Q: What makes a great carving snowboard?
The short answer: Superlative edge hold and ease to engage in a carve. The art of carving, riding the edge and using the boards sidecut is a skill every snowboarder needs for keeping speed through flats in the park or down the face of a pipe. But this article is aiming to help you how to choose a dedicated carving snowboard, a board that’s shaped to being ridden on a groomed slope doing linked carved turns. That said, of course you can carve any snowboard. So what differs a board shaped specifically for carving compared to a run of the mill twin-tip freestyle snowboard?
Firstly: The best profile for a carving snowboard is directional shape which means that they are meant to be ridden primarily forward, as that is what you do most of the time when carving.
Secondly: A carving snowboard need a bigger turning radius compared to a standard snowboard. The reason for this is that when you properly edge and push a snowboard in to a carved turn it will turn a lot. And with a lot, we mean way more than the hypothetical number you see stated on spec sheets. If a freestyle snowboard has a 6-7 meter stated turning radius, a carving snowboard lands around 8-10 meter but can perform a 5 meter arc when ridden at speed and tilted high on edge.
Thirdly: Carving snowboards should be camber dominant. Most of the developments done in recent years, like full rocker and most hybrid shapes are there to make skidding easier, which is the total opposite to what you want as a carver. Early rise, a tiny prebend in the front section of the effective edge, is good for you as it makes the board turn in easier, but generally anything else than traditional camber will result in sub standard edging on hardpack. As a carver you want your board to catch an edge like the Cheater. If you are looking for something versatile that you can take everywhere we’ve developed the Bowlrider and the Shorty which will be super friendly and surfy outside the piste but at the same time will carve really well.
What to look for when choosing a carving snowboard?
Q; Is a wider snowboard better for carving?
Due to the hard edging at higher speeds proper sizing is very important. If your boots are overhanging the edge of your board it will result in loosing grip because the whole board will be lifted out of snow by your boots – heel or toe drag. Generally speaking boot sizes up to 43/US10.5 will fit inside a regular width board. If you got bigger boots go for a wide board. So yes a wider board is better for carving, but wide is not an end in it self just a mean for not booting out.
Q; What size on a carving snowboard?
Forget all your preconceived ideas about length of your board. If you wanna do clean high speed turns you need a certain amount of edge length to support you. Heavier rider equals a longer board as it’s pure physics involved. You need x amount of edge to support x amount of rider. And you should look for effective edge when deciding on board, not the total board length. Effective edge is the part of the board that is in contact with snow when you carve. The length of tip and tail does not add anything to your boards edge grip. Effective edge does. Go for a lot if you wanna carve the steeper stuff and not just soft slushy beginner runs. Stranda is one of few brands that offer longer boards for carving, like our 170 Cheater. It has 1429 mm (56.25 inches) off effective edge with a 8.5 meter sidecut. It may sound like a huge piece of gear, but in reality it turns like nothing else when you put it on edge. For many carvers this is the gold standard for deep euro carves.