When it comes to snowboarding, details matter. From the flex of your board to its profile, every design choice impacts your ride.
One often overlooked but critically important detail is snowboard taper. What is it? Why does it matter?
Let’s dive straight into the world of taper, and whether a tapered directional snowboard is for you!
1. What is Snowboard Taper?
Snowboard taper is the difference in width between the nose and the tail of a snowboard. If a board has a wider nose than tail, it’s said to be tapered. This isn’t about aesthetics either; it’s all about function.
2. Why Choose Snowboard Taper?
The mechanics are simple: a tapered design helps the tail of the board sink into the snow and elevates the nose. Snow will also flow over the wider nose and past the tail, reducing drag.
This offers several advantages:
- Float in Powder: A tapered snowboard keeps the nose up and prevents it from getting buried, especially in deep snow.
- Smooth Turning: The tail sinks and allows for smoother, more natural turns without much resistance.
- Stability: A sinking tail offers a dependable and stable ride, especially in varied terrains.
3. How Much Taper Do You Need?
This is super subjective! Park snowboards don’t need any taper at all, whereas your powder board definitely does.
An average amount of taper for your powder snowboard would be around 20mm.
4. Directional Tapered Snowboards Explained
Most tapered boards lean towards a directional design. This means they’re primarily designed to be ridden with the nose forward.
The nose will therefore be longer than the tail, with a setback stance. The tail might look significantly different too, with cutout sections or a swallowtail.
You’ll often find that nose is also softer than the tail, which is fairly stiff.
- Tailored Flex: A stiffer tail and softer nose combo offer control during turns. It also keeps the nose riding high in powder.
- Confident Carving: The set back stance of directional boards means deeper and more controlled carves. Shifting your weight backwards also prevents nose-dives in the deeper stuff.
- Adaptability: These boards are powder specialists, but they handle well on groomers too.
5. Are Tapered Directional Snowboards Right for You?
If your snowboarding leans towards powder hunting, a directional tapered board would be perfect! Never travel to powder hubs like Japan or Baldface Lodge without one.
However… if you’re more of an all-mountain rider, or are just getting started, there are probably better options.
I’d recommend checking out my full shapes guide for more details.
Taper isn’t just a buzzword or design quirk. It’s a functional choice that can transform how you tackle the mountain.
Directional tapered snowboards offer a blend of control, stability, and adaptability that’s hard to beat, especially when the powder is deep!
So, next time you’re board shopping, give taper a thought. It might be the game-changer you didn’t know you needed.