Today’s reader question:
“I’m going to Japan next season and I’ve heard the snow is crazy deep. Do I need to get a powder snowboard?”
Firstly, congrats on deciding to go to Japan. Epic, epic powder awaits you. Okay, now on to the question, no you don’t need a powder specific snowboard, but you do need a snowboard that’s at least ‘okay’ in powder.
What kind of snowboard can you use in powder?
Besides powder specific snowboards such as the K2 Gyrator, you can also use any all-mountain snowboard and even some freestyle snowboards which still perform great in powder.
I say ‘some’ freestyle snowboards because you shouldn’t be using any of the super soft / short jib snowboards in powder. Short, super flexy park boards are basically the opposite of a powder snowboard and you may find them quite tiring to ride in powder.
If you’re not sure whether your snowboard is a jib snowboard, it’s easy to tell. Just check the manufacturers website and check out the flex rating to get an idea of whether it’s too flexible. Also, read the description for the snowboard, because basically every manufacturer likes to brag about how they specially designed each particular snowboard for a certain type of terrain.
An all-mountain snowboards can be just as good (especially if it’s rockered camber), and it happens to be the first snowboard that most people get anyway, so in 9 out of 10 cases, you’re fine to use your normal snowboard for powder.
Does a powder specific snowboard make a difference?
It does, but in my opinion, if you already own a good all-mountain snowboard, you don’t really NEED a powder snowboard. Personally, I don’t ride enough powder for a powder specific snowboard and I’m not sure if most average snowboarders would either.
It also depends on what you define as a ‘powder snowboard’. Is your powder snowboard something like a Burton Fish, which is literally only made for riding powder or is your powder snowboard a slightly stiffer all-mountain snowboard like a K2 Turbo Dream that’s sized a few cm bigger for powder mixed with freestyle.
For me, I still like to do spins and tricks in powder, which means I tend to ride all-mountain freestyle decks in powder regardless and while I wouldn’t mind an extra all-mountain snowboard that’s a few cm larger to help me float, I can’t really justify it.
I already carry my park snowboard and my slightly stiffer all-mountain snowboard when I travel, a 3rd snowboard just for powder seems excessive to me, especially when a medium sized all-mountain snowboard is 90% as good.
So for 9 out of 10 of people, I’d say if you have a good all-mountain snowboard, use that for powder because it’ll perform just fine. If you don’t own a good all-mountain/stiffer freestyle snowboard maybe it’s time to invest in one 😉
In my experience, you can never really go wrong with bringing a good all-mountain snowboard in your luggage.
ps – Check out the related posts below for articles on preparing your snowboard for powder and riding powder.