types of freeride snowboards

The Main Types of Freeride Snowboards and Their Benefits

Freeride boards are a category of snowboards designed specifically for backcountry use. While they can handle the terrain you would encounter at a ski resort, freeride snowboards excel off-piste, allowing riders to carve fast lines down technical terrain or surf through powder.

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What Does Freeriding Mean?

Freeriding is a style of snowboarding that focuses on using the mountain’s natural features and embracing the challenges that nature presents rather than prebuilt resort features.

What are the Advantages of a Freeride Snowboard?

Their main benefit: They are exceptional for carving and riding fast.

Freeride snowboards are ideal for carving because they are stiffer flexing for stability, tapered to initiate turns, and directional for better control at high speeds.

Where Freeride Boards Shine

Freeride boards are built for riders who crave adventure and powerful carving turns on various terrains. Here’s what they excel at:

  • Carving groomers: Their stiffness and directional shape provide stability and precision for carving smooth lines down any slope, from beginner to expert.
  • Float in powder: Their tapered design and wider midsection help you stay afloat in fresh snow, letting you explore untracked areas of the mountain.
  • Big mountain lines: Freeride boards offer the stability and control needed for navigating challenging off-piste terrain and backcountry adventures.
  • Natural jumps and side hits: Their stiffness and pop excel at launching off natural jumps and playful side hits you encounter throughout the resort or backcountry.

While not specifically designed for racing, their characteristics can still be enjoyed by those who like to push the limits on the resort.

Where Freeride Boards Do Not Shine

Most all freeride snowboards are not great for the following types of riding.

  • Park riding
  • Hitting rails / Jib tricks
  • Buttering / Flat ground tricks
  • Learning on

Popular Types of Freeride Snowboards

Here are the two most popular types of freeride snowboards.

Tapered Directional Freeride Snowboards
tapered directional freeride snowboard diagram

A tapered directional freeride snowboard is specifically made for riders who enjoy freeriding and need a snowboard that performs well in deep snow. This type of snowboard has a distinctive shape that sets it apart from other freeride boards. It has a wider nose than its tail, which you can notice by checking out the board’s edge. As you focus on the edge, you will notice that the width of the snowboard gradually decreases towards its tail. The benefit of the wider nose is that it helps the snowboard stay on top of deep snow. Here is how it works. The shape of this type of snowboard works in combination with where the rider stands on the board. Tapered directional freeride boards have a setback stance. A setback stance means the holes you mount your bindings to are closer to the tail rather than centered. The combination of the board’s wider nose and the rider’s weight being closer to the tail allow the snowboard to continually point upward, keeping the rider floating on top of deep snow as they cruise downhill. 

It’s worth noting that directional snowboards are meant to be ridden in one direction, with the same foot forward the entire time downhill. With that in mind, this type of snowboard is not suitable for riders who frequently want to switch their stance.

In terms of flexibility, tapered directional freeride snowboards have a stiffer flex pattern. On a scale of stiffness from one to ten, with ten being the stiffest, these snowboards typically have a rating between seven and ten. Their stiffness makes them stable and responsive, making this type of snowboard perfect for riders who enjoy carving at the resort or in the backcountry.  

Tapered directional freeride snowboards are the most common type of board in the freeride snowboard category. 

Directional Freeride Snowboards
Directional Free Snowboard Diagram

A (non-tapered) directional freeride snowboard is specifically made for riders who love to carve yet only get a handful of days to ride in powder. These boards are nearly identical to the tapered directional freeride snowboard category mentioned above, without the additional powder-floating benefits of the board’s wider nose.

A directional freeride snowboard is a type of snowboard with a stiffer flex pattern and a directional shape, meaning that this type of board is intended to be ridden in one direction with the same leading foot forward the whole time. This type of board is fast, carves well, and can be ridden at both resorts or the backcountry. Due to their directional shape, this board type is unsuitable for riders who want to ride switch often.

Directional freeride snowboards have a setback stance which keeps the rider’s weight toward the tail. This feature improves the board’s ability to float in deeper snow. However, it won’t float as well as the tapered directional freeride snowboard type mentioned above.

Directional freeride snowboards without a tapered shape are the second most common type of snowboard in the freeride board category.

The Most Popular Freeride Snowboards

Here are a few of the best selling freeride boards that you can buy.

Popular Freeride Snowboards for MenPopular Freeride Snowboards for Women
1. K2 Alchemist Snowboard1. Jones Women’s Flagship Snowboard
2. Never Summer Proto FR Snowboard2. Never Summer Lady FR
3. Capita Mega Death3. Nidecker Beta APX Snowboard

Check out our best freeride snowboards award list to see the top performing boards for this upcoming season.

To wrap this up, freeride snowboards offer a versatile and exciting way to experience the mountain. By understanding the different types, you can choose the board that best suits your riding style and helps you carve your own path

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