The old fashioned way of measuring the right size snowboard was to stand the board up next to the rider, and pick a board that comes up to somewhere between the riders chin and nose.
Although a method like that will put you in the right ballpark, it is not really a good indicator of the best size board for you.
The best way to size a snowboard is based on the riders weight. If you have two guys, both 5″11″ (181cm) but one weighs 120lbs and the other 200lbs, they are going to need different sizes.
So obviously, there is not one board that is going to be as suitable for the lighter rider on the left compared to the heavier rider on the right.
Rough guide to what weights should go with what size (for an all-mountain board)
- 41kg / 90lb = 140cm
- 45kg / 100lb = 143cm
- 50kg / 110lb =146cm
- 54kg / 120lb =149cm
- 59kg / 130lb =152cm
- 64kg / 140lb =155cm
- 68kg / 150lb =158cm
- 73kg / 160lb =161cm
- 77kg / 170lb =162cm
- 82kg / 180lb =163cm
- 86kg / 190lb =164cm
- 91kg / 200lb =165cm
- 95kg / 210lb =166cm
- 100kg / 220lb =167cm
For example, I weigh 68kg (150lbs) so based on the above table I should be looking at a 158cm board.
This basic measurment is a good ballpark for sizing you for an all mountain board. Things change a little if you are planning on riding one type of terrain over another.
If you are planning on cruising all over the mountain, a little through the park and off-piste on pow days, stick to the original size should be pretty good.
If you like to do a lot of riding in the park, jumps, rails and jibs I would go at least one size down. This is going to help because you are able to manouvre and swing a slightly smaller board around easier, but it is not so small that you will have trouble landing bigger jumps. In my example it would be a 155cm
If you are someone who is looking at spending all day in the park, hiking rails and spending all your time jibbing, I would go two sizes smaller. You want a small easy to move board, and having a stiff and stable board is not needed (or ideal) for jibbing. In my example it would be 153cm or smaller board.
If you are buying a board for powder, I would go at least one or two sizes bigger. The larger the board, the more surface area you will have and the more float you will have. The less you are sinking in pow the better. For my real life powder board, I ride a 163cm, which is quite big but handles amazingly in deep snow.
Don’t get too caught up in the small details when trying to size your board, in real life you can ride any board anywhere, if you get the size in the right ballpark you will be fine.
Personally, I like to ride slightly shorter boards, and I recommend the same to most people. I have a 154cm board that I ride all over the mountain, it is fun everywhere from the groomed runs to the park, but it doesn’t do very well on powder days.
In short, rider a bigger board for powder, and smaller boards for jibbing.
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