How Your Snowboard Gear Affects Your Ability To Progress

Goal Setting

In this blog: How snowboard gear affects our snowboard learning & the trap that many snowboarders fall into.

So does snowboard gear affect our snowboard learning ability? Let’s break it down.

1) You WILL notice big changes in your gear

Sizing down your snowboard by a decent amount (ie – going from a 158 to a 152) is noticeable. You will notice the difference in it’s manoeuvrability and it’s float in powder and it will feel a lot more playful and easier to flex.

Similarly, going from a super soft snowboard to a stiff snowboard is noticeable. You’ll notice the difference in flex, stability and playfulness.

In general, big changes to the size or flex of your gear are noticeable. However, does that actually affect our learning ability? Well…

2) How your snowboard gear affects your ability to get better

Unless you made a really bad choice with your initial snowboard gear, your equipment isn’t really going to hinder your progress or ability to learn to snowboard, even if you didn’t get the ‘perfect’ snowboard for you.

A very, very common theme I see among beginner snowboarders is buying one snowboard, then suddenly looking at their gear as the reason they’re having difficulty learning how to turn well or carve properly or control their edges or butter.

They’ll think they need a more flexible snowboard or shorter/longer snowboard or have some other reason. In most cases, they don’t and they’re talking themselves into buying gear they don’t need.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some cases where someone buys a snowboard WAY bigger or WAY shorter than they require and it does affect their snowboard learning, but in most cases you can make do with a snowboard that’s a little outside of your ‘ideal’ requirements.

3) You can learn and perfect the basics on almost any snowboard

Is it going to be harder to learn if your gear isn’t perfect for your requirements? Yep, but is it a big difference? Not in most cases.

For example, I get a lot of people asking me to recommend them park snowboards because they’re finding learning to spin or presses or hitting boxes/rails too hard on their all-mountain snowboard.

They get to the stage where they think a dedicated park snowboard is the key to help things click for them in the park.

I’m always amused by this because an all-mountain snowboard is 100% fine for learning the basics of park riding. Heck, I learnt my first 360s on an all-mountain board.

Would buying a new $400 park board help them learn faster? Maybe a little, but not really. They’re far better off spending that $400 on coaching lessons unless they’ve got a ton of money floating around.

The bottom line

If your snowboard is WAY off the type of snowboard you need (eg – 10 cm too big) – it will affect your ability to learn. However, for 9 out of 10 people, this isn’t the case and their current gear is fine.

Don’t fall into the trap of constantly thinking we need new/different gear when in most cases we just need to work on our technique and practice more.

Technique, practice and persistance affect our snowboard learning 1000 times more than having gear that’s perfect for you.

I’ve seen housemates go from beginner to stomping 360s and boardslides in 1 season while riding their stiff powder snowboards in the park. Your gear matters, but being willing to learn the correct techniques and practice them until you get it down wins at the end of the day.

Don’t let gear become a crutch or excuse for why you aren’t toughing it out and pushing through those roadblocks in your progression.

If your current gear isn’t quite perfect and you have the spare money, by all means go for it, but don’t use gear as a crutch to avoid pushing through roadblocks in your snowboarding.

- Jed

"How To Pick The Perfect Snowboard Setup"
"Grab Snomie.com's Free Snowboard Gear Guide"
25 pages of free tips including how to pick snowboards, bindings, goggles, boots and much more!

Comments

  1. 100% true! And the same can be said about cheap / expensive boards as well. Three years ago my pricy Nitro board got stolen right at the resort, and I had not enough money with me to spend on something as good as it was, so I bought a cheaper entry-level thing from an almost unknown brand. I was absolutely sure that my trip is comletely ruined and it would be a pain in the ass to ride that board. But it was not! Moreover, it felt very good for me, more playful. Of course it doesnt mean that cheap boards are as good as pro models: it was heavier, had a much weaker base and laminate, less edge control… but it’s not a disaster! And I’ve landed my first 360 on it :)

  2. I learned perfectly fine using a board that was 10 cm bigger than I was suppose to because it was a long time ago and people were saying use the chin/nose method to measure your board size. It is 90% rider and 10% gear.

  3. Or you can just look for your board’s name on youtube, you’ll find what your board can do and which (for my case) you can’t, yet.. ;)

    • Honestly speaking, youtube videos are a bad judge of a board’s abilities.

      A good snowboarder can take a horrible snowboard that’s meant for something else and still throw down insane tricks on it.

  4. Well I bough my snowboard also with the old chin / nose betohd haha..

    But actually I always loved it just cause I liked how it looks so I was always like “it’s the coolest board in the wolrd” xD

    So it goes up to my nose, is really hard but slim… I’ve learned now completely fine with it and tried also my first 360 with it last weekend.. Well I couldn’t do it with a proper pop off lol – but I got the feeling and I’m sure it would work next time also with this board perfectly. But I could try now a freestyle board of my friend which was the same high and really soft and wide… And it felt awesome to ride on it! Surprisingly I couldn’t just turn easier with it and controle it, I just felt so much safer on it cause it helped my balance so much so that I was also faster!

    Got I loved that feeling even while the binding was a little bit too loose :D

    And now today since I already decided to buy myself one – a family friend gave me two boards that his teenage kids don’t wanna use anymore which where pretty expensive.

    One is similar to the freestyle board of my friend I tried and the second one has my perfect size for a freestyle board with 138, also soft and nice whide.

    Oh I can’t wait to try this one!! Now I have 3 boards and I will aways switch between them to feel comfortable with any board! :)

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