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Tips for Buying Boarding Gear

Snowboarder gets big air at the 2001 Winter X Games.
Courtesy of Shazamm/ESPN
Pro snowboarders in the half-pipe use freestyle boards.
Buying a Snowboard

Thinking about buying a snowboard this winter? Here are some of the things you need to swirl around in your brain before spending your cash (or the cash you stole from your sister's piggy bank) on a snowboard.

Your Snowboarding Ability

If your only snowboarding experience is watching the Winter X Games on TV or playing SSX on your PS2, then consider yourself a beginner. Most companies now make snowboards especially designed for kids who are learning to board. You'll also find that freestyle snowboards are more flexible and easier to learn on.

Know Your Snowboarding Body Type

Just like a pair of jeans or shoes - snowboards are not one size fits all. A good rule to go by is that the board should stand between your chin and nose when you set it on its tail. Make sure the board is wide enough so your heel and toes don't drag in the snow while you turn. If you have big feet, you'll need a wider board. Your weight is also something to think about. If you're kinda heavy, find a board with a stiffer flex. If you're on the lighter side, get something that has a softer flex.

What's Your Snowboarding Style?

When buying a snowboard, think about what kind of riding you want to do. If you want to carve, hit the terrain park and ride through powder, buy a freeride board. These boards are flexible enough for beginners, but stiff enough to hold a turn in hard snow. If the only boarding you want to do is tricks in the half-pipe, jumps and rail slides, then you'll be looking to buy a freestyle board. These babies are lighter and more flexible which makes them perfect for ripping it up in the snow park.

Snowboard Graphics

Most snowboard companies are now putting out boards with funky graphics and artwork. Graphics shouldn't be the main thing you think about when buying a board, but take a look at what's out there. Most women's boards have some really cool designs as well. If you don't really like the graphics on your board, you can always slap on a sticker of your favorite band, slogan or sports team.

Snowboarding Dosh

Boards can range in price between $200 and $1,000. How much you spend will basically come down to how much you have - but spend your money wisely. If you're just learning to snowboard, you might want to save some of your cash so you can buy a nice pair of boots or a helmet. You can also look around for used boards if you're on a tight budget. Used boards can be found on the internet, in newspaper ads or by checking bulletin boards at your favorite hill. Many used boards can be just as fun to ride as the brand new, special edition ones you see in the store. You can also find a good deal on a snowboard by buying an older model and shopping during the summer when many stores are trying to get rid of older boards.

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