How Fast Do Snowboarders Go On Average? Amateur vs Pro

by Fraser

Most snowboarders love to test the limits. Whether flying high in the air or screaming down a black diamond. This got me wondering… how fast do snowboarders go?

On average, snowboarders travel at around 25mph (40km/h). Most snowboarders will reach top speeds of between 20mph (32km/h) and 55mph (89km/h). Professional snowboarders can travel much faster, often exceeding 60mph (96km/h). The world record snowboarding speed is 126mph (203km/h).

This article will help explain the factors that modify speed potential,  average snowboard speed, how much faster a pro can go, and what you need to know about traveling faster this season. 

I’ve given you the short answer above. Now let’s check out the specifics!

What Factors Affect Speed?

Before we break it down by skill level and averages, let’s talk about some of the aspects that will determine speed and maximum potential regardless of your pro/am status.

1. Snow Conditions

This has a major impact in maximum speed potential and there are multiple components to consider.

    • Powder -> Packed Powder -> Groomers.  Generally, all other things being equal, the more fluffy stuff, the slower you will go because of friction.  As the powder is packed down and the surface becomes more regular and ‘slick’ the friction goes down and the surface area in contact with the board decreases as well, with a predictable boost in speed.  Groomed runs can further add to the reduced surface area because the ribbons create pockets under the board that don’t make contact.  If you had a theoretical frictionless hover board and didn’t touch the snow at all, you’d achieve the fastest speeds, but well, then you’d hardly be able to call it snowboarding.
    • Cold snow is faster than slush.  Due to physics I won’t bore you with here, the slushy snow also creates more drag on the board, slowing you down.  As the temperature goes down, so does the coefficient of friction (oops, slipped in some jargon).  Suffice to say, if you want the fastest speeds, you’ll need cold snow.  Ice would be even faster technically, but we’d never recommend hunting for ice to increase your speed!

2. Pitch of the Vertical Kind

Just about every one learns this on the playground slides or after skinning their knee on a bike.  The steeper it is the faster you go – I feel silly even having to say this as it, ahem, goes without saying.  You’ll achieve faster acceleration (how quickly you go quickly) with a steeper angle of descent.  Cliffs are as steep as they come and if you just jump off one, you’ll have maximum acceleration and the greatest chance of reaching terminal velocity, which is the maximum possible speed reached in freefall, but just like the ice, we can’t recommend going for the max by jumping off a cliff as that could be – terminal. 

3. Snowboard Factors

Here too we have aspects that contribute to friction and drag.  We could spend a lot of time here, but we’ll keep it brief

    • Waxed boards will be slicker on the snow, and typically will move faster.
    • Damage like scrapes and gouges in the board snag the snow and slow you down
    • Length, width and shape play a role and that is complicated by the snow as well and how the floats.  In general more surface area means a better distribution of weight across the surface and you’ll go faster – instead of digging into the snow you’ll ‘float’ on top.  Longer boards relative to their width go faster as well, but don’t try and make a 30′ board though just to go fast, you would be unable to control it and turn into a meat missile heading for certain doom. 

4. The Rider

  • Weight – heavier means more force from gravity, generally leading to higher speed, but it gets complicated because of increased drag and friction on the snow.
  • Drag from the air – if you open your jacket and make a sail, it’ll slow you down, what a drag (see what I did there?).  Tuck and minimize your profile and you’ll speed up.

Get the Right Sized Board

You can use our snowboard size calculator to drill down to the right size for you based on your personal factors like height, weight, shoe size, riding style and skill level.

How Fast Do Snowboarders Go?

1. The Average Snowboard Speed For Amateurs

Okay, enough of the “why slow”/”why fast” stuff above, let’s get to the goods.

Ever straight-lined a hill from top to bottom? Feels pretty fast right? 

I decided to investigate the average snowboard speed and here’s what I found.

You might be surprised to know that the average snowboard speed for amateur riders is between 20mph and 30mph.  That’s as fast or faster than the fastest sprinters in the world, like Usain Bolt, who topped out at 27.33 MPH.    This is of course dependent on ability, the steepness of the slope, and other factors (see above).  Intermediate amateur riders can reach speeds of up to 55mph in short bursts.

That’s pretty darn fast! But I know what you’re thinking – how does your own snowboarding speed compare to the average?

how fast do snowboarders go?

Things To Consider Before Testing Your Top Speed On A Snowboard

How fast you can go depends mainly on your level of skill and your mindset. However, remember that some things are out of your control.  

I personally wouldn’t recommend testing your top speeds. It’s addictive and pushes you to ride dangerously! 

If you do still decide to challenge yourself, keep in mind to:

  • Stay in control by staying slightly on edge
  • Make sure the run is not crowded
  • Remain balanced and centered over your snowboard as much as possible
  • Understand the conditions of the hill that you are riding on
  • Wear safety gear!

Here’s Kev from snowboard pro camp safely tracking his speed. Notice he’s on an empty run! 

2. Personal Insight: My Average Speed

I know I’ve discouraged you from testing your own speeds, but it’s time I came clean. I did test my own average snowboard speed before writing this article. But strictly for research purposes! 

My average speed was 28mph, with a top speed of around 59mph. 

I did things slightly differently though, using a method that I found to be much safer:

Test your speed simply by using a tracking app on your phone. Leave it running all day and ride naturally, then take a look at the end of the day. This reduces the psychological temptation to push it super hard on a single given run!

3. What Is The Average Speed For A Pro Snowboarder?

If you’ve watched slalom snowboarding or snowboard cross then you’ll know the insane speeds pro’s can reach!

While it’s possible to go over 100 miles an hour (160.93 kph) on a snowboard, this is not the top speed that most snowboarders will reach in their lifetime, and probably for a good reason! This even includes pros.

Going that fast requires perfectly scouted conditions that the average snowboarder doesn’t have. So, how fast can the average pro snowboarder go?

On a typical everyday run, most pro snowboarders travel at average speeds of 25 to 40mph (40.23 to 64.37 kph). These experienced snowboarders can exceed 55mph (88.51 kph), however rarely need to unless in a racing competition

It’s very hard to obtain a true average speed for pro snowboarders. Let me tell you why.

Why The Average Varies Between The Pros

It isn’t easy to quantify the average speed, but typically a snowboarder with sufficient skill and experience will average around 25 miles per hour (40.23 kph) without breaking a sweat. And they will easily top speeds of 40 miles per hour (64.37 kph) when challenging themselves.

However, some pro snowboarders will top speeds of 100mph, whilst others rarely break the 50mph mark.

This is due to the many different disciplines that a pro snowboarder may specialise in. 

Some of the most common types of snowboarding include:

Certain styles of snowboarding are clearly better at slower to moderate speeds. You don’t need to hit a rail at 60mph!

4. How Fast Can a Pro Snowboarder Bomb a Hill?

“Bombing” a hill usually refers to straight-lining, meaning you won’t be carving or turning at all. As a result your speeds will usually be higher. 

A pro snowboarder can usually bomb a hill at well over 55 mph (88.51 kph). However, most people would not recommend bombing a hill on a snowboard, even for a pro.

There are just too many potential hazards that could endanger you and other people on the mountain. When professional riders attempt to break new speed records, the mountain will always be emptied first. 

Here are a few things to think about when bombing a hill:

  • Ice patches are common on mountains and hills.
  • You may find exposed grass or rocks at certain times of the year.
  • People appear out of nowhere at popular snowboard resorts!

Think twice before bombing a hill!

5. What Is The World Record?

The fastest snowboard speed ever recorded is simply unbelievable.

So much so that it deserved it’s own article. Follow the link to check out the details (and the video evidence). 


Snowboarding is an extreme sport designed to be performed at high speeds. A snowboard can therefore go as fast as you are willing and able to take it, of course with the considerations of what affects your speed discussed above.

Just remember the most important part… 

Being able to stop!

Make sure you’re riding within your ability and have brushed up on our learn to snowboard section before hitting the speed of sound!  

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