Should I Ride a Wide Snowboard?

Snowboard
Snowboard and boots. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The majority of snowboard companies offer wide models to accommodate avid riders who have a large stature. While the wide snowboard offers increased stability at breakneck speeds, it can hinder your maneuverability during certain riding techniques. Choose a snowboard that corresponds with your physical dimensions to aid in the learning process.

Size Your Feet First

Perform a few basic measurements to determine if you require a wide model snowboard. Insert your foot into a corresponding snowboard boot. Measure from heel to toe using a tape measure. According to REI, snowboarders with a shoe size of 11 or more should consider upgrading to a wide snowboard model. Keep in mind that many novice snowboarders make the mistake of choosing a snowboard that is too narrow. Depending on the size of your feet, a board that is too narrow will cause your boots to drag through the snow during hairpin turns.

Take a Peek at the Scale

Contrary to popular belief, your weight is actually more important than your height when choosing a snowboard. A board that is too narrow will not have the ability to support your body weight. Snowboarders who have a weight of 170 lbs. or more should consider upgrading to a wide model. According to K2 Sports, wide snowboard models generally have a waist width of around 26 cm. The length of the wide snowboard model ranges between 155 and 166 cm.

Define Your Riding Style

While certain riding styles require a compact board with a narrow waist, others call for an elongated board with an expansive waist. If you prefer to ride on an off-piste terrain, the wide snowboard model may be right for you. An off-piste or off mountain slope often has large deposits of powder-like snow. The extended waist of the wide board will allow you to float over the snow as you execute carving turns. However, a wide snowboard model will slow you down on the groomed slopes of the ski mountain.

Life in the Beginner's Lane

When selecting a new snowboard, consider your level of skill. Be honest in this assessment as it will pay off in the long run. Wide snowboards require advanced balance and board control. Maneuvering a wide board requires more energy as compared to the more compact beginner models. The increased weight of the wide snowboard allows you to reach breakneck speeds on a steep downhill terrain. Novice snowboarders should utilize a narrower board to avoid serious injuries.

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