Have you ever been riding on the mountain, perhaps on a chairlift and looked down on the powder snow below and seen a cool rider floating below? You see them riding on what looks like a small surfboard? You think to yourself, what on earth is that, the board is wide and flat and some even have a fish tail in the back but the rider has more control, more style and more flare than anyone you've seen riding powder snow before. These boards are called “directional snowboards” . What are directional snowboards, I hear you ask, Well, they are a revolution! Let us explain everything you need to know.
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Embracing the True Directional Shape
Directional snowboards are purposefully crafted to excel when ridden in one specific direction. Their distinct shape features a pronounced nose and tail, coupled with a progressively deeper sidecut towards the tail. The larger nose enhances floatation, allowing the board to glide effortlessly over varying snow conditions. The progressive sidecut facilitates smoother and more forgiving turns, while the deeper sidecut near the tail imparts energy and responsiveness, propelling the rider into their next maneuver.
It's worth noting that directional snowboards are not ideally suited for freestyle riding styles that require the ability to ride, initiate tricks, and land in either direction. However, for all-mountain, freeride, or powder-oriented riders who typically lead with their preferred front foot, a directional board is the perfect choice, providing optimal performance and stability.
Unleashing the Fishtail Advantage
One intriguing variation of the directional snowboard is the fishtail shape. Characterized by a swallowtail or enlarged tail, these boards have reduced surface area at the back, allowing them to effortlessly glide on deep powder. The enlarged nose keeps the board buoyant, preventing it from sinking too deep into the snow. As a result, riders can traverse powder for longer durations without experiencing excessive strain on their back leg or worrying about the board getting stuck.
On groomed trails, the fishtail shape maintains excellent edge hold through the completion of a turn, as more pressure is distributed towards the rear part of the edge. This attribute is particularly advantageous for high-speed descents on steep, wide trails. Conversely, the pintail shape also reduces surface area but features a shorter edge. This design enables quick turn releases, making it ideal for nimble maneuvering in tree-lined areas, where rapid back-and-forth turns are necessary.
Mastering the Art of Riding a Directional Snowboard
Now that we've explored the unique design elements of directional snowboards, let's delve into how to ride them with finesse. Two key aspects to consider are your stance and control.
The Stance: Setting up your bindings on a directional snowboard requires positioning your front foot facing forward, following the direction of the board's shape. This configuration maximizes control and stability, allowing you to effectively navigate the slopes while harnessing the board's optimal performance.
Control and Technique: Riding a directional snowboard demands a slightly different technique compared to other snowboard types. Emphasize using your front foot to initiate turns and maintain control, as the design is optimized for this approach. Proper weight distribution and body positioning throughout each maneuver are essential for a seamless and exhilarating ride.
Discovering Epic Destinations for Directional Snowboarding
To fully embrace the thrill of riding a directional snowboard, you need the perfect backdrop. Here are three epic destinations that cater to this style of snowboarding:
With its breathtaking alpine landscapes and vast off-piste terrain, Andermatt offers adventurous riders an unparalleled playground for directional snowboarding. Challenge yourself with pristine powder runs and explore the majestic Swiss Alps from a whole new perspective.
La Grave, France
Renowned for its untamed and unmarked slopes, La Grave is a mecca for freeriders seeking an adrenaline-pumping experience. Embark on daring descents and revel in the natural beauty of the French Alps as you carve your way down the mountain on a directional snowboard.
Grand Targhee, USA
Nestled in the heart of Wyoming's Teton Mountains, Grand Targhee boasts abundant snowfall and an idyllic setting for powder enthusiasts. Take advantage of the resort's diverse terrain and backcountry access to enjoy unforgettable moments on your directional snowboard.
By embracing the world of directional snowboarding, you open yourself up to a new realm of control, style, and adventure on the slopes. So gear up, find your preferred front foot, and experience the exhilaration that awaits you with a directional snowboard.