! But does it need to be? Snowboarding Expert Gaelen Mast details the do's and don't's of spending money on snowboarding gear!
When it comes to buying snowboard gear, one of the biggest struggles is deciding exactly how much to spend. On the one hand, you don’t want to go wild and drop your entire paycheck on new equipment, especially if you’re just getting started or you don’t go that often. However, on the other hand, you don’t want to cheap out and end up with a piece of junk that is going to hold you back and ruin your experience.
The trick is to find that sweet spot of budget and quality, gear that’s going to last and perform well but also not cost you a fortune. In other words, a value deal. This sounds simple enough, except that there are dozens of brands out there, and the prices can range wildly! This is why I hope to help break down when and where price really makes a difference for snowboarding equipment so that you can determine your “price sweet spot” and feel confident in your next purchase!
Avoiding Cheap Gear Traps
I want to start off with a warning: if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Oftentimes companies that have no affiliation with snowboarding will attempt to make a quick buck by offering “budget” equipment at a price that is significantly lower than any other established snowboard brand. I’ve seen this many times on places like Amazon or Walmart, which will sell low-quality snowboards and essentially prey on people who don’t know the difference between actual industry brands and cheap knock-offs.
I would personally try to always steer clear of shopping for snowboard equipment at places that are not established snowboard shops or online snowboard retailers. Websites or stores that don’t specialize in the sport aren’t going to care to stock the best brands and don’t have your best interest at heart. In other words, price definitely makes a difference in some circumstances, and if you see a complete setup (snowboard, bindings, and boots) for about $300 or less, run the other way!
General Price Guide
Now that you’ve been warned to stay away from extremely cheap gear, what is the correct price to pay? Well, if you’ve ever spent any time browsing snowboard gear, you probably already know that there’s a huge price range for snowboard gear which can make it tricky to know what the “right” price is. Everyone is going to have their own “general price range” they shop within, but as someone who’s spent way too much money on gear over the years and is a snowboard gear expert, Here is my breakdown for what I view as a solid price range to aim for to get the best value, A.K.A. good blend of price and quality:
- Snowboard: $300-$400
- Bindings: $150-$200
- Snowboard Boots: $200-$300
As you can see, this is still quite a range, but it’s a good ballpark for what the average weekend warrior snowboarder should expect to pay. (I’ll speak about pricing for highly specialized gear later in this article). Within this range, the quality of the gear options is going to be relatively similar. So, if you have a budget within this range you can feel confident that choosing between two similarly priced pieces of gear isn’t going to be a life-changing decision, and you’ll likely get very similar quality from both of them.
Buying on a Budget
I’ll be the first to admit that buying a new snowboard setup is expensive. Even on the lower end of that estimate I just gave, $650 is still quite the pretty penny to be dropping on some recreational equipment. Therefore, if you’re on a budget, it’s only natural to seek the cheapest options for snowboard equipment, even if you’re also trying to get something high quality. This, of course, raises the question; which piece of snowboard gear is ok to skimp out on a little bit, and which should you not cut corners on?
In my personal opinion, if you need to cut back on expenses while purchasing your first snowboard set-up, look for inexpensive boots. Regardless of price, snowboard boots are typically good quality and comfortable, and the main reason for price differences is the number of features within the boot. For example, a low-priced boot may simply have traditional laces, whereas a more expensive boot could have a BOA or two as its tightening system. Because of this, if you’re looking to save money, you can buy a cheaper snowboard boot and still expect decent quality that won’t hold you back and also not break the bank!
On the flip side, try, if possible, to buy quality bindings and not go for the cheapest option available. I believe bindings are the most important piece of gear to splurge on, as the quality between cheap bindings and more expensive bindings is quite noticeable. Cheaper bindings are often made of less durable materials and are much more likely to break and malfunction on you. You put a lot of stress on your bindings every time you go riding, and if they’re made of low-quality materials, they’re going to break and let you down quickly.
Additionally, since bindings are made up of numerous pieces, it can also be a pain to fix them as companies don’t always make replacement parts. As someone who’s worked in a ski resort rental department, I’ve seen hundreds of broken bindings come through, and 9 times out of 10, they’re either old or cheap bindings. So do yourself a favor and don’t cheap out on your bindings because this is a case where price really does make a difference.
When You SHOULD Pay More
While we all love bargain hunting for snowboarding equipment and getting the best deal, sometimes it pays to spend a little extra. The key to doing this right? Spending a little more on where it matters most, i.e., splurging on specialized gear. While I previously provided a general pricing guide for snowboards, bindings, and boots, those prices applied to your average board for the casual rider. They were price targets that would certainly get you some quality gear you’d be happy with, but certainly not the best of the best that snowboard companies have to offer.
Snowboards that are more niche, such as ones meant for powder rider or freestyle, are going to often cost more than your average all-mountain board due to specialized features. While you could totally get away with shredding any sort of terrain with an all-mountain board (hence the name), you’ll have a much better experience if you use a specialized board that’s intended for the terrain you’re riding. Believe me, going from riding the terrain park with an all-mountain board to riding the park on a dedicated freestyle board was a night and day difference!
For this reason, I actually recommend splurging a bit and spending the extra money on a specialized snowboard if there’s a certain type of terrain you really like to ride or plan to ride a lot of during the winter. It’ll be a game-changer.
If You Feel Overwhelmed
While I do hope this article serves as a guide and helps in your next snowboard gear purchase, it’s totally understandable if you’re still feeling a bit stuck. If you’re not totally confident in how much to spend or what gear to start looking at, why not ask an expert? At Curated, you can chat with a Snowboard Expert like myself and get free personalized advice on the best snowboards for any budget. We’re not affiliated with any snowboard brand, so we can give you totally unbiased opinions on any gear and help take the guesswork out of your next purchase!