Snowboard Riding Styles Explained

These aren’t the end all be all definitions but just our way of defining how different people ride. There is often overlap so we will go with the board that’s strongest in one riding style.  For example a freestyle board can often have some good all mountain freestyle characteristics but it still shines more in the park.

Backcountry/Split Boards

For the Rider that earns his turns and doesn’t use the chairs. There are all kinds of split boards from Twins with a centered stance to tapered directional and set back. We don’t review splits but some of the solids we review come in split.
Size- Usually mid to larger sized boards.
Flex- Usually a Med/Stiff to Stiff Flex.
It’s all about going somewhere alone and getting a lot of exercise.
You won’t see split reviews on our site but sometimes we review solid boards that also come in split.

Powder

For the Rider that only goes out when it’s dumping and then shelves his board when it isn’t. They might ride a groomer or two when the snow is really good after the powder is done. Most powder boards really shine when it’s deep but then start to fall apart when it’s a normal groomer day.  That being said some make for good groomer boards too. They still just shine more in powder.
Size- Usually mid to larger sized boards.
Flex- Usually a Med/Stiff to Stiff Flex.
These are usually boards meant for riding only when it gets deep.  Some can do well on groomers when it isn’t filled with powder but most don’t do very well. Most of these are tapered directional surfy boards that are set way back but there is an occasional double ender or even twin.

Freeride

This has a pretty broad definition these days because a lot of riders are turning the backcountry into a park. We are going to stick with the more traditional definition which is more for the rider that likes to surf the mountain when it’s dumping and carve up the mountain when it’s groomed. It’s all about Chutes, trees, slackcountry/backcountry and powder. Usually the board is pretty aggressive, directional, usually tapered and set pretty far back.
Size- Usually mid to large.
Flex- Usually mid to stiff flex.
These are usually stiff and very directional boards meant to ride powder but also do well when there isn’t powder for directional groomer riding. 

Aggressive All Mountain

These boards are stiff, directional, set back and pretty stiff.  Like most freeride boards they are stiff and aggressive but usually aren’t tapered or set as far back. Many have consequences associated with them if you are not on your game but some manage to be stiff and aggressive while still be somewhat forgiving.  Many freeriders prefer this type of board because they like a board that has the same width tail as the nose to give it a double ender feel.  Just to clarify he tip and tail are usually different length’s but the width’s are the same. Powder riding is still important and they cater to the rider that likes speed, groomed runs, usually hard carving, directional jumps, and the pipe.
Size- Usually mid to large.
Flex- Usually a med/stiff to stiff flex.

All Mountain

Other than “Shred”, “All Mountain” is probably one of the most abused words in the industry. Most boards here are directional twins or twinish boards that have a set back stance. They are really good for centering up the board on groomers to get more of an all mountain freestyle feel and then when it dumps you can set it back to get a more freeride feel for better directional float in powder. We found most do well just about anywhere except for the jib park but generally aren’t amazing at anything. It’s a nice overall compromise for those looking for a one board quiver.
Size- Usually in the middle of the sizing chart.
Flex- Usually but not always Med to Med/Stiff

Aggressive All Mountain Freestyle

Usually for riding the same places as all mountain boards except the stance is centered and often the board is a twin or pretty close to it (twinish).  It’s for those who like to charge the mountain regular or switch and treat it like a high speed terrain park. If you don’t set your stance back on deep powder days then this board usually works well as an all mountain board.
Size- Usually mid size like all mountain boards.
Flex- Usually Med to Med/Stiff

All Mountain Freestyle

Usually for those that like to spend equal time in the park and mountain.  When on the mountain they like to turn the mountain into a park but also occasionally like to make good turns and enjoy groomers. These riders spend a lot of their time riding switch. When in the park they are also more into the pipe and jumps.  Some can ride well on rails/boxes but most aren’t that solid there.
Size- Usually small to mid size.
Flex- Usually Med/Soft to Medium.
If you want to ride the park but also like to ride the mountain like a park, these are great boards and there are a lot out there. They’re also not bad when it comes to riding the mountain at moderate speeds.

Freestyle

Much more of a full time park board that is usually friendly with jumps and jibs but often times is good in the pipe too.  Most are mainly for the park but there are some that overlap into the All Mountain Freestyle category and can ride the mountain well too. They just shine more in the park.
Size- Usually small to very small.
Flex- Usually Med/Soft to Soft.
This is pretty much for going at slower speeds in the park and isn’t too friendly on the other side of the park fence.

Jib to Street

Mainly for the jib park and the street.
Size- Usually on the smallest side of the spectrum.
Flex- Usually pretty soft.
This is pretty much for going at slower speeds in the jib park or taking it off the mountain to find some urban features to hit.