Learning to ride is a lot like learning to read—you can start a book if you don’t know the alphabet, and you can’t snowboard if you don’t know how it works. Skiing and snowboarding have their own unique language, and understanding key vocabulary is essential to learning the basics. In this post, we’re going to review every part of the snowboard so you can begin to expand your slope-side knowledge.
Every snowboard has a nose and a tail. These are sometimes referred to as the tip and the tail. The nose, or tip, if at the front when you are riding in a normal riding position—either regular or goofy. The tail is behind your back foot. The bottom of your board, also known as the base, is the part of the equipment that is in frequent contact with the snow. This part is made of a porous material called polyethylene. Unlike surfing, this is the part of the board you will wax; the polyethylene soaks of wax when heated, which will allow you to more easily glide over the snow. It is essential to wax your board regularly to ensure maximum speed and efficiency.
The top of your board, known as the topsheet, is where your bindings attach. This is often the part of the board to display graphics and designs. The bindings are what keep your feet attached to the snowboard while in motion. The bottom of each binding is referred to as the baseplate; this will often have a disk to allow you to change the angle of the bindings. Bindings come in several styles, but most have ankle and toe straps to secure the boot to the board.
We’re almost done—hanging in there?
Each snowboard has a metal edge that travels around the base of the board. This allows you to dig into the snow while making turns. The edge under your toes is called the toe edge, and the edge under your heels is called the heel edge. The edge, topboard, and base combine to make a shape. The hourglass shape you see is called the sidecut—a design element which allows you to turn. Without a sidecut, you will not be able to turn.
Those are the basic board parts. Take a few minutes, let that sink in, then continue to our profile guide for understanding how the base of the board sits on the snow.