What Size Snowboard Do I Need?
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me, “What size snowboard do I need?” I could spend all my winter days at the ski resort of my choice, enjoying fresh powder, a cold brew, beautiful snow bunnies and…well, you get the picture.
Knowing what size snowboard you need (among other things) is crucial to enjoying the sport of snowboarding and if you can’t get down the mountain in a timely fashion because your ride sucks, well, you just look stupid, and we can’t have you looking stupid right?
So, let’s get to it, but first…
What’s a snowboarder’s famous last words? “Hey dude, watch this!”
Okay, let’s answer the question, “What Size Snowboard Do I Need?”
First, know this…the style of boarding you do will determine what type and size of board you need, as well as your experience level. Some of the more popular snowboarding styles are freeride (all-mountain), freecarve (powder), racing, and freestyle (park). Since the majority of you reading this will be freeride or freestyle snowboarders, I will discuss your needs here.
For our general discussion here, your height and weight will determine what size snowboard you will need to purchase, with weight being the MOST important factor. If you are a man with a large foot (size 11 or greater) this will also be a factor in choosing the correct size snowboard.
Please understand that there is NO scientific calculation, formula or magic potion that will help you determine what size snowboard you need. There are just too many factors involved when it comes to board selection. Having said that, let’s start with snowboard lengths, and then we will discuss snowboard widths (yes, width is important also (right ladies?) so don’t skip it).
In general, longer boards are easier to control at greater speeds and will allow faster speeds to be achieved. Longer boards also float (won’t sink into the snow) better due to their greater surface coverage. Generally speaking, shorter boards offer greater maneuverability and are easier to position.
Most adult snowboard sizes range from 128cm to 160+cm. So, when asking, “What size snowboard do I need?” you can refer to the following snowboard size chart below as a starting point.
Your Weight Snowboard Length
110-120 128-136 cm
115-130 133-141 cm
125-135 139-147 cm
135-145 144-152 cm
140-155 149-157 cm
150-165 154-162 cm
160-175 159-167 cm
170-185 160-168 + cm
180-195 165 + cm
190-205+ 165+ cm
Let’s talk about men’s shoes size and see how that affects their choice of snowboard size. You might be asking, “Do I need a wide snowboard?” Men’s snowboards range in width from regular to mid-wide to wide. Regular width boards are genarally made for men with a shoe size of 10.5 or smaller. Mid-Wide boards are made for shoe sizes of 10 to 12, and wide boards are made for shoe sizes of 11 and up. Yes, there’s some overlap in the shoe sizes vs. board width but hey, every manufacturer has different standards so try and be understanding okay dude?
Here’s some additional factors to keep in mind when choosing a snowboard size;
- if you are a beginner, choose a shorter board for your size for greater maneuverability
- if you are “above average” in weight, choose a longer snowboard
- if you are an all-mountain or powder boarder, choose a longer board
- if you are a park or freestyle boarder, choose a shorter board
Before you lay out a few Benjamins for a snowboard, I suggest you rent several different sizes and types and experiment to see which board suits your needs and skill level the best.
A great way to test different snowboards is to find a resort that is having a demo day. Demo days are when snowboard manufacturers loan out their brand of snowboard for the day to allow others to try them out. Most of the time you can use a demo board for free if you have a valid drivers license or credit card.
The bottom line is this…stop asking, “What size snowboard I need?”, because you can buy 2 snowboards of the exact same length and you may find one more to your liking than the other. Snowboards from different manufacturers, although they may be the same size, will perform significantly different on the mountain.