Snowboards For Petite Women
Posted by on Sunday, December 14, 2008
OK, so I could have said snowboards for short and light women, but I think petite is perhaps a nicer description. Ciara and I are looking for a new snowboard (for her), and it's nowhere close to being as easy as it is for me to pick a new board. But before I talk about why it's difficult, let's look at what she's got already.
144 Volkl Destiny. This is a high-end all mountain freestyle board. The season that we bought it, it didn't have a sintered base like it does now. The problem with this board is that it's quite stiff for freestyle progression (learning new jibs etc.) and it's also a little long for Ciara to be freestyle-oriented. Plus, the base dries out really quickly and it's got very bad glide...
141 Santa Cruz Rebel Series. This is actually a junior snowboard. It's ok for playing around and jibbing, a bit fun, but that's about it. Ciara doesn't rate it at all for all-mountain usage, which is fair enough because it's not designed for that, but no good if you a board that does both. It rattles at speed and the base is horribly slow. I have at times encouraged Ciara to ride faster over flats to not get stuck. The response is, it's not me, it's the board. After a near-argument one day in Avoriaz, we swapped boards at the top of a run through the town, and there goes Ciara gliding past me with a big I-told-you-so smile on her face, whilst I'm coming to a stop. That's me told! The board is slow.
So when I look for a new board, the choice is almost endless, it becomes difficult narrowing the search down. But it's the complete opposite looking for a board for Ciara. She's 5' 1", and weighs around 47kg (yep, I did ask permission before publishing this data). She wants a high quality, all-mountain, freestyle board. Something that's twin, or a directional-twin, has a good base, handles the whole mountain but also has a smooth, freestyle flex.
I've got options like the Rome Agent and the Ride DH to name two - but there are many more. The problem for Ciara is the length of board that she needs. Our thinking is a board around 140cm, maybe 141cm, but definitely not longer than 142cm. Some of the women's boards do go down to these lengths, but shops and websites tend not to get the shorter boards in stock.
So we've also considered kids boards, or youth boards. In fact, as well as the Santa Cruz mentioned above, Ciara has also ridden a Forum Youngblood Mini, at 140cm, and rated it highly, better than both her other boards. But it's hard to find.
We also like the look of the Burton Custom Smalls. It's supposed to be very close to the full-on custom, but given that it's a fraction of the Custom's price tag, there will be some differences, and one of them is the base. I'm not sure that this is a deal breaker, but it would be nice to get a good, sintered base. (The smalls has their light speed vision base... I don't know what that actually means).
Ciara likes the look of the K2 Fling. It might not be promoted as all-mountain freestyle, it's described as a park board, but it sounds close. I hear it's like the women's version of the Darkstar, which is a good thing. It's got a good base and has ok size options, 138 or 142. It's an option, and I have seen both the 138 and the 142 available on the web...
Obviously I spend more time looking at guys' boards - so maybe it's just that I don't know the women's options that well? But getting the right board at the right length isn't easy.
Girls: what board do you have and what's it good for? What length is it? Where did you buy it?
Taking a gamble and assuming my girlfiend won't be reading this...
I've got her a Salomon Lily for Christmas, and to be perfectly honest, 90% of the reason I bought this one is the graphics. I know she'll love them, and not being too serious about her snowboarding, I think that will be the most important thing.
Check out the graphics!
She usually rides hire boards anywhere between 149 and 155, so went for a 153.
Gavin Hope said:
Those graphics are tight!
You might want to consider trying to get your hands on a Burton Avenue 143 board. They're somewhat hard to find but worth it! Originated from Japan. The Avenue is mostly for free riding and park if desired.
I wrote up a post when I saw the board in Japan here.. http://www.vancityallie.com/2008/10/30/burtons-japan-only-snowboard-gear-lineup-20082009-warren-miller-vancouver/
As far as I know you can find it in online stores though.
Gavin Hope said:
Allie, I had a quick look but didn't see one, not from europe anyway. Think I might have seen the previous season's (did they do one?) on sierra snowboard(http://www.sierrasnowboard.com/2008-Burton-Avenue-Second-Womens-38467.asp), but not an option from the UK. Not an easy one, anyway.
Shame, because the design for light women sounds spot on.
That Burton store looks pretty damn cool. I wonder if there's one in the UK, london maybe? Anyone know... suppose I could go check their site :)
I'm 5'2" and 105-110lb and I've been riding a Salomon Ivy 144. Supposedly it's all mountain...I mostly freeride, it is fun in the pipe though. Good luck catching her on this, flats or no flats! I think this year they've done a model in 143.
Gavin Hope said:
Ciara ended up getting the Custom Smalls, 140. She loves it. It's got a great flex for freestyle, and she's been ripping up most of the mountain with no complaints of chattering or poor control. We also had some pow, and no real problems with that either!
Glide isn't great, but it's a small price to pay for the overall package,
I was hoping you could talk about the Burton Custom Smalls a little bit more. My wife is in the same situation (5'2", 110ish) and we got a great deal on a Burton Custom Smalls 140. Obviously, it's a youth board but the salepeople I spoke with didn't know if there was a significant difference between the woman's version of this board and the Custom Smalls. I don't want to waste money on a board that doesn't suit her and would really appreciate hearing how Ciara likes it. Is it pretty stable at higher speeds? What do you mean about the glide? Thanks, Shaun
Gavin Hope said:
first up, I'm hoping Ciara's going to write a review of the board :) But in the meantime, I can fill you in on how she liked it in Morzine...
So is it different to the regular, adults, Burton Custom?
Actually, this is what attracted me to it in the first place. The blurb that I read is all about how it's very close to the adults board as far as construction goes.
I think that's mostly true, but the difference that I found, and focussed on before buying it, was the base. The Smalls doesn't have the same base as the adult board, although I don't know whether it is still sintered, just not as good, or if it's an extruded base; the latter being slower (probably).
Anyhow, Ciara really liked the board. It's got a nice, freestyle flex, but she had no complaints riding it fast around the whole mountain, and no complaints in the pow. We weren't riding waist deep stuff, but 25 - 30 cm or so and now complaints of digging in. I think it's got quite a curvy nose to keep it floating.
Ciara can ride fast on the pistes and didn't mention any chatter at all; she found it stable.
In reflection, she said it was similar to the Youngblood mini, which is another board she thought was very good.
Glide - by that I mean the ability to pass over flat sections of the piste, to avoid unstrapping a foot and pushing. Non of ciara's boards have been good at this, but some worse than others. Note, none of her boards to date have had a good quality sintered base mind, which is why I was interested in the base of the Smalls.
I think the conclusion here was that the glide wasn't great, but the rest of the board made up for it.
I'll get her to review what I've written and correct any errors :)
Good luck, cheers, Gavin