Understanding the differences between freestyle and all-mountain snowboards is super important!
They offer completely different rides!
In this article, I’ll delve into the features of freestyle and all-mountain snowboards. More importantly, which one is right for you?
All mountain vs freestyle snowboards… let’s dive in!
Freestyle snowboards are purpose-built for the terrain park and performing tricks.
They prioritize agility, maneuverability, and playfulness, allowing you to tackle rails, jumps, and halfpipes.
Freestyle boards generally have a few features in common:
- Shorter length: For increased flexibility, easier spins and faster turn initiation.
- Twin-tip shapes: This means the nose and tail are symmetrical. This allows riders to easily ride switch and perform tricks in both directions.
- Softer flex patterns: Allows easier presses and butters. This can also make for a more forgiving ride.
- A cheaper price-point: Whilst not always the case, park boards are often cheaper. They don’t usually need as much tech and are unfortunately more likely to be broken (on rails).
All Mountain Snowboards
As the name suggests, all-mountain snowboards handle a range of terrain and conditions.
They offer a more versatile riding experience, allowing riders to bomb groomers, explore the off-piste, and tackle powder.
All-mountain boards generally offer the following features:
- Medium Length: Adding a little length increases edge hold and carving ability.
- Medium flex patterns: A slightly firmer flex provides more stability, particularly at speed.
- Varied shapes: All-mountain boards can be true twin, directional twin or directional.
All Mountain Vs Freestyle Snowboards
- Versatility: handles the whole mountain, including groomers, powder, and park (though less specialized).
- Flex: medium. Less ideal for buttering, rails and presses but more well-rounded outside the park
- Shape: often directional twin - more nose than tail. This improves carving and powder performance. Can also be true twin or directional.
- Profile: Often a camber hybrid or full camber (improved edge hold and pop)
- Base: Sintered or extruded. Sintered is more popular (faster but more expensive)
- Length: Ride in your normal/average size
- Setback: Optional - can increase float in powder
- Price: $$$
- Versatility: a little less versatile. Designed to dominate terrain parks (though can still be taken outside the park)
- Flex: soft - medium. Easier to press, butter and hit rails. But less stable at speed or on ice.
- Shape: true twin. Rides the same forwards as backwards, perfect for nollies, spins and switch riding.
- Profile: hybrid or rocker. These are more forgiving and catch fewer edges.
- Base: often extruded. Cheaper, more durable and require waxing less often.
- Length: 3-5cm shorter. Easier to spin and throw around, but slightly reduced edge hold.
- Setback: very rarely - usually centered.
- Price: $$
What Is The Difference Between Freestyle and All Mountain Snowboards?
As you can see, there are a few differences between freestyle and all mountain snowboards.
Freestyle boards are usually softer, shorter, cheaper and designed specifically for park riding. All mountain boards are designed to ride in most terrains and are therefore firmer flexing and more cambered.
For more differences, scroll up to the comparison chart.
Should You Buy an All Mountain or Freestyle Snowboard?
This all comes down to personal preference.
If you plan to ride the whole resort, including groomed runs, off-piste and park, an all mountain board is the better option. On the other hand, if your primary focus is park riding (with the occasional venture elsewhere) a freestyle snowboard is the way to go.
My personal thoughts?
Most riders are better suited to an all-mountain board. Even beginners will benefit from the added versatility.
The best overall option is usually an all-mountain freestyle board.
Hopefully that all makes sense!
If you’re still lost, drop me a comment or email. I’ll do my best to help.
For some bedtime reading, I highly recommend my previous article explaining all-mountain snowboarding.
Answering your most frequently asked questions!
You can totally ride a freestyle board for all-mountain snowboarding, but it might not give you the best performance.
Freestyle boards are specifically built for park riding and may lack the stability and control you need for high-speed runs and bumpy terrain.
Of course. You can carve on any snowboard… with varying degrees of difficulty and success!
While not ideal, you can ride powder on a freestyle board. However, due to the shorter length and softer flex, it may be more challenging to stay afloat.
Adjustments like setting your bindings back and increasing your speed can help, but for regular powder riding, treat yourself to a dedicated powder board!
While all-mountain snowboards are not specifically designed for park riding, most are still extremely capable in the park.
Their versatility, medium flex and average size are well suited to freestyle riding.
Admittedly, presses and butters might be a little trickier compared to a pure freestyle board. But you’ll have a great time regardless.
Incidentally, these are the best boards for buttering.