If you’re new to snowboarding, you’ve probably stumbled across a bunch of confusing terms. For instance, what is all mountain snowboarding? What sets it apart from other riding styles?
All mountain snowboarding is snowboarding that encompasses all different aspects of riding. This includes snowboarding on groomed runs, moguls, backcountry, and park. As a result, it’s one of the most varied forms of snowboarding and is rapidly growing in popularity.
Keep reading for the ultimate rundown on all-mountain snowboarding. I’ll explore the snowboards used and how difficult all-mountain snowboarding is for newbies.
A Guide To All Mountain Snowboarding
Basically, all mountain snowboarding covers every aspect of snowboarding.
It’s for the rider that laps the park in the morning, the backcountry at lunch and groomed runs in the afternoon.
Basically, you’re gonna ride every scrap of snow you can find!
You will develop skills in all of the different riding styles.
You’ll also need a snowboard that can handle that!
What Is An All Mountain Snowboard?
An all mountain snowboard is a snowboard designed to handle every riding style. The snowboard will be capable of riding park, powder, groomed runs and pipe. All mountain snowboards are therefore not specialized to any specific hill area.
Their ability to handle most situations makes them a very popular choice!
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of all mountain snowboards.
The Benefits Of All Mountain Snowboards
- Only one board needed for a full days riding!
- Not limited by over-specialized features (e.g. swallow tails)
- Ability to ride almost anywhere in any condition
- Most well-rounded snowboard choice
- Huge selection of snowboards in this category
✖️ Rarely "excel" in a specific area.
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The Downside Of All Mountain Snowboards
Ever heard the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none”?
All-mountain snowboards are adaptable to all different snowboarding environments.
They obviously can’t compete with specialized snowboards in each specific area.
For example, here’s a few boards I was asked to review.
As you can see, the beautiful snowboard in the middle (Bataleon Surfer) has some major adaptations for powder:
- Swallow tail
- Setback bindings
- Huge wide nose
On the right is an all mountain snowboard.
This would really struggle to keep up with the Surfer in deep powder.
However, with the all mountain board you could more easily hit the park and jib line on the way home.
This is because of the:
- Twin shape (same forwards and backwards)
- Softer flex
- Narrower waist (quicker turns)
The all mountain board could still ride in powder, but leaves you with more options when the snow ain’t falling.
It’s therefore always going to be a toss up between versatility and specialization.
The choice is yours!
Is Every Snowboard Technically All Mountain?
Of course, you can ride any snowboard wherever you want.
Here’s Tyler Chorlton shredding all-mountain on the aforementioned bataleon surfer.
Remember though, Tyler is a snowboarding wizard!
Results for us mere mortals are likely to vary.
Imagine trying to learn switch riding (going backwards) on the surfer.
Most riders would be better off on something more well rounded.
What Are The Main Types of Snowboard?
Another place where beginners often trip up is the different kinds of snowboards.
Here are the 4 main types of snowboard:
Freestyle snowboards are the smallest and softest of the three varieties.
They’re often “twin tip” meaning they ride the same forwards as they do backwards.
The result is a highly maneuverable ride, ideal for sharp twists and turns.
Freestyle boards can be more challenging to control as the soft flex reduces stability, particularly at speed.
Learn more about freestyle snowboarding.
An all-mountain snowboard can be twin tip or directional (different nose and tail).
Often firmer flexing then freestyle boards, they are more stable at speed but harder to press on rails and boxes.
As discussed, they tend to be a happy medium.
This type of board is best to hold grip and maintain speed while carving.
Often pretty firm flexing, they are far less forgiving for beginners.
The firm flex also makes them less agile and less suited to performing tricks.
Powder snowboards come in all shapes and sizes.
The aim is to increase surface area of the board, allowing optimum float.
They often have much longer noses than tails, allowing the nose to ride up.
Is An All Mountain Snowboard Good for Beginners?
It’s time to figure out which board is right for you. Is it best to start with an all-mountain snowboard?
An all mountain snowboard is good for beginners. All-mountain snowboards are balanced and aren’t specialized in any form of snowboarding. As a result, all mountain snowboards do not require specific expertise to use, making them excellent snowboards for beginners.
All-mountain snowboards are not created equal.
Some are much firmer or come with fancy modern features like asymmetrical edges.
Most new snowboarders should choose:
- A true twin or directional twin snowboard.
- A softer snowboard (range 3-6). This makes balancing more accessible and facilitates quicker results.
Evo have compiled some of the best beginner all mountain snowboards at the link below.
Every snowboarder starts out as an all-mountain snowboarder.
Even the powder hounds chasing bottomless Japanese powder started out by riding groomed runs and lapping the park.
I strongly encourage you to see yourself as an all-mountain snowboarder (at least until you find your niche).
This allows you to develop a complete skillset and not narrow down your abilities too early on.
Additionally, unless you plan on starting a snowboard collection (which is addictive, be warned) then buying an all-mountain snowboard makes the most sense.
Once you’ve got your board, be sure to make a pilgrimage to the 13 Best Snowboard Resorts In The World.