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10 Best Beginner Snowboards in 2021

Time to get your first snowboard? After more than 30 extensive snowboard tests and +50 hours of research, we've selected the 10 best beginner snowboards. It can be daunting at first, but read this article and you'll become an expert in the basics.
several snowboards are about fencing
Best Overall
Rossignol Circuit
Rossignol Circuit
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Best Premium
K2 Raygun
K2 Raygun
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Best Value
5th Element Forge
5th Element Forge
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Table of Contents

As with most sporting equipment, there are no universally best or worse beginner snowboards, but rather the best beginner snowboards for you and your personal style, preferences and budget.

Freeriders, for example, tend to prefer long, stiff boards, which allow for better maneuverability when off-trail.

Meanwhile, beginners and novices might prefer a more versatile, unspecialized board that can perform well in virtually all weather conditions. 

Top 10 Best Beginner Snowboards

But obviously, there are a considerable number of snowboard manufacturers out there, which makes choosing the best snowboards a bit of a challenge.

So to help make choosing the best beginner snowboard a bit easier, we've compiled a list of the top 10 to check out in 2021. 

Whatever you're looking for, you're bound to find something that fits the bill in our list.

Or, refer yourself to our Buyer's Guide below to learn about what to be on the lookout for when shopping around. 

1. Rossignol Circuit Snowboard

Best Overall
Rossignol Circuit Mens Snowboard
Rossignol circuit snowboard
Ability Level: Beginner to intermediate
Board Type: All-mountain
Flex Rating: Medium-soft (4/10)
Shape: Directional

But obviously, there are a considerable number of snowboard manufacturers out there, which makes choosing the best snowboards a bit of a challenge.

So to help make choosing the best beginner snowboard a bit easier, we've compiled a list of the top 10 to check out in 2021. 

Whatever you're looking for, you're bound to find something that fits the bill in our list.

Or, refer yourself to our Buyer's Guide below to learn about what to be on the lookout for when shopping around. 

2. K2 Raygun Snowboard

Best Premium
K2 Raygun Snowboard Mens
Ability Level: Intermediate to Expert
Board Type: All-mountain
Flex Rating: Medium (5/10)
Shape: Directional

While being a premium product, the Raygun is not significantly more expensive than many of the other boards featured on this list, making it the best premium beginner snowboards on our list.

It offers innovative insert technology making the flex and responsiveness particularly remarkable.

The directional twin shape and the flat Rocker Profile work together to create a design that can handle any terrain or snow condition, including fresh powder. The lightweight aspen core is lightweight and durable, perfect for jumps. And the Fiberglass and carbon stringers also allow for extra stability when riding at high speeds. 

The board's base is also durable enough to take a rough ride and still maintain its lightweight nimbleness. But more importantly, the flex specs of the Raygun, meanwhile, are ideal for progressing in the park. 

When it comes to pushing your limits quickly, the K2 Raygun is an excellent choice.

3. 5th Element Forge - WIDE Snowboard 2020

Best Value
5th Element Forge - WIDE Snowboard 2020
Ability Level: Beginner to intermediate
Board Type: All-mountain
Flex Rating: Soft (2/10)
Shape: Directional Twin

The 5th Element Forge Wide Snowboard was created for novice shredders seeking a board that can hold a larger boot size and assist in progressing all season long. 

The board comes in a directional twin shape, which allows for a great deal of versatility, meaning you can try out lots of different terrain and styles to find which you prefer. The soft flex will enable you to slip up without making you fall over. The Poplar wood core creates a lightweight feel, making the ride comfortable. The Forge employs an EZ Rocker profile, which makes for a catch-free ride and smooth turning. 

Overall, the Forge Wide is a sturdy, durable and versatile board that won't break the bank, making it one of our top picks for beginner snowboards.

4. Men's Burton Ripcord Flat Top

Men's Burton Ripcord Flat Top Snowboard
Ability Level: Beginner to intermediate
Board Type: All-mountain
Flex Rating: Soft (2/10), Directional Flex
Shape: Directional

The Burton Ripcord Snowboard is an excellent beginner snowboard, crafted to push beginners and intermediates up into more advanced riding scenarios.

The directional shape makes it easy to navigate all terrains and snow conditions while providing additional stability with its Flat Top and Easy Rider profile, a perfect beginner snowboard. The soft, playful flex is also very forgiving, allowing you to focus on improving your performance. 

The board's core is constructed with Squeezebox Low forming stiffer zones around each foot, allowing the rider to have more control over transferring their energy onto the board. 

Overall, this beginner snowboard is designed with all the necessary features to get a beginner advancing quickly up to a pro-level.

5. Salomon Sleepwalker Snowboard

Salomon Sleepwalker Snowboard
Ability Level: Beginner-Advanced
Board Type: Freestyle
Flex Rating: Soft-medium (4/10)
Shape: Twin

Despite the name, the Soloman Sleepwalker will provide anything but a sleepy ride. This beginner snowboard allows you to move quickly and sharply without losing the pop of freestyle. It's equipped with a Rock Out Camber profile, making it stable beneath your feet, perfect for beginners. 

Built with flexible poplar, the board has a natural snap and powerful pop that feels a lot like skateboarding. Parker riders will be fans of the soft-medium flex, which allows them to flex and press while riding the park. 

The Rock Out Camber is crafted for peak park performance with an innovative mix of flat, camber, and rocker profiles allowing for responsive turns and easy presses. 

6. Men's Burton Instigator Flat Top

Men's Burton Instigator Flat Top Snowboard
Ability LevelBeginner
Board Type: All-mountain
Flex Rating: Soft-medium (3/10)
Shape: Directional

The Instigator Flat Top Snowboard is designed to help beginners gain confidence and progress rapidly. Its mixture of a Flat Top and Cruise Control convex base helps provide stability and gives the rider greater control underfoot. 

The Dual-zone EGD is a specially engineered wood grain running along from toe to heel on the board, providing hold and strength. And the perfectly symmetrical twin flex creates a perfectly balanced ride allowing for versatility in terrain and snow conditions. 

The board's directional shape is made to be ridden with a slightly longer nose than tail so that the tail pops while still allowing for plenty of floats, flow and control, even when shredding through deeper powder.

Overall, this board has various features, which make it perfect for novices that want to make fast progress. 

7. Nidecker Escape Snowboard Large

Nidecker Escape Snowboard - Large
Ability Level: Intermediate-Advanced
Board Type: All-mountain
Flex Rating: Medium-stiff (7/10)
Shape: Directional Twin

The Nidecker Escape Snowboard Large is made in Nideckers' peak performance models' likeness but comes in a softer, more comfortable edition. But this board is ideal for spending all day out on the mountain.

Its weight performance ratio is particularly notable. Plus, it has a wood veneer top layer, which allows for increased responsiveness and is made with premium materials like carbon and kevlar, making it both ultra-durable and lightweight.

Overall, this is a solid snowboard for skilled riders from the trusted and reputable Swiss brand Nidecker. 

8. Ride Agenda Men's Snowboard

Ride Agenda Mens Snowboard
Ability Level: Beginner
Board Type: Freestyle
Flex Rating: Medium-soft (3/10)
Shape: True Twin

The Ride Agenda comes with a flat rocker camber profile, which is ideal for beginners. The flat part between the feet is extra stable, and the rocker's shape makes it much easier to turn and reduces your likelihood of catching an edge.

The model is designed with an extruded base, which is another great feature for beginners. Essentially, this means your board won't be as fast as some of the other boards on our list. Plus, it comes with overall lower maintenance. It also helps bring down the overall cost of the snowboard.

The Agenda is crafted with a medium-soft flex, which allows beginners to focus on progression. The Foundation Core has tip-to-tail Aspen for greater durability while maintaining pop and flex. 

Overall, this snowboard is an excellent choice for beginners.

9. Gnu Money Men's Snowboard

Gnu Money Mens Snowboard
Ability Level: Beginner-Expert
Board Type: All-Mountain/Freestyle
Flex Rating: Medium (5/10)
Shape: Directional Twin

This snowboard is particularly remarkable for its low price. The company's website asks us "to take notice of the amazing price on this toaster. It's our gift to snowboarding."

The board itself is versatile and accessible for beginners. Its directional twin design makes it well balanced and sturdy. While accelerating, the board is designed to retain comfort and security. 

The Gnu Money base is less advanced than what you see on the pro models, but it can still withstand quite the beating. But in exchange for the price point you pay for this board, some compromises on performance will have to be made.

10. Chamonix Lognan Mens

Chamonix Lognan Mens Snowboard
Ability Level: Intermediate
Board Type: All-Mountain/Freestyle
Flex Rating: Medium (5/10)
Shape: Twin

Next up on our list of items is the Chamonix Lognan is one of the most versatile beginner snowboards on the market.

The model is designed with a relatively soft camber profile and poplar core while still retaining a responsive snap underfoot. 

The board's twin shape design helps riders keep their balance while maintaining stability — this makes for an overall more pleasant ride and one of the best snowboards for beginners. 

The matte finish is scratch-resistant, meaning your board will look slick for longer. 

Easy to ride, the Lognan is an excellent budget board that will last you year after year.

Things to Consider When Buying Beginner Snowboards

Before you can decide which board is the best fit for you, it helps to also know precisely what you're looking for in a snowboard. 

Here's a quick guide to things you need to be aware of when choosing from the best snowboards for beginners.

Your Skill Level

Different boards will cater to various skill levels. It's essential to determine what category you fit. This is so you don't buy a board that you'll struggle to stay upright on!

Beginner

skill range snowboard beginner to advanced intermediate

It's potentially your first time snowboarding, or you've only been a handful of times before. You have learned how to sideslip, control your edges, turn and stop, but you don't have a tremendous amount of confidence in your abilities.

Intermediate

skill range snowboard intermediate to advanced

You have a decent amount of confidence in your turning and stopping, and you can easily take on red and black runs. You've probably also started to try out different kinds of terrain and experiment a bit more with carving and your stance.

Advanced

skill range snowboard advanced intermediate to expert

You're able to ride the mountain with confidence and finesse, and you're looking for new, adventurous ways to challenge yourself. You have a lot of control in carving on icy runs and challenging terrain and can handle a range of different terrains and snow conditions.

Snowboard Type

More specifically, there are different types of snowboards that will be designed for specific terrains or styles of riding.

All Mountain

This snowboard type is designed to function well in all kinds of snow conditions.

It is usually directional in shape, with the nose slightly up-tilted making it float well in powder.

Designs that come with medium flex allow for a more adaptable snowboard in terms of the terrain it can tackle.

Freestyle

Also known as park boards, freestyle snowboards are usually slightly shorter and are suitable for park riding.

They tend to have a soft to medium flex making them more agile. They are also true twin shaped meaning you can ride them on parks and various other terrains.

Freeride

These snowboards are made for riders who like to go off-piste and venture onto all kinds of terrain.

They tend to have a stiffer flex and are longer than freestyle boards. This is to give them increased stability and speed, and they are also usually directional in shape.

Width And Length Of The Board

You'll also need to choose an appropriate width and length of the board, which will help you ride comfortably as a beginner. The size you should choose will depend on your height, body weight and the riding you want to do.

Check our Snowboard Sizing Calculator to find the ideal size for you.

Generally speaking:

  • Beginners should opt for shorter boards.
  • For riding all-mountain (including powder), then you should opt for longer boards for more excellent stability and speed.
  • If you are taller than average, you should also opt for a longer snowboard to allow you better control.
  • For park and freestyle riding, go for a shorter board.

When it comes to choosing the right width, you should look at the size of your snowboard boots.

Ideally, the edges of your boots should hang very slightly over the edge of the snowboard (but not so much that they would hit the snow or catch when you are riding.)

Snowboard Shape

Snowboard Shapes illustration with directional, twin and directional twin types

As you would have seen in our list of the best beginner snowboards, all boards have different shapes, which obviously, also affect how the board performs.

 Directional Shape

Directional boards are, exactly as the name suggests, meant to be ridden in one direction.

They tend to have a stiff tail but become softer near the nose, which creates stability and ensures speed.

You'll often see directional boards intended for freeride and all-mountain riders. 

Twin Shape

Twin shape, or true twin shape, boards are entirely symmetrical.

True twin means they have identical tip and tail measurements and flex arrangement. Bindings tend to be mounted in the exact center of a true twin board to allow for stability.

True twin boards are popular for freestyle riding.

Directional Twin Shape

Unlike true twin, directional twin shapes combine attributes of both directional and twin. They have a symmetrical nose and tail but a directional core or vice versa. These are ideal for both mountain and freestyle.

Flex

Snowboard flex varies between different brands and models but is often communicated with a number rating from 1-10. 1 is the softest, 10 is the stiffest, while medium flex falls somewhere between 3-5. 

Flex plays a vital role in determining what kind of riding a snowboard will be best equipped for.

Soft Flex

Flex rating snowboards and ski soft

Soft flex snowboards are often great for freestyle and all mount as they allow for a forgiving turn. They're also ideal for beginners and lightweight riders. The drawback of soft flex boards is that they can become unstable at faster speeds.

Stiff Flex

Flex rating snowboards and ski stiff

Compared to boards with soft flex, stiff flex is best for ferried and backcountry riders as it provides edge control and can maintain stability even at very high speeds.

Medium flex will combine both the flexibility when turning and the stability when riding fast.

Profile Type

Additionally, the profile of the board will also determine how it handles in certain conditions.

Camber

Snowboard Profile - Camber

Camber is the most traditional type of profile because it makes it easy to turn.

Camber boards have an upward arching curve in the center, spreading pressure evenly across the board. This makes for adequate responsiveness and is common in freestyle boards as it provides good edge hold and stability while riding at high speeds and through dense snow.

Rocker/Reverse Camber

snowboard profile - rocker

A rocker, which is sometimes called a reverse-camber board, is the opposite of a camber, i.e. a camber flipped over.

It is ideal for all levels of rider, from beginner to advanced. The lifted tip and tail make it great for floating in deep powder.

A rocker is highly maneuverable and has a free feel giving the rider more confidence and avoiding catching edges.

Flat Rocker/Zero Camber

snowboard profile - flat rocker zero camber

A flat or flat rocker — also known as a zero camber, lies flat, with only a sigh rise in the tip and tail, hence being called a flat rocker profile.

These boards are suitable for stability but not best equipped for minimizing edge catching or easing powder float.

Hybrid Profile

snowboard profile - hybrid

A hybrid profile combines the camber, rocker and flat profiles in various ways to create a whole new profile.

This allows manufacturers to create unique boards that cater to different types of riding as they can blend stability, speed, and edge hold in increasingly optimal ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know what to look for when shopping around for beginner boards, let's go over a few commonly asked questions, which you might still have on your mind.

What size snowboard should a beginner use?

As a beginner, you should usually start out with an average size board, somewhere around 155-177mm. However, if you plan on free-riding, you might want to go with a size somewhere in the middle of those, closer to 162mm or 164mm.

Additionally, the size of your snowboard should also reflect your height. So if you're much taller than the average person, you'll probably want to go with something longer.

Is rocker or camber better for beginners?

Realistically, neither a rockered nor a cambered profile are going to be better for beginners. If you can't carve or control your snowboard, to begin with, the profile will make very little difference.

A rocker might be slightly easier to get used to at first, but a camber provides the springiness need for good edge control and carving hard.

Rocker or reverse camber profiles are sometimes recommended for beginners because the tip and tail arch upward, making your stance more comfortable and less likely that you'll catch an edge.

However, this comes at the cost of having less control and energy transfer, which are vital for carving on ice or hard-packed snow. Therefore, this slightly looser feeling of your stance might not be the best for a beginner to get used to either.

Is it hard to snowboard for the first time?

Once you've gotten the hang of it, snowboarding can be very easy. But when you're trying it for the first time, it might take you a while to get used to having both feet connected to the board.

Learning how to carve and control the direction of travel is often the trickiest part. For this, you'll need to get used to leaning onto either your heels or your toes, while maintaining your balance with the upper part of your body.

Personally, I'd recommend taking a beginner's course at your local hill, and then sticking to the bunny hill until you've at least mastered how to carve.

How long do snowboards last?

Fortunately, snowboards don't have expiry dates. You'll often hear numbers quoted about snowboards lasting between 80 to 100 days, but it really all depends on how much you use the board, and what type of conditions you ride in.

If you're often riding in icy or hard-packed conditions, this might wear down the base of your board sooner. But again, the lifetime of your board will all depend on its quality, and how and how often you use it.

Properly cared for, you should be able to get several seasons out of your board.

Conclusion

several snowboards are about fencing

Whether you're a beginner or a more advanced rider, it's essential to seek out the best snowboarding gear to ensure an optimal experience on the slopes.

With this list of the best beginner snowboards available on the market, along with a guide to what you should look for when making your purchase, you should now be able to find a board that works great for you.

Once you decide upon a snowboard, maintenance is paramount for getting a pleasant and lasting experience. Read the following pieces to find out how to wax your snowboard and how to read the snow trail signs and symbols.

Casper Kokje

Casper Kokje

Casper is from Holland. Growing up, he went to the Alps at least a few times every year. In his adult life, he's been teaching people to ski and snowboard in Austria, Netherlands and Switzerland as well.
Published February 23, 2021
Last updated November 18, 2021

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