Various Types of Snowboards

The Different Types of Snowboards & Their Benefits: Finding Your Perfect Board

Snowboarders have four primary types of boards that they can choose from depending on the type of terrain they ride and the style of riding they enjoy most.

  1. All Mountain Snowboards are the most popular type of snowboard because they are versatile enough to ride anywhere at a ski resort, and they perform well on most types of terrains and conditions.
  2. Freestyle Snowboards are designed for performing tricks on rails and jumps in the terrain park. This type of snowboard is often shorter in length, lightweight, and easy to maneuver.
  3. Freeride Snowboards offer stability for carving and are the ideal choice for off-piste and backcountry riding. These boards are often long, wide, and designed to feel stable underfoot. This type of snowboard can be used at a ski resort or in the backcountry for riding ungroomed terrain, such as powder, trees, and cliffs.
  4. Powder Snowboards are designed specifically to float in deep snow. This type of snowboard is often wide and has a rocker (lowercase u shape) profile where the lowest point of the snowboard is between the riders feet.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through these four different categories of snowboards and discuss the benefits of each type when compared to another.


All Mountain Snowboards

An all mountain snowboard is the type of snowboard that is versatile enough to ride all over the mountain. These boards are designed to be ridden anywhere and everywhere, and they will perform well in most conditions.

Most snowboarders who ride at a ski resort will be riding an all mountain snowboard as it is designed for any type of terrain that you will encounter at the resort. This type of snowboard is meant to be the Swiss Army Knife of your snowboard quiver. When you can only buy one snowboard, you get an all mountain snowboard.

All mountain snowboards are the most popular type of snowboard due to their versatility to ride everywhere.

Sub-Types of All Mountain Snowboards

There are several types of all-mountain snowboards.

All-mountain snowboards come in various shapes and camber profiles, the curvature of the snowboard when lying flat on the snow. Here are the primary types of all-mountain snowboards.

The All Mountain Twin Snowboard
all mountain twin snowboard diagram

An all mountain twin snowboard means that the board’s nose and tail are exactly symmetrical. Twin all mountain snowboards are intended to ride as well switch stance as it does regular. This snowboard style can also have either a centered or a slightly setback mounted stance. The centered stance will be better for doing tricks, while a slight setback stance will help the snowboard float in deeper snow by keeping your weight on the snowboard further back, allowing your nose to be pointed upwards.

The primary benefit of an all mountain twin snowboard is that the snowboard rides the same in either direction.

The All Mountain Directional Snowboard
all mountain directional snowboard diagram

The all mountain directional snowboard is a board that can be used anywhere at the resort. This snowboard is identified by having a different-looking nose than its tail. The directional shape is intended to ride the snowboard in one direction, or in other words, with the same foot forward the whole time you ride your board. Directional all mountain snowboards often have a slightly setback stance meaning your weight is closer to the tail than the nose. The primary benefit of having your weight closer to the back of the snowboard helps to keep the board’s nose pointing upward, allowing it to float on top of deeper snow.

The Volume-Shifted All Mountain Snowboard
Volume Shifted All Mountain Snowboard Diagram

The volume-shifted all mountain snowboard is a board that is both shorter lengthwise and wider width-wise than the average all mountain snowboard that you would select based on your weight and shoe size. Volume-shifted all mountain boards are intended to ride three to six centimeters shorter than your traditional size. The benefit of the wider and shorter platform is that the snowboard floats better in powder, feels stable while carving, and is more maneuverable than a longer board.

The All Mountain Freestyle Snowboard
all mountain freestyle diagram

An all mountain freestyle snowboard is a board that is versatile enough to ride all over the resort, and it leans more on the freestyle side of the riding spectrum. This type of snowboard has features that also make it perform well in the terrain park while hitting jumps and rails. Additionally, an all mountain freestyle snowboard is perfect for riders who enjoy doing tricks outside of the park, looking for jumps and natural features, like bent-over trees or logs, to jib. All mountain freestyle snowboards often have a symmetrical nose and tail with a centered stance.

All mountain freestyle snowboards share the highlighted symmetrical features of the all mountain twin category of snowboards with the addition of a reinforced sidewall and a medium flex rating. The durable sidewall construction helps prevent the snowboard from damaging if you accidentally hit it off a rail in the park. The medium flex allows the board to be pressable on rails and boxes while not overly flexible, where it doesn’t carve well outside the park.

Advantages of All Mountain Snowboards

All mountain snowboards are good for resort riding and having one snowboard that can “do-it-all.”

Here are examples of the types of riding you would do on an all mountain snowboard.

  • Ride all slopes at a resort regardless of their experience level rating
  • Carving through trees at the resort
  • Hit small to medium jumps in the park
  • Hit the occasional rail or box in the park

What All Mountain Snowboards Are Not Good For

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

  • Snowboarding in powder or very deep snow
  • Racing
  • Backcountry snowboarding (riding in the mountains outside of the resort)
  • Riding in the halfpipe

While an all mountain snowboards can technically be used for any of these types of riding. A snowboard designed for the type of riding you enjoy most will perform even better. When a snowboard is tuned to do everything, it does everything moderately well. However, when a snowboard is designed for a specific type of riding, like park riding, for example, it performs exceptionally well in that area and often compromises in other areas like carving or shock absorption.

Also check out our all-mountain snowboards buying guide to learn more.

Popular All Mountain Snowboards for Men

  1. Capita DOA Snowboard
  2. Burton Custom Flying V 2024
  3. Jones Mountain Twin
  4. Lib Tech Orca

See more options on the best snowboards of 2024.

Popular All Mountain Snowboards for Women

  1. Burton Hideaway Snowboard
  2. Capita Birds of a Feather Snowboard
  3. Jones Twin Sister
  4. Never Summer Proto Synthesis


Freestyle Snowboards (Park Boards)

Park snowboards, also known as freestyle snowboards, are specifically designed to be used for tricks at the resort’s terrain park or for hitting handrails in the streets. This type of snowboard is designed with a focus on maneuverability, pop, and playfulness.

Although park snowboards are capable of carving all over the resort, these snowboards are specifically designed for riders who spend most of their time doing tricks in the terrain park. Freestyle snowboards often have deeper sidecuts which allow them to make tighter turns to help you hit features in the park.

Types of Park / Freestyle Snowboards

Freestyle snowboards can be categorized based on their stiffness levels, which fall into three categories. The first category includes freestyle boards with a softer flex, which allows riders to press or flex their snowboard on rails easily. The second category of park boards has a medium to stiffer flex, providing increased pop and stability for smooth landings off jumps or in the half-pipe. The third category is a park snowboard with a medium level of flex. This type of park snowboard allows you to hit both rails and small to medium sized jumps.

Freestyle Snowboards For Jibbing (Soft Flexing Freestyle Boards)

In snowboarding, jib tricks are the type of tricks that mimic grinding in skateboarding. A jib is when you slide, grind, or tap an object that is not made of snow, such as a rail or box. You will often hear this category of tricks referred to as “jibbing.”

Softer flexing park / freestyle boards are designed to feel playful and maneuverable, allowing the rider to easily bend them into a tail or nosepress position. The pliable construction of this type of park snowboard allows the snowboard to bend around rail features giving the rider a locked-in balanced feeling while sliding down rails.

This type of park snowboard will have a flex rating of one to four out of ten. The softer, more flexible nature of this type of park snowboard can make it challenging to land large jumps because these boards lack the rigidity to feel stable. A softer park snowboard is for riders who want to hit rails and smaller-sized jumps.

Softer flexing park boards will also be good for flat-ground tricks like butters.

Freestyle Snowboards For Jumping (Stiff Flexing Freestyle Boards)
snowboards for jumping feature diagram

Stiffer flexing park boards will be designed to have more pop and stability, allowing the rider to more easily launch off and land jumps. Stiffer park boards tend to have a camber dominant profile, also known as a positive camber profile, meaning that the curvature of the board, while it is lying flat on the ground, curves upward toward the rider or makes the same shaped curve as a lowercase “n.” The stiffer flex, combined with the positive camber profile, allows this type of park snowboard to feel snappy and responsive as it pops off the lip of jumps while feeling stable as your landing jumps.

This type of park snowboard will have a flex rating of six to ten out of ten. The stiffer nature of this type of park snowboard makes it challenging for the snowboard to bend around or cradle rails. The bending can make balancing on rails feel easier, so while a stiffer park board can still technically slide on rails, riders will have a stiffer board if they enjoy jumping more than jibbing.

Stiffer park boards will also be good for riding in the half pipe.

Do It All Park Boards (Mid Flexing Freestyle Boards That Jib & Jump)

A medium-flexing park snowboard is capable of both hitting rails while still feeling stable enough to hit most small to medium-sized jumps. This type of freestyle snowboard will typically have a flex rating of five or six out of ten. This type of freestyle snowboard that is maneuverable yet still stable enough to hit most features in the park as a slopestyle run.

Advantages of Park Snowboards

  • Jumping
  • Jibbing sliding on rails, boxes, or trees
  • Buttering (flat-ground tricks)
  • Park riding
  • Light carving at the resort on easier terrain

What Park Snowboards Are Not Good For

  • Carving aggressively
  • Resort riding on challenging or expert-level terrain
  • Riding in powder or deep snow
  • Carving on ice

Popular Park Snowboards for Men

  1. Capita Ultrafear
  2. Bataleon Evil Twin Plus
  3. Burton Blossom
  4. Nitro Optisym
  5. Salomon Huck Knife 2024 Snowboard

Popular Park Snowboards for Women

  1. Bataleon Distortia
  2. GNU Ladies Choice
  3. Never Summer Proto Slinger

See more options on the best park snowboards of 2024.


Freeride Snowboards

Freeride snowboards are built to be used in the backcountry, riding fast down technical terrain at the resort, or surfing powder. Freeride boards are stiffer and offer an excellent level of stability, so riders who enjoy carving at speed will enjoy this category of boards.

What is Freeriding?

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.

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.

Advantages of Freeride Snowboards

Freeride snowboards are designed to go fast and carve well. These boards are known for their fast bases, stability, and shallow sidecut radiuses. Freeride boards are great for making longer, deeper carves. Additionally, these boards can be excellent for riding in powder.

Here are examples of the types of riding you would do on a freeride snowboard.

  • Carve at the resort on all slopes regardless of their experience level rating
  • Big mountain snowboarding / Riding in the backcountry
  • Ride in powder
  • Racing
  • Hitting natural jumps or side hits in the backcountry or at the resort

What Freeride Snowboards Are Not Good For

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 Freeride Snowboards for Men

  1. K2 Alchemist Snowboard
  2. Jones Flagship Snowboard
  3. Never Summer Proto FR Snowboard
  4. Capita Black Snowboard of Death

Popular Freeride Snowboards for Women

  1. Jones Women’s Flagship Snowboard
  2. Never Summer Lady FR
  3. Nidecker Beta APX Snowboard

Powder Snowboards

Powder snowboards are boards designed specifically to cruise and float in deep snow. These boards are often shorter in length and wider in their waist width than the typical snowboard for your size. Like a freeride snowboard, a powder snowboard also has a setback stance with a wider nose than a tail. The wide nose combination of the wider nose and the rider’s weight being towards the back of the snowboard are what allows it to float effortlessly on top of fresh powder. Additionally, any powder snowboards have a rocker profile, which helps the nose of the board float on top of the snow.

Types of Powder Snowboards

Swallowtail Snowboards
swallowtail powder board feature diagram

A swallowtail snowboard is a type of snowboard that has a section removed from its tail that helps the snowboard float in deep snow. The section of the tail that is missing makes the tail look like its cut into an upside-down “V” shape. The unique tail shape helps the nose continually stick out of and float on top of deep snow. Swallowtail snowboards are usually wider than the average snowboard in the same rider weight class.

Pintail Snowboards
pintail powder snowboard feature diagram

A pintail-shaped powder snowboard is a snowboard with a tail shaped into a “V” that is the normal side up or coming to a point or pin. The benefit of a pintail powder board is that it has a longer board’s stability and surface area while having the reactive, maneuverability benefits of a shorter board.

Advantages of Powder Snowboards

Powder snowboards are good for riding in fresh powder or really deep snow. While they can ride on groomed terrain, they are designed specifically to perform their best in deep snow.

What Powder Snowboards Are Not Good For

  • Using at the resort on a harder packed/groomed day
  • Riding in the park to hit jumps or rails
  • Riding in the backcountry on harder-packed snow

Popular Powder Snowboards for Men

Popular Powder Snowboards for Women

  • Bataleon Love Powder
  • Rome Ravine Snowboard
  • Rossignol After Hours Snowboard
  • Nitro Squash Snowboard

How These Types of Snowboards Are Different From Each Other

Now that we’ve explored each type individually, let’s compare each to learn how they are different from each other.

Terrain Types Where Each Type of Snowboard Excels:

Each type of snowboard has a unique design that will cater to its specific purpose.

  • All Mountain snowboards are versatile and can be ridden anywhere at the resort. These are boards that can do most type of riding well.
  • Freeride snowboards excel in off-piste terrain. Additionally, these boards are designed for riders who love to carve.
  • Freestyle snowboards are designed for performing tricks.
  • Powder snowboards are specifically designed for deep snow.

Can a Beginner Ride Each Type of Snowboard?

Not every type of snowboard is beginner-friendly.
All Mountain and Freestyle snowboards come in options for all skill levels, including beginner-friendly boards.
Freeride and Powder snowboards are best suited for intermediate to advanced riders.
You should review the recommended skill level rating for each individual board to best gauge if the board is a good fit for you. The skill level rating will be in the board’s specification information written on its product page online or on a sticker attached to the base of the board at your local board shop.

What is the difference between Freeride vs All-Mountain snowboards?

Freeride snowboards are specialized for carving in challenging off-piste conditions in the backcountry, while all-mountain snowboards are designed for riding anywhere at the ski resort. Both boards are versatile enough to ride all over your favorite ski resort. However, freeride snowboards have features that make them better suited for harsh backcountry conditions.

What is the difference between Freestyle vs All-Mountain snowboards?

Freestyle snowboards are better for riders who want to perform tricks like jumping and jib in the terrain park, while all-mountain snowboards are better for riders who want to ride and carve all over the resort.

Can Every All-Mountain Snowboard Also Ride in the Terrain Park?

Yes, all all-mountain snowboards can also be ridden in the terrain park. However, due to the variety of shapes and flex patterns that all-mountain snowboards are available in, some all-mountain snowboards perform better in the park than others.

If you want an all-mountain board that can also perform well in the park, look for an all-mountain freestyle snowboard with a true twin shape and a medium flex pattern. These types of all-mountain boards will have the stability required for carving all over the resort while still performing well on features in the terrain park.

What Is the Differences Between a Freeride and Freestyle Snowboard?

Freeride and Freestyle snowboards serve distinct purposes on the mountain. Freeride boards are primarily designed for backcountry riding and excel in challenging ungroomed terrain, while Freestyle boards are tailored for performing tricks in terrain parks.

What Is the Difference Between Powder vs Freeride Snowboards?

Powder snowboards are built exclusively for riding in deep snow, while freeride boards are designed for carving fast through all of the varied natural terrains that you would encounter in the backcountry. Freeride snowboards perform well on both harder packed snow as they do in powder, where a powder board’s sole purpose is to float and cruise on deep snow. 


A Guide to Each Type of Snowboard Profile

The camber profile, or snowboard profile, refers to the curve of the board when it rests flat on the snow. The profile of the snowboard dramatically influences how the snowboard performs. The snowboard’s profile determines whether the board feels playful and easy to ride, or powerful and stable. Depending on how you like to ride, there is a camber profile for you. 

This section covers each snowboard profile and its benefits. There are six primary profiles. Here are descriptions for each of them, along with a diagram of what they look like.

Camber Snowboard Profile

camber snowboard profile diagram

A snowboard with a camber profile has a lowercase “n” shaped arc between the bindings. Camber is the most traditional snowboard profile. Whenever the arc of the camber profile is bent, it always wants to quickly snap back into its original shape. The result of that reaction offers the snowboard an additional level of pop, superior edge hold, and a lively feel as the board rolls from edge to edge between turns. Most intermediate to advanced-level riders prefer a camber snowboard profile.

Rocker / Reverse Camber Snowboard Profile

rocker snowboard profile diagram

A snowboard with a rocker, or reverse camber, profile has a lowercase “u” shaped arc between the bindings. Reverse camber is the second most popular board profile and tends to be a beginner-friendly type of snowboard profile. The reverse camber profile feels looser, or more forgiving, on the snow because the contact points of the snowboard are pointing upward and off of the snow. With a rocker profile, riders who are just beginning won’t accidentally get their edge caught in the snow as they are learning the fundamentals. Additionally, reverse camber snowboard profiles can make certain tricks like butters or nose presses very simple because the snowboard’s nose and tail are already curved upward.

Flat Snowboard Profile

flat snowboard profile diagram

A snowboard with a flat camber profile has no curvature between the bindings. This snowboard is completely flat when it is riding on snow. The primary benefit of a flat snowboard is that there is more surface area in contact with the snow, so this type of snowboard offers additional stability for beginner riders. The downside is that an experienced rider will find this type of camber profile feels slow to ride.

Hybrid Camber Snowboard Profile

hybrid camber snowboard profile diagram

A hybrid camber snowboard combines the best of both worlds by incorporating a primary positive camber between the bindings in the shape of a lowercase “n” arc and reverse camber curves resembling a lowercase “u” in the nose and tail. This unique profile offers the advantages of both camber and reverse camber. With a hybrid camber snowboard, riders experience the power and pop of a camber snowboard while enjoying the forgiving, surfy feel of a rocker snowboard. This camber profile caters to riders who enjoy the benefits of a traditional camber snowboard while also looking for a board with the catch-free, easy-to-ride feel of a reverse camber board.

Hybrid Rocker Snowboard Profile

A hybrid rocker snowboard profile offers the advantages of a rocker-dominant snowboard with the power of a traditional camber profile. The hybrid rocker profile has a primary reverse camber, lowercase “u” shaped arc between the bindings, while the nose and tail both have a camber profile lowercase “n” arc underfoot. This hybrid profile offers the best of both types of camber, providing riders with the forgiving, easy-to-ride feel of having reverse camber between their feet while delivering the explosive power and pop with positive camber in both the nose and tail. This snowboard profile is ideal for riders who enjoy reverse camber and are looking for a snowboard with the benefits of traditional camber.

Setback Camber Snowboard Profile

setback camber profile

A setback camber profile is found in directional freeride and powder snowboards. This profile has the traditional camber lowercase “n” shaped arc between the rider’s bindings. Due to directional snowboards already having a setback stance, the camber profile is set back on the board to match where the rider stands. The nose of the snowboard has a reverse camber lowercase “u” shaped arc. The benefit of this profile is that the reverse camber in the nose keeps the nose pointing upward to help the board float in deeper snow, while the camber profile between the feet offers the power, pop, and turn initiation of a traditional camber profile.

What Are the Differences Between Camber and Rocker Snowboard Profiles?

While snowboarders of all experience levels can learn to ride either, a camber profile is better for experienced riders who want a strong edge hold with more pop for carving and hitting jumps. A rocker profile is better for beginner to intermediate riders who want a more forgiving, playful board that is easier to turn.

Here are the pros and cons of both camber and rocker profiles. 

Camber:

  • Pros: Strong edge hold, pop, and power
  • Cons: Less forgiving and can be difficult to learn on 

Rocker:

  • Pros: More forgiving, easier to learn to carve with
  • Cons: Weaker edge hold with less pop and power

FAQ

Which Type of Snowboards Are Good for Beginners? 

Beginner snowboarders should choose an all-mountain snowboard with a softer, more forgiving flex and a rocker profile. These features make the snowboard easier to ride and control. Some snowboards are also rated specifically for beginners and include features like beveled edges, which help keep the board from catching on the snow as you learn to carve.

Check out our list of the best beginner snowboard packages to find an affordable and easy-to-ride board.

Which Type of Snowboards Are Good for Intermediate Riders? 

Once the snowboarder has the fundamentals of riding down, they will want to switch to a snowboard with a medium to stiffer flex and a camber profile. The stiffer flex combined with the camber profile will offer the board more pop and power when coming in and out of turns. 

Intermediate snowboarders may also want to build their quiver, their collection of specialized snowboards, by adding a powder-specific or park-specific snowboard to their primary resort or all-mountain snowboard.

What Should You Consider When Buying Your First Snowboard?

Here is a summary of the details to consider when buying a snowboard.

  • Shape of the Snowboard: The shape of a snowboard is its outline. Depending on your riding style, a board’s shape can offer advantages and disadvantages. A twin-shaped snowboard is great for riding in either stance, while an asymmetrical snowboard can be better for carving. 
  • Camber Profile: The camber profile is the curvature of the snowboard while looking at it from the side. The camber profile greatly affects how powerful or playful a board feels underfoot. Camber, a lowercase n-shaped curve, will feel powerful and snappy, while Rocker, a lowercase u-shaped curve, will feel loose and playful. 
  • Flex Pattern: The flex pattern refers to how flexible the snowboard is. A flexible snowboard is better for butter and rail tricks and beginners, while a stiffer flexing snowboard is better for carving and jumping or advanced riders who want to carve with precision. 
  • Board Category Style: There are four different types of snowboards available on the market today: Freestyle (also called Park), Freeride, All-Mountain, and Powder Boards. Read our guide to the different types of snowboards to learn more about the benefits of each style.  
  • Edge Hold / Grip: The level of grip a snowboard has while carving is important, depending on the type of snow you will ride. If you often ride icy terrain, look for a snowboard with a stronger edge hold rating to help you grip to the ice. 

So there you have it. This was a full explanation of the four primary types of snowboards, along with the benefits for each. Whether you’re looking to carve as fast as possible, launch off kickers in the park, or cruise through pow, I hope this this article helped you find the right board.

I’ll see you on the hill.