When it comes to skiing or snowboarding having the right equipment is vital for your safety and enjoyment of the sport. Along with possessing the correct gear you should also be trained in their basic usage, otherwise you risk a nasty fall on the slopes.

Your snowboarding experience will be shaped by what equipment you use. The top priority for anyone new to snowboarding is to get the right board. Novices will be overwhelmed at the choices available; boards come in a variety of sizes and designs, so it pays to do your homework before taking the plunge.

Selecting the board size is fairly straightforward. Simply pick one that is appropriate for your height, weight and age group. Choosing the style of the board, unfortunately, is not as simple. Snowboarding boards have different designs that are geared towards a particular style or terrain. These include freestyle boards, free ride boards and alpine boards. Here is a quick description of each:

Freestyle Boards

If you are a beginner you probably will want to start with a freestyle board. Unlike other board styles, both ends of a freestyle board are the same, meaning there’s not differentiation between the front of the board and its back. The board’s uniform design and short, wide shape makes it ideal for novice snowboarders still finding their balance. Freestyle boards require soft, short shoes.

Free Ride Boards

The most popular type of snowboarding board, a free ride board has a directional shape with a narrow, thin tail and a thicker, wide tip. Unlike the uniform design of the freestyle board, free ride boards are meant to move in only one direction. Their more rigid design also means that free ride boards are great at handing a greater variety of ground-snow conditions.

Alpine or Race Boards

Narrower than both freestyle or free ride boards, Alpine boards are ideal for high speed runs and sharp turns. Their thin design and increased stability makes them popular with professional snowboarders taking part in competitions. Unlike freestyle or free ride boards, Alpine boards require a hard ski shoe.

After you have selected your board, you need to brush up on a few snowboarding basics. The most important thing to remember when it comes to snowboarding is to keep your body relaxed. Your legs should be slightly bent at the knees to handle all the bumps and jolts you will experience as you traverse the slopes. The key to snowboarding is to stay loose and flexible at all times- if you remain tense and stiff you will never learn to properly manoeuvre on a board.

Snowboarding gear can be expensive. Consider borrowing a friend’s board for your first time on the snow. If you don’t have any friends who are into snowboarding and don’t want to spend the big bucks buying your own equipment, then you may want to check out the many excellent rental shops that hire out skiing and snowboarding equipment at great prices. What’s more, they can also help select the right size and style board for you.