Checkout Lane: How to choose a quality snowboard

Sara Castellanos

If you’ve vowed to pick up snowboarding this winter, retailers say you should make quality a priority when purchasing a snowboard. Consumers should first consider what the board is made of, said John Byrne, owner of Buckles & Boards Ski & Surf in Marshfield, Mass.

“A good-quality board doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay a lot of money for it,” he said. “It means you’ve got to get something that’s going to last for the rider.”

He recommends consumers purchase a board with a wood core as opposed to a foam core.

“Some manufacturers, in order to cut corners, make a foam core deck that just has steel edges running down the length of the board and no protection on the tip and tail,” he said.

An entry-level package with a snowboard, boots and bindings ranges from $350 to $550 at his store. He recommends getting the board waxed at least twice a year, especially if you are riding in icy mountain terrain.

“Lots of ice dulls the edges (which) are the steering wheel and the brakes,” he said. “If they’re not sharp you don’t steer well, and you don’t stop fast.”

A good pair of snowboarding boots is essential for a rider, said Tim May, store manager of the Ski Market shop in Pembroke, Mass.

“You want to have a boot that fits as tightly and securely as possible,” he said. “A big part of controlling the board is taking the energy from your legs and transferring it to turn and stop. You want to be able to tilt the board on edge quickly and efficiently to give you more control.”

After the consumer has purchased the board, May said maintenance is key: The board should be transported in a bag and protected when it’s on the roof of a car.

The Ski Market offers a lease program enabling children to rent their snowboarding equipment for the season, starting at $100. May said consumers can purchase a snowboard, bindings and boots for about $300 at his store.

Sara Castellanos may be reached


If you’re in the market for a new snowboard, you want to make sure you understand the salesperson’s lingo. Here are some definitions of snowboard attributes:

  Base:  The bottom side of the snowboard, the part of the board that touches the snow.

   Bevel: The degree of angle to which the edges of a snowboard are tuned.

   Edges: The length of metal that runs down each side of the snowboard.

   Flex:  Used to describe the stiffness and pattern of how a snowboard flexes, determining  how a board will go into and out of a turn.

   Front Foot: The foot mounted closest to the nose.

   Frontside: The frontside of the snowboard is the side where the toes rest.

    Nose: The front end of the snowboard, specifically the tip.

   Tail: The rear tip of the snowboard.