Snowboards don’t last forever. It’s the sad but honest truth. One day even your absolute favorite board will be gathering dust in the garage. But how long do snowboards last?
An average snowboard lasts between 75 and 100 days of use before performance starts to decline. Snowboards can therefore last anywhere from one season to over a decade, depending on factors such as frequency of use, quality of materials, and maintenance.
Expected longer? There are many reasons to avoid pushing the lifespan of your board too far. Allow me to explain…
How Long Will Your Snowboard Last?
Some snowboards are destined to live longer lives than others. My Burton Fish lived a short but meaningful life, having saved me from a hidden tree root on my first day of snowboarding in Japan.
Accidents aside, there are many other factors involved in how long your snowboard will last. Here are the main ones:
1. How Many Days You Ride
An obvious but important factor. If you hit the slopes several times a week, your snowboard will inevitably experience more wear and tear than if you only snowboard a few times a year.
Frequent use causes the board’s edges to dull, the base to develop gouges and the board to lose pop. Nobody wants a flimsy noodle!
2. How Hard You Ride
If you’re crushing it in the park, your board hasn’t got long left. Especially if you’re jibbing or hitting rails. Whilst snowboard tech has come a long way, P-Tex bases don’t stand a chance against crusty metal grind rails.
Equally, if you’re a heavier or particularly aggressive rider, your snowboard is likely to lose it’s pop a lot quicker. To combat this, ensure you pick up a snowboard designed for bigger riders.
3. Snowboard Quality
The quality of the materials used is a significant factor in determining your board’s lifespan.
- High-quality snowboards are typically made from durable materials such as carbon fiber or Kevlar, which are more resistant to damage.
- Cheaper snowboards made from softer materials may be more affordable, but they’re also more susceptible to damage and may not last as long.
Choose a well-rated board from one of these reputable snowboard brands. Whilst this won’t guarantee a long life, it gives your board a much better chance.
You’re lazy. I’m lazy. Everyone’s lazy. But the more time you spend caring for your snowboard, the longer it will last. You don’t need to get crazy with it. Just make sure you at least do the basics:
- Regularly wax the board to prevent the base from becoming dry and brittle, which leads to cracking and peeling. Use rub-on wax if you’re short on time.
- Keep the edges sharp to maintain optimal edge hold. This will also remove small burrs or dings.
- Repair gouges quickly. If you get a core shot (the gouge reveals the internal wood) then a quick repair will stop water seeping in. Leaving it open can be a death sentence for your board.
- Bring your board inside, or at least somewhere dry. Rust sets in quicker than you might expect!
How To Know When It's Time For A New Snowboard?
If you’re asking this question, your trusty steed has probably ridden it’s last lap.
We all know the feeling…
You’re slower than your friends – even though you waxed your board last night! Turns feel lifeless. You’re popping with all your strength, and still struggling to clear the smallest jump.
Unfortunately, your board is probably ready for retirement.
But if you’re still not quite sure, here’s some sure-fire signs that you’re ready for a new board.
Damage: If your snowboard is cracked, has deep scratches, or has other damage that cannot be repaired, it’s time for a new one. If you’re unsure, send me a picture or ask your local shop.
Wear and tear: If your snowboard has been used heavily and shows significant wear and tear, such as the edges being worn down, it may be time to replace it. Edges and bases can only be tuned so many times before there’s nothing left!
Performance: If you’ve been riding the same snowboard for a few years and you’ve noticed that it’s not performing as well as it used to, it may be time to upgrade. Sorry!
Changes in riding preferences: If you’ve developed a love for the backcountry (which you will) then your old board may no longer be suitable.
Size: Gained or lost weight? Riding a board that is too small or too large will seriously affect your performance. Check what size you should be riding with our snowboard length calculator.
You’re losing camber: most boards have some camber in their profile. This is the section that curves upwards, providing a nice sidecut when turning. Over time, this becomes flatter, resulting in reduced responsiveness and pop.
To check whether the camber is wearing out, lay your board on a flat surface. The camber section should leave a small raised gap (until you apply pressure). Over time, this becomes flatter.
Note: Make sure you check whether your snowboard profile includes camber as some boards are designed flat or rocker!
Why New Snowboards Can Be Better!
Sure, a new snowboard may put a dent in your wallet. But being forced to upgrade your board is usually a blessing!
Snowboard technology is constantly progressing.
Over the past 5-years, we’ve seen the introduction of 3D profiles, kevlar reinforcements and massive weight reductions. Clinging onto an age-old board will deprive you of the best tech… and the best ride.
Which Snowboards Last Longer?
A tricky question.
The best thing you can do is choose a really well-rated board from a well-respected brand.
Brands like Burton use technology such as Infinite Ride to “overbuild” the board. They then use machines to bend it until they hit the desired flex pattern. They state the board therefore maintains it’s pop for longer.
Personally, I’ve found that the stiffer boards last longer before giving out. Especially from premium brands like Jones. My Jones Ultra Mountain Twin has well over 100-days on it. It still rides like a dream. But you do to tame the stiffness at the start.
How Long My Own Snowboards Lasted
Of the dozens of snowboards I’ve owned and ridden, most were sold or swapped well before their expiry date. This is indicative of my addiction to trying new snowboard gear!
Of the few snowboards I have owned for their full life-span, this is how long they lasted…
|Snowboard||Lifespan||Cause of Death|
|Jones Ultra Mountain Twin||100 days and counting...||TBC...|
|Burton Fish||1-day||Snapped on a hidden tree stump|
|Salomon Villain||50-days||Snapped nose (failed tamedog)|
|Capita DOA||90 days||Core shot to the base|
|Salomon Assassin||80 days||Lost pop and response|
|Burton Custom||85 days||Camber wearing out|
How To Make Snowboards Last Longer
Just like with your snowboard bindings… it only takes a little work to make your snowboard last longer.
Keep your board in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. If you have a bag for your snowboard, make sure it’s clean and dry. Moisture is the enemy! It’ll rust the metal edges and even cause the board to warp.
We both know you’re not going to do this… but ride with care. Avoid riding in shallow powder. Hidden rocks are a killer. Equally, grind rails often have irregular edges. These can take chunks out of your base.
It’s a very fine balance between enjoying your new deck and avoiding damage. Good luck!
Get Professional Help
If you’re unsure how to maintain or care for your snowboard, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. There are ski and snowboard shops near every mountain. Most offer tuning and repair services. You’d be surprised at the miracles some of these guys can pull off!
Can You Break A Snowboard?
Snowboard technology has come a long way. Many snowboards now use super durable materials such as carbon, kevlar and aluminium (as discussed here). But can you break a snowboard?
It is possible to break a snowboard by landing awkwardly or hitting solid structures, such as tree stumps and rocks. Snaps or fractures are particularly common when landing heavily on the nose or tail.
Whilst it’s quite difficult to break a snowboard, it’s not impossible. Here are some of the ways that snowboards get damaged.
How Do Snowboards Get Damaged?
1. Snapped Snowboards
The most dramatic way to break a snowboard!
Snaps are usually in the nose or tail. This can happen when landing too far back following a large jump. Another common culprit is under-rotating on inverted tricks, like tamedogs.
I actually managed to snap a board in half after hitting a hidden tree stump during a heel-side turn. The board saved my me from injury but was written off (RIP my Burton Fish).
2. Core Shots
Small gouges are one thing, core shots are another. This happens when a rock or object gouges open the base, exposing the wood and fiberglass underneath. Without proper repair, the board is a goner.
When the top layers of your snowboard are peeling away, your board’s days are numbered. This either happens from un-repaired base damage or a manufacturing error. The latter is covered by warranty, so make sure to check!
4. Edge Knocks
Hitting your edge on rails, rocks or trees is unfortunately very common. This can cause the edge to buckle inwards and the base to buck outwards. This needs an urgent professional repair.
Do Snowboards Go Bad?
Perhaps you were an avid snowboarder in your younger years. Maybe you stored your snowboard away in the attic, waiting for the right time to make a comeback. You’re probably now wondering, do snowboards go bad?
Snowboards can go bad over time due to wear and tear, damage, or simply age. The wood and fiberglass will eventually break down, becoming brittle. As a result, the snowboard loses pop, structure and camber.
That being said, snowboards can be stored for many years without issue. Just make sure to do so in a warm, dry place, away from sunlight.
So, how long do snowboards last?
If you’re lucky and treat your board well, you should be able to ride for 100-days. After this, the snowboard’s performance tends to deteriorate.
Given how expensive snowboards are these days, it’s certainly worth taking the time to look after yours.
Unfortunately, we both know that’s not always possible. If you’re in the market for a new snowboard, make sure to check out our snowboard buying guides.