How Many Snowboards Do You Need?
You want the right snowboard for the task at hand. So does that mean one snowboard, or two?
Scenario 1: Specialising with two boards
You don’t need me to tell you that when it comes to snowboards, there are a lot to choose from. A lot! Naturally, they’re all designed with a purpose in mind, and some of those designs are more specialised than others.
I used to carry two boards on every trip I made. I started off with the Rome Anthem, which at the time was an all-mountain/freeride board. I wanted to try something more freestyle oriented, so I added the Rome Agent, and carried two. The Agent became a Ride Kink, so I found myself carrying a short jib board and a long, freeride board. I had the bases covered.
If you’re in this situation, you may be experiencing some of the problems that I had:
- I almost always used the same board – in my case, the shorter one. Obviously a jib/freestyle board is more suited to the park and playing around, but when it came to blasting around the piste, I would still choose the short board as I prefered to compramise stability and speed for flexible fun.
- I questioned whether two boards was worth it? Carrying two boards is heavier than one. I would wax them both. If I sold one – I’d have extra money for snowboarding… Did I need two boards?
- The choice. It bugged me having two boards to choose between at the start of the day. Do you think we’ll be going to the park today, or are we blasting around? I wanted simplicity – just a single board.
Scenario 2: One board for the whole mountain
There are a whole range of boards out there that have a single goal in mind: to do it all. And even if you don’t have a board that’s designed as an all-rounder, to be good at everything, it’s still quite possible to use a board that’s closer to one of the extremes, for every situation on the mountain.
And that’s what I did. I traded two boards for one. I hooked myself up with an all-mountain/freestyle board. The Nitro T2. Twin tip, twin flex, but a little more aggressive than some of the other twins out there. I used it everywhere, from rails to powder, and it did just fine. When the Nitro was tired out, I replaced it with the Lib Tech T.Rice, another board that’s capable in many situations.
If you’re in this situation, single boarded, you might have some of the same thoughts that pop into my head:
- I’d quite like to play around on something shorter, really flexy and buttery. Nice easy pop.
- I wouldn’t mind something longer for powder days; this board is alright, but it’s not always easy to float through the pow.
The grass is always greener?
This sounds like a classic case of the ‘the grass is always greener’… there are clearly pros and cons to both approaches. It happens every year when the new boards come out, it’s always so tempting to consider the fresh range of shiny shred sticks. I’ve survived just fine, with a single, freestyle oriented board. And given that the two board option is considerably more expensive, not to mention, heavier to transport, sticking with a single board seems a good way to go.
And it was, until I experienced really deep snow for the first time…
Deal breaker: deep, deep powder! When I visited Fernie for two weeks in 2008, I was bombarded with powder days. Deep powder days. It was awesome. But there were times when my freestyle board wan’t up to it. Both in resort and on our catboarding trip, sometimes the snow was very deep but not that steep. I struggled whilst others with their freeride boards floated on top…
Proposed setup: what I’d like to own is a powder board and an everything else board. I’m normally quite happy to wave my freestyle board at the whole mountain. I can get by freeriding with a shorter, twin-tipped snowboard. That’s how I like it. I’m even happy to cut fresh tracks in the soft stuff with my freestyle friend.
But for those killer powder days, 60cm+, I want the right tool for the job. I want a powder board.
In some ways it’s hard to justify the cost. Powder boards tend to be at the more expensive end of the scale, and I only want one for a fraction of the overall time that I’ll spend on the hill. But, if I’m lucky enough to get conditions like I did in Fernie again, I know that it will be money well spent…
So what’s your setup? Do you need two boards? Or is one enough? And if you were buying a powder board – what would you get?