Women have been down for snowboarding since day one. In fact, Sherman Poppen invented the Snurfer (the 1960s forerunner to the modern snowboard) for his daughter to ride. However, ladies haven’t always had the same choices men do when it comes to snowboard equipment-that is, until now. Excitingly enough, snowboard companies have finally taken notice of the female snowboard contingent and are building gear specifically for women, taking into account everything from her weight and foot size to her sense of style.
What Does “Women’s Specific” Mean?
So what makes a women’s board, well, a women’s board? The simple answer is waste width and flex pattern. For the most part, women have smaller feet and frames than men, so a narrower board keeps everything to scale, ensuring optimum steering power and control over your edge. The flex pattern (meaning how easy it is to bend the board and make it turn) is also specifically designed around the proportions of a lady rider, who’s usually lighter-weight and needs her board to be a bit softer in order to flex it and get it up on edge.
Length is also a factor. A snowboard should reach to about a rider’s chin, so women’s boards tend to be a bit shorter to accommodate the average female height. Of course, riding steep mountains or deep powder requires a longer, stiffer board and such women’s specific freeride models are also available.
Graphics are undeniably important to a board’s appeal, and because women are naturally attuned to style, companies have definitely had to get with it graphics-wise. Most brands employ talented designers (many of them women themselves) who know exactly what appeals to snowboarding’s feminine side, from colors to designs to treatments.
The Perfect Connection
Just as boards are being made specifically for women’s smaller frame and foot size, so are boots and bindings designed for their narrower heels and different leg shape. Women’s boots are typically lighter and narrower than men’s versions. It’s impossible to rip when your feet are sloshing around, so these narrower boots keep the heels firmly in place for ultra-responsive turning power. Also, shorter and wider ankle cuffs accommodate the female calf muscle, which attaches lower on the leg than a man’s. Bet you didn’t know that, did you?
Your boot should not move once it’s in the binding, so ladies’ bindings come in smaller sizes to create a super snug boot-binding fit. Today’s bindings also offer complete adjustability from side to side, in the heelcup, and with the amount of forward lean. It might take a little while to get your binding perfectly dialed, but it’ll be worth it when you do.
Just like in nature, every piece of your snowboard setup is connected. Equipment compatibility is extremely important. If your boot doesn’t jive with you binding, or your binding baseplate won’t work with your board’s hole pattern, then it’s game-off. Make sure everything works together before you leave the store.Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and snowlink.com.