Snowboards are boards, which resemble a wide ski, with the ability to glide on snow. Snowboards are differentiated from monoskis by the stance of the user. In monoskiing, the user stands with feet inline with direction of travel (facing tip of monoski/downhill) (parallel to long axis of board), whereas in snowboarding, users stand with feet transverse (more or less) to the longitude of the board. Users of such equipment may be referred to as snowboarders. Commercial snowboards generally require extra equipment such as bindings and special boots which help secure both feet of a snowboarder, who generally rides in an upright position. These type of boards are commonly used by people at ski hills or resorts for leisure, entertainment and competitive purposes in the activity called snowboarding.
Snowboards come in several different styles, depending on the type of riding intended:
- Freestyle: The most common type. Generally shorter in length with a Semi-directional or twin-tip shape. Moderate to soft in flex. Incorporates a deep sidecut for quick/tight turning. Used in the pipe and in the park on various jumps and terrain features including boxes, rails, and tables.
- Park/Jib (rails): flexible and short, twin shaped with a twin flex and a centered stance to allow easy switch riding, wider stance, with the edges filed dull. Used for skateboard-park like snowboard parks.
- Freeride: longer in length, and semi-directional. Moderate to stiff in flex. Used for long, fast turns in various types of snow from groomed hard-pack to soft powder.
- All-Mountain: Also very common. A mix between freeride and freestyle boards. The 'jack of all trades, master of none.' Normally directional in shape with either a twin or directional flex.
- Split: Not to be confused with the swallow-tail, the split board consists of a stable powder board that can be broken down into two touring skis, used when hiking in deep backcountry conditions.
- Racing/Alpine: Long, narrow, rigid, and directional shape. Used for slalom and giant slalom races, these boards are designed to excel on groomed slopes. Most often ridden with a "hard" plastic snowboard boot (similar to a ski boot), but also ridden recreationally with soft boots, particularly by riders in Europe.