Different Styles of Snowboards/Skis: Camber, Rocker, & Flat

You’re a snowboarder or a skier. Maybe you’re looking to get your own board and be done with rentals. Maybe you got better last season and are looking to step-up your game with a more advanced pair of skis. Maybe you’re just curious about what styles of snowboards exist. Nonetheless, most snowboards and skis have a certain style. The three main are cambered, flat, and rocker. Now, if you are anything like me, you may have no idea how these names correlate to snowboarding. It’s such a ski-bum thing to do, name styles of boards with funky new-age slang. Typical! It is actually very important that you know what these styles mean. They will affect how you ride, turn, and vibe with your board. So, let’s cut to the chase and tell you what you need to know

Camber

Now this analogy is exaggerated, but think of a cambered snowboard or ski being designed in the shape of a mountain. The tip and the tail are what make contact with the ground. Yes, this may look odd and not make any sense if you were to hold and see it without knowing the meaning. There is a purpose behind this shape. Think about putting body weight on the board, it will flex and the whole board will touch the ground. Now there is some energy/pressure stored in the tip and the tail. This is beneficial for making turns and holding an edge. Your tip and tail will have a harder time skipping across the snow, thus giving you much more control over your ride. Now, this sounds like what every snowboard would want correct? No, not exactly. This board is more of a cruiser, it is not exactly great for people who want to do tricks and play around in the park. If you are shredding some pow, you may find your board dig into the snow and slow you down. That’s no Bueno if you’re trying to keep up with some fast skiers.

Rocker

Rocker is the opposite of camber. Think of a U shape. The main contact point with the ground is in the middle of the board rather than the tip and tail. Think of a surfboard. When a surfer catches a wave, they maneuver on top of the wave with a slippery motion. There turns are delayed and they are a little more “free” out there. This is what a rocker is. While you don’t have as much control over turns and such, the rider can maneuver and bend the board easier while riding. Most people you see in the terrain park are rockin’ a rocker board or pair of skis. See what I did there? Rocker boards don’t dig into the ground, thus making it easier to float on top of powder while riding down Vail Mountain with a fresh foot of pow.

Flat

This is a combination of both camber and rocker. You get the best of both worlds, but the strengths and weaknesses of the two styles and more balanced. Most rental/entry-level boards are flat. It lets the rider figure out what they value in a board or skis.

What is your style?

As a snow-shredder, it is omnipotent to figure out what style of board or skis works best for you. For the longest time, I rock with a rocker style board. I tested out one cambered board and was completely blown away by how much more control and fun I had on this board. I value a nice controlled cruise on the mountain. Rarely will you see me in the terrain park. In conclusion, make sure you are purchasing a snowboard that resonates with you. If you can, try to demo a few different styles of boards. Many mountains will have demo options available in the lodge or ski shop. Don’t think that you are going to find the perfect pair of skis or the best snowboard out there just by shopping on line, you need to catch the vibe and find the board that is calling your name!

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