best snowboards for beginners

The 13 Best Snowboards For Beginners [2024]

by Ben
Updated:

In the market for your first snowboard?

Congrats! 

But be warned, picking your perfect snowboard is no easy task. There are hundreds of boards out there these days!

Luckily, my snowboarding addiction has driven me to test almost every one of them. And after careful deliberation, I’m ready to announce the best snowboards for beginners. 

Drumroll please…

The Best Beginner Snowboards are the:

  1. Nitro Prime Raw
  2. K2 Standard 
  3. Rossignol District
  4. Arbor Foundation 
  5. Salomon Sight 
  6. Burton Instigator 
  7. Salomon Pulse 
  8. GNU GWO 
  9. Ride Agenda 
  10. Nidecker Score 
  11. Burton Ripcord
  12. Bataleon Chaser 
  13. Rome Mechanic 

You’ll notice there’s a wide range of brands, models and price points. Rest assured… if they made the list, they’re a very worthy mountain companion. 

Keep reading to hear the nitty gritty!

Features of The Best Beginner Snowboards

Be warned, snowboard manufacturers are about to bombard you with marketing jargon. Can’t really blame them, it is their job after all.

But let’s talk about what really matters when choosing your snowboard. 

1. Soft to Medium Flex Ratings

soft snowboard boot flex chart

Flex ratings are super important when it comes to beginner boards. A soft to medium flex provides a stable but forgiving platform. Stiffer snowboards are great for high speed carving, but have a very steep learning curve.

Snowboard brands tend to provide a stiffness rating from 1-10 (10 being the stiffest). You should aim for a 3-5. 

2. The Right Shapes

Snowboard shapes are pretty straightforward. Beginners should choose between a twin or directional board. 

As the name suggests, twin boards are symmetrical end-to-end*. This allows them to ride just as well backwards (switch) as forwards.

Directional boards are slightly setback, with a longer nose than tail. This helps with turn initiation and all-mountain versatility. 

*Directional twins have a slightly longer nose than tail. This is usually very subtle. 

3. Hybrid, Flat or Rocker Profiles

Snowboarding profiles are essentially the way the board bends, visible when looking at the board side-on. 

The different types of profile are a common source of confusion for beginners!

To keep it simple, aim for a rocker or rocker-dominant hybrid profile. Flat profiles work too. Don’t worry though, every board listed below has a carefully chosen beginner-friendly profile. 

The Best Snowboards For Beginners

1. The Nitro Prime Raw

Editor's Choice!
The Nitro Prime Raw
9.5/10 Our Score

Flex: 5/10
Profile: Flat-Out-Rocker
Base: Premium Extruded
Shape: All-Mountain Directional
Pairs With: Salomon Rhythms
Additional Features: Power Core

  • The Best Snowboard for Beginners 2024
  • Excellent value for money!
  • Super forgiving hybrid flat camber profile 
  • Surprisingly poppy 
  • Clean cut aesthetics 

✖️ Not the best board for icy conditions (lacks camber)

More Details: 

The Nitro Prime Raw snagged the top-spot this season… and for good reason!

With a super strong extruded base, an unbeatable price-point and plenty of pop, what’s not to love?

The Prime’s flat-out-rocker utilizes rockered tips with a flat section underfoot. This provides easy turn initiation, excellent float and a catch-free ride. 

flat out rocker nitro prime profile

As the cheapest board on the list, I was also forced to award bonus points for the best bang for your buck!

The video below is a little outdated now, but gives you a general overview. 

Personal Thoughts: 

I had a great time on the Prime!

I pushed it to the edge of it’s abilities in the park, on groomers and even off-piste. It held up super well across the board. 

The fact that it’s significantly cheaper than every other board on the list is outrageous. Okay, perhaps the edge-hold on firm-ground could be improved… but at this price-point, it’s more than adequate. 

The Verdict: 

Overall, the Prime is a great option for most beginners. The price-point is perfect, leaving you scope to upgrade in a few seasons without feeling too guilty. 

I’ve never given a directional beginner’s board this high a score, but the shape is really well-balanced. I’ve recommended it to several of my students, all of whom have loved it.

2. The K2 Standard

Most Forgiving
The K2 Standard
9.4/10 Our Score

Flex: 4/10
Profile: Directional Rocker
Base: Extruded
Shape: Directional Twin
Pairs With: Burton Freestyles
Additional Features: Catch-free Tune (reduced falls)

  • One of my favorite beginner snowboards
  • Also more than capable of intermediate riding
  • Super easy turn initiation
  • Reduced edge catchiness (is that a word?)

✖️ A little on the soft side for larger riders

More Details: 

The K2 Standard comes in at a very close second place. 

Thanks to the Catch-Free Tune (rounding off the edges at the contact points) and rocker profile, it offers a super-forgiving, catch-free ride. 

It’s a little softer and more twinned out than the Prime, making it a touch better for freestyle and switch riding. 

k2 standard beginners snowboard

If you're new to snowboarding or an intermediate rider looking to push your skills, the K2 Standard Snowboard is the gold-standard! It's a rockered board with point-and-shoot turn initiation, a soft flex, and a snappy aspen wood core that provides a playful and forgiving ride.

Personal Thoughts: 

Another incredible snowboard for beginners. Honestly, I had a super hard time choosing between this and the Prime. 

Both boards are perfect introductions to the sport (whilst being capable of progressing into intermediate territory).

The Verdict: 

Ultimately, the Prime cinched the top spot due to it’s outstanding value for money. The crazy part is that the K2 Standard is totally reasonably priced… Nitro just came in even lower. 

Finances aside, both are great options. I’d choose the K2 Standard if you’re slightly more freestyle-inclined (tricks and spins). Go with the Prime for a more rounded ride. 

Honestly though, there’s nothing one board can do that the other can’t. The choice is yours!

3. The Rossignol District

Freestyle Pick
The Rossignol District
9.2/10 Our Score

Flex: 3/10
Profile: Amptek Auto-Turn (Hybrid)
Base: Extruded
Shape: True Twin
Pairs With: Burton Freestyles
Additional Features: Tough ABS Sidewalls

  • Super buttery, freestyle fun 
  • Extremely easy board to learn on
  • Allows fast progression
  • Keep it for your park deck if you decide to build a quiver (collection) of boards in the future

✖️ Slightly less versatile than the first two options (a little more park orientated)

More Details: 

We’ve had a directional and a directional twin snowboard… how about a true twin?

Introducing the Rossignol District!

Sitting squarely towards the freestyle end of the spectrum, the District was designed with progression in mind. Rossignol have made this deck super strong, super forgiving and with super easy turn initiation. (Did I mention it’s super?). 

Personal Thoughts:

This board is fun!

Turn initiation is perfect for new riders, as is the soft but lively flex. I had a ball sending spins off every side-hit in sight.

Personally, I found the flex a little too soft for high-speed riding, although I’m on the *ahem* heavier-side presently. 

The Verdict: 

If you have freestyle aspirations, this could be the perfect beginner’s snowboard. It’s clearly set up to offer the most pain-free learning experience available.

It’s also totally capable of all-mountain riding (though less so than previous options).

I would also consider buying this board if you anticipate “upgrading” to advanced options in the near future. The District wouldn’t become obsolete as you could keep it as your dedicated freestyle board. 

4. The Arbor Foundation

Best Edge Hold
The Arbor Foundation
9.2/10 Our Score

Flex: 4/10
Profile: System Rocker
Base: Extruded
Shape: Directional Twin
Pairs With: Burton Freestyles
Additional Features: Grip Tech

  • One of the more confidence-inspiring beginner boards
  • More rocker means less edge catching and easier turns 
  • Better edge hold in ice and hardpack (Grip Tech)
  • Designed to tackle the whole mountain 

✖️ The rockered profile makes for a looser, skatey vibe. Some people (like me) love this, but others don't.

More Details: 

Arbor make beautiful snowboards, and the Foundation model is no different.

This directional twin, rockered, all-mountain steed is well worth your consideration. 

Worried about icy or hard-pack conditions? Arbor have upgraded this bad boy with Grip Tech – their proprietary edge-hold technology which sees additional contact points along both edges. These grip into the snow during turns.

The only other board offering something like this is the Gnu GWO

Built to grow your skills, the Arbor Foundation Snowboard checks all the boxes for beginners moving from greens to blues and beyond. A system rocker profile provides a forgiving and easy-to-control experience when you're learning the ropes, and its lightweight highland wood core and durable wrapped sidewalls are built to last.

Personal Thoughts:

This is my kinda board! 

Not only does it look amazing (which let’s be honest, matters), it provides a super fun and forgiving ride.

As one of the more rockered boards on the list, there’s some of that classic “loose” rocker feel underfoot. Not a lot. But enough to provide the surfy feeling I look out for. 

The Verdict: 

Another great all-round option. If you’re a skater or surfer, you’ll probably love this board. The board is backed up by Grip Tech, so while the turn transitions are somewhat “loose”, the boards’ edges will hold strong. If this sounds like your vibe, you’ll want to check out the GWO and Bataleon Chaser too. 

5. The Salomon Sight

Freeride Pick
The Salomon Sight
9.1/10 Our Score

Flex: 5/10
Profile: Cross (Rocker Hybrid)
Base: Extruded EG
Shape: Tapered Directional
Pairs With: Burton Missions
Additional Features: Cork Rails 

  • Best Beginner Snowboard for Freeriders
  • Designed for speed and learning to carve
  • Best option if you plan to tackle some powder 
  • More stable at speed than the options above

✖️ Less freestyle capable
✖️ More difficult to learn switch riding

More Details:

Next on the list, a particularly rare breed… a free-ride focused snowboard for beginners!

99% of the time, snowboard manufacturers design their beginner boards with a soft flex and a freestyle focus. This suits the majority of new riders just fine. 

But what about the rider who’s main goals include carving hard, riding fast and eventually venturing into powder?

Well my speed-hungry friend, the Salomon Sight might interest you!

best freeride snowboard for beginners (salomon sight)

The Salomon Sight is the best freeride snowboard for beginners. Actually, I guess it’s more of an “all-mountain freeride board”. It can be ridden anywhere, but has better powder performance than most. 

salomon sight snowboard for beginners

The Sight offers a tapered directional shape (a wider and longer nose), medium flex and a rockered profile. These features make for extremely easy turn initiation, excellent carving ability and much improved powder performance. 

salomon sight beginners freeride snowboard

Personal Thoughts:

I first hopped on the Sight several years back. I kinda liked it then, but I’m pleased to say it’s a completely different beast these days. 

The newly tapered design makes it super simple to initiate (and hold onto) turns, but it’s not so tapered as to no longer be versatile. The firmer tail gives it plenty of pop and kept my nose from sinking in powder.

Good job Salomon!

The Verdict: 

This is a great option if cruising, turning and slashing are likely to be your priority. Maybe you’ll dabble in some freestyle, but it’s not your first-love.

This also suits older beginners, who often have less inclination to explore the terrain park. 

6. The Burton Instigator

The Burton Instigator
9.1/10 Our Score

Flex: 3/10
Profile: Flat Top (Flat/Rocker)
Base: Extruded
Shape: Directional Twin
Additional Features: The Channel System 

  • A forgiving, all-mountain slayer 
  • Designed with fast progression in mind 
  • Compatible with EST bindings (better board feel)
  • Awesome for learning butters and presses 

✖️ Slightly too soft for me, larger riders would probably overpower it

More Details:

I’m sure you’ll have heard of Burton, a small snowboard start-up turned global snowboard brand. Well, here’s the best Burton snowboard for beginners…

Keeping with the all-mountain freeride vibes, it’s the Burton Instigator!

This board has a forgiving flat top profile, mellow directional twin shape and playful, buttery flex. As with the Salomon Sight, it also has a little bit of taper. 

Personal Thoughts:

I was lucky enough to get a pure powder day when I tested this powder pup!

I therefore had an absolute blast, but some of that may be attributed to powder mania. 

Having said that, the instigator performed really well. I was also able to test the camber variation. This was a little poppier and a lot less forgiving. The Flat Top is therefore the better choice for most beginner’s. 

The Verdict: 

All-Mountain Freeride snowboarders may be stuck between this and the Salomon Sight. 

If you’d like to try the unmatched customization of EST bindings and The Channel System, this is a great choice. 

If you want a more moderate flex rating and marginally more versatility, go with the Sight

7. The Salomon Pulse

Camber Option
The Salomon Pulse
9/10 Our Score

Flex: 3/10
Profile: Flat Out Camber
Base: Extruded
Shape: Directional Twin
Additional Features: Bite Free Edge Bevel

  • Another great beginner snowboard from Salomon
  • Super fun - loves to pop and spin around the mountain
  • Excellent price point

✖️ Only option with no rocker (slightly more catchy, but also more pop)

More Details:

Salomon again? What can I say, they’ve had a great year!

The Pulse is their freestyle all-mountain offering.

It’s the only board on the list to feature a more camber-dominant profile. I normally avoid camber for beginners. Whilst it offers superior edge hold and pop, it can be a cruel mistress. 

The Salomon Pulse has gotten around this by using their Bite Free Edge Bevel. This simply means they’ve detuned the contact points (where the board touches the snow), which reduces the risk of catching an edge. 

Personal Thoughts:

What a nifty little board!

This board wants to pop, spin and make super fast turns. The camber is noticeable, but by no means unforgiving. 

A great freestyle-focused all-mountain board for beginners. 

The Verdict: 

If you would like to try the power of camber, without risking a limb in the process, the Salomon Pulse is a great option!

8. The Gnu GWO BTX

East Coast Pick
The GNU GWO BTX
9/10 Our Score

Flex: 4-5/10
Profile: Banana (Hybrid Rocker)
Base: Extruded
Shape: True Twin
Additional Features: Magne-Traction

  • Easiest turn initiation on the market!
  • Great investment for progression (especially freestyle)
  • Excellent for ice and hardpack (Magne-Traction)
  • Loving the retro-aesthetics 

✖️ A little more expensive
✖️ The skate-like feel of Banana profiles isn't for everyone

Details:

Lib Tech and Gnu have been making beginner snowboards for years now. a feature many of them have in common is their “Banana Profile”. 

gnu banana snowboard profiles

This is essentially a hybrid rocker profile, with a rocker section between your feet and mild camber underfoot. The resulting boards have easier turn initiation, better powder float and pretty decent pop (for a rocker/hybrid). 

One such board is the Gnu GWO BTX. 

The Gnu GWO (Gnu World Order) BTX is packed with tech. Not only does it utilize their classic Banana Profile, it also benefits from their industry-leading Magne-Traction

Much like the Arbor Foundation’s Grip-Tech, Magne-traction increases edge-hold. This involves 7 additional serrated contact points along the edges, each gripping into the snow when you turn. 

Fun, easy to ride and packed with performance features the GWO is the culmination of decades of all terrain freestyle resort focused snowboard design. A ready for everything, catch free, carvy, floaty BTX Hybrid contour. Magne-Traction® serrated edges offer effortless edge hold on ice and hardpack. Lively, poppy, long lasting eco-friendly construction with a fast low maintenance base.

Personal Thoughts:

I was pretty impressed with the build quality, tech and design of this one. It’s a little more expensive than other’s on the list, but could be a worthy investment if your pockets are flexible…

If freestyle’s your goal, this board can take you way beyond beginner level, all whilst being forgiving from the start. 

Personally, I enjoyed the “loose” turn transitions of the Banana profile. Though I’m aware some rider’s prefer the more precise feel of camber. 

The Verdict:

If you’re looking for an all-mountain freestyle ripper, with a fun profile and edge-hold technology, this is it. East Coast riders (where resorts are often icy and firm) should strongly consider this option. 

9. The Ride Agenda

The Ride Agenda
8.9/10 Our Score

Flex: 3-4/10
Profile: Hybrid
Base: Extruded
Shape: True Twin
Additional Features: Slimewalls® (shock absorbers)

  • One of the best freestyle snowboards for beginners
  • Exceptionally easy-going and easy to press
  • A smooth and chatter-free ride

✖️ Likely to need swapping out for a more aggressive board once you hit intermediate+

Details:

The agenda is a pretty classic freestyle snowboard for beginners. 

It has a hybrid profile, true twin shape and Ride’s proprietary Slimewall shock absorbers. I’m a big fan of this year’s graphic too. 

Personal Thoughts:

The Agenda is a straightforward, trustworthy freestyle deck. 

It’s on the softer side, which was great for getting into butters and presses, but not quite so good for popping out of them. 

The Verdict: 

For beginners (which is who we’re all here for after all) this is a great introductory deck. But stronger or more advanced riders may need a little more oomph. 

10. The Nidecker Score

The Nidecker Score
8.9/10 Our Score

Flex: 5/10
Profile: CamRock (Hybrid)
Base: Sintered
Shape: True Twin
Additional Features: Absorbnid (shock absorbing top layer)

  • A super-responsive, slightly more aggressive option
  • Stiffest on the list - handles speed with ease
  • Great option for larger/stronger riders
  • Capable of progressing with you to intermediate level
  • Only sintered base option (faster)

✖️ Probably too much board for lighter riders

Details:

Another absolute gem of a beginner snowboard. The Nidecker Score burst onto the scene, with classic true twin shaping, a proven profile and tons of tech features. 

They’ve even thrown in a premium sintered base (faster and more wax-absorbent but slightly less durable). 

Personal Thoughts:

I’ll be honest, this was one of my favorites. I rode it for way longer than I needed to (I kept it for weeks!). 

It was fun, fast and super poppy (thanks to the camber between the bindings). It’s also great value for money, especially with a sintered base and high-end top-sheet. 

When reflecting and adding up the scores though, I did realise it’s perhaps a little too aggressive for some newcomers. It’s by no-means a stiff deck, but with 5/10 flex and a camber dominant profile, I couldn’t rank it much higher up the list.

The Verdict: 

Perfect for stronger or heavier beginners, or those looking for a board that will keep up with them as they progress. 

11. The Burton Ripcord

The Burton Ripcord
8.8/10 Our Score

Flex: 3/10
Profile: Flat Top
Base: Extruded
Shape: Directional
Additional Features: Easy Bevel

  • A rare example of a beginner-friendly freeride option
  • Best for powder riding (other than the Salomon Sight)
  • Great way to get into speed, carving and powder without an aggressive/stiff board

✖️ A little too soft to be a pure freeride snowboard
✖️ Harder to ride switch

Details:

Burton are back!

The Ripcord is another of the best beginner snowboards. It’s also another of the rarer “freeride all-mountain” variety. 

Once again we’re seeing a directional shape and a flat/rocker profile; the hallmarks of a beginner-friendly carving machine. 

Personal Thoughts:

This would be a really nice introductory board for the budding freerider. Unlike most freeride and all-mountain freeride snowboards, it was soft flexing and included Easy Bevel*.

This results in a mellow, forgiving and accessible ride. 

*The edges are slightly lifted in key areas to prevent edge-catching. 

The Verdict: 

A very nicely made board, which could provide the perfect introduction to carving and powder.  

However, I did find it a little too soft to consider it a pure freeride deck. Heavier riders are likely to overpower it, and more advanced riders will want a little more response. They’d instead be better off with the Salomon Sight.

12. The Bataleon Chaser

3BT Option
The Bataleon Chaser
8.7/10 Our Score

Flex: 3/10
Profile: Hybrid Rocker
Base: Extruded (Super Slick X)
Shape: Directional
Additional Features: 3BT™

  • A new entry to our best beginner snowboards' list!
  • Super soft, super easy going, super simple turn initiation 
  • Extremely catch-free due to 3BT (raised edges)
  • Great for trying your first tricks and spins 

✖️ 3BT can be a "love it or hate it" feature
✖️ Edge hold can't rival boards like the Arbor Foundation & Gnu GWO

Details:

Bataleon have been making fun and surfy snowboards for years. The Chaser is their best beginner snowboarding, offering their top-level tech in a more user-friendly package. 

Of course, you’ll be getting their 3BT technology. This means that the board is crafted with 3 distinct panels, the outer of each is lifted slightly from the snow. 

You might be able to make this out in the picture below. 

battalion chaser 2024 - beginner snowboard

3BT results in “rolling” edge transitions, making for easy turn initiation and a skate-like feel. You’ll also find the edges much more forgiving. 

The Bataleon Chaser Snowboard makes it easier to chase down those small, everyday wins with a design that encourages progression. A soft flex, full wood core, and Bataleon's signature Triple Base Technology™ combine for a smooth, easygoing ride that puts your riding front and center.

Personal Thoughts:

I’m a big Bataleon fan… So I knew I’d like their latest offering. It was super easy to ride, allowed effortless turns and loved to press. 

A common criticism of 3BT boards is their lack of edge hold. Personally, I found the Chaser’s edge hold was perfectly adequate. Okay, not as precise as boards with Grip-Tech or Magne-traction, but still pretty darn good!

The Verdict: 

Another forgiving, fun, poppy and surfy all-mountain freestyle stick. If you fancy trying 3BT, here’s your chance.

13. The Rome Mechanic

The Rome Mechanic
8.7/10 Our Score

Flex: 4/10
Profile: Contact Rocker
Base: Impact Extruded
Shape: True Twin
Additional Features: Bamboo Hot Rods

  • Super stoked to include Rome on the list (they make great boards)
  • A mellow freestyle ripper
  • Will easily carry through to intermediate riding (and beyond)
  • Hot rods add a nice amount of snap (crackle) and pop

✖️ A little less versatile. Definitely more park-orientated
✖️ Probably a touch too stiff for smaller beginners

Details:

Last but not least, the fun-inducing Rome Mechanic. 

Rome are an underrated snowboard brand, making excellent gear under an industry-leading warranty. 

Personal Thoughts:

The Mechanic is a super-solid all-mountain freestyle choice, with far more pop than I’d anticipated. For a true twin, it was a carver and speed-demon too. 

It’s certainly a touch stiffer than it’s 3-4 flex rating would suggest though. 

The Verdict: 

In the unlikely circumstance that you’re unimpressed with the options above, the Rome Mechanic is a worthy choice!

Final Thoughts

Those are the official best snowboards for beginners!

Hopefully you just discovered your perfect board!?

If not, I’d also 100% recommend checking out our complete guide to choosing a snowboard. It’ll attempt to answer all of your questions about snowboard tech. 

Want advice on a board that didn’t make the list?

Drop me a comment or shoot me an email. 

Happy riding!

FAQ's

Your most frequently asked questions - answered!

The best snowboard brands for beginners include Nitro, Salomon, Burton, Rossignol and K2. These companies all produce high-quality, dedicated snowboards for beginners.

For example: 

Sure. A beginner can ride an intermediate snowboard, but it might be more challenging. Intermediate boards are stiffer and faster, providing less room for error.

However, if you’re up for the challenge you could potentially benefit by not having to upgrade as quickly once you progress. 

For a great selection of intermediate boards, head to the best all round snowboards of the season

Beginner snowboards are typically more flexible and forgiving, allowing maneuverability and reduced chances of falls. They often feature a twin shape for easier switch riding. 

On the other hand, advanced snowboards are stiffer and designed for high-speed stability and precision. They have a distinct directional shape and complex profiles that cater to specific high-performance riding needs. They demand more skill to control.

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1 comment

Greg 18/03/2024 - 1:45 am

Insanely helpful. Can’t wait to ride it!

Reply

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