Ever wonder what the differences are in Racing vs. Freestyle snowboarding gear?
Well, we thought we'd share this little nugget of alpine snowboarding information with you.
Sometimes called 'Race', 'Carving' or 'Alpine' Snowboards. These snowboards are narrower than freestyle boards and almost look like an enlarged ski. Carving snowboards are also longer and much more stiff in their construction. They are designed specifically for speed on hard groomed snow and one directional riding. The width and stiffness also allow for cleaner & quick edge turns and effective edge-holding power on hard snow.
Alpine Snowboards are mainly preferred by Snowboard racers for a great day of fresh unridden powder. Keep in mind that alpine Snowboards are configured for riding and carving downhill, not for doing tricks. You'll hurt yourself.
Here's a photo for reference.
These boots are definitely intended for serious carvers, not for recreational snowboarders.
Hardboots provide the ultimate ankle and lower leg support. They have molded and padded inner linings to secure your foot while the outer hard plastic injection molded shell restricts the range of motion. This is key for snowboard racers and hard carvers to make those high speed turns on mostly hard packed snow.
These may look a lot like traditional ski boots - however, manufacturers have made particular adjustments to specifically accommodate the ride of an alpine board and the snowboarders' movements.
think you see the pattern here - everything about alpine or race snowboarding involves how stiff you can get your gear while still allowing for flexibility your body needs for hard curves.
Bindings are no different. Alpine snowboard bindings are step in and have solid bases (solid titanium is pretty common).
Based on the difference in equipment and performance needs, the rider set up is also different. Whereas freestyle riders will either be goofy or regular, the stance needed for alpine snowboarding and tight curves is quite different.
With narrow boards, the binding angles on the board are at a much higher angle across the board to avoid heel or toe drag. Where a freestyle rider might ride angles of 12-18 degrees on the front foot, and 0 to -12 degrees on the back foot, an alpine setup is more like 45 degrees on the front foot and 40 degrees on the back. This dramatically changes the appearance of the riders’ stance and alignment on the board and provides the ultimate set up for speed and tight curves.
Whether you're more of an alpine snowboarder or a freestyle snowboarder - get yourself the right gear!