When buying a snowboard, determine riding style, test drive the board if possible, and consider the size, type and shape of the board. Also, extensively research possible boards by reading and asking questions of people who already own them.
Boards are categorized by the rider's skill level and the terrain on which the board is used. Beginner boards have a softer flex and are more easily maneuverable. Due to the materials used in making the board, beginner boards are cheaper than those used by intermediate or advanced riders.
A freestyle board is stiff with little flex and functional on most mountain terrain or advanced park rides, while a board with a more flexible deck is specifically for park riding. All-mountain boards are the most versatile of any type, performing on back country, groomed, park and pipe runs.
Some resorts have demo days with boards available to try a few runs, or a half-day. Local shops may offer this as well.
Some boards are categorized by age and gender. Parents should avoid getting their child an adult board, as it is unmanageable and slows the child's overall skill development. Also, some boards are gender-specific, with women's boards built for a smaller frame and more narrow stance.